“Sometimes I really hate to go to bed alone, but I am always glad to wake up alone.”

Mark Hasselink: “Now I know I’m just doing better, and I don’t really care what other people think about it anymore”Statue of Desiré van den Berg

Taxi driver Mark Haselink, 57, said it himself: “I’m a few people garbage collector† His little rented house in Amsterdam is filled with, well, everything: records, CDs, a row of cuddly toys on the red couch behind him, and display cabinets with classic mini cars. He’s a member of the Gay Classic Car Club, a few weeks ago he was driving through France with his best friend, he’s in the Triumph Spitfire, the friend in MG B.

At that friend’s house, he was “almost sterile,” Hasselink said. He immediately throws away everything he no longer needs. He believes that a tidy home is a tidy mind, and I totally understand that it works that way. My head isn’t flushed either, and I love it; To get lost, to bother, to walk away. It’s nice to have a little clutter, without anyone saying: You have to clean up that clutter.

No one ever said to clean up this mess. When it comes to living on your own, I always say: It’s something that sneaks into your system. It was also spoon-fed. I’m just a kid. My father passed away when I was 14, and my mother was living a strange life. As a little girl, she lost her entire family in a Japanese camp and returned alone from the Indies when she was ten years old. She ended up with a grandmother she didn’t understand. After my father passed away, she didn’t have another one. She is 86 years old and still lives in the house she grew up in.

Have you had serious relationships?

I had the longest relationship with a Brazilian. It was a long-distance relationship that lasted two or three years. I broke down because he couldn’t settle here, but I have to admit that I was also afraid of living together. I found it sad that he moved to Holland and moved with me.

Now I know I’m just doing better, and I don’t care what other people think about him anymore. But I thought for a long time: everyone has a relationship, everyone will live together, so this must be done. I miss something. Did I miss something? I am not crazy?’

How long is that period behind you now?

This Brazilian, that was over ten years ago. After that I became even more cynical, because I saw so many relationships around me ending in horrible ways. I came to see the glorification of love as a form of religion and became myself an atheist. You are no one until no one loves youThis has been instilled in us from an early age. It’s nonsense, you can be very happy without a relationship. I envy people who have found great love, like my best friend. But I see it’s not for everyone, and you shouldn’t just sit around and wait for it.

Were you waiting for that?

‘So it was. I grew up as a somewhat lonely kid, with a few friends. I was bullied and began to master being together: when I was old enough, I would have a girlfriend and it would be more fun. Exiting changed my view of al-Qaeda. I met all kinds of people who were not directly interested in starting a family, and I saw that such a life can also be nice.

I still have the illusion that everything gets simpler if it’s really great love, and that I don’t have to worry about living together or maintaining the relationship. I see it in the people around me who have a happy relationship: it works, they don’t have to force anything. That’s cute, I like it that way too.

What makes it difficult?

‘There is resistance in me. I think it’s about growing up, getting totally used to being alone, and maybe also bullying making me put on a quick shield.

My mother raised me with an idea: you have to take care of yourself, because no one will. I don’t blame her for that, although I think she sometimes let me drool when I came to her with a problem. “You’d better solve this on your own,” I was told, while I was looking for support sometimes as a kid. I now know she couldn’t do otherwise, and it made me strong.

“I have a Taoist mantra. You shouldn’t try to be more than you are. I wouldn’t make myself unhappy by longing or striving for something that doesn’t exist anyway. Of course I still fall in love sometimes. You meet someone you like and then you start filling things up. You try to make This person is a part of your life. Now that you’re older, I can better see it for what it is: a fantasy. It’s fine to have certain fantasies, but you shouldn’t think that’s really the case. When you’re younger, you’re always disappointed. .

Is it also a form of self-protection to look at love in this way?

“Oh yeah, sure. You also have a personal problem here. I have a very level-headed temperament, without huge peaks and valleys, and I love it. When people want to be paired up with me, I feel itchy. In fact, it’s of course supposed to be sweet, they wish for me.” The best.

And so they are convinced: it is better to live with the one you love next to you.

He laughs. ‘Yes that is the case with believers in general, isn’t it. Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe they can put a foot in the door. ”

Can’t step foot in the door?

My grandfather widowed at a young age and married his secretary at the age of 65. They have been together for nearly thirty years, happily ever after. Well, then I think to myself: I’m not 65 yet, anything is still possible.

I buy a lottery ticket every month, even though I know the chance of winning that million is very slim. But the idea that it could exist is beautiful. It’s great when it happens, but it shouldn’t be the goal. At this age I can enjoy fantasy without having to become reality.

I have learned to live well with myself. Sometimes I really hate to go to bed alone, but I’m always glad to wake up alone.

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