When the quiet time is over, things eventually calm down again.Karl Valentin
This year stretched like a marathon. Chin up, another day, another week, another month. Somehow, at times, it seemed like a challenge with no end.
What happened to my resolution from last year to go about this year a bit more calmly? I mean, I was indeed a bit more quiet in my public role, I did not blog much, and did not really share much of my private life either. Internally, though, this was probably the least tranquil year of my life. And not necessarily for the best, either.
I risked a lot in 2018, gained much and lost much.
I had to face huge challenges this year, the largest of which was probably the change of management after almost 7 years. This single step literally changed everything. To adjust myself in a new team, to work with new people – it was both a blessing and a curse. In a nutshell, the whole situation turned out to be an opportunity to question the entire concept of my job.
Was I going to stay a one-woman-business or form a limited company? Would it be possible for me to delegate tasks? Should I focus on Youtube? How was I going to implement my concept on Instagram? Was I going to need a rebranding?
You can probably guess the answers to many of these questions, but to get there I needed to plan many things differently and try a variety of new approaches.
That’s exactly what I did this year: I experimented and walked down new avenues – and it didn’t always work out for the better.
This year cost me all my strength, and I had to make many sacrifices, big and small. Was it worth it, in the end?
I really don’t know. The longer the year progressed, the less I blogged, and towards the end I barely shared anything of myself at all anymore. I needed this change of lane, but I found out that ultimately it didn’t make me happy.
I miss my private life.
I miss the interaction with you.
I miss the “old” Masha.
At times it felt like I was losing myself in this huge process of re-orientation, like I was losing my identity, like I have become an advertising platform. It wasn’t planned that way, but what can I say? The truth is, I said “yes” too often, and eventually found myself dragged along by a maelstrom of responsibilities. It wasn’t possible for me to say: “I’m over-worked, I’ll end this co-operation half-way.” This is especially true for long-term projects.
Unfortunately, the people around me also noticed too late at which point “much” had become “too much”. Towards the end of this year I found myself a slave to my own success. So one of my core resolutions for the next year is: fewer jobs. Way fewer jobs.
In practice, this means I’ll have to say “no” much more often.
And everyone who is self-employed and constantly on the existential edge because they don’t know what tomorrow will bring can surely empathize with how difficult it is to say “no”, especially in a tricky industry like mine. It’s a state of tension that can all too easily lead to a nervous breakdown.
It was in fact one of the main lessons I learned this year: the more jobs I accept, the less freedom and time I have to pursue my own projects. And a blog stands and falls with the authenticity of its writer, don’t you think?
So, yeah, the lesson was a hard but necessary one. Now that most jobs are wrapped up I am finding my focus again. I am reconnecting with what I want and where I’m headed. This necessitates more freedom in the future, and in the grander scheme of things 2018 was an important year in that respect: I now have a certain financial buffer which allows me to take on fewer jobs. Instead I’ll be able to focus on personal projects. I have a lot planned, and soon (very soon!) I’ll start communicating them. One thing I can tell you straight away is that it’ll get more personal and private again.
First of all, I’d like to re-establish a rhythm which will allow me to write frequent Sunday posts. I miss those as much as you do!
With all this talk about my professional life, I’m happy to tell you that my private life couldn’t be more wonderful right now: I have created an amazing, creative environment and am happy like maybe never before in my life. I’m living with a dream man, some truly amazing people entered my already wonderful circle of friends, and some older friendships came to new life. I even saw my friend Lina more often than usual throughout this whole year.
This environment is so conducive to a flow of (creative) energy, and helps me over and over to reach new perspectives. In large part, this is all due to the fact that 2018 marked the first year in ages where I decided to make my private life my priority. I even took the occasional weekend off to spend private time with my loved ones, going to festivals, visiting museums, going on trips… nothing made me happier than spending time with people I love.
In terms of health, this was a good year:
I finally went vegetarian, and have by now firmly established an exercise-routine that has become second nature. I mean, I even started running. Honestly, I’d never have thought I’d achieve that. Early in 2018 I had a slipped disk, which was a bit of a setback, but exercise helped me through that as well.
And as I’m bickering about 2018, I realize that – all things considered – I am genuinely grateful that my biggest problems this year were of a professional nature. With every year that passes I get more thankful for the years of peace and relatively worry-free existence I get to partake in. My family and friends are healthy, I am fortunate enough to live in a safe and very stable country where my existence is not really threatened – what more could I ask for?
My problems are mere luxury problems, and I’m grateful for the richness of life I get to enjoy. Yes, 2018 was a good year, all in all.
And still, with so many emotional ups and downs, I’m happy that 2018 draws to its natural close. It may not have been my best year, professionally, but it was a step in the right direction. I certainly learned a lot. Maybe more importantly, I found my focus again, and I know who I want by my side for the next part of the route, which means I’ll be able to start the new year with full power!