a whole six months in Norway

a whole six months in Norway [ENG only]

While my time at the Lyngen Fjord comes to an end and I am enjoying the last days, drink my coffee with fjord view, walk along the beach and embrace the wonderful scenery, I would like to share a moment with you I had a few weeks ago. In between “I am looking forward to go home” and “I don’t wanna leave, because I have no idea how ‘home’ will be like when I am back” I realized a feeling I had developed over the last half a year. The feeling of utterly and complete content.

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With 23 I thought I had everything. I thought I had figured it out. I had just finished my undergrad studies, moved together with my (now ex) boyfriend into an amazing apartment in the city I thought I wanna settle. I just came back from an amazing solo backpacking trip, started my master’s studies, had a job. Happy life, I thought. However, one fact I had ignored completely: I was simply not happy with myself and kept myself busy, so I had no time to think about it.

Now, with 25 (almost 26) and years of troubles, break ups and numbers of happy ever after, emotional roller coaster, travels and living, studying and working abroad, I have no boyfriend, I am about to finish my job in Norway, will move to my mum’s house, I am not a student anymore and I am clearly riding the adventure train: I have no idea where to or what next. I have ideas, dreams and a vacation planned. But that’s very much it. My entire life I had a plan for literally everything, I knew exactly what I wanted, my next steps were precisely planned out and I worked hard to make sure I will succeed, put my plans into action, fulfill my dreams.

Coming to Norway did not change my dreams, what I want in life or who I am. But what changed is the constant need of knowing what is around the corner. And I am at peace with it. It’s ok, because I know what I am capable of doing, I know my abilities and my possibilities. But most importantly, I learned how to love myself. And I think this I the key to success. Trust your gut feeling, be good to yourself, take your time, don’t rush and stress, and don’t let anyone tell you that you are not good enough or let them treat to bad.

My addiction to have a plan for everything brought me here. The universe is funny, twists and turns in your life and somehow you manage to came back on track. There were times when I honestly thought life was conspiring against me. But obviously it was all part of a hard learning process. Learning to let go, to trust myself, to just love myself.

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I know this is not about age, however, it is about time, time you need to realize what makes you happy. Time you need for yourself to figure out who you are with a lot of ups and downs on your way. Some people have figured it out with 19, others with 45 and others will probably never figure it out. Although I am convinced that you never fully grasp your inner self, there is a high chance that you can come pretty close when you take enough time to listen to yourself, experience your strengths and weaknesses and when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. It was no surprise that my time in Norway would be a huge life changer. However, I never thought I could slow down. I never thought I could just enjoy to “be” and not to worry about tomorrow. I will not stop dedicating my time to the things I love, being passionate and love with all my heart. I will not stop being “me”. To my surprise, I have developed a routine (maybe the universe kind of forced me to, who knows) that allows me to just spend time with myself. Beginning of this year I set my years goals, some of which require more effort than others. I don’t stress myself in achieving those goals, I just try to constantly work on myself to achieve them one day within this year.

However, one of my goals was to overcome the fear of having my head up side down. I know this sound silly to some, but there are very little things in life which make me feel so very much uncomfortable than having my head down. So, I sat myself the goal of being able to make a headstand by the end of the season in Norway. Visualizing this goal helped me to be motivated to practice yoga every day, to get more flexible and to develop the physical and mental strength to feel comfortable to hold a headstand for at least a few seconds. And here I am at the end of the season with my head upside down. As yes, I know, it’s not perfect (yet), I am still working on it and in the mean time I am perfectly happy with the perfect inperfection.

Half a year in Norway. Wow. I am looking back to a time of ups and downs, happiness and joy, sadness and grief. I am looking back to a time of hard work, success, failure and personal growth. A time of extensive time for myself and my thoughts. A time which again proved that you should never underestimate the power of words and positive thinking, a time which again showed me that giving up is not an option. Bust most of all, I look back to countless moments which helped me to realize how blessed I am to be where I am and for who I am. Even though I experienced stormy and emotional days (and the drawback of the tourism industry), I managed to stay positive and to fulfill my personal goals. And I think this is more than I can could have asked for.

There will be stressful times again. There will be times, when I will question everything. But now I know it is completely ok. Cause it will pass. Just don’t question yourself, your abilities, your strength…and most importantly: don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot fulfill your dreams, that you are not able to do certain things and at last, that you are not good enough. Cause you can and you are!

And in case you might wonder, how I managed to find my ground, developed a self-content and be happy with who I am and what I do, here are some of the things I did, tried to incorporate in my daily life. It can be seen as food for thought in case you need inspiration, if you have lost your way and you wanna come back on track or maybe you are just curios of how I managed to survive the ups and downs in the past. It did not happen over night and I took baby steps and I am still trying to be a better version of myself every single day. Cause all you need to know is that it is not about being the best, it is about being a better version of yourself every day.

  • I quit the pill. Well yes, that might sound a bit odd but I can tell you, it did not take long after I had quit the pill until I developed a complete new feeling for my body. After 8 (!) years of hormone therapy, I finally decided that I need a change, and it was the best decision ever. I never had thought that hormones can have such a big impact on the perception of myself and my body, but bloody hell…in addition I put a lot of effort into gaining knowledge about the female body, menstruation cycle, symptoms, etc. I know, it is actually a shame that this only happened by the age of 24, but better late then never right!? Since then I know (and I can feel) my body, I know what I need at which time, I know why I am over emotional…it all makes sense to me. It is incredible how hormones can control your body and all of a sudden you see and feel the difference. I feel more like a woman since I quit and this feeling I struggle with to describe.
  • I developed a (different) morning routine. I have always been a morning person and I could not start the day without having coffee and breakfast. However, I started putting even more focus on my morning routine and started to dedicate even more time to this time of the day. I love coffee. You should know that by now. Since I bought myself a little hand-grinder and can call myself a proud owner of the aero press, it takes a while until I can enjoy my morning coffee. But that is ok. I love it. I love the smell of the coffee beans, the sound of the grinder, the movement, the process, its more like a morning ceremony for me…and since I spend the time with something I am really passionate about, I have something to look forward to every morning. In addition, I started to practice yoga every day. My motive at first was not to get more flexible, to do some kind of sports in the morning…no, I simply wanted to be able to make a headstand (more about this in the next point). However, since I do yoga every single day for like 20 minutes, in combination with my morning coffee I feel so relaxed and strong to start into the day.
  • I tried to overcome fear. This point is very much linked with the next one, however, it deserves to be explained on its own. Everyone of us has fears. Some might be more subconscious, others are more obvious. In my case, I have panic fear of snakes and spiders. No, I do not plan (not yet) to overcome this fear. Baby steps..remember! Another fear I have is having my head upside down. Since this is a very odd one and does not involve any gross, slimy and poisonous animals, I set myself the goal to overcome this fear. I told myself that by the end of the season in Norway I want to be comfortable with the feeling of having my head upside down. And it feels good, for years I told myself that I can’t do it. That I don’t like it. Put way too much energy into something little, a fear for no reason. And maybe I only told myself that I am scared, cause we all know, it all happens in your head, right?
  • I set myself personal goals. Right after my graduation from university I was looking for new personal goals. My mum passed onto me the craving of life-long learning and constant personal growth. Regardless whether it is an educational goal or physical one, my mum was the perfect role model when it came to set personal goals and to achieve them. Since my next educational goal is in the far future (and who knows if I ever really want to do my PHD), I was looking for more physical goals. To run a half marathon has always been on my list, however, due to a quite intense lifestyle and way too much work, I never found the time and energy to train. This changed completely with Norway and although my work schedule was quite intense, I had enough time which I gladly filled with physical exercise.  I did not run the 21 km yet, but I will. This summer.
  • I created a list of good read. As a student I had hard times to motivate myself to read books which were not related to university. In my free time I just wanted to do something else than reading. Yet, once in a while I found myself craving for books, a good read, for soul food, inspiring and motivating words and stories. Most of the following books I have read already twice, I carry them with me on my e-book reader in case I want to read them again and again. I have recommended them to friends and some of them I gave as a present to special people. It is a collection of books about life, love, relationships, business, management, psychology, travel… but most of all inspiring (some of them real) life stories from strong and charismatic people who make you laugh, cry and think. *The life changing magic of not giving a fuck; *Big five for life; *Das Café am Rande der Welt; *The opposite of loneliness; *The dance of the lion and the unicorn; *Komm ich erzähl dir eine Geschichte; *Frühstück mit Elefanten; *Mut für zwei.
  • I found my way back to the roots. Ok, this might be a bit odd again, but for me it was a big step towards feeling more “me” again. With 15 I started to color my hair and ever since my hair did not really recover from the chemicals. I went from natural blond to red, brown, black, back to red, back to blond…having healthy and natural hair again took me almost 10 years and now finally, I am almost back to the roots. And I love it! In addition, I started paying more attention to natural skincare, use less make up, healthier diet, less alcohol, more sleep…all added up to a much better overall feeling.
  • I crave for good vibes only (most of the time). Did I mention: Think pink?! I am not saying: fake a smile or fake happiness if you don’t feel like it. But to be honest, regardless of how bad your day or a week might be, if you look around life is pretty amazing! I am not a 24/7 sunshine and I have days when I simply don’t feel like spreading good vibes. Nevertheless, I started to incorporate the process of positive thoughts in my daily routine. After reading this article: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/08/this-counterintuitive-practice-helps-truly-successful-people-get-ahead-909c142e-9656-4e30-a7cc-9695341331aa/ I started to write down every day at least one thing I am thankful for. So regardless of how messy the day is going to be or how shitty the night before was, I think about something positive, something I am truly thankful for. My diary is not only a book with appointments anymore, my diary transformed into a book filled with good thoughts which remind me every day that life is pretty good.
  • I do (strange, stupid, odd, unfamiliar, funny….) things I always wanted to do. Even though this is something I have done pretty much my entire life and practiced excessive over the last 10 years, I can only say: Just do it! Whatever it is what you want to do. Just do it. The only person holding you back is you. If it requires money, make sure and work hard to save it. The worst thing is the thought of “What if” or “What could have been”. If you want to date that guy, do it. If you want to do the job, do it. If you want to learn something new, do it. Never settle less for what you deserve, don’t make yourself small, reach for the stars, dream big. And in my case, I can’t wait to do my ceramic workshop in Innsbruck, work as volunteer in a hostel via Workaway, buy a coffee machine to practice and extend my barista skills, go on surf holiday to Portugal…the list goes on…
  • I talk about it (or write about it). I have learned over the years that one of the worst thing you can do during the process of self-development and self-discovery that you don’t share your thoughts, feelings, opinions and experiences. And sometimes you might just talk with a total stranger about it. Not because family or friends are incompetent, but simply because they are biased. They think they know you. And to a small extent this is true. However, how can someone else know you if you don’t know yourself. Well, sometimes it helps to talk about your issues with a complete stranger. And in addition, you can try to write it down. Your thoughts. Or write a song. Whatever helps you to get your chaos out of your head. Find a valve and make it a habit.
  • And accept that there are other days as well – you don’t have to be happy all the time. And last but not least, just go with the flow. Play it by ear, try to be happy most of the time but give yourself a break. If you don’t feel like it, that is totally ok. Accept it and don’t overthink why you have a bad day or why you are in a bad mood. If there is a reason for it, of course, think about it, analyses it. Learn from it. But don’t let one bad day affect your whole week, or a bad week affect the whole month. There will be brighter days again, you just have to trust yourself and the universe.

And here we go [insert drum roll] – my perfect imperfect heastand…it was a long process, but it was worth it.


 

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