Me three months ago: “I hate South Africa, I’m never going back!” Me three months later: “I love South Africa, I wish I were there.” Me three days ago: “I miss South Africa, but I will never go back.” Me today: “I booked a ticket to South Africa!” I’m at the dinner table with my family at the moment, having to explain that I’m not staying in Holland after all. For now at least. I might still come back soon, or move to Dubai. It’s hard to say. My family might be disappointed, but perhaps also a bit relieved. They must be tired trying to keep up with me by now. All the travelling I was planning before I decided to rather stay put. All the big career changes I was making until I decided to keep it just the way it is. Or should I have a bunch of babies instead? I’m not sure. I think my friends in South Africa are happy I’m coming back though, but maybe a bit concerned at the same time. I would also be concerned if I were them. 

I once had a boyfriend. I loved him very much, until I didn’t. I broke up with him, which I regretted soon after. So I made him take me back, which was a decision I regretted soon after. “I love you!” I said on a Monday. I changed my mind before the weekend, and by Sunday afternoon I was yelling that “I hate him!” to anyone who was willing to listen. The boyfriend himself wasn’t there to listen, because I showed him the door. When I saw him again by coincidence, a few weeks later, I invited him for dinner with an apologetic and seductive smile. “I love you”, I said to him. No I don’t. “I love him”, I told my friends. But then I didn’t. It was a cycle that repeated itself for about five years, until my visa expired. Skype doesn’t accommodate mood swings very well, and breaking up doesn’t have the same satisfaction over WhatsApp somehow. Digital love is like a Dutch winter day: icy cold no matter how large the temperature swings. It’s for the best, I want to be single anyway. But don’t take my word for it, I might still change my mind.

Forest Gump once said that life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. I believe that holds true for most people. When you are impulsive, however, life is more like a box of ingredients that can be turned into chocolates, or pretty much anything else. Like one of those gift vouchers that can be used in whichever food shop or restaurant: whatever the heart desires. The snack or restaurant of choice will be entirely and utterly unpredictable. A High Tea can turn into Afternoon Wine in the blink of an eye, and the box of chocolates may be transformed into a cheese platter before you get to take your jacket off. Impulsive people rarely plan ahead and don’t think too long before making a decision. Instead, they “follow their heart.” But when mood swings are as unpredictable as a Dutch summer day, it may not always be best to “do what feels right.”

Despite occasional poor life choices, impulsive people are enthusiastic and determined about things. They can have a birthday party nearby yet decide to take the train, because trains are fun and taxis are bad! Soon after they bought their ticket however, they may discover that the next train departs in thirty minutes. That’s about twenty minutes too long. Chances are that the ticket ends up torn apart in a bin, because they decided that they rather walk! But it’s a thirty minute walk, which is about twenty minutes too long. Halfway their walk they pass by a gym and decide that they don’t feel like going to a birthday party. Their gift ends up somewhere in a bin, because they never wanna drink again! They go home and decide to rather watch a movie. But the next movie starts in thirty minutes, which is about twenty minutes too long. Who are they kidding: it’s a Friday night, they should be going out! They go to a bar, get drunk as a skunk, and have to be carried into a taxi to find their way back home at four o’clock in the morning.

Because impulsive people are so enthusiastic, they have a lot of hobbies. Hobbies never last that long though. They know a move or four on the dance floor, can play a song or three on the guitar, and will quote a philosopher or two by the campfire. They read a lot, but hardly ever finish a book. They enrol in many online courses, but never get to see the end of it. Since the last time you saw them, they might’ve gotten a puppy, two stray cats and three gold fish. They also like redesigning their interior. If you don’t visit them often enough, walls will have changed colour and furniture will have been moved across the room. They often have one painting (but never two) hanging on their wall that they painted themselves: consider it a warning sign. Best is to just smile and be a supportive friend.

Being friends with impulsive people isn’t always easy. You constantly have to pretend to like their latest haircut, vegan lifestyle, or new-born obsession for dark metal. If you want to be a real good friend, you have to frequently stop them from resigning their job, buying another Rottweiler from the shelter, or getting a facial tattoo. Impulsive people turn the direction of their life as easy as an ocean breeze on a Dutch autumn day: by 180 degrees. It’s up to you to make sure they’re not heading south. They are hardly ever in one place though, which lowers the care-taking duties as a friend. Best is to just await them at the airport with a balloon, and be grateful you’re not dating them. And when you didn’t know about the ‘I made this one painting myself-rule’ and accidently ended up in a relationship with an impulsive person: keep in mind it ain’t gonna last long anyway.

If you are emotionally stable and can’t put yourself in the shoes of an impulsive person, try to think of a game of poker. When playing poker, having a strategy of some sort will increase your chances of winning. However, the game is still primarily based on luck. No matter how good your strategy, you have to be dealt good cards. Even when you’re winning, it can turn around at any given time. Stable people will wait for a good hand of cards, in the same way some football teams will defend until their opponent makes a mistake. They try to win without risking anything. Impulsive people will throw whichever card they consider best at that moment on the table, knowing that cards are constantly being re-shuffled anyway. Their football team will attack, even if it is occasionally at the cost of their defence. They take a risk because they believe life is like a Dutch spring day: it might start off shit, but chances are high it’ll get better.