Hello from the other side of the world!
I am currently residing in summery Melbourne, Australia until going back home to wintery Germany in a few days. Family and friends send us pictures of snow while we very much still nurse our 50 shades of sunburn. If I could, I would stay for a little longer!
I usually never log in to my blog when I am on vacation but this year I think I need to write this post even though I am on a break. Because what’s better than throwing out a lengthy end of the year post to get some much-needed closure?
I was just reading my review post of 2016 and I can still very much feel all the feelings I had when writing this post. I was hopeful for 2017 becoming a great year at that time. If you follow here along you will know that 2017 has been much harder than I had ever imagined. But despite all the struggles, it had been a great year anyway!
Maybe you should get yourself a cup of coffee now because it might be a read. Just saying…
The 2017 antics
I have learned so much about myself, my limits and boundaries, my beliefs, wants and needs in the past 12 months that this alone could fill a good handful of posts. If the muse strikes, I might actually write a bit about it if I feel it could contain some insights that might be helpful for someone else but me alone.
Generally speaking, I think I have to divide the year into pre and post handing in the thesis. This was not only a dividing line with regards to my stress levels and amount of spare time but I honestly feel like a different person ever since. I feel like my normal self again and judging from the bad jokes I make in my Instagram captions I also kinda got my humour back. Albeit it is still a crappy one. Some things don’t change apparently!
In 2016 I said that 2017 would be a year of endings, challenges, and opportunities to explore. I was right about everything yet first and foremost I would say it was the year of frustrations. Frustrations and wine!
I was frustrated about a lot of things but in the end, and with a little distance I have to say that it all came down to being frustrated with myself. Frustrated for not being diligent and hard-working enough, frustrated for not being smart enough, frustrated for not making enough progress, frustrated for the feeling of having no control about the situation, frustrated for being constantly frustrated with myself… the list goes on. In hindsight, I should have given myself a break and should have been less harsh on myself. But you know, hindsight is easier than foresight.
Most of the frustration is gone now. My contract is about to end and when I come back home I have no job, no office, no duty to go back to. I still need to defend my thesis in late February but to be honest after writing that damn thing I feel this is going to be a piece of cake. I might stutter my way through casual conversation but in a professional or scientific context, I am elaborate as fuck!
The only teeny tiny thing I am a little bit frustrated with is the fact, that despite really working on it, I still have absolutely no clue what I want to do with my life. Through counselling, I have a really good idea of what I am good at and what I need. But frankly speaking, most of it is a tad contradicting and the few areas that would be fitting I just can’t myself see working in. I just have no idea what I really want. But I’ll figure that out eventually. Hopefully.
But despite all I have struggled with I cannot help but feel grateful for all the opportunities to explore this year. While I would have wished to have more time and brain space to develop my photography a little further I think I have spent my free time wisely. Because I have never travelled that much in one year in my life before.
Then I spent a week in Italy with my in-law family in summer. The trip included a lot of wine and good food, a day trip to Venice and some quality time with the family. It also contained a very public emotional breakdown of epic proportions but I am doing my best to suppress the memory of that one.
And currently, I am on a 6 week trip to Australia. It’s my first time here and I can wholeheartedly say that I love everything about it so far!
First, the country is great and I am so in love with going out for brunch that I will thoroughly miss that when I am back home. But I also think that another huge factor in me enjoying everything so much is that I am just really relaxed and happy. Like I haven’t been in forever. I can’t even recall the last time I have been a moody cow! I think to sustain that kind of happy freedom I should definitely find someone who pays me a living for hanging out at markets and drinking Sangria!
One can dream!
The 2018 forecast…
… regarding work
But jokes aside the really daunting question I have to answer myself ASAP is what the fuck I am going to do with my life. But I feel like this is something I am not going to waste too many thoughts on while I am still on vacation. I know for sure that I am not going to pursue a career in academia. Neither will I go for a role in corporate Germany. Both career paths very much conflict with my value system and my idea of a life worth living. And I am not willing to make sacrifices in either of those areas.
For the moment I can live very well with the uncertainty. In fact, I almost enjoy the freedom of not having plans that require any immediate action. I know this will change in a heartbeat when I am back home. Unfortunately, I get bored way too easily! I still have two more sessions with my counsellor coming up. Fingers, toes and whatever you can cross for me that this will give me an idea of something I can get excited about. Right now I crave excitement more than anything else!
… regarding personal goals
But obviously finding a new job is not going to happen overnight and I expect to have a good amount of spare time while I am on the job hunt. I have vowed to myself to seize the luxury of the situation and invest my time in doing something just for fun! First and foremost I want to start working out and cooking again. As my excitement for food kinda has come back full force on that trip I actually cannot wait to hit up my kitchen again.
This means also that I am hoping to share more recipes next year. I actually have a bunch of pretty good ones I have never come around sharing and as I always had a lot of fun doing so I hope to get them out more regularly again. But who knows, we’ll see…
The next thing I really want to work on is photography and pretty much everything that has to do with it. It is something that can suck me in for hours without me even noticing. And I can get VERY determined to figure out how to solve a certain problem when there is something I do not understand.
Just last week I spent 5 hours (yes, you’re allowed to laugh at me) to figure out how to make a gif in photoshop. Photography related problems just have a certain pull on me and I cannot let go until I have solved it. By the way here’s the result.
One of the things that I have figured out about me in career counselling is that I have a very obsessive nature when it comes to something I am interested in but haven’t mastered yet. The other thing I learned was that I am actually never satisfied with what I can do but always see what I can’t instead. This very much applies to photography above all other things I spent my time with.
So the grand goal for next year (and I bet many to come) is to develop my food photography and editing skills. Photoshop is also on my list but my hopes of conquering this are not particularly high.
High five to myself for choosing a hobby where the learning never ends. This is apparently also something that is very important to me, quoting one of my career aptitude tests.
… regarding travelling
I honestly don’t know. Obviously, I have every intention to travel as much as possible but money and my uncertain job situation, unfortunately, have a saying in this. So as well as everything else this is a big question mark. But the list of places I want to travel is long and ever growing and I am hopeful to check out the one or other new place over the course of the next 12 months.
Whatever happens, I have a good feeling for 2018!
Happy New Year folks. Let’s make it a good one!