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Each year I do a write up about the year that past. I do this for a couple of reasons. I won’t allow myself to let the year slip away without any reflection. I want to learn from my year. And keep my lessons. I want to leave what I can no longer use. What’s a finished chapter in my life.
And each year I see from the feedback that I get, that this New Year’s blog post helps a lot of other people to reflect on their lives too – and put into words the year they had. I hear examples of people, who read this and burst into tears – from feeling seen or heard, from feeling that I was writing about their life too, or from reliving an experience they had themselves. I’ve been told of people, who read this out loud on a car ride from Hamburg in Germany to Copenhagen, Denmark – and discussed each topic I mentioned, which made the blog post last for the whole 4,5-hour drive. I even know of people who made life-changing decisions after reading this.
The reactions from other people, and the impact that my thoughts and opinions apparently have to other, are actually strong reasons for me to write this. Because, unfortunately, it’s easier for me to skip something purely related to myself, than skip something that help others.
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TRANSITION FROM 2013
Last year’s blog post was primarily a post about working too much, having stress symptoms… well, not only symptoms, I just didn’t have time to listen to them… and putting all this to an end after tough decisions about what I wanted my life to consist of. I closed 2013 feeling exhausted and without knowing what my next job would be. At the time I just knew, that I had to take better care of myself. And work way less, which shouldn’t be that hard when being used to 70-80 hour workweeks.
The blog post that got me a new job
After posting my New Year’s review in January 2014, I posted another personal blog post about how I needed a new job, what I am good at, and what I wanted to work with. And man, did it ever create attention! Within the first day my post, written in Danish, had more then 8,000 views. 12,000 within the first week. Almost 1,000 individual shares. And it generated a heck of a busy couple of weeks. I said no to 40 or 50 we’d-like-to-meet-you-offers, but yes to what was actually interesting. And quite a bit was. For the next 2,5 weeks I went to 2-3 interviews per day! …which make you crazy. And confused. You feel extremely privileged. Because you are. But it’s hard to navigate in, because everyone is showing the best of themselves – and everyone read your blog post, so they already know, how to sell themselves to match my needs and wants.
You can see my talk about this here.
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I got a new job! In the middle of February I decided to start a new journey with the digital agency called Contingent as their Creative Director. During this year we’ve switched name to Rise Digital. We’ve grown to twice the size. And we’re an agency that varies from most Danish agencies, because our values are the most human I’ve ever met in my 16 years in Advertising. We believe in 30-hour workweeks. Being flexible. And making playing part of work. So we don’t just do digital marketing and communication like websites, web apps, mobile apps, and so forth. We also do digital products and software solution along with interactive installations. We play with tech, attend more game jams than I’ve ever met people do, even in the start up industry. And we travel together! Since we work with digital, we just need Internet to work. And great planning. So my first day of work in February was meeting my new colleagues in the airport and head out for a week in Istanbul, Turkey. And then continue to a week in Tel Aviv, Israel. In September we went to Iceland, which I unfortunately had to miss due to my holiday in Lapland, Sweden, and my friends’ wedding, I wanted to go to. And right now, January 2015, we’re spending a week together in Gran Canaria – making our strategy for 2015, team building, and working on our projects from outside of the African coast.
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NEW WAY OF WORKING
I had to get used to this new, human, way of working. In the beginning it was hard for me, because I felt like I did nothing. When you cut off 50 hours of work per week, and a project takes the time it’s supposed to, you feel that you do so little. So slow. I had to deal with my impatience. But as time went by I got used to biking home from work around 5 PM. Enjoying how it was still bright outside. And I remember, how excited I always got around 8 PM each night… because at this time I would now have been off of work for three hours – but I was so used to living a life, where when I had been off of work for three hours, it was 2 AM and I needed to go to bed. Now, having spent 3 hours off work already – and still have all night to do what I wanted!
An allergic reaction to stress
My body had learned a lesson due to my stressful 2013. During 2014 it warned me even at the lowest stress levels. If I pushed myself just a little too hard… which of course, I didn’t think of as too hard, knowing what I was capable of… it would instantly react! It was as if my body got an allergic reaction to stress during 2013, so in 2014 if I started to walk out that line… if something just smelled a little like “too much”, it would react. It was a healthy signal to me, but sometimes quite annoying too. It feels like knowing, that you’re able to perform an Iron Man. Because you’ve already done so. And now you just want to run a Marathon, then you’re body says: “Hell no! I’ll give you a headache if you even dare to try. Don’t do this to me again – don’t you dare”. And of course my body was right. Performing Marathons all the time is so not healthy.
During summer of 2014 I got an awful and heart-breaking reminder of how important it is to take care of yourself and not work your life away, as I attended the funeral of my 29-year-old former co-partner in the agency, where I worked and was a partner during 2012 and 2013.
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I’ve been traveling a lot in 2014. The other day I noticed, that I’ve actually been out of the country between 2,5-3 months during 2014. No wonder I’ve had a hard time getting to see my friends as often as would have liked to. Or say yes to a date. But I needed it. I needed to be away. And through out the year I noticed how I actually felt better coming home from a destination knowing when my next travel would be. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy my life in Copenhagen. Or that I don’t explore and experience interesting things in Denmark. I just didn’t feel the same freedom that I do when I travel. After my stressful 2013 I needed an extra amount of freedom in 2014.
After feeling so trapped I needed to feel free
Through out the year I found out how much this feeling of freedom actually meant to me. I think I’d felt so trapped and dutiful the year before, that I needed time away. I needed to spend time alone or with people, that I know very well. I needed to explore new worlds. Or unite with old ones. I needed impressive landscapes around me. When I’m there, in the mountains or by the sea, I feel so small yet united to Nature at the same time. And it’s as if time stands still. And me just wanting more of this feeling.
My spare time got way too occupied
I really like my life in Copenhagen. I love the city. I love my family and friends. I love living this active social life, which indeed is true to my personality. But! It just came to a point, where my Copenhagen life stressed me too. In 2014 I’d created a work life that allowed me to have a normal amount of spare time. But due to my social active lifestyle and personality, and probably due to me feeling too trapped in 2013, I put way too much into this spare time.
Each Sunday I’d look into my calendar and see no blank spaces. So when friends asked me when to meet for dinner or drinks or an activity, I’d put in the plan on the first free space – in 3 or 4 weeks’ time. This means you sit each Sunday and look into a calendar filled with plans, you created 3-4 weeks ago. But seriously; even though it’s people you love and activities you really like, who says you want them this exact week?!
“You need to learn how to say no!”
People would always say: “OMG, I couldn’t live with a schedule and activity level like yours! I need time to myself and to do nothing. You need to learn how to say no!”
I’ve heard this sentence so many times. And it makes me feel so misunderstood. And sometimes it even provokes me a lot! I have the exact same need. I need me time as well. Apparently I just prioritize spending time with people I care for higher than spending time in my own company. I don’t think one way is better than the other. Fact is that when I miss me time too much, I find it. Or I take it at night – one of the reasons for me going to bed way too late. Or I cancel something and choose myself. But I know that I need to work on this – because I need to find a better balance. With more me time. Even if I spend it on creating a spontaneous plans with friends.
I say no every day
But what provokes me… a lot! …is when people say, that I need to say no. Because I say no every day. When I have a plan or two on a Thursday after work, I’ve already said no to others. I said no to people, that I care for. And activities that I would have liked to attend. What a lot of people apparently aren’t able to understand is how big my network actually is. And therefore how many people I know and who I like for a reason and would like to see. And how many people who know me who therefore ask for my time and presence. And how aware I am as a person – about what my city has to offer, who plays at my favorite concert hall, which new restaurant that just opened, or what innovation meetup that’s going on. All matching my interests. So I say no all the time. I already prioritize. But I like too much and too many. I’m personal with so many people, that we gain from each other’s company. I don’t think of this as a bad thing. At all. But it does get too much for the hours in a day on this planet. So every now and then, during this year, I thought about doing a rough cleanup on my Facebook account – and literally deleting acquaintances. But this would just be trying to escape. Escaping doesn’t solve problems. So I need to work with this issue in 2015. Not plan too much ahead. Say no to even more people I care for, which bothers me quite a bit, because I already think I say no a lot! Or maybe just plan more Laura Hours, Laura Nights, or Laura Weekends. I need less waking up in the morning basically knowing exactly what the day is about – because my calendar says so.
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TRAVELING THE WORLD
Like I said earlier, I’ve been out of the country somewhere between 2,5-3 months of 2014. As I entered 2014 I had no idea it would come to this much. I needed this during this year – to feel completely free! But writing these words, January 2015 on a late evening in Gran Canaria, I do look forward to going home – and actually have two months at home until my next travel.
How I love ISTANBUL
My 2014 took me to Istanbul, Turkey and Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel with my new work. Working in the digital space and being able to plan well, we’re fortunate to be able to work from around the globe as long as we’ve got an Internet connection.
Istanbul, Turkey, was a beautiful and exciting city, which I know I will return to one day. The people are laid back, there’s much to see and discover, and it’s a great city to also just hang out in – which is what I often look for when re-visiting places I’ve already been to.
I’m grateful for experiencing ISRAEL. But I can’t see myself go back
I can’t see myself go back to Israel, unless I get a boyfriend to whom it’s important. I feel grateful for visiting, but once was enough. The people of Tel Aviv was loving and cool! But the city itself was not very interesting. Jerusalem and the Dead Sea were experiences I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Nothing in the world compares to the body experience you get at the Dead Sea – it’s so weird and awesome. And the energies gathered in Jerusalem are so strong, that I needed to protect myself. It’s fascinating and interesting on so many levels to be in this religious center of the world. But standing by the Wailing Wall, taking in the energies from thousands of years, millions of people, billions of prayers… and 40 soldiers with machine guns 10 meters behind me was intense. And I ended up needing to remove myself from the situation to not take in everything my system was confronted with.
Traveling in and out of Israel was such a degrading human experience, that I cannot see myself going through this again. The way they question you and your intentions are degrading. The way they point you out, when you’ve got brown eyes and brown hair. Not to mention my black bearded colleague with the Iranian name – who they held back for 5 hours questioning his intentions for getting in to their country. Having people test you like this and wanting you to be a bad person with bad intentions crossed my boundaries to a sky-high level. I’d just been spending 8 days in their country, getting to know it, listening to it, getting to know its people, making friends with some of them, and taking the most beautiful photos, which had made many of my followers curious on the country or even wanting to visit it too… and then being treated like this. WTF!
I found out how much I had been missing NORWAY
A couple of times during 2014 I went to Ålesund, Norway. I used to go to Norway once a year with my family as a kid. I’ve always felt connected to Norway. Its mountains, valleys, and coast line is stunningly beautiful. It always give me this time-stopping feeling, this feeling of freedom, this wanting to “just stand here and breath” kind of feeling. When I went this year, I hadn’t been visiting Norway for quite some years. And being in the mountains and breathing their fresh air reminded me how much I’d actually missed it. It’s open space and ability to make me feel connected to the world.
Småland, SWEDEN – my getaway, my charger
Again this year I continued spending weekends in my dad’s vacation house in Sweden; Ødegården. It’s my getaway and my charger. I’ve come here since I was 8 years old. It’s full of good energy, great memories, and old habits. And I love it. Up there we don’t have Internet connection. I need to walk down to the lake to catch a signal. This means no phone calls, no text, no connection to the outside world – only when I choose to. If this was at home in Copenhagen, I would be annoyed by this unavailability after 20 minutes. But up there it’s part of what I love about the place. I love being unavailable. And deciding for myself when to choose the outside world. Not letting them choose me. So around noon I’ll probably go down to the lake and go online. And I’ll check my notifications and upload my Instagrams – all at ones due to access. Answer what’s important and then leave. Each time I’m here I think about how unimportant being updated actually is to me. At least when it’s for a short period of time. I don’t miss out on anything. And if something super important actually happens in the world, it’s repeated, retweeted, reposted so many times, that I will indeed see the headline at some point. In the house in Sweden one of my morning routines is making fire in the fireplace. I’ve considered getting a fireplace in my Copenhagen apartment, because I love this routine – and lying on the floor in front of it. Even though I kind of go into a coma when I lie here.
BORNHOLM – and the discoveries about where I am in life
I like to visit Bornholm during the summer. It’s so beautiful and no matter where you are, you’re always close to the sea. I love waking up in the morning and hear the sea gulls. It’s the sound of home to me. I love hanging out in my childhood home, where my mom still lives. It’s as if everything in my body just lets go and I completely relax. Actually to the point where I can doze off and sleep an awful lot the first couple of days, when I’m there. During summer of 2014 I only had a weekend over there. Because I’d be spending my primarily summer’s vacation in Canada.
I did some discoveries about myself and about people behavior over there, which says something about where I am in my life. In the month ahead of my weekend to Bornholm, I’d been watching my friends’ and acquaintances’ Facebook posts with holiday photos from couples- and family vacations. And even though I really liked my life and looked forward to my own vacation in the company of my friends and myself, I knew that I wanted that too. I want a boyfriend and a family.
The family activities
A lot of couples and families go to Bornholm during the summer. And as I watched them over there, I felt something stronger, than I’ve ever felt it before. I’ve always liked to play. And I know my own playful child within is well and alive. But I felt how I wanted to do all the family activities too! I wanted to go to the beach to play in the sand by the shore with a bucket and shovel – and kids and a man. I wanted to pet goats by a playground, because it would make the kids happy. I wanted this type of simple family activities and the interaction, caring and loving.
Together – with no spark
I was also reminded what I don’t want though. One night I was waiting on a bench with my mom on a town square where people were eating. I was watching the families by the tables. A couple, my own age, were eating with their 3-year-old son. They didn’t talk to each other. The mom talked to the son. The dad talked to the son. The mom cut the son’s food into pieces. They all ate. In silence. The dad would help out the boy. They ate. In silence. The mom answered the son. The dad allowed the son to leave the table and play on the ground, when he was done. They sat in silence. Eating. Silent meals doesn’t necessarily need to be awkward. But this just seemed like the chemistry between the parents was completely gone. Nothing to talk about. Nothing to relax about. No interaction between them at all. Just practical stuff. Staying together because of the kid. Because of convenience. But with no spark in life – other than what the kid or the outside world would bring. The relationship seemed completely dead to me.
The situation reminded me how one of my friends once called her husband her teammate. Not her lover. Not her companion or partner. Her teammate. I couldn’t live in a relationship with no, or little, sex. I wouldn’t live without the sparks and fire and passion. And from what life has shown me, when I go out or when I talk to others, few people can. Because sooner or later they will indeed start to send out their sparkling energy elsewhere – outside of the relationship. And they will be receptive to offers coming their way. So in order to stay together you need to work on the passion within the relationship. Always. Also when you’re tired. Ha. Tired is an excuse, I’ve never fully understood. Because first of all, you can always receive even though you’re sleepy. Second of all you tend to wake up, when fire starts to burn. Anyway. Point is that it only sparks where you put your energy.
I can’t live in small towns
Sometimes when I go to small towns, I’m reminded how I just can’t live places like these. At least not at this moment in my life. I can go for visits. But I can’t live here. I can’t identify myself with people here. The small town mentally. The small town look. I know this seem prejudice, because of course every single person in small towns is not like this. But through my eyes; overall they are. I grew up in a small town – and loved it! Because it’s easy and simple being a kid here. I come here for vacations. But it’s as if people have let go of themselves. And as if their minds become equally small, because of the lack of experience. I can’t identify myself with their taste in style – or entertainment. I can’t be entertained by TV shows with people learning how to dance. And if this is as deep as it gets during a dinner conversation, I’d rather just watch the ocean and see what comes to mind from its movement.
“O CANADA, my home and native land”
When I was 17 years old, I went to Saskatchewan, Canada for 1 year in high school. It’s a prairie province and life on a farm was very different from everything I knew at the time. What seemed so different to me, when I arrived, got to be my life for a year. Including the people. And through my host family I got a Canadian family and home – for life.
When I was 22, I went back to visit. And then years just went by. So this summer I went home. I was greeted by my Canadian sisters in Regina. I finally met their boyfriend and husband and kid. I finally saw their homes. 13 years had gone by since my last visit. We’d become adults. But what was heartwarming was, that our love and chemistry was still exactly the same.
The prairies made me cry
My sister Stacey and I went home to the farm for a couple of days to spend time with our parents. As we drove out of Regina and the true prairie land appeared, I got all emotional and tears started to run silently down my cheeks. As I turned to Stacey, she started to cry too. It was as if this long time longing, long time connection, long time love found home. I even get emotional now writing about it, because it brings me right back. For some odd reason, I don’t have a rational explanation for, I’ve felt connected to the North American Plains since I can remember. As if I lived former lives there – as a person of First Nation.
Returning to my Canadian home and parents
And this feeling of being home just continued. We arrived to Gull Lake, the town of 1,100 people where we went to high school, and drove to the farm, where Stacey grew up and where I spent my year of 1995/1996. The love, laughter and connection I got home to was truly amazing. Life is truly unique, when you can hug each other goodbye and 17 years after you lived in their house and shared their home, you can hug each other hello and love is still the same. I share a sense of humor and honesty with this family that connect us. They have taken care of me like I was their own. As a 17-year-old I already felt this, but it was only as I became an adult I truly understood how privileged I am finding this family; to be taken fully in to other people’s sacred core in your most vulnerable year of your life.
British Columbia blows you away
After a week in Saskatchewan Stacey and I took a flight to Vancouver, British Columbia – for yet another week together. A road trip in the Coastal Mountains and then 3 days in the city. British Columbia blows you away. Its beauty is out of proportions. And everything is gigantic. We climbed a mountain. Swam in mountain lakes, where timber was floating around. We went through valleys and forest and desert places. Saw rivers, where miners and gold diggers used to find fortune. Went through First Nation’s territories – and picked up a guy from a native band in Spooky Town by the empty church…
And then we hit Vancouver. Where people live healthy lives, look fit and yummi, are active users of their incredible natural surroundings, and open-minded and laid back.
I love the Canadian way of interacting with strangers
One of the things I love about Canadians is their way of approaching and interacting with people, they don’t know. They don’t do it the American way, which to many can seem shallow. They don’t do it the Danish way, where we only approach strangers, if we want something from them – or with them. In Canada you can walk down the street and one woman will approach another one passing by with a sincere: “Oh, I love your dress”. In Denmark, if you hear such a compliment, it’s because it’s followed up by a: “…where did you buy it? (…so I can get it myself)”. Or you walk down to the city beach and a guy says: “Hey ladies, how are you enjoying your day?” And this is in fact what he wants to hear. He’s just making conversation. Already in the company of girl friends. Not trying to pick us up. If a Danish guy starts a conversation this way, it’s because he wants you to join his crowd, so he can hit on you.
It’s as if Danish people only give if they have an agenda. They can’t give for the love of giving. Or simply because the compliment is there. The Danish mentality will be like: “I will compliment you now, because I want something from you”. Or “I won’t say my compliment out loud, because it’s none of my business to interfere with what ever you’re in the middle of doing. And you’ll probably think I’m hitting on you, if I do”. Or “Oh, I just thought about something nice about you for a split second, and now I’m thinking about something else, so I didn’t bother to tell you”. I have never got this Danish mentality… and I’m very often misunderstood due to my “Canadian”… or should I say human and just agenda- and fearless way of complimenting people. Including strangers.
It was unbearable to leave
It was hard for me to leave Canada. As the departure date approached the sorrow came from within. The sadness of not knowing, when I would return to this love and beauty, which I have in this major country. The freedom I got over there. No limits, no boundaries, no commitments. Just me and Nature. And friendship! And a connection – a feeling of home – so deep, that it’s unearthly. This belonging was unbearable to leave from. Stacey and I spent a whole day crying. I cried with her in the airport. And again before I boarded. And three times on the flight home. I was sobbing when I got home. It wasn’t the cry you cry, when you’re sad. It was the sobbing your whole body and system creates, when you feel lost and feel the sorrow. I hid for days in my apartment, when I returned – I didn’t want to meet anyone. For the first week I wasn’t ready to take in Copenhagen. I only looked forward to leaving again – which I would after 14 days at home.
Should I be moving to Vancouver?
I started feeling confused. Because the sorrow stayed in me. Was I living in the right city at the moment? I’ve felt at home in Copenhagen all my life. I had that homey feeling in NYC too. But never anywhere else in the world. But Vancouver… oh, love. I’d found a city on this planet which is a combination of what’s important to me. This incredible natural surroundings. Located by the sea. With beaches. And mountain view. And so small, you can walk from the beach to the cool bars and great hang outs places in 10 minutes! One night, I was so sad, that I did something, I’ve never done before. I googled: “digital agencies + vancouver”. And the first one that popped up had a job opening, I know I could have been offered if I would have written them. Aaaahhh! And it didn’t exactly help, that hot men from Vancouver still wrote me on Tinder… I felt split. Because I have my family and friends and a job and an apartment, that I absolutely love in Copenhagen. But I felt that I belonged over there too. Having two homes. But only being able to live in one. And every time I would look out in Copenhagen, I’d have a building in the way! Please bring back the Canadian wide open spaces!
Feeling the freedom in LAPLAND’s open spaces
Two weeks after returning from Canada, I went to Lapland in the Northern part of Sweden with two good friends. We stayed in the big cabin, which belonged to my friend’s family. And she’d come here all her life, so we had the perfect guide along. Up here we were off. Off line. Off the grid. Out of reach. Also in Nature. We walked the trails, hiked the mountains, had breaks by old abandoned Sami huts, and drank water as clear and clean as it can be. Never in my life have I seen such beautiful fall colors – ruska is what it’s called. I had returned to Nature. To the wide open spaces! We were present. In our friendship. And in ourselves.
NEW YORK CITY. The city that never sleeps. But where I relax
I go to NYC every now and then. But 2,5 years had gone by since the last time, so I wanted to go again. I’ve got friends in the city, who I can stay with. And the plane ticket has never been cheaper. And with my job I’m able to work from everywhere as long as I got Internet.
Doing the same, but less
Well, visiting friends and hanging out and just enjoying the city were some of the reasons to go. Another reason was to take yet another break from my Copenhagen life. Even though I’ve never, in my adult life, had as much spare time off of work as in 2014 – choosing the 30-hour-work-week-agency that I have – I was still busy in 2014. Way too busy. With friends and activities… all the time. I needed to move myself to a place, where I can live exactly the same. Do the same things as in my Copenhagen life, but with less volume. And to me NYC is perfect for this.
I worked from friends’ offices in Little Italy and TriBeCa. Lived in my friend’s apartment in NoLita. Hung out in the city by myself and with friends. And experienced New York wrapped up in Christmas lights. I lived completely normal. Felt at home. And quickly fell into this normal healthy pace, I need to find in Copenhagen too.
Was the longing related to him?
I needed to explore a personal thing in NYC too. During the fall I’d met up with a dear old New York-based friend of mine here in Copenhagen. But unlike all other times, I felt things in my heart and body, which confused me a lot. Being the honest and open person that I am, I told him about this. It was as if our meeting in Copenhagen had awakened a longing and a wanting. I had no idea whether these feelings were related to him as a person. My dear close friend. Or if he was just my reminder, because he bears characteristics in his personality, that I want more of in my life. And I wouldn’t be able to find out until we saw each other again. I wouldn’t be able to find out by myself. I had no idea what would happen when we saw each other two months later. And I accepted this not knowing. I was open to whatever would happen. Trusted my sincerity. And I had no expectations – come what may.
Both of us learned from this experience. The fluency of our friendship co-existed along side the exploration. Each of us got to know each other better. What honesty is. How to handle it – and how not to. What caring is – and what it’s not. Care for others and for yourself. The ability to accept each other’s journey and development, which rarely happens equally, at the same time. The importance of communication all along this journey, so our friendship wouldn’t get hurt from this, but rather grow, despite the outcome of our exploration.
The American and Danish way of interacting
For the first time, NYC made me think differently about its people. I’ve always defended the Americans, when Danish people have called them shallow for their “how are you” behavior. Americans greet each other in a personal way, but when it comes to it, they aren’t personal at all. They don’t want the actual answer to their “how are you”. They want a shallow “Fine, how are you?”. Funny thing is, Danes are like this too. Just not as polite! Danish people protect themselves so much, so it never gets personal… until the other person give something of themselves and they feel comfortable enough to give a little too.
I’ve always defended the Americans. I’ve always seen this “shallowness” as an opener. Or an opportunity to open up! And I love when people dare to hand out these opportunities! Danes are so bad at this. I’ll dare to say that in 95% of all Danish-American relationships, it’s the Dane who says I love you last. Despite that fact that they might have even felt it first.
About being polite – and independent
But during my stay in NYC this time, I got to explore this personal, yet shallow behavior. From what I experienced, I saw that it was really about this extreme amount of politeness. It’s not only “How are you?”. It’s “Excuse me”, “I’m sorry”, “Oh, let me get that for you”… And to a certain degree Danes can learn so much of this being aware of other people behavior! But being a Dane, the extreme politeness and being aware of others makes it hard to navigate. When to actually let go of the door, when you’ve just held it for 6 people, and you need to get going yourself too, which was why you opened it in the first place. How to let the American, who just apologized to you, know, that he wasn’t in your way at all – there was no need for him to excuse himself. It’s not that Danish people don’t care about others. It’s not that we are rude. But Danish people are so independent and capable of helping themselves, that this extreme amount of awareness of them can make them feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. Danes don’t need this attention. And they are only private with the people, they actually know. So when the door man at a clothing store asks you how you’re day has been, and you just had an argue with your boyfriend, you stepped right into a pile a mud, and you’ve been feeling this flu coming your way for days – the “Fine, how are you” reply feels like lying to his face. And that would be rude, wouldn’t it? And the argue with the boyfriend and feeling a little sick is really none of his business – you just need a new dress from his store. So you’ll rather him not ask you anything, so you can mind our own business and help yourself out, which you are perfectly capable of growing up in a country where the wages are so high even in clothing stores, so stores only can afford a certain amount of employees and the service level therefore equals this.
I think both cultures can learn an important lesson from each other.
I wanted to celebrate New Year’s elsewhere. HAMBURG it was
For the past 5 years my close friend and I have thrown a big New Year’s dinner party. Every year the dinner and following party has been a blast. With 15-20 dinner guests – and 60-100 party guests. But such a big party is a lot of work, when you’re the one planning it or hosting it. You end up being an event coordinator all through your Christmas vacation. And the party lasts until January 3rd or even longer due to all the practicalities. So this year my friend and I looked at each other and said: “Let’s leave!”
So we went to Hamburg, Germany for 5 days. 5 amazing days – hanging out in a city, where both of us have been before. Meeting up with other friends. And enjoying a super delicious New Year’s dinner at a fancy design hotel. And for this year, this was the perfect way to spend the night. Being able to go out for brunch, instead of setting all the tables. Being able to see friends and go for a walk in the beautiful weather and just chill. And then get dressed and have everything served for you. There will always be another big party. I didn’t need it this year.
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In 2014 I was yet again reminded, that I have become of that age, where I can lose my parents. During my weekend in Bornholm I received a phone call from my dad. The doctors had found something during a health check…
Nothing can happen to my Dad. But something did
A couple of years ago my dad unexpectedly had a clot in his heart. This went well. But it makes you think, that he kind of took his turn. Nothing can happen to him now. He had been avoiding this health check for long, because, you know… he felt fine. But he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And had to decide, whether he wanted surgery or radiotherapy. Both treatments could leave him impotent and incontinent. But like he said: “Life is more important”. And now, 5 months after the surgery he is enjoying life again.
My Mom is leading the way
My mom works a lot. She’s in a leader position at her job and needed by many. And she loves her job, which I understand. But I can’t help but think, that she work too long hours. And says yes to too much. Sometimes she does, what I do: leaves her home to feel free. Then she comes to Copenhagen to visit us kids, and when one of her employees phones her she can say: “Well, you’ll have to call someone else, because I’m not on the island”. Her and I often talk about leadership. And I sure understand why they chose her as a boss. She’s an incredible role model.
I enjoy seeing my big brother… when I do
I don’t see my oldest brother as much as I would like to. But family has never meant a lot to him. I used to be annoyed by this sometimes, but I’ve started to not bother. I don’t want to single-handed carry the responsibility of us seeing each other, or him seeing the rest of the family. So now, when I’ve started to not care that much, I can just enjoy seeing him when I actually do.
My big sister lives too far away
My big sister lives in Jutland with her family. I’ve got three cool nieces! But I don’t see them very often, since we live apart. I would love to see them more – to be a more present aunt and enjoy their company and take part of their lives. But fact is; that Jutland is really far away to me. I’m bad at taking out a whole weekend to go there. I’ve always had great connection with kids. So through out 2014 I’ve seen myself take even more part in my friends’ kids’ lives instead of my nieces.
The worst pain is when my siblings feel hurt
My oldest younger brother and his girlfriend just split up – after 14 years together. He is entering this life changing time. 14 years! It’s tough even though both of them agree, that as a couple they are done with each other. One of the biggest pains, I know in life, is when my siblings are hurt or heart-broken. Their pain becomes my pain. But fortunately I see him dealing with this the best way he can… and he does progress, that makes me proud of him.
My youngest brother shines
My youngest brother makes me proud too. He’s been through a lot of work with his self-esteem the past couple of years, but it sure is paying off! He’s found a great apartment, a cool job, and a loving girlfriend. And when she snaps me or tells me about what kind of extremely caring and aware boyfriend he is, I get so proud of him that I shine.
She will make you wanna go
My youngest sister and I are made from the same light. We share and connect through hearts, minds, and energies – even when we’re on each side of the world. She’s a traveller and storyteller like me. Her heart belongs to South America, where as mine belongs to the North. Since August she’s been living and studying in Buenos Aires. Now she’s on vacation, traveling through Argentina, Chile – where she once lived, Bolivia, and Peru, before she will return to Copenhagen in February. On her journey she Instagrams what she sees and tells the stories, and every time her photos show up in my feed, I think of her with pride too due to her creativity and voice. Do yourself a favor and check out her photos for yourself. She’ll make you want to pack your backpack straight away.
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In 2013 I got so used to getting these kinds of blackouts, that I didn’t think much of them in 2014. I thought, that they would go away with me working much less. I defined these blackouts as the big ones, where I lost conscience for a split second and was extremely dizzy for the next 20 minutes. And the small ones, where I dozed of for a split second, but without losing conscience. But then during my stay in Canada, the big ones started to happen a lot more frequently. As in 8 ones per day two days in a row. So for the first time I thought, I better say this out lout and tell someone, that this was actually going one. I promised to see my doctor when I got back, and they found out, that I was in highly need of vitamin B12 and iron. So I started taking these vitamins. But it didn’t help. And in November it got even worse. Because even though the big blackouts stopped somewhere around August, the small ones went from 2 per day to 30-40 per day for three days in a row in November.
The blackouts finally disappeared
Of course I listened to my doctor, who wanted me to continue on the vitamins, and also go see a neurologist. But I kept thinking that the blackouts were related to my extreme amount of stress in 2013, which was still in my body. And the high activity level in my life. And I think I’m right. After 3 days in NYC, where I only had 1-2 small blackouts per day, they disappeared. And I haven’t had any since – which is for more than a month now. A month where I have been aware. And haven’t lived my normal active Copenhagen life. So I need to be much aware of this in 2015.
Tested for breast cancer
In March I was tested for breast cancer due to suspicion. It’s a weird feeling riding your bike through town, knowing that potentially you can ride back home having your life turned upside down depending on the answer you get. As I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting for them to call my name, I noticed how many women my age we were in the room. Only one elderly lady. I hope that every one of them got the same good result as me.
So, how are your eggs?
I was recently tested on a fertility clinic too. My friend, who had a hard time getting pregnant – and only got so due to an egg donation – had told all of us friends to go in order to be aware of our conditions, since we could have this examination for free; an offer to all men and women living in Copenhagen. I’ve always known that I want kids. I love kids. I love family life. I’m out of a great big family – with many kids and many parents! I’ve also always believed, that three kids were waiting for me. But I’m just only thinking about having kids, when I’m in a relationship. And since I haven’t put much energy into even getting a relationship, I don’t run around thinking much about having kids.
As time has gone by I’ve thought to myself: “Oh… age. Maybe I’m not supposed to give birth to all three myself”. I see almost all of my friends in relationship struggle to get pregnant. And of course I’ve always been aware of the fact that it gets harder to become pregnant in your thirties. But sitting in front of a doctor who shows you the statistics; HOW hard it actually gets, does opens your eyes! I’m 36 years old now. And according to statistics… on a completely normal cycle with a completely normal sperm quality and egg quality… due to your age you’ve got a chance of only 8 % to get pregnant within this cycle! No wonder it takes couples forever and most of them end up in treatment. So now I’m wiser. I still think three kids are waiting for me to give birth to them some day. I’m just not thinking about it at the moment, since I would want a boyfriend to take part in this.
Finding spiritual guidance
During 2014 I’d been searching for someone who I could talk to about irrational stuff. All my life I’ve had to deal with the fact that I’m very sensitive. I take in all kinds of energies. Also the ones not belonging to me. Also the ones I cannot explain rationally. My family and close friends have always known this. And we can speak freely about it. It’s part of just being me. I didn’t choose to absorb all this. But sometimes I feel the need to talk to someone, who works in this field. And who can give me some answers, which is still out of reach for me. Not only am I dead curious. But since my intuition has always been bright, it’s nice to just be confirmed every now and then. “You’re not crazy – you’re actually on the very right track. There’s a deeper meaning with this”.
So by coincidence I found my way to this spiritual coach, who I visited in November. And the session I had with him was one of the most loving and affirmative thing I’ve done for myself in 2014. My intuition was confirmed. I found peace. And I got an instant boost to continue doing what I’m really good at. We spoke the same language, and my spiritual guides, my soul family, and journey beyond this life as Laura was discussed as completely normal topics, which was what I came there for. If you question things in life, or feel a little lost, you should definitely visit Bille too and give him a great big hug from me.
One of the things that made a big impression on me in 2014, and on top of my crazy 2013, was my laughter! In March I noticed, how my spontaneous and free natural laughter had returned! In 2013 I wasn’t laughing much. And when I did, it wasn’t free and affectionate. Now I did. And I’ve been laughing so much during 2014. I’ve returned.
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MY LOVE LIFE
Some people scroll down to this subject. But actually my love life hasn’t been interesting in 2014. My experiences have though…
Looking for more than just sex
During the first 6 months of 2014 I tried to focus more on my love life, than what I did – due to too much work – in 2013. Because I would actually like to have a boyfriend. But fact is that since I look for more than just sex and comfy company, it’s hard to find interesting men. I need to feel my curiosity towards him. And 5 photos on Tinder just don’t make me very curious. And spending a night out focusing on my friends rarely makes me meet someone interesting.
It’s always about timing
Then when I finally get curious, timing needs to be right! Oh, the timing. He needs to be single. He needs to have found himself after his past relationship. And he needs to be ready for a new relationship and not just a lay. And then my timing needs to match his. Because this week I’m busy with friends and other plans. Or I already said yes to a coffee or beer with someone else. And I only commit myself to one date – and one man – at a time. Which sometimes creates a line. Of men, that I honestly told: “Well, yes, I would potentially like to get to know you better, but I just said yes to meet up with this other guy I bumped into. So… you know. One thing at a time. But hey, let’s see. If it’s not a match, I’ll get back to you”. And then I don’t. Because one week later I’m not curious anymore.
Sending out energies to one person at a time
My “one at a time” mentally is based on loyalty and focus. I believe, that you can only truly be real in this area one place at a time. If I send out this energy to more men at the same time, they all get less from me. And if these men are in contact with their feelings, they will sense this. I sure know, I sense this straight away, when this happens the other way around; When I meet up with a man, who was on another date two days ago and has one planed for tomorrow too. A man like this makes me lose my interesting in him in a split second. You need to be chosen.
But “one at a time” is super un-effective when it comes to meeting someone! Because one date has a pre-date period, the date itself, and sometimes a post-date period. And living this active lifestyle with a tight schedule can make a pre-date period last 1-2 weeks. As in; we’ve planed to meet, but need to set a specific date. And then you do… and then… oh, I get tired just thinking of this. Then you often need to deal with either dishonesty or disrespect. Men wasting your time, because he, woops, forgot to tell you – until after your date… or even after you had sex… that he’s actually not exactly available. That he’s actually in love with his colleague, but it’s a mess, because she has a boyfriend. And he’s trying to get over this with starting to date others… even though he’s actually not even ready to date! Or he forgot to tell you, that oh, he’s only been single for, eeehhhmmm, 4 weeks! …and well, they still talk a lot. And meet. And want to get back together.
Being honest to others requires being honest to yourself
I’ve often thought about how much time, I wouldn’t have wasted, if people in general were more honest to themselves. Because when people aren’t honest to themselves, of course they can’t be honest to the people they involve themselves with. So it’s not even to be mean. Or waste my time and energy on purpose! But it’s the consequence. And I’m so sick of it. At one point during the summer I was so tired of this that I burst it out on Ello. If you read Danish, you can read it here… it’s worth reading.
Oh, the lack of communication in the post-date period
But then sometimes you have a great time. And then you run into the post-date period. And the whole show starts… so much immatureness and dishonesty in this show. And dragging time. Because if people aren’t anymore interested, they don’t care for the other person’s time. They don’t feel the need to close this. Some even excuse this behavior with a: “Yeah, but sometimes it doesn’t come to you straight away”. And no, of course not! But! What always comes to you is the feeling of: “Do I want to meet this person again or don’t I care”. You always know. And if you don’t care, whether you meet again, then just close the relation. Because after 14 days of texting and chatting and snapping during the pre-date period… it is in fact a relation you’ve created. Which you can just quit – through communication. It’s completely fair to say: “Hey, thanks for a good time. Unfortunately I didn’t really feel it, you know. But it was great meeting with you”.
What I want in a relationship
One of the things that I like about myself is that I just tell a man, that I’m interested in getting to know him better. And I also just tell him right away, that I want to see him again. Actually I am so aware of my feelings and what… and don’t misunderstand this, but – what I want to live with! It’s NOT a list of what I want. It’s a knowing – through life experience and wishes for my life – what I CAN live with. There’s a major different between wanting and the ability to; want and can. If I meet someone, who is not ready for a relationship – we don’t need to involve ourselves in each other. Because it’s not my role to make him ready. This has to come from within himself. If I meet someone, who doesn’t want kids – we don’t need to see each other again. Because I still wish for kids in my life. It’s not my job to make him change his mind. I respect him not being ready. Or not wanting kids.
The fear of the woman who knows
But me knowing what I want for my life. And knowing what I can live with in a relationship. And what I can’t. Knowing which values are important to me, like communication and faithfulness and trust and respect… And me being able to feel and communicate my emotions so real and honest… it frightens the hell out of a lot of men (with no backbone)! They become split between being fascinated by this woman, they see as strong and independent – and having to confront themselves or put in to words, where they are in life themselves, and how they will fit in to her communicated values and cans and wants and wishes. And if she can put these things into words, they better do this too, they seem to think… rather sooner than later, because later just creates too much of an unbalance. And apparently this is scary to many!
When men overthinks and runs away
And God, have I tried so many times, where men has dumped me due the their own analysis! The classic situation is, that since I’m able to communicate about feelings and wants for my life – they take this as a pressure on them to be clear too. And that I’m in a rush! If I say: “Yeah, I’d like to get married one day”, they hear: “I’m ready to marry you next Saturday”. Which is far from not only what I said, but also the truth. And due to men’s own analysis, it’s actually quite often, that I have a man calling or mailing me everything from 14 days to 7 months later, because now he got it. Now he sees, that I was just being real and honest and straight forward. I was actually being completely clear. But his fear of commitment or past experience with needy women or dishonest women or tricky women made him complicate things and run away. And what he wants now is a second chance or for us to meet. Because he now sees me as someone, who he learned from. And I see him as someone I lost respect for due to the way he handled clear, peaceful and fearless communication and honest knowing.
My un-effective dating life
So dating takes time. And in my case dating takes too much time. Not because I meet many. But because of the opposite. I meet way too few. When you ad the facts of needing to find someone, that actually makes you curious, timing is right in his life, timing is right in my schedule, timing is right with my travel plans, dating one at a time, saying no to others if you’ve made plans with another, going on the actual date, dealing with whatever communication or silence or analysis you meet afterwards… then one date can take 3-6 weeks.
Potential sex going to waste
I don’t think I’ve ever in my adult life had a year with less sex than my 2014. And everyone who knows me, along with the men who’s been with me, will agree with: That’s a shame! Sometimes I’ve even thought: “Omg, Laura – all this awesome sex going to waste”! I’m privileged to have a lot of offers. But I’ve been looking for more than that. It’s easy to just have sex. So easy that a man can turn incredibly uninteresting to me in a second; sometimes I meet men, who might even be super nice and interesting. But their approach makes me lose my interest. If he gives my body a compliment 5 times within the first 5 minutes, it’s like: “Thank you. Again. I’ve thanked you 5 times now, I get it. You like it. But is this all you can think of or talk about? Because if so, you’re really boring to talk to”. Sometimes I’ve even explained to men, that it’s a nice compliment the first time. And if it’s well delivered the second time too. But the third time it makes it seem like, that’s all he wants. My body. And that he, his personality, doesn’t have anything to offer. And then we can have a conversation about him being caught up.
When men start to beg
One of the worst things that can happen is when men start to beg. Or try to persuade you. When this happens, it’s as if they drag out all of their own dignity. And you’re standing there, looking at a puppy. And no one screws a puppy. It’s not even a puppy you want to pick up and comfort. It’s one that makes you go: “Ew, this is so pathetic, that you should seriously just leave now”.
When I end up as their therapist
And then there’s all the times, when I end up in the role as their therapist. “You get me, Laura – you’re so good at putting into words, what I can’t say myself”. And yes! This might be al-right in some cases. But if the unbalance is too big. If we’re solving him and his past experience every time we see each other, would we ever find room for me having a bad day? Would he be able to take care of me when I needed a hug or a talk?
I said no a lot
For the last 6 months of 2014 I barely dated anyone. I was so focused on my travels, that I said no to almost all offers. I wouldn’t want to meet someone just before my journey to Canada. I needed to be able to go, and not miss anyone in Copenhagen. I needed to be able to be 100 % present with all my energy in Canada, which you can’t be, if you just fell in love with someone some other place. I didn’t want anyone to expect anything from me either. Didn’t want someone to hope for a text message or a mail or chat or photo sent home to him. I needed to go freely with no expectations to me. And free of commitments. Some of my friends said: “Well, Laura, you don’t know when you meet the right person”. But this is not true. Because you can avoid meeting this person, if you avoid all offers. And just say no and don’t involve yourself. Then you’re in complete control of not meeting anyone. I did this a lot in 2014.
It’s not that I’m not interested, if I haven’t asked yet
Even though I’m a person who just says directly to a man, if I’m interested, it doesn’t mean that if I don’t say anything, then I am not interested. Again this is about timing. Sometimes people need to grow a bit on you, before they become interesting… enough… to ask out. And sometimes you just meet them at a time, when your focus is elsewhere. On someone you just made plans with. Or you’re heading out on a travel to Turkey or Canada or New York.
The hug that my body was missing
But even though my focus in 2014 was a lot more on travels and freedom than on my love life, every now and then I got a physical reminder. Like during summer, a couple of weeks before my summer’s vacation I met a man on the street, who I knew a little from Tinder and Facebook. And as he hugged me, my whole body felt at home. I wondered whether this had something to do with him as a person or just the fact of being hugged… this way… by a man… with his body. And I think the answer was somewhere in between. Because I get hugs from people often. And I don’t get this specific home-feeling. I get hugs from friends. And I don’t melt in their arms. So even though I’d never sat down and had a long chat with this man, we both knew, that of what we knew each other, we liked each other. And the chemistry and attraction between us was present. Which turned the hug into something noticeable. And even though I knew, that I didn’t want to meet with him for a date right now, due to my travel, I was reminded that I do want this in life; I want to be close to someone. Someone special. Just not at that specific time. But of course my system wanted it. My system was missing it!
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A VARIATY OF THOUGHTS
In this New Year’s blog post I often write something about topics that made me stop and think during the past year. As if the post wasn’t long enough already. But here goes…
One of my most important lessons in this life
About 6 years ago I discovered something important. A sentence that I have since repeated to myself hundreds of times. And to others. And 2014 was no different. Because I kept on being reminded about it. I kept on meeting people who apparently didn’t know this sentence, or didn’t see the importance of it.
In Danish it goes: “Man skal vælges”. In English: “You need to be chosen”. It’s so important that the people around you, especially your loved ones, choose you. Relations aren’t carried in the long run by you alone. You need to choose each other. Sometimes I think about this when some guy chats me up on Facebook. Repeatedly. And I answer him politely. He doesn’t ask me straight out. He talk and talks and talks about other topics. So I answer him politely. But I never show him interest. Because I am not interested in him. I am never the one opening the conversation. I never write him. I never ask him about anything. I only answer. I am being polite. “But you say you’re so friggin’ honest – why don’t you tell him this?” Well, he hasn’t asked me anything making me feel the need of telling him off. This could in fact just be rude. The guy is making conversation. I don’t need to answer him with a: “Hey dude… just so you know; I’m super not into you. I’m not even interesting in hearing how your day went, but yeah, answer to your question – it was a great concert last night”. The thing is… I don’t get when people can’t see themselves, that they carry a relation single-handedly. They need to say this to themselves: “I need to be chosen”. And then let go of the people, who doesn’t chose them.
And it goes the other way too! I don’t get the games. I don’t get why people doesn’t dare to show vulnerability and just show people, and tell people, that they choose them. If you don’t choose your partner, what do you have then? Co-existence? So you need to choose. Your loved ones, your time, your life. You need to say it and show it and do it. Don’t spend time and energy on people, who doesn’t choose you. Because this only brings worries and frustrations – and waste. If you’re not chosen, the only thing you can really do is to just accept it. Tell the person, how you feel about it – and then surrender. You cannot force other people to choose you. If you’re not chosen, you must leave in order to feel happy and feel free.
To some point this make the words “I want you” much more important than the words “I love you”. Because sometimes we take for granted what we love. But we go for what we want. We choose.
When you meet a new friend… of the opposite sex… when one of you is in a relationship
When two singles meet, and they have great chemistry, but no sexual chemistry, at least not from both of them… then they become friends, if they want to continue gaining from this shared chemistry. But when one or both parts are in a relationship, it suddenly becomes more complicated! Geez. Well, if the two people work together, they have a great explanation to their partner and themselves for why they spend all this time together. They don’t even need to ask themselves if they secretly are attracted to the new friend. Because they are in a relationship. It can only be friendship anyway. They don’t need to deal with this. Unless it’s too big, and they need to keep this feeling of attraction down. Another great explanation to the partner, when you’re adult and you meet a potential new friend, is: “Oh, but she has a boyfriend too”… meaning: “Oh, so don’t you worry – she’s not interested in me in that way”.
A couple of times this year I met men, who I instantly clicked with. We had lots to talk about, gained from each other’s company, and awesome chemistry. And yes, some of them; if they’d been single, both of us know, that we would in fact have hit the sack straight away too! But since we couldn’t, we could share something else – our thoughts and ideas.
I met a man this year, who I became pen pals with. We kept on writing each other the longest e-mails, sharing our views, challenges, and thoughts of life and our every day lives. When we met I sure felt a sexual energy, but I also met his girlfriend that night, so I put him into “another box”. The box of “no potential” in that area. But this didn’t change, that him and I were people, who could spend hours after hours in front of a fireplace exploring each other’s creative minds and ideas and views – discussing and discovering. We went out together, and I had the feeling, that if his girlfriend knew of this meeting, he’d probably told her, that I was some business acquaintance, he needed to brainstorm with. Which wouldn’t be lying either. But we were way more than that. We’d become friends through our sharing. But as long as him and I knew for sure, what our relation was about, and how we didn’t cross a line, or disrespected his relationship, it wasn’t really important to us to put a label on anything. Or create any type of insecurity or suspicion in his girlfriend’s mind.
Another man handled this differently. He was completely honest to his girlfriend telling her about me and how he would be going out for coffee with me. A new friend due to the fact that we shared a lot of interests and had the best and easiest flow in our conversations. Which resulted in her looking me up on Facebook. And since she liked what she saw, she got scared. If I had just been ugly to her, I’m sure she wouldn’t have felt insecure. But since I wasn’t, she had a hard time handling, why her boyfriend would meet with me. She called him during the coffee. She questioned when he’d get home. Which made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Because I didn’t do anything harm. I was just being a friend to her boyfriend. Having a great time. Not trying to seduce him or any disrespect at all! And here, she felt so insecure. And I completely get this human feeling! But it was sad too. To all of us. I felt as if I was under suspicion – which there was absolutely no reason for. He felt tied because I couldn’t get to know a new person freely due to the fact, that this person was a woman and attractive in the eyes of his girlfriend. And she felt sad and insecure, even though there was no reason to. And her and I would probably get a long perfectly, if we just met! Which would make me harmless. So I hope, we can make this meeting – of all of us – happen in this new year.
About being “allowed to” in a relationship
Sometimes I hear adult people say this phrase: “Sure, I’d like to. But I have to ask my girl/boyfriend (if I’m allowed to)”. This always makes me raise my eyebrows. Because they didn’t say: “…I have to talk to my partner about this” in order to have a conversation about the issue. My problem with ‘being allowed to’ in a relationship between two adults is, that asking for permission reveals, that one part is in charge. One part carries all responsibility!
Adult people “are allowed to” do what ever they want. No one can tell them what to do and what not to do. Well, except the law. But. What an adult does has consequences. No matter if a girlfriend wants her boyfriend to kiss her goodnight each night, she can’t make him. No matter if a boyfriend wants his girlfriend to stay at home on a Friday night, he can’t make her. Even though a husband wants his wife to be by his side, he’s not able to control, whether she has an affair or not. Or whether she wants to leave for Brazil for 10 months without him. And a wife can’t tie her husband to their home and three kids instead of going on a ski vacation with friends in France. But they can talk about it – and each say their opinions and thoughts or fears about what the consequences might be. But they can’t control the partner. They can’t force them to – or allow them not to.
So there’s no asking for permission when you’re an adult. There’s just conversation. And consequences for what you do and what you don’t. Permissions and ‘being allowed to’ are for relationships between a kid and an adult! Because in these kinds of relationships the adults carry the responsibility. Until the kid is mature enough to carry it itself. “You’re not allowed to touch the hob on the stove”, because of the consequence of doing so, which is a consequence the adult doesn’t want to happen and carries the responsibility of.
But adults need to be responsible for their own actions – or lack of actions. And then the partners can be responsible for themselves and make a decision, like leaving, if they can’t live with the consequences.
During my week in Israel in the spring of 2014 a colleague of mine, who is Christian, told me about Paul the Apostle, who’s Latin name was Paulus, Jewish name was Saul, and who died AD 67. In the First Corinthians (10:23) he writes about The Believer’s Freedom. And even though this is written about something other than freedom, responsibility, and consequences in relationships between adults, I think it works perfectly for this too!
The English translation of what Paul wrote:
>> “I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial.
“I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive. <<
The Danish translation is this:
>> Alt er tilladt. Men ikke alt gavner.
Alt er tilladt. Men ikke alt bygger op”<<
You just need to remember the first sentence.
The difference between wanting to and the ability to
In Danish we have a saying: “Du kan, hvad du vil” translated directly into “You can (do), what you want to (do)”. Exactly 6 years ago I found out, that this saying is a lie. And my reason for finding out was a break-up between me and my boyfriend through 6 years. Through this I learned the strength behind ‘can’ and ‘want’. Can = You being capable of. Want = You being willing to. When you understand this, what the saying actually claims, is that “you are capable or everything you want to do – or are willing to”. Which is not true. Because willing to – or wanting to – is a state of mind! The capability to has to do with your physical and mental state, beyond your mind. Sometimes even your economical state.
You are capable of a lot of things you’re not willing to do. Like kill a chicken. Or ride an airplane even due to fear of flying. But the opposite, like the saying goes – you can do, what you want – you can fly, because you want to. You can become the next Whitney Houston, because you want to. This is simply not true, because you aren’t capable of this. The capability to is way stronger than the willingness to. Even though willingness – or wanting to – often helps the capability, because it helps you to try in the first place! It makes you try harder. It can make you improve your skills. But it cannot necessarily make you capable of it.
“I want to, but I can’t” is a more true saying than “you can do, what you want”, even though it might seem more pessimistic. But at least it’s true. And there’s nothing pessimistic in the realization of “I want to – and therefore I have tried. But unfortunately I can’t”. There’s only learning in this. I learned this 6 years ago, when I wanted my relationship, but couldn’t live with it. I wanted all the good things from it and with him. But I couldn’t live with the hard things, disharmony and unbalance anymore. It turned me into someone I didn’t like. I couldn’t be Happy Laura. And therefore “I want to – and therefore I have tried. But unfortunately I can’t” was a great and constructive realization, even though it hurt terribly for a while after.
I still keep this lesson with me. It helps me accept the stuff I want, but can’t. It makes me look at the willingness to – as in how much do I really want it. And it makes me aware of my capability. And what’s related to me, and what has nothing to do with me; what I’m not in charge of. Like other people’s wants or capabilities.
“And then I needed to hold back my tears”
My God, why do people say this? Or even worse: Why do people do this? I don’t get why people always need to restrain themselves instead of showing what they actually feel or experience within themselves. I get that there can be certain situations where the consequences of crying right there might seem odd. Nevertheless it’s human. It’s real – and it’s there. If someone says something, we think is funny, we laugh. If someone says something, or if we see something, that touches us, of course we should be able to show that we got moved to tears! Being touched and getting tears out of our eyes is just as human of a reaction as being entertained and getting laughter out of your mouth! I don’t understand the need of holding back emotional expressions that shows vulnerability. Because actually laughter is just the same! Why be so afraid of people’s reactions? “Why are you getting tears in your eyes?” – “I got touched by this”. This answer only shows that you’re human. And honest to yourself and others! If people ask you, why you’re laughing, you don’t have a problem with saying: “Because I thought it was funny”, now have you? I wish people wouldn’t hold themselves back… it would make the planet more human.
When someone takes back a compliment
I mean, WTF?! A couple of times during 2014 I experienced this situation where a person give you a compliment or an offer – which is a compliment of its own. And even though I thanked for the compliment and the offer, the men took them back, because I wasn’t able to return them or couldn’t use the offer. Like when I was asked out. Which I thanked for. But since I wasn’t interested in going out with them – or in one case let him come over at 1:30 in the morning due to my lack of interest – I’m met with a “Forget about it”, “Well, don’t mind then”, or “I shouldn’t have asked”.
These cowardly reactions make me go from respecting them and thinking of them as brave and cool and honest to themselves – to loosing my respect and finding them pathetic in a split second! I mean, just because a compliment or offer is not returned, doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you to feel it or say it or want it. And if you’re so wrapped up in fear and you need an equal comeback or returned offer or compliment in order to give something nice to others… please don’t waste my time in the first case.
I often talk about compliments in my New Year’s reviews, because I think Danish people are so bad at giving them. They are so un-aware of others. So insecure about what the receiver will think about them. Or so Danish in their mentality, like; “I’ll mind my own business and not interrupt”. And I just really wish people would be more aware of others, and more appreciative of others, and say these things out loud without thinking about their fear of showing vulnerability. Think of compliments as a gift. A gift that has absolutely no value if you keep it for yourself! But can change a whole day – or life – if you hand it to another human being. And remember that giving gifts makes you grow too!
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One could have thought that I would have spent more time on my own creative projects in 2014, than what I usually do – due to more time off of work this year. But it’s not the case.
I actually blogged the least that I have ever done! I’ve needed to spend time away from the computer. I’ve even needed to not be inspired. Blogging is a lot of work! Because even though it’s also my personal archive, it’s mostly only about sharing and giving. And I’ve just needed to spend my time on other things. Sometimes I’ve felt a bit bad about this, because I’ve got so many followers, who depend on my blog and sharing for their inspiration. And I often hear how much happiness, laughter, or thoughts my blog creates, because they wouldn’t have been able to find the inspirational stuff themselves. So for 2015 I would like to find a new balance. So blogging doesn’t feel like work. And so that I can still travel and take breaks from blogging. But still share what inspires me – but maybe more… collective. But in less volume. And not as often as the first couple of years. But definitely more often than these past 6 months. We’ll see. For the third or fourth year in a row I have to say: I seriously need a new design for the blog!
The Twitter Friday Bar
5 years ago I started a Friday bar concept for people on Twitter in Denmark. It was so incredibly well received, that it’s been running steady every other month for 5 years now – and in 5-6 cities around the country. In Copenhagen it’s called Twedagsbar (Twiday Bar) and I’m still arranging it with huge loyalty to its original concept and crowd. In 2014 I decided to celebrate its 4-year’s birthday and, for this occasion, skip the traditional form and throw a major party in the Meatpacking District. 350 people showed up for live concerts, stand up comedians, and dancing and drinking and partying. It sure was a great night. But it was a crazy ass amount of work, so this year on it’s 5 year’s birthday I’m not planning on doing anything untraditional. Well. It’s in 3 weeks. You never know what I might do spontaneously.
Mindre End Tre <3 and the joy of giving
In 2013 my friend Jonas and I created a kind of Christmas Calendar from December 1st to 31st for the people on Twitter in Denmark with personal portraits of 31 Twitter people from the country. We didn’t ask them traditional questions, but went deeper under their skin. We wanted to hear things like, if they had ever done something mean to another person and what they wanted to be in their next life. This became a big success, united people, and made people open up more. We named the project Mindre End Tre – Less Than Three, because in the written language of Internet, less than three creates a heart <3 And this project was about getting to know people better.
In 2014 we decided to continue with Mindre End Tre, but this year with a new twist. We wanted to celebrate the joy of giving – glæden ved at give. And since a Secret Santa game had never been running officially within the Danish Twitter community, we created this. This meant that all through December Twitter people from around the country would be sending a personal gift to another Twitter person participating in the game. We’d sent out mails to every one with a name and an address. But no one knew, who would send a gift to themselves. I’d researched on my own receiver and bought a cool wicked comic book and a jelly rat, because he was really into weird comics and very afraid of rats. And with this huge rat he could cut his fear away. But what meant more to me, was giving away another gift, because this one was personal to me.
I’d noticed that a person, I knew a little from Twitter, who had been going through a hard time losing his sister and taking in her son to his own family. So even though he didn’t participate in the Secret Santa game, I talked to my mother and arranged with her, that my Twitter friend and his family could go to Bornholm, the island where I grew up, and stay there for a week for free in my mom’s summerhouse by the sea. I knew that this Twitter friend sometimes participated in a running race over there during July, so of course this was the week that I gave him and his family. I knew that this would come as extreme surprise to him and his family. Which only made me smile.
I was so happy, that I could give away (with my generous mom) something that means so much to me. I was so happy, that I could surprise another family. And it made me think about how much value there’s spread around the world – and no one uses! All the empty vacation houses, which friends or strangers could have the loveliest weekends or weeks in! The bikes in the garages, the clothes that you aren’t wearing another, the goods in your basement… Let people borrow it! Trust folks. Your trust will make them take care of it like it was their own. Give your goods away.
———————— II ————————
OMG. THE LONGEST YEAR REVIEW EVER WRITTEN
It’s taken me 20 days to write the review of my 2014. But to be fair, I’ve been away on travels more than half of this time. So it’s published the latest I’ve ever published one of these “what happened in my life this year – and what I thought about along the way” posts.
Making myself write these posts makes it obvious to me, what my year was about. My 2014 were about my need for freedom – and what home is to me. I’ve written about freedom further up in the post. But I have a few words to say about home too.
Why I believe that home means so much
Since I’m a believer of souls coming to Planet Earth (for now) to live lives as humans and learn… and learn through each life – to return to wherever it is we go in between our lives. To one day having learned so much, we don’t need to incarnate anymore – but instead teach others. The home means a lot in our lives as humans too.
I believe ‘home’ is a longing in the soul. We leave our home in this other dimension to come here the Earth to learn. Our souls long to come home – after our life journeys. To this place where we are fully accepted as the souls we are. Despite our flaws, failures, and immature personalities. I believe that we keep this feeling of home, so that home is of high importance in our lives too.
And I therefore believe, that it’s one of our finest jobs to create good homes for children to grow up in – and return to. The house you live in is not necessarily your home. Home is a feeling. An atmosphere. Home is also places you return to, like vacation homes, friend’s homes, towns, cities, countries, communities. So that we can all go out in the world… or in town… and experience, explore, take in all energies. And then return to home, where things are more ‘the same’, which gives you the space and quietness you need to absorb your discoveries. And learn. Because you went out and got wiser, and you see things more clearly now. Exactly like we do as souls living lives as humans and returning to reflect on it.
What I did in 2014
When I entered 2014 I promised myself that I would do more things that made me happy. As in more than what I did in 2013 due to work. So in 2014 I started to do fitness every Monday. Well, except when I traveled. I also took a singing course every Wednesday for 4 months; I believe that our souls are deeply connected to movement and music in order to feel happy. I continued going to concerts and music festivals, go out for dinners with friends, go to art exhibitions and museums. And spending time with my family, who I love, and my dear friends. I continued to meet new people and get inspiration from the outside. I traveled, probably the most and intense that I have ever done in life. And I tried to get more me time; time to myself – like staying at home a whole Saturday, going for lunch on a Sunday in my own company, or going to bed early to spend the next three hours watching TV shows on my iPad. I love my own company. But I just tend to choose hanging out with people more often. It’s as if I feel that I gain more, if I have people to connect with about the same experience. Like at a concert; I get to hear the concert from their point of view too, which is like getting two experiences at ones.
I’m looking for normal
I’m aware that I’m looking for ‘normal’. A normal life. My hairdresser always says, when he sees me: “Laura, wow! There’s always so much going on in your life. You make me loose my breath”. And he’s actually right. I wouldn’t mind if less happened in my life. I know that normal to me would still not be boring! My life will never be about going to work and then go home to a TV dinner with what ever is on day after day. And because of that I’d actually like if this happened every now and then.
My life in photos
Each year, when I’m about to write this post, I look through my Instagram account to find photos from the year that past. And every year I can’t help but think, how beautiful my life is – even though it sometimes challenges or makes me cry. As you’ve already noticed I’ve spread out some of my Instagrams from the year, related to the topics I write about. And just to show you. My Instagram account sure works as a visual diary to me, so when I’m out and about I post even more, because I see more and experience more. You can follow my life in photos by following LauraJul on Instagram.
What’s gonna happen now?
Well, we’ll see about that. But I know, that I should seriously start focusing more on my love life. I date way to little. I should at least start with that – and take it from there. I’ve got destinations that I want to visit too. A lot actually. So all of them won’t be this year. But places like the Mid West in US – the national parks in Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming. Also Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alberta in Canada. I’m still longing for the wide open spaces and the mountains. I follow quite a few provinces and national parks on Instagram and Facebook. And the photos from there make my heart melt. I want to see the temples in Myanmar. Visit Vietnam and Laos one day. And Saint Petersburg in Russia. And my younger sister has shown me places like the Atacama Desert in Chile, Titicaca Lake in Peru and Bolivia, the mountains of Bolivia, and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil – which I want to experience too! See, I can’t make all this happen in 2015. But in the years to come. I’ll start with going to Austin, Texas again. But that’s for a conference in March, not to explore the land.
I want to end this year’s post with a couple of one-liners that mean something to me:
- You need to be chosen
- Dare to say I love you first. Show your vulnerability
- You have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial
- Be good at learning
- Care for yourself and others
- Explore! And return to home to reflect
- Make other people feel seen, while staying true to yourself, and you’ll go far
Oh… and this one: Crank up the music and dance!!
Thank you so much for caring enough or being curious enough to read along. And for following my journeys on the different platforms.
May your 2015 rock with love and lessons,
Kat O’Sullivan aka Katwise lives a colorful life! She took a plain-looking farmhouse outside Woodstock, New York and not only painted it, but decorated the place with colors and decorations.
The house was named “Calico,” but “The Rainbow House” and “House That Sweaters Built” also seem to be accepted monikers.
Oh my! I’m so fascinated by this pool area.
This contemporary concrete residence is designed by Izquierdo Lehmann for a senior couple located on top of a hill in Santiago, Chile.
“Casa Varatojo” was designed by architects based in Lisbon : Atelier Data. Carved carefully in accordance with its natural environment, the position of the house on the hill rewards its occupants with a breathtaking view of the city. This magnificent creation also has a swimming pool overlooking a breathtaking landscape.
The first man on Mars makes an historic phone call.
Written, Designed and Directed by The Brothers McLeod.
Modern life is often compared to running on a hamster wheel: we do the same things over and over, but never seem to get anywhere. This was the subject of an architectural art installation called In Orbit, a 25-foot tall wheel of steel and wood. The two architectural artists Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder lived in the wheel-shaped exhibit for 10 full days – one on the inside and one on the outside.
Each side of the wheel had its own living space, including a wardrobe, bed, desk with laptop and chair, microwave, toilet, and sink. In order to get from one room of the “home” to another, the artists had to move in perfect unison in order to stay standing.
In Orbit was installed inside the Boiler Room, a site run by New York’s Pierogi Gallery.
Tiny loft homes can be difficult when you’re divvying up 300 square feet or less. This Polish home has the best of both worlds with its half loft upstairs to be able to add some additional storage and take advantage of built ins underneath the stairs and beyond.
Polish architecture firm 3XA put together this simple home that has plenty of inventive storage built in, and majority of it built with plywood. For a space without much square footage, it is able to be split into different spaces quite nicely. Between living, dining, a workspace, sleeping and dressing/grooming; this small scale 29 square meter home is perfectly cozy.
YH2 Architects put together this natural material based winter home, called “La Luge”, located on a private plot of land in Quebec, Canada.
Great floor to ceiling windows, built in bunk beds and a suspended orb fireplace make up some of the beautiful interior elements. Utilizing cedar, oak and walnut woods are carried throughout from the exterior facade to the interior areas including the kitchen cabinetry.
Oficina 3 Estudio de Arquitectura and Daniel Carrillo has designed this Casa López / Lujano located in Tijuana, Mexico.
“The owners were very concerned about the environment, specifically about energy and resource efficiency. They wanted to maintain their privacy, but also directed us to provide an open, light-filled design, that responded to the hillside site. The owners also wanted a more controlled garden-type of an area and a more natural landscape on the rear of the lot. Sensible green measures were to be included, although the project budget would not allow “Grand” measures”, the architects says.
It’s a desert retreat with impressive views of Joshua Tree National Park in California. It’s not often that you see a black house, but the bold choice in color definitely offers a distinct contrast from the surrounding desert landscape.
The house is built around a central courtyard, which is set to a backdrop of black walls, midnight quartz, high-gloss anthracite and darkened steel.
Growing up on the rocky island of Bornholm, Denmark, I absolutely LOVE this house!
Olson Kundig Architects created this camouflaged concrete house called ‘The Pierre’ (French for ‘stone’) in San Juan Islands, Washington. The owner’s affection for a stone outcropping on her property inspired the design of this house.
From certain angles, the house – with its rough materials, encompassing stone, green roof, and surrounding foliage – almost disappears into nature. Throughout the house, the rock protrudes into the space, contrasting with the luxurious textures of the furnishings.
Interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone; leveled on top, they are otherwise left raw. In the master bathroom, water cascades through three polished pools, natural sinks in the existing stone. Off the main space, a powder room is carved out of the rock; a mirror set within a skytube reflects natural light into the space.
Situated in the residential area of Havstein in Trondheim, Norway, this compact geometrical shaped family house is overlooking the fjord and city of Trondheim. The house was designed by JVA.