A week after my birthday, I think the timing is apt to sit down and collect my thoughts at the start of the wonderful birthday season.
What a crazy journey this has been. If you had spoken with me in December 2018, my state of mind would have been a completely different one compared to now. I was this close to burn out at work; was highly frustrated with petty politics with management and dealing with lazy colleagues; survived a call to confirm my fight for a promotion that borderlined emotional abuse (and it was also the most unhappy, even while deserved, promotion I had ever received in my life); trying to give my best to my clients and team; working almost every weekend (until the staff at the cafe recognized me); and I was constantly tired.
I can only think it’s a miracle that everything started to fall into place from the last week of December onwards. I took a last minute unplanned trip to Bangkok with no expectations other than to hang out with my friends and to have pasta and red wine. And I met Michael and the rest is history. He’s been just the most wonderful partner I could ever ask for, and I’m glad we’re on this crazy journey together, where we make our own rules, expand our worlds (living together apart <3), love and honor (and annoy) each other while we’re at it. 🙂
The first week in January 2019 back at work, I then received a phone call that I knew would change my life – and it did. All my life I’ve wanted to live and work in Europe, but I needed an appealing opportunity that could both grant me the experience while helping me grow in my career, and that offer came via a Danish client that I had worked on.
My story and personal experience really gave me a huge sense of vindication – no matter how much people doubt you or choose to gossip behind your back, if you stay true to your beliefs and commitment to excellence, the right answer and the best outcome will come to you.
Thus began a crazy, intense, whirlwind first six months of 2019 – basking in the joys of a new and fulfilling relationship and navigating the accompanying challenges that come with a long distance relationship, moving to a new apartment, trips to Bali, Bangkok, Australia, big romantic getaway to Europe (driving around with an open-top Mercedes through Switzerland, France and Germany with Michael was really beautiful), quitting my job, preparing to handover, moving stuff back to my parents’ place, dealing with pre-departure anxiety attacks and finally leaving for Copenhagen on 30 May.
First day at work was just surreal, in a beautiful award-winning building and meeting new colleagues, and the CEO gave me a big hug. Really nice vibes all around, and there was a reception with champagne and snacks prepared by a bar at 3pm celebrating the 10th year work anniversary of a colleague from digital sales Nordic region. The canteen has a t-rex replica in the middle (which Michael loves) and serves breakfast and lunch every day. It’s not a dream now to be home around 6pm and to be able to cook myself a simple dinner. I am really starting to enjoy cooking.
My previous life – the long days that drifted into long nights, which often then descended into anxiety attacks, depressive / angry episodes and utterly pointless chaos because of petty and poisonous politics – seems so far away now. I never thought it was humanly possible to leave work at 5pm, come home and relax, cook a meal, and do my own things and not have to worry about a thousand things. When I used to see people do that, I always thought, man don’t they have work to do. But no, of course there is much more outside of work but I had been living in the extreme end of The Upside Down. It feels like the first day of my life.
I sometimes still think this is a dream but like Alan Watts says, “And finally, you would dream where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.”
This birthday, I’m thankful for the opportunity to live and breathe my dream of living and working in Europe; I’m thankful that the wonderful city of Copenhagen has chosen me to be in its warm (ok 13° is hardly warm) embrace; I’m thankful for having the most wonderful and loving Schatzi in Michael; I’m thankful for supportive family and caring friends; I’m thankful for the chance to continue to learn and evolve at work and in life; I’m thankful for my cosy apartment in a hippie neighborhood; I’m thankful for the chance to discover life outside of work; I’m thankful for Brooklyn 99 and Stranger Things; I’m thankful for beautiful lakes and sunsets from my balcony, and even for this cold and rainy day. It’s quiet days (July is summer holidays for Danes) but my heart is full and I’m very happy. 🥰
I will try to take more time to learn, to reflect, and to write more. This is the promise I’ll make to myself.