Office Winhov

To Miss Missing

So I missed the train. But to be honest, I have also missed missing the train.
Netherlands, Western Europe

Story by Joost Backer. Edited by Melaina Dyck and Sterre van Dord
Published on August 23, 2021. Reading time: 2 minutes



Mother’s Day 2021

I’m sitting on a wooden bench at Amstel railway station in Amsterdam. My shirt is wet and sticking to my back--a remnant of the 10 mins before, when I raced on my bicycle to catch the 10:18. I missed it by a few seconds. As I climbed the stairs to the platform, completely out of breath, the train was departing terribly slowly. I cursed the train and myself. And felt angry. 

So I missed the train. But to be honest, I have also missed missing the train. 

For over a year now, there have hardly been any external factors impacting my life. Or to put it differently, there’s been a single, giant, ugly and omnipresent external factor that somehow has washed away all the others. 

My life has never been so rhythmical and predictable as during the pandemic. At work, I’m never late for meetings, because it only takes two clicks to exit the current and enter the next meeting. Visits to friends, if any at all, are pre-scheduled and I know exactly with whom and at whose place I’ll be. I hardly travel anymore–and as a result, there are no trains I can miss. 


Increasingly, I realize I want to lose control. To not think ahead.

At first, I thought I liked this rhythm. I was in control of my own life. However, slowly but surely, the constant certainty of events has made me feel rather numb. Almost everything happens according to plan. Always knowing what I will be doing with whom and when has started to bore me. Increasingly, I realize I want to lose control. To not think ahead. To explore new, unchartered territory both in the world and in my mind. To be surprised. To be all sweaty, angry and out of breath because something happened I hadn’t planned for. To be inspired because of just that. 

Missing my train has made me feel more satisfied than I have felt in a while. It allowed me to put these thoughts on paper. Something I would’ve never done, if I hadn’t been a few seconds too late. So here’s to missing trains.


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Joost Backer

Joost Backer

Hey there! I'm Joost, 24 years old, from Amsterdam, Holland. What excites me? Creating songs at the piano. Going outside and play football. Reading (philosophical) novels. And above all: Getting inspired by other people's stories. By YOUR story. 

Having studied Political Economy and a bit of Anthropology, focused on Latin America, I now work as a sustainability consultant at NewForesight. 

Topic: Coronavirus




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