What about added value?


It’s been a while since I blogged, I am so ashamed… It seems as if time came to a stand still after Xmas. With my two teenagers I returned to the French Riviera, the place I lived for 11 years, the place they were born, for Christmas. We had the most wonderful time visiting old friends. And we were blessed with the most glorious weather. Oh how I missed my life and friends there… Returning to Belgium was hard. I questioned again why I was here, living a life I do not like. Being in a place, that after 10 years still does not feel like home. A reminder of how much of my life is really shallow.

We are the product of our parents. And this I realise more very day. I grew up with two parents who never taught me to communicate. Who never taught me how to deal with conflict. Who never taught me one should be treated with respect, even if you don’t agree with what they do (not talking about criminal doings!). My parents still resort to insulting each other when they do not agree on something. Being mean to each other. Generosity, hospitality and kindness is something I learned from my friends. To this day my mother will tell me I am crazy to host parties at my house for my friends. And she always looks for an ulterior motive behind any generous act of the heart. Because she does not have a generous heart.

I’ve never been encouraged to realize my dreams. On the contrary, I was ridiculed for it, or told I would never succeed. For so long I did not believe my dreams were worth something. Even though my friends encouraged me, believed in me. I still wanted that validation from my mother. So badly, I even refused some great opportunities in the design world, because I could not believe I was worth this.

So what gives added value in my life? Let’s start with what does not:

Gold jewelry, diamonds, rubies, … I have/had lots of them. My mother basically encouraged me to dress up like a Christmas tree whenever I went to some event or party. Moderation is not in her dictionary. She also said that gold jewelry never loses its value. Thus it is a good investment. Meaning: get lots of it while your husband pays for it!!! I have learned that gold jewelry does not pay the bills. My 5000 € engagement ring is worth about 600 €. The total worth of my jewelry was well over 25.000€, which could have been a nice down payment on a house (message to my darling daughter and all young women: invest in your future, not in appearances). Thankfully, the gold price is high right now. So I am recuperating some money, to travel of course. I am not a better person because I wear expensive jewelry. It does not make my life in any way better.

Fine antiques, from furniture to silverware. I used to visit all the brocante and antique fairs. And whatever my eye fancied, I would buy. I have moved 7 times since I left France, and 7 times about 60 to 70 m3 of stuff has been moved. Some stuff has been sitting in a box ever since 10 years. Other stuff got delegated to the cellar some years ago. Or just sits in a drawer/cupboard never to be taken out. Why do I have all this? No clue. Because of course, it is beautiful.


When I was in the South African Bushveld, I saw a tree that got hit by lightning and survived and thrived with lots of new branches and green leaves. Nature is strong and so are we. Look at the scar on that tree, forever there, but the green leaves too. The sign of life, new beginnings.

I can say that this holiday was a time of metamorphosis for me. A step back and a time of re evaluating my goals. I returned home a New Me. Trying to free myself of all expectations. Release any tenuous grip I might have (and I surely had!) and roll with it. I am quite content with myself. I don’t have anything to prove to myself or others. I am grateful for my good friends, and all the people that have given added value to my life. So I choose happiness. My life is my story that I can edit and revise any time. To the people who don’t like my story: don’t read it! And to the people who’d like to join me for a chapter or more: be welcome!

The return after my South African holiday was very hard. Because it hit me how unhappy I really am here (Belgium). Belgium’s added value to my life was a few precious friends, most of them having moved far away. But I’ve mourned the life that was not what I expected it to be. The demons I kept on discovering on my path, and have chased off it.  It is time for something new. So I’m off the the scrap gold buyer and sell the last of my gold jewelry. All that I have left now is the bling bling diamonds and rubies (set stones have no resale value), which actually have the most sentimental value. Like the set of lace gold and crystal earrings and hanger from my great-grandmother. It feels akward to sell the necklace I have worn daily for the past 12 years (it was a mother’s day present to myself), but this is a real letting go of a materialistic era. The necklace does not define me. It does not define my being a mother. And it will pay for a great holiday with my two teens to Egypt. A place of which I have wonderful memories dating back to the spring of 1988. This is added value to my life.

 “To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.” Akhenaton quotes (King of Egypt, 14th century BC)









About Claire

As an eternal traveler and restless soul, I am always searching for ways to design my life. I have lived and worked in 7 different countries, and traveled to many more. Discovering new places, new people is what I love. My favourite thing is checking out local supermarkets for food products, have a taste of the local cuisine, and look at the arts & crafts shops. Of course a bit of sightseeing (historical, cultural, pure design, artistic,...) is a must too. Inspired to work with semi-precious metals, wood and other recycled materials, I have turned my creative energies towards craft based design, setting up a home and workshop in the countryside. Appropriately, My name means Hope. "Hope is the dream of a soul awake" is the personal statement. With Eternal Traveler - Design your life! I aspire to create a creative environment for functional art and life design. And with this reach out to like minded people.
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2 Responses to What about added value?

  1. Susievintage says:

    A beautiful post – very inspiring. In fact, I am working in Jersey this week and was planning to go shopping tomorrow, but after reading your post have decided to have a walk along the seafront instead – experience rather than possessions! Have a marvellous time in Egypt.
    Love from Sue x

    • Claire Claire says:

      Thanks Sue. This after I spent an afternoon shopping with my teenage daughter, I am blushing… But I didn’t buy anything for myself! I hope you’ll have great weather for your walk tomorrow!

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