.Who to Trust.

There are so many things I wanted to share recently but I could not find the time to sit down and write it all down. Tonight I simply type along and reflect because there has been a lot that I have overcome, moved and worked through, dealt with or healed from.  Throughout it all, I have learned so much. I have become so much stronger,  wiser and more confident in the choices that I have made and am about to make in knowing that every time I listen to my gut or I do what feels right for me (and my son) I never regretted it.

This blog post is not supposed to be about me since I do not want to elaborate on all the things I dealt with here. This post is supposed to be a message that I would like to throw out there and maybe someone can relate or maybe even be inspired.

I found myself in a position of being in a very unhappy place. I like to think of myself as someone who is very happy; someone who tries to look at the positive and good in things (most of the time) and learn from everything that I go through. I was in a place that was not right for me. I was stuck, lost and I honestly did not know what to do. It took a lot of time, courage and strength to make the decisions I made and to do what is right for me and my son while looking forward and moving on. All that aside though, regardless of what I went through and the situation I was in or all the details that surrounded it: what I truly learned is just how important it is to always listen to my gut. To listen to the part of me that knows what is right. Trust me on that one!

There are probably times when your gut tells you what is right but it just seems impossible to take the jump or the leap or do it since there are so many hurdles. But doing it anyway while pushing through the fear is what I aim for. Even though some things may be so out of this world and difficult and I feel like how am I going to get past this. Or how am I going to overcome this, feel better or move on, there is nothing more rewarding than looking back thinking to myself, “Oh damn, now I am so much happier as a result!”

I do what is right for me (and my son) and I think that in this life doing just that and being completely honest and true to myself opens different doors in so ways. It makes sense because I know from my personal experience that whenever I have been in a situation and it does not feel right, things don’t usually move and flow as effortlessly and smoothly. Almost like every step I take just doesn’t feel right, is more difficult or I feel like I am forcing it.

But whenever I take a path and it feels good and something really makes me happy, things flow. Things feel easy and effortless. I don’t mean to make one decision and your life will be easy and perfect. I mean making little steps in the direction that feels good and right made me happier, not stressed and more content. I am not trying to plague myself with the coulda-woulda-shouldas of life. Of course, I catch myself wishing I made better decisions and choices in certain situations and I wish I could take back things I have done or said to people but regret is a pointless practice. What’s done is done.

I never want anybody to perceive me as perfect or think that I have figured life out.  I am far away from it. I want to live the greatest life I can live. I want to be as healthy as I can be. Listening to my gut is a priority in my life now and I learned the hard way that numbing or tuning this little voice out does not help.

When I finally started to say “no” to things or when I passed off opportunities that don’t serve or make sense to me I sometimes scared myself. Saying “enough of this” or “no” sometimes means getting kicked out of the safety bubble that feels comfortable and somewhat easy. But life is not easy. Taking this step is often not even as scary as we think it is.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is scary. But when it is all set and done we can look back and say, “it is okay”. It is always okay in the end. This too shall pass. Things always work out in the end. We all have been in a place where we stand at a fork of the road and it is either this way or that way. What do I choose? If you know it is right for you, you know it is the right thing to do. And wonderful things will happen as a result. Whatever that is for you. So I trust my gut since there is nobody else out there more qualified to deal with me than myself.

.With My Son, Immunization and Suspension.

The other day I received a phone call from my son’s school. It was 9.30am; I had just dropped him off and got myself ready to attend class. I missed the phone call actually but while listening to the voicemail I received an email as well: ” Call school immediately” and a phone extension. So I called to find out that my son had been suspended from school since his immunization record is not up to date according to Health Canada who report to the schools on a daily basis apparently.

So, my son has all the vaccinations he needs; he even has more (yellow fever and whatnot and everything else triple). His vaccination record has been submitted to Health Canada and his school when I signed him up initially in February 2017 with dates and everything that was necessary included. I have not received a notification recently to contact Health Canada or update any vaccination records which was weird. After I hung up the phone with Joel’s school I tried to contact Health Canada to explain that he has all his vaccinations and that this must be a mistake since he has his International vaccination booklet up to date. When I initially called, I was caller number 29 placed on hold but I knew I had to “pick up my son immediately”. I decided to pick him up, bring all the sufficient paperwork, talk to the school’s principal and get everything sorted out.

This all did not work out either. I had been told, “Sorry, Mam, there is nothing we can do if Health Canada does not send the report saying that your son has all the immunizations” even though I showed her the  International Vaccination Booklet.

What to do at this point? It was 10 am and my class has started. Damn! I decided to calm down and have a cup of “soy latte” (Ryan) first. Joel tagged along and waited patiently for his cake pop and apple juice asking me, “Mommy, what did I do wrong so you had to pick me up?” Me: “Nothing darling, just eat your cake pop and chill.”

I wiped his mouth that was covered in chocolate, finished my soy latte and we drove to Health Canada to “sort things out”. I paid $4 (for ONE hour!) for parking on a public street in front of the Federal Health Canada building which added to my overall discomfort. I walked up to the building to find the door locked but there was a phone attached next to the entrance. I picked it up and dialed the number on the display to find out that the security guard did not know who to connect me with but “he can take down my name and number and someone will get back to you for sure in a couple of days”. This was the point when I somewhat lost it a tiny bit. I walked down the stairs and screamed while some guy walking by and told me, “Yeah, this is what the system does to you. I have been there, Miss.” At least he did not call me Mam which I hate.

Petit Joel and I drove to my school and he sat nicely and quietly next to me staring at his iPad while I learned about muscles, bones, and tissues. Unfortunately,  not those I desperately needed to blow my nose and wipe away the tears while realizing how little a human being counts. I had been reminded again that common sense is not that common after all and the human factor won’t be taken into consideration most of the time when I told the principal at Joel’s school that I cannot take 5-10 business days off to keep my son out of school and not be able to go to work. She responded: “I am sorry, Mrs. Henry, there is nothing I can do!” (Why not Miss?)  Again, the craziest part is, that I even showed her his immunization booklet with all his immunizations up to date.

The school was closed today (Friday) and will be closed on Monday (Family Day, duh!) as well. I hope I can sort this all out by Monday so he can attend school again on Tuesday. If not, he has to come to school with me which is sort of annoying but manageable since my professors/doctors allow him to be there if he is quiet.

Oh, this little boy I love him so much. Be still my heart. To see him go off to school every morning, watching him go away and play with his friends is bittersweet and awesome at the same time. I usually turn around to look for him one more time after I dropped him off to see what he is up to. Other kids will be sweet, rough, teasing, hurt feelings and are nice. All these emotions. My son is going through a lot every day and he is usually exhausted when I pick him up in the afternoon but I always make sure that he knows that whenever he walks in the door every day, that home is the most comforting place for him to be. And I try to keep him out of and away from these useless stressors like vaccination troubles. Mindfulness allows me to bottle up these special moments and making its magic last longer after the moment has ended but by acknowledging how I feel in the moment. #HealthCanada

.Canadian Winter – The Naked Truth.

I am supposed to study lecture One of my Anatomy and Physiology course for tomorrow but I got distracted by the huge amount of snow I saw looking through my window. And it keeps on snowing. Winter in Canada is no joke. This is my second almost fully experienced winter here in Ottawa; almost because I spent three weeks last year of December/January in Germany. It is not even the snow, ice and insane cold (- 38 Celsius for now) that is distracting. It is more the duration or length of it all. Winter literally starts here by the end of October. It gets cold and uncomfortable first and then the snow comes. And it lasts until March/beginning of April but there was still some snow early in May.  This snow never melts. It stays and more gets added. If it melts in May, everything is flooded and then it snows again shortly after or freezes over.

I love sunshine and warmth. Sun makes me happy and I can almost literally feel how my Vitamin D tank gets filled up while laying in the sun. For some reason, the same pattern appears every year. I am at the playground with my son by the end of September and we are playing. The sun is shining, we are laying in the grass still, I look up and see some red and brown leaves. Suddenly something inside of me turns off and reminds me of who I am, where I am and that I live and exist. The leaves remind me who I am. Is this weird? Colder months are approaching and it is visible now. Yet, Australia is still an option. 😉

Now, for me, winter means staying inside or more being trapped inside and not being able to move around freely. I am not a winter-sport person. I like ice-skating but skiing or snowboarding: no thank you. The thought of being outside in the cold just does not make me happy. Don’t get me wrong,  I do have all the Canadian winter survival outfit. From Ski-mask to goggles to winter pants to put on thousands of layers and of course my Canada Goose Jacket my mom bought for me. It all still sucks and is cold after a while. I spent countless hours outside with other moms and their kids building forts, igloos, and slides but c’mon… all we really wanted to do was to go inside and warm up ( and drink wine or eat chocolate and smoke). But, according to the universe, things like this aren’t up for debate once you have a kid, eh.

Another thing that bothers me about winter is that I feel constantly thirsty and dry. My skin feels itchy and my hair feels frizz or dull. Everything takes forever and it feels like doing anything spontaneously needs a lot of planning. Just getting my kid ready in the morning: wow. To put on his snow-suit takes up ten minutes easily. Getting this kid ready: first major task in the morning.

A friend told me the other day that she loves winter because she feels that there is always a certain kind of safety in the cold. Something that makes you stay indoors and keep to yourself and distracts from this feeling that you need to party. I just looked at her blankly because what does “need to party” feel like? I need a little reminder since I forgot after I had my son. Going out always means to call a babysitter/desperate teen from the neighborhood in need of money. The little things.  But hey, it is so easy to raise a kid some say. Anybody can do it. This is all so much easier than to work in Somalia for example I reckon. It is the daily stuff of being a parent that catches up slowly. Of being a parent. Of being present. Of being off the phone.

Staying in brings comfort yet doing so in the summer incites guilt: one has to go outside and play. Especially here in Canada. Kind of: When the sun is out we are outside because winter is just around the corner. At this point I am just tired of layers of clothing and that the cold seems to separate me from everything. But one good thing about this winter is that I was able to work on my thesis and was somewhat more productive since I  could not do anything else really but work on this project and type along. My thesis analyzed genuine suicide notes and I read a lot of research that suggested that suicide rates increased in the winter months here in Canada since people are generally more depressed; especially up North of Canda where the winter is even worse. The seasonal changes here in Canada are another topic really. There are several emotions that I dealt with last winter. To name a few, there were sadness, laziness, malaise and even loneliness. I do not think that this will be the case or an issue this year since I have support that I have not had before. The help of Intellilink and one special person who gets me Premium Gold if I really want to install it even with red lights blinking and water pouring through the sprinklers and that students do not get grades.

There was a tiny sunset earlier today when the sky just opened up quickly for five minutes or six and it meant my happiness faucet just kept pouring joy realizing how amazing spring and summer will be.

.Permanently Insane.

“Above the mountaintops, all is still. Among the treetops you can feel barely a breath:  birds in the forest, stripped of song. Just wait: before long you, too, shall rest” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

After a bunch of stressful weeks, I finally found the time to sit down and write. Updating and reflecting on my last post, I finally officially graduated with a Masters in Linguistics and Discourse Studies from Carleton University and enrolled one week after submitting my research essay at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition to become a Holistic Nutritionist. Crazy? Maybe. Interesting, hellz yes! I dedicated this diploma to myself, to learn more about my body, nutrition, anatomy and so much more and actually see the bigger picture behind it all since this is my body, my life, and my health. Was it scary to enroll in a Biochemistry class for a whole semester? Of course. Since maths, statistics, calculations, and whatnot are not my thing I thought I will struggle a lot but I realized again, that I can do whatever I put my mind to and what I want to accomplish.

We all have our stresses: fear, anxiety, discomfort and so much more. I put my body through a lot of stress in the last couple of months and regret it since I really do love myself. Messing with my health, mood, motivation, and productivity was not a smart thing to do but for some strange reason, I accomplished everything I wanted to nonethesless. This makes me realize again how amazing the human body is, what we can take and keep moving forward even though we might go through a hard time. I also understood that most of the “problems” I thought I had are just simple dilemmas that caused anxiety and many sleepless nights. I realized that I cannot change the circumstances but I can always change my mindset. Worrying about things I cannot change or do anything about is useless. Some situations are uncomfortable but that’s where growth comes in.

I thought I loved my comfort zone and all the things I took for granted. Or assumptions of certain scenarios that I took for granted and thought they may be guaranteed to work out to be good and will then be polished by myself to perfection. Well, life doesn’t work like that. Life threw curveballs at me once again.

So whatever I have been through for the last couple of months, I learned and grew from it. Right now, I am working on self-improvement, career trajectories and possibilities to stay and work here in Canada since I do like this country for many reasons. I resigned from my previous job and it is all about taking risks at this point; however, I love what I am doing and I am truly passionate about it for the first time in my life. Of course, I know that it is all terrifying and taking risks like this may not result in what I hope for but this uncertainty is part of the bigger picture and makes life interesting in the long run.

These days, my priorities are not revealed too much in words (even though I missed writing on my blog immensely). They shown my actions and those actions then again challanged by my busy schedule. I learned that fear held me back from a bunch of things I really wanted to do for a long time and then I realized that this particular fear is not going anywhere but that I must create the life I wish to create even though it won’t be easy. Life is too short to be in any situation I do not want to be in and it seems to be even shorter when I spend it with people I do not want to be around with.

There are always blank pages to write a new chapter (“Faster than the speed of love”). Those last couple of months taught me that the most important person in need of/to love is myself. The thoughts I previously had, “Maybe I am not good enough, maybe I have to give 200%, maybe I have to be different or maybe, maybe, maybe…” did not get me anywhere but to the conclusion that I may have loved the wrong person. Love (and yes, I tried to erase it from my vocabulary), is something I share because I have it and want to share it; not something I give desperately because someone needs it. The first person on the list is ME and nobody else and I am recapturing my self-dignity and worth by putting myself in the situation I deserve to be in.

We are taught through open source media that falling in love is everything. This is the ultimate goal. There are chemicals in our brain that show that love acts literally like a drug. We meet someone new, become hooked and try to dedicate our lives to that person in the desperate hope of getting another dose of this addictive love drug. Unless we break the habit. The problem here is that I forgot throughout it all that people you truly loved can let you down hard. They can love someone else in a heartbeat for example. I may have made some persons top priority in my life to some extent and in the meantime, I am already all low on their lists. Honestly, this is the ugly side of love I do not want to explore any further.

Is there a solution to this never-ending problem? How about if I find a person who loves me unconditionally ( I also tried to erase this word from my vocabulary) and will never let me down. This person I have to love before I can love anybody else and this person is me. I am more than good enough. I am thinking here that I cannot accept true love (if this even exists) if I don’t love myself first. How can I give my heart to someone else if I don’t love my own heart in the first place?  I just accept all the flaws that make me myself because at the end of the day, when I strip everything away I only have one thing left: myself!

Reflecting on Goethe and his poem:

Getting to know myself better I have to say that early this morning when the cold hit me hard upon opening the door I had a thought: I am not a morning person at all even though I am trying to get my morning run in early.  Seeing all the birds outside at the neighbor’s bird feeder made me realize that birds are the worst. What’s with their exaggerated historical appointment as being productive, pre-punctual somewhat “role-models” which is completely unwarranted. I can totally understand to wake up for an awesome omelet and coffee but not for worms. For some reason, birds do get a lot done though.

. Reflections- Thoughts over Breakfast.

 

While my son and I had breakfast yesterday he asked me if I can explain what a calendar is. This made me think again how fast time flies; we are days into the new year and 2017 seems to be so far behind already. I let the last day of the year pass without putting much energy into thinking and reminiscing about what happened especially in the last couple of months and other stuff that 2017 held for me since I was occupied otherwise. 2017 will always be the year when major things in my life ended and new adventures began.  

In some way, I am feeling excited about a fresh start even though I, of course, cannot predict what 2018 will hold. Nonetheless, it is a new beginning and I am more than ready to leave all the sadness behind and of course, continue to move forward. I made some huge steps and decisions and I mentally grew which shaped me into the person I am today. I decided that it is important to focus on my health now and to slow down. Why those decisions? The only answer I can come up with is that I genuinely needed to. It couldn’t go on like this anymore. 

The goal is to be more intentional about certain things in my life and areas that need the most attention. I had to learn that random things can’t trigger bad memories or sadness anymore. At least not to that extent where they slow down my life. I had to realize that this particular pain can only exist when I hang around in the past for too long so I switch to the present. This past that does not exist anymore. Time heals all wounds but unfortunately not on my schedule. I cannot speed things up because it may do the opposite. I know that by focusing on the relationship I have with myself I will improve. This way, the situation I am in gets so much better to deal with and I am able to figure out the root of my emotions. Nobody knows better what’s good for me but myself.  So all I can do now is respect time. 

I am trying to analyze my emotions. Emotions are a crazy phenomenon, especially when it comes to love. I listened to this and that interesting TED talk recently that discussed the concept of love. Helen Fisher analyzed love as being an apparatus of nature used to ensure we simply coexist long enough to reproduce making sure the continuity of our species continues and nothing else. I try to understand why I felt and had certain emotions and feelings for one person in the first place. I reckon that relationships are not successful based on common interests but rather on common priorities. And when priorities differ too much, it does not work. 

These days I am realizing that all those “scratches and bruises” of failed relationships add character. They give my heart a better feel and look. It is a tough time, yet I will come out as a better person. Nature tends to work out this balance that things work themselves out in a certain way but healing will eventually come nonetheless. I have all the tools to survive this and my broken heart heals. What happened does not determine my happiness; however, the reality is how I deal with those things that occurred. 

By letting yesterday go I realize that some of this pain actually makes a tiny bit of sense yet some other things that happened never will. I do not have this need to make sense of them anymore because it robs me of the ability to enjoy my NOW moments. I simply leave the past where it belongs and let some of the lessons find me slowly like creeping up from underneath my bed. I realized that suffering and going through all this improved my situation and me as a person.  Sometimes new things and situations might be frightening and uncomfortable initially but that’s in some way a recipe for growth as well. I also have to keep in mind that fewer expectations mean fewer disappointments. If certain people still tend to let me down or stop providing and the behavior keeps repeating into a pattern, it is on me to pay more attention and make it stop. In a certain way, blame and power go hand in hand and giving it away may not be the best choice, eh!? Whenever a person let me down, I take the time to figure out if I want to allow that to happen again since the past is just the past. All I am doing now is improving the present choices to hopefully have a better future. Thankfully, I know that my heart is very resilient. I now specifically pay attention to actions over words since they are shockingly revealing in my case. 

Every moment I receive is mine and mine alone. I can choose to waste it in the past or worry about the future or I can simply just be in the present. If people don’t appreciate the way I am or do not want to be with me anymore since they chose to be with someone else, then they simply need to move on without me. The company I keep is also my choice.

I learned that even when things are going well, I have to be prepared for the most horrible scenarios because it will make it less insane when it happens. I don’t have to trust a world or person I cannot control. I am staying focused on my journey one step at a time. There is just so much to experience and learn along the way. Afterall, it is okay to discover, get embarrassed, make mistakes and to be uncomfortable with new things. This life is so short anyway and I have to add now that I did explain to my son what a calendar, days, months and a week is after all those thoughts. 

.Be(a)d transition.

The other day it hit me. I cleaned and went through a bunch of Petit Joel’s things and realized, there is no baby in the house anymore. No high chair, no baby toys, no stroller and no more diapers. I had to buy him new clothes again (he is a four-year-old toddler clothing size 5/6!).  It is just weird and so fast how this all happens even though I only have one child that hits all these milestones so quickly. So, a couple of weeks ago my son told me he would love to have a bunk bed. “A bed where I can climb up a couple of stairs and hide underneath a little tent like my friend Jacob has,” he said. So we did the transition to a twin size loft bed. Something like this. 

I knew he needs a new bed since he had outgrown his crib. To make other moms hate me I have to add that he never tried to climb out of his crib when he was a baby. He stayed in there until I picked him up. I eventually removed the front part so he was able to get in and out by himself to get to the bathroom but this just did not feel right anymore. Whenever he stretched out he touched the end of the bed.

This kid is literally growing in his sleep, I reckon. So, it was time for the transition from crib to bed. I wanted to wait a little longer to get him a new bed and did a lot of research on which one would be the best. I had a bunch of options and ideas and showed them to him since he has obviously a voice in this process. 

Long story short:  He fell in love with the IKEA loft/bunk thing so I bought his dream bed while he played at Småland; I only had 45 minutes to get everything done because this is how long the kids were able to stay in that convenient daycare! There were cases in Germany where parents literally dropped their kids off in the morning but never set one foot into IKEA to buy a LETSFICK mattress, a plant or new bed. They simply used the free daycare. Initially funny, but now they have all these damn strict rules. 

I loaded this bed into my car and drove home rather uncomfortably. It took me four hours to build this thing; in hindsight, it was okay and fun. The instructions are pretty clear but when a four-year-old is running around trying to “help” it is just not easy. He doesn’t understand what it all means and that he cannot climb the stairs if there are no screws adjusted yet. Overall, the bed transition went really well; no incidents, only one accident (the kid is clean for several months now and I am so proud of him; and myself, ha!) I do not want a trophy or anything but I really think I did a great job raising him so far. 

On a different note, the question my father asked was, “How many screws do you have left?” Well, seven but the bed is stable. I spent a rather sleepless night in it; his small body cuddled up next to mine. I have to say that he is the sweetest ever in these difficult past days and weeks since he feels me; we are almost one person. We spent the last four years together, pretty much non-stop. It is so weird because sometimes I think he knows what I need or try to say. The other day he cuddled up next to me on the couch and said, “Everything is going to be okay, mommy!”

And of course, it will be. He is such a good kid who gave me a huge amount of strength when I thought I cannot go on. I did not want to eat but I had to cook because he needs to eat. I did not want to get up but he needed to go to school. I did not want to continue the thesis and thought about throwing it all away but I knew it is the right thing to do for him and me. He showed me that I need to avoid suffering and let go to just play with him and once again I climbed out of this dark hole of self-pity and moved on. The things we are capable of are amazing but only I can realize that potential. The result will be growth and one of the biggest obstacles I have to overcome is myself. A very good friend of mine would say now, “Think about the kids in any slum in South Africa to realize what a problem really is”. The challenges will get tougher but it will all be manageable in the long-run. 

What keeps me going these days is that my son shows me what love is and even though I do not want to use the word unconditional anymore, I feel that he in his little world loves me unconditionally. Change is not scary anymore and I enjoy the present since I don’t get the moments back realizing that all the things I asked to receive for so long I can give to myself; especially love. It is inside where I determine if I am happy and decide what to focus on. 

All I have to do now is to play with trains and build new tracks and slowly ride along on them. 

.what I learned and know.

Really? Sometimes, things change. 

Il faudrait traverser un universe lyrique

Comme on traverse un corps qu’on a beaucoup aimé

Il faudrait réveiller les puissances opprimées

La soif d’éternité, douteuse et pathétique” – Michel Houellebecq

Getting knocked down in life is hard but it is important to get back up and keep moving on. The biggest battle I fight is with myself. I learned that I have to let go and that certain people are not meant to be in my life since they just create pain. I learned that I have to stop feeding myself bad thoughts. I learned that I do not need more evidence. I learned that I have to let go and overcome doubt, fear, negative thoughts and excuses. I learned that I have to be selfish at this point since this is my life, my decisions, and actions that count while of course allowing others to do their own thing. I learned that the fewer expectations I have, the better off I am (e.g. no more waiting for a bit of acknowledgment or encouraging sweet words). I learned that trying harder, yet still not doing enough in some person’s eyes, means I am with the wrong persons. 

I know that instead of trying to find that “perfect”, right person for myself, I rather focus on becoming exactly this person. I know that being around people who I actually do not want to be around with is just a waste of time. There is limited room in everyone’s life and I know that I am the one who allows who can and cannot take up space in my life. I know that I choose the things I focus on and if this entails cutting off toxic relationships, then so be it. Most importantly, I am being honest with myself. No lies because lies suck and do not get me anywhere. I create the life I want by deleting things that I do not enjoy anymore. 

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” – Lao Tzu

I know that I don’t care anymore what “others” think of me and my situation since I realized how rare and little they did and do in the first place. I know that judgements are really just reflections of us. I know that it is an awesome feeling to surround myself with people who encourage me to be the person I want to be. I know I am most impressed by people who try not to impress me, or are simply “good guys” since those are the ones that really matter. I know that when things were the most difficult in my life, those friends reminded me to see the opportunities rather than just the challenges. 

I learned that losing someone who I thought was special in my life felt like this person ripped out a huge chunk of me. I learned that I felt naked, like a turtle without its shell thinking that a certain amount of time building things with that person simply no longer exists and disappeared. I learned that emotionally I felt like I am losing it and this incredible emptiness like being jolted out of a familiar place that I created for myself. I learned that once the emotions were exhausted (they just got tired of being up all night and so did I), room for logic appeared and I rather pondered on those thoughts. I learned that I do not need anybody to tell me how I should feel, act or what I should believe (e.g. “wipe away those tears and give 200% to make this work” or “you need sun”). I learned that I do not need someone to tell me what my purpose is. I give my life purpose without looking for an easy road because there is none. Monotony was never my things. 

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

I learned to paint my picture the way I want it to be painted since this life is my canvas and nobody but I holds the brush. I learned that the words love and unconditional mean nothing to me anymore since the love I thought I was seeking was loaded with conditions. I learned that independence is salient (there is that smart word again) and dependencies are unhealthy. I learned that other people can exploit my need for affection and love for their own benefit. I learned that I cannot hold this against them but I can stay away from such people. I learned that the strongest don’t survive but rather the most adaptable. I did not learn but have been reminded by my body that health is the most important thing in my life and messing around with it is not good. I learned that whatever I have to go through in life, I just have to deal with it but most importantly learn and grow from it. 

I know life is not fair. Never was, never will be. But I am building this strong, solid relationship with myself while paving my own road with less traffic. 

.Fall 2017.

I just submitted my final course paper for graduation and the research I worked on all summer and fall. I cannot believe I finished both. It feels awesome and I will never forget what I have been through while trying to focus and write. It was the toughest time in my life, yet I continued with incredible strength. I had help from very close friends who listened patiently to every word I said because they care. They love to spent time with me and help. This is when I started to realize things about my life as this year comes to an end.

Many things came to an end in the last couple of weeks while other fantastic things happened. Some people in my life chose to walk on different paths from now on. Others even do this with another person and became less trusting while I am fortunate to build trust with the ones that actually really matter. 

One of the most important questions I asked myself at this point in my life is, “Why?” Why did certain things happen in my life that threw me around and kept me breath- and speechless, sad, disappointed, angry and in intense pain. I had been thrown out of a situation I valued and been kicked into a new world that felt cold and unknown. I felt worthless, scared, sad and cold. Everything I thought I knew, that was familiar to me or I believed I understood disappeared quickly into nothingness.

What I realized is that the heart doesn’t break the same way when something more intense comes along the way. It is this injury on the inside that lingers around like a bad cough and I mostly have to rely on the mercy of time to heal – time that usually does not work on my schedule. This helpless feeling and sickening pain as if I would be drowning thankfully eventually stopped. 

Certain things kept me occupied that I almost lost track of my research and work for a bit. Then friends pushed me out of this dark place of thought and misery. I just felt vulnerable and tons of hurt and in pain. A valuable realization dawned on me as I paused and took a long deep breath. A clear realization that things need to change since I do not want this to go on like it did for the last several months or years. I question this path I followed for several years now because of a situation that caused shock in my life by shaking me awake the hard way.

This situation made me pause, reflect and ask “salient” (cool word mostly used in academia instead of important to sound smart) questions. And yes, I spent countless sleepless hours in bed staring at the ceiling. Nights are tough these days but I am not afraid of them anymore. I appreciate my thoughts, observe them and understand. Thoughts come and go like clouds but I don’t let them affect my health. My health is what is most important to me these days. “Don’t break, get back up!”

These moments of sadness led me to a new path that is a lot better aligned with the goals I, me, this person typing this, wants to reach. I asked why too many times and determined that I simply have to recalibrate my actions around the new goal and purpose. Believe me, it was not easy. Of course, there are other important questions that are easily overlooked, yet they are important to ask to eventually reach a moment of revision and clarity. For example, questions like, “Why am I doing X, Y, and Z in the first place?” I asked myself this questions a million times throughout my research, yet I am about to send out the application and proposal for my Ph.D. The journey is valuable, as valuable as the destination, I reckon. This notion influences what I do on a daily basis and it also in some way determines the outcome of it all since I consider who I may involve to come along with me; even if it might be on a spiritual level for now while considering the bigger picture. 

A ton of pressure went off my back since I accomplished what I wanted to do. These days, I love to do absolutely nothing. I love to just sit quietly, with no music or other distractions since I can even do this why my son plays upstairs in his room. I either keep my eyes closed or I stare at the wall for 15 minutes and it feels awesome to just be for a while. 

To just be for a while is a great way for me to stop over- thinking and analyzing things. I crawled out of this dark hole and I see more clearly now while at the same time looking at the situation very critically. I used the last three weeks as a valuable time to outsmart myself and be a better person by controlling things in my life again. Would I have listened to my inner voice, I should have heard the tiny whisper that resisted a long time ago. This tiny whisper that made me see things usually in a negative way and sometimes trust blindly. This tiny whisper is quiet now. I won’t mistake incompatibility for my personal worth since my personal worth is determined only by me. I realize that all I have is NOW. Yesterday does not exist anymore and the future can only be assumed. Change is the only consistency in life, eh!? Everything is just temporary and looking at the grand scheme of things, I realize how little it all matters since choices had been made (not by me) a long time ago. So, I focus on adapting to the new situation. Moving on.

I am healing and turning again to what I love the most. My son, myself, my health and writing. 

.Following my Dream.

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” – Lao Tzu

I did it again. I quit another secure job with great benefits, great opportunities and great everything else. It was not easy and there were many thoughts involved that kept me up all night. I went to university to study and finish a Masters degree with no sense of a destination but doubled down on an anxiety attack shuffled with a somewhat mental playlist of worries on repeat all. “I do not want to burn down this bridge. This job gives me security and safety (no pun intended) and a good pension. I should go back to New York “, I said to myself over and over even though I know deep inside that I am not certain if I will even receive my pension in the end when I am like 65. I am German: security, safety and worrying about everything is very important to us. Quitting my job? A nightmare for many or just a dream? Quitting a job is not the end. One door closes and many others open. 

What makes me really happy? Is it a job like this? Is it “big money”? Is it working in a cubicle from 9-5? The answer is no. After I resigned I felt I lost what had rooted me for so long even though I was on “Leave without pay”. What gave me security and to break down this bridge was definitely not easy for me. Initially, I felt small, alone and unsteady, un/and insecure in a way. But, I also realized that I am on a path to something new. Something better maybe and if it even just a clean slate to a fresh start in a new country. So I have done this major step of resigning and now it feels normal. It feels somewhat good and I am content with my decision. I am starting to adapt to something new while continuing to appreciate the simple things.

My living habits have changed even more. I live simpler which makes me happier. I also cleaned my house and sold a ton of stuff that was useless to me and just sat around collecting dust.  For now, I am not defined by my former job anymore and I recently discover a somehow dormant resilience I thought I forgot completely.  Simplicity overall. 

So what actually happened when I quit my job and followed my dream? 

I realized what is really important. It is not money. It is not security because anything can happen anytime. But love for myself first is salient. Next is love for my family and to find fulfillment in what I am doing on a daily basis. It is all so surreal but I see the bigger picture already since I know what I really want to do, what this dream of mine is and I just have to simply move forward to achieve it. I asked myself what would really make me happy. I left my job to make my own. I want to be a full-time writer and my book manuscript is edited and ready to go. I would also love to own a small bookstore with a café selling used books and some homemade pastries and good coffee. Does this all sound too surreal? I don’t think so! Until I open my bookstore I know I will have to find another job which I am applying for and I have some great opportunities coming up. I am not daydreaming, waiting for something to magically happen and relying on ze husband to support me forever. I am grateful, however, that I am able to follow my dream because he supported me so far. Studying overseas as an international student is not cheap so I thank him for that. 

These days I find myself sitting at a café in the morning or in the library working on my projects that I truly love until the afternoon when I have to pick up my son. My schedule is pretty flexible and I love it. That would have been not possible before. Now I have this amount of freedom that feels great but is also terrifying and exciting. Am I eventually going to make enough money to cover our living costs and maintain the standard we have? Making money by solely writing is tough. Since I started this blog, I removed all the advertisement that I initially installed because I don’t want to distract the reader which also means zero dollars for me. This does not matter for now because I created this lifestyle with less stuff and spending by kicking consumerism habits which conveniently added more space and time in my life. Throughout my time away from a “real job” and a lot of thinking I realized that I cannot chase happiness by acquiring stuff. 

I did not rush this decision to resign but thought this step through for many weeks and months and in the end, I have to say that it brings me one step closer to my vision of what I really want to do and our long-term goals as a family which is first to live intentionally. One small decision after the other to change something and aligning them with my daily actions works pretty well so far. 

.diets and health.

So, here is the thing. I love to eat. I love good food. I love comfort food even though I usually feel bad, stuffed and gross after eating it. I also admit that I have tried many different diets throughout my life and changed them up; especially in my 20s but these days I am more into a holistic approach to food and life which makes the most sense to me. Whenever something new came out like raw food, paleo, vegan, gluten-free and whatnot, I gave it a try and pretty quickly realized that this is not “it” either. I don’t want my diet to tell me what I can or cannot eat on a daily basis. When I really listen to my body, I know what I need. I also don’t think that my overall well-being improves if I just eat vegan for one week and then go back to piling up my plate with meat. 

I read an article in The New Yorker recently that a woman tried to live on the “baby-food diet”. Not kidding! This is “a thing”. Other live by eating carrots only with the negative side effect that their skin turns orange. Sometimes when I dieted, the reason was weight loss and I thought that working out like crazy and eating two apples a day will turn me into a new person. Well, it did. I felt miserable and hungry. I thought about all these diets I have been through in my life and will highlight the best, most effective ones for me here while I keep experimenting with my overall health. 

I had been diagnosed with gallstones last autumn and did a juice/gallbladder cleanse on my own which I DO NOT recommend because it is VERY painful. I should have contacted someone who knows more about how to get rid of gallstones naturally. The doctors, however, told me instantly to get the gallbladder removed since it is “useless and the body does not need it”. In any case, I kinda like my gallbladder and what it does, so no removal. I got rid of all three gallstones by drinking freshly squeezed green juice only for about three weeks. It was not easy but I did it. The hunger is initially insane but stops after three days and then it just felt good before I felt really bad again when my body got rid of the gallstones. For more details on how I did it and what books I read, email me. 

At some point in my life, I thought, the Paleo Diet is the thing but I did not last longer than one week. The initial concept is okay; to detox from sugar but I just cannot eat meat in some form every single day or every other day. My son and I eat meat maybe once a week in form of chicken or chicken stock in a soup. I had a crazy amount of energy which was awesome; I blame the tons of veggies for that rather than the meat. The diet is also pretty expensive. All the meat…and I like pasta, so I quit. 

The diet that stuck with me for the longest is probably veganism, yet I do not practice it 100% either. I don’t eat soy products simply because I don’t like the taste of it. Soy products made me feel the worst physically. I tried all types of tofu in all sort of variations but c’mon: SOY CHICKEN or Cashew Cheese? How can I use this in a French Onion Soup? Right! Not at all. Vegan Chicken Wings? Buffalo Cauliflower? Zucchini pasta is okay but not always. On the socially fancy side, this diet is great. I went out, flipped my hair and asked for a “soy latte” or if they have “alternatives and vegan options”. [So annoying, I know.] This diet is not cheap either. 

I tried Gluten-free. Fuck it. Nothing needs to be added here. 

So this is what I am sticking with: Intermittent Fasting. How I apply it to myself is that I just don’t eat for about 16 hours straight three times a week. The awesome thing is, that I can enjoy my French Onion Soup or the occasional muffin and chocolate. I just give my organs rest and this feels so good. I usually eat supper at around 6 pm and then nothing anymore for 16 hours. Breakfast at around 10 am doesn’t sound so too bad, does it? And be aware, I don’t do this every single day. By practicing this diet overnight, I don’t run around like a sad, weak, hungry version of myself and I can still enjoy all this good food that is out there. We only live once, right? And, honestly, whenever I have two or three slices of pizza for supper, I am not hungry at all the next morning so I skip breakfast and have something later. 

Food for thought: Overall, I learned that no diet changed my life so far and I love to eat and enjoy trying new things. I realized that a good night’s sleep combined with the intermitted fasting makes me feel good on a daily basis.  I also love and want wine and Camembert. And dark chocolate.