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The Love Spoon

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My 2014 was about the need of freedom – and the discovery of home

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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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WORK
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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FREEDOM
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.

Planning ahead
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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

LauraJul_2014_dec_nyc-1


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.

LauraJul_2014_dec_new-years-in-Hamburg

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FAMILY
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.

LauraJul_2014_april_dad-and-kirsten LauraJul_2014_april_siblings LauraJul_2014_july_family LauraJul_2014_july_mom-3 LauraJul_2014_may_siblings

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HEALTH
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.

Hello laughter!
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.

LauraJul_2014_july_jumping

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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.

Wasting time
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!

LauraJul_2014_june_ødegården

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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!

———————— II ————————

MY PROJECTS
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.

My blog
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,
Laura

My 2013
My 2012
My 2011
My 2010

LauraJul_2014_jan_winters-walk LauraJul_2014_april_cph-spring LauraJul_2014_july_friends LauraJul_2014_july_roskildefestival-2 LauraJul_2014_june_distortion LauraJul_2014_july_vesterbro-pool LauraJul_2014_sept_wedding-photo-booth-1 LauraJul_2014_dec_friends LauraJul_2014_june_jury-at-madmedier-2

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The ripest juiciest peach in the world

quotes_the ripest juciest peach in the world - by Dita Von Teese

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Make love to her

nude_make love to her

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Humans Kissing Dogs by Chris Sembrot

Humans Kissing Dogs by Chris Sembrot 1 Humans Kissing Dogs by Chris Sembrot 2 Humans Kissing Dogs by Chris Sembrot 3 Humans Kissing Dogs by Chris Sembrot 4 Humans Kissing Dogs by Chris Sembrot 5 Humans Kissing Dogs by Chris Sembrot 6

To me, this is so disgusting I could vomit. I’m not exactly the world’s biggest animal lover either. But still. I’m so grossed out. I know that millions of dog lovers around the world does this daily. I could never date of one them…

Photographer Chris Sembrot was inspired to make this series, called “Humans Kissing Dogs“, by the love he has for his dog, Sadie.

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Coca-Cola Light: Choose Love Over Like

Coca-Cola Light - Choose Love Over Like 1 Coca-Cola Light - Choose Love Over Like 2 Coca-Cola Light - Choose Love Over Like 3

“Choose love over like”, Coca-Cola says in their new commercial.

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Love in the Time of Advertising

Love in the Time of Advertising 1 Love in the Time of Advertising 2 Love in the Time of Advertising 3

An animated musical love story about a young man who lives inside a billboard and is charged with updating the advertisements. When he falls in love with a beautiful lady living across the highway, he has to use the only method he knows to get his message across – advertising.

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Stay close

erotic_stay close

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My 2013 was about time. Value of time. And time spent on which values…

LauraJul_12 C_December 2013

Each year around Christmas I start to think about this year review, that I’ve now written for, what? …4 years? During a year I experience so many things. And I’m actually good at pressing pause and reflect on what I learn from this and that. But if I just let a year pass by and quickly put everything behind me, when I enter the new year… will I then be able to remember, what I learned?

So even though I find this task of writing about my findings, reflections, and learnings like too much to overcome, I still force myself to do it. Because I know, I’m happy about it when I’m done. And from what I’ve experienced these past years of doing so; my year review very often make other people think and reflect about their own life. This makes me happy. I’m a true believer of ‘sharing our stories’ as part of connecting people and making this place better.

So what you will read about in this post, is:
- My 2013 in general
- Work, holidays, family, and love life
- Reflections that popped up during the year
- And chosen photos from month to month

- – - – - – - – - – - -

TIME
Like I said in the title; my 2013 was about time. Most of the year I spent using time on work. And not really for my own sake. It got to a point, where I didn’t do anything else. I had no life besides work. Life was working. Every now and then I’d count the hours. Because when you’re still at work at 3 AM in the morning for the 3rd day in a row, you start to calculate, how many hours you’ve actually lived in your office for that week. And how many, or rather… how few hours you’ve slept. Even during weekends. Because you spend Sunday with 14 hours of work too.

I chose to focus on the successes, because when you work this much, you create a lot too. And there’s a lot of successes in between. But what starts to cause pain is when you notice all the things in your life, that you don’t spend as much time on anymore… if any time at all. You start to see yourself react in a way, you know for sure, is so not like you. You start to feel pain in your body. And pain in your head. And pain in your heart – from your true needs not being prioritized. And then you start to reflect on your values. What makes you happy in life. What you want in life. And it becomes obvious, that right now – and for way way way too long – you have put all these values aside.

When this comes to your attention new thoughts arrive. Because how to change this? What to do differently? Do I need help? And can I get it? Or am I on my own with this? Can I make the changes here? Or do I need to go to change? And where do I go? Am I sick and tired of what I do – or is it purely because I spend every hour awake on doing this, that I get these thoughts about escaping?

I didn’t want to escape. But I needed time away to connect with myself again. To see things clearly. To make decisions. And to go back and act on them. All this because:

I wasn’t true to myself anymore. I wasn’t true to my values.
I wanted my life back! And I wanted back Laura.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

WORK
I remember one day during the spring, when my good colleague Mads and I sat by the canal in Nyhavn after work eating an ice cream. “Laura, why do you do this?” he said – referring to the past 6 months, where I’d been working 70-80 hours per week after the former CEO quit his job. I looked at him, and told him honestly, that I didn’t do this for my own sake. I did this out of stubbornness and will; I didn’t want what happened at the agency to take away the job from one of our developers. And to come through this, I chose to focus on the good things. The successes, even the small ones, like a happy client calling you just because…

2013 has been my hardest year workwise ever. It has sucked out all energy. And I changed due to this. My life changed due to this.

I couldn’t be present
In February – after 4 months of working 70-80 hours pr. week – I noticed, that I hadn’t talked to either my mom or dad for a whole month. When they called me around 10 PM to check, if I was still alive, I looked at the phone display… and pressed the off button. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to be present and actually listen or give anything of myself, if I picked up the phone. And I’d rather home those 20 minutes earlier… at 2:30 AM.

In March my good house colleague Casper said a joke to tease me. And where I’d usually ping pong on this with yet another teasing comment in return, I told him off in a way, that made me realize, I’d completely lost my true, natural energy.

Missing becomes physical
In March I noticed how much I missed my friends. Every Sunday I looked into my time planner. I wanted to have a life besides work. I demanded to have a life besides work! So I let myself keep one of the plans during the upcoming week. Like a concert or a birthday party. And then I cancelled all other plans. This made me miss seeing and spending time with my friends. I even felt it in my body. And whenever I did see them, I was tired. And my mind was a thousand places, making it even harder to focus and to enjoy just being there.

It wasn’t about having fun while working anymore. It was about getting things done and get them out of the way. Working like a machine.

I learned how to manipulate myself
I’ve always known myself and my body very well. Which means, I also know my stress symptoms very well. I’ve worked in the advertising industry since 1999. So I’ve met these symptoms many times. But never ever to this extreme. And never ever for this long without a pause. During spring of 2013 I learned to manipulate all these stress symptoms. It was as if I knew exactly what minute to stand up or go and get something to drink. When to take 15 minutes in the fatboy chair, before continuing with 7 more hours of work. How much to stretch it… like at 2 AM when my sight started to blur, and my head hurt so much, and I knew I just needed to go straight to bed… but I kept working for yet another hour to get done. As if the work you do after a 16 hour work day is amazingly good.

When ever I went to the kitchen at work to get something to drink, I was hoping I wouldn’t meet anyone. Because when you meet people, you are expected to small talk. And the natural Laura would do this out of joy and normality. But I wasn’t myself. I couldn’t involve myself in my house colleague’s thoughts, projects, or weekends. I didn’t have time to listen. Or to chat. Their information was too much for me. I hated that it had come to this. But taking the time to chat with them in the kitchen wasn’t the way for me to change this.

Wanting to escape
May 2013 was the first time I started to ‘escape’. In my mind. I remember thinking: “What if I had a job… still in this digital, creative, innovative, business developing space… but in an environment, where you can actually have a life on the side. Where, if I leave from work at 6 PM, I’m the last one?”.

I’d gotten a new colleague, who’s temper I had a hard time dealing with. Mostly because he couldn’t control his temper. Twice a week I had to ask him to take a deep breath, and lower his voice when he spoke to the rest of us. We don’t have any employees with hearing problems. But we might get some, if this continued. One meter from us. With a pointing finger in our faces. Caused by frustrations or worries about things that could happen… but hadn’t happened. Sometimes I succeeded with avoiding these yelling temper situations, that not only was uncomfortable, but completely crossed my limits. But many times I couldn’t catch them as his temper escalated. So being yelled at became weekly happenings. And I found myself dealing with them in different ways as time passed by. From feeling empathy in the beginning, and trying to understand his personality. To getting angry because I couldn’t accept this behavior. To shutting my mouth and let him empty his verbal trash can on top of me, just closing my ears, and mentally putting a shield around me, until he’d used up all his energy, and I then were able to reach him with words in a sensible manner. Or tears. Sometimes after 25 minutes of frustrations being poured over me, my system was so tired, that silent tears would start to run from my eyes. And every time this happened, it was like my tears reached his vulnerability. “Laura, don’t cry. It’s not about you”, he’d say. And I’d respond with: “I know. But I’m the receiver of your temper. And you need to learn to control this! It makes me lose my respect for you. It makes me not able to reach you. I cannot accept this – on me or the other guys. I completely lose my energy every single time this happens”. Whenever I talked to the board about this, I got the same answer: “We really like that you guys have such different personalities. The company gains from this ‘good cop, bad cop’ combination”.

In May I started to look forward to my summer vacation – in August. Summer was the best time of work this year, because the office was quiet. The clients were gone on holiday. And I only worked 50-60 hours per week. I worked on some of the ideas, that I’d been putting away for more than a year due to lack of time. So finally I could press off on the machine – and work out of passion again.

I felt alone
During summer I remember thinking a lot about what stress is. And how you need help with this. I felt awfully alone with this issue, because it wasn’t taken seriously at work from my colleagues on my own level. Since I still looked (somewhat) appropriate and was still able to joke around and spread good vibes at work… I was still the same old Laura, right? Even though you can tell your friends about situations at work, they aren’t there everyday. And they never know how extreme this actually is. I had one colleague, who was worried about me. Many nights he’d chat me up on Skype telling me to go to bed. But in situations like this, you need the top level to take this serious. Which is hard, when they, too, don’t see you every day. And don’t experience for themselves, how extreme this is.

A boyfriend would have been a witness
I remember telling my friend Maria, that sometimes I was so happy, that I didn’t have a boyfriend. Because then I didn’t have yet another person expecting something from me. But on the other hand; if I had just had a boyfriend, I’d have a daily witness of this extreme way of living. Someone who’d say: “Laura, it’s not alright to come home from work at 3 AM 3 nights in a row… again this week”. Someone who’d be there, who’d listen, who’d protect me… and who I would protect from having such a tired, un-present girlfriend – never kissing him goodnight, until he’d already slept for hours.

I remember thinking: “Is stress something you’ve got, only if you chose to go to the doctor, so she can write it on a piece of paper?”. Because as long as you don’t have a breakdown – with loosing your voice or crying in front of a client in the middle of a presentation – then it’s not bad enough? So if I choose not to go to my doctor… and not to tell her… then I’m not stressed. Enough. Enough to be taken serious.

And as time pass by, and this is your daily life, things start to blur anyway. Things melt together. Your limits move. When limits are crossed, you find a new level to stand on. Or to survive on. To get through this.

I didn’t tell my doctor. Because I didn’t know what we’d do with the answer I knew for sure I’d get.

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SUMMER HOLIDAY
I planned my summer vacation very strategic. I needed time away to look at my life. To look at my values. What I want in life. How I want my life to be. How I want my every day to be. So I decided to only go places, I’d been before – and with family or friends, I really know well. And who I didn’t have to ‘be there for’. I needed to be there for myself.

First stop was Piemonte, Italy
The first week I went to my dad’s ex wife’s house in Piemonte in Italy – with her, my oldest younger brother Eske and his girlfriend Christina. I’ve been there before. And it was nice to go back and see this amazingly beautiful landscape again. Her house is located in a very non-touristy area, which makes the small nearby town called Ceva even more Italian. Very authentic. When I’m there I feel like I step right into the year of 1938.

I brought a book, that I’ve read before. I only read books, when I’m on vacation. And I’m a slow reader, so I never get very far. I’ve got many books on my bookshelves. Because there’s so much stuff in the world – put into books – that I’d love to learn about. But reading is not a great way for me to gain knowledge. I lose my concentration and I get tired.

During my vacation, the total vacation, I finished the book and started on the sequel. Which I haven’t read a single page in, since I got home… in September. But anyway… The last time I read both of the books was about 7 years ago. They are by Michael Newton and about the “Journey of Souls – case studies of life between lives”. I love these two books. Growing up I’ve always been interested in spirituality, personal development, psychology and topics like these. And when I read these books 7 years ago, it was the very first time, I ever read something where my own thoughts and beliefs on what life is and why we’re here and what happens next were put into words. They give me that feeling of confirmation, you know, that “yes, this is it… yes, I know… exactly, I’m with ya… aha, yeah, right”…

Returning to childhood memories in Christiansø, Denmark
Next destination was Christiansø – the isle of Christian, the easternmost part of Denmark. I went here for a week with my mom. As a child we always went here; me, my brothers and sisters, and my parents. Either camping or in our sailboat. Only 100 people live here. The place is truly magical. You’re in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Far from everything. Completely dependent of the weather situation. High season had just ended. And my mom and I blended in with the locals. This week was about revisiting childhood memories, feeling close to nature, being close to history… the place tells a thousand stories from its past – as a fortress with soldiers and prisoners in a way, that you can still visualize the soldiers on guard, when you walk home at night with fresh water to your cabin…

This week was also about silence. Just sitting of the rocks with my mother and a blanket. Looking at the sea, listening to the sea gulls, reading in a book, or taking a nap… and the only todo of the day was deciding what to eat.

Andalusia, Spain – and what I didn’t want
I spent the 3rd week of vacation in Andalusia, Spain, with my good friend Tobias. I’ve been there before, and it’s such a beautiful and relaxing place. We ate well, hung out in the sun, and swam in the ocean. And listened to Moderat’s track Bad Kingdom, almost, on repeat. The chorus “This is not what you wanted. Not what you had in mind” pin pointed exactly, how I felt about life back home in Copenhagen. Work life.

I cried my eyes out one night, while telling Tobias about the situations at work. At this time I was so frustrated. And sad. All these thoughts had nothing to do with what else I wanted instead. I just didn’t want it this way.

During the week in Spain I noticed something incredible one day. My headache was gone! The strong ache in my temples in each side of my head had gone. I couldn’t remember any day in 2013 where it hadn’t been there. It had become part of being awake. But yay! It was gone with the Mediterranean wind.

Unfortunately the headache returned the very night before going back to work…

My dad’s house in Sweden
I extended vacation with 4 days in Sweden with my close friend Maria. We both needed time for peace and quietness, girl talk, huge brunch tables in the mornings, long walks in the woods, starring at the lake, listening to the sounds of nature, and talks about values, work life, balance, and love life, while putting more wood in the fireplace, and look at it burn, as if it was TV. And eating cake and cheap Swedish candy.

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MORE WORK
The good thing about returning to work in September, was, that I felt straight away, how much I really love what I do. I felt the drive – and how proud I got and how much energy I gained, when a client phoned me that day with pure compliments. Due to my many thoughts about work the past time, I’d been worried about, if all this had made me lose my interest in my job and the industry.

We run
I’ve always felt, that the ad industry is an unhealthy one to work in if you’re in your 30’s and have a leadership position. The demands are high. And consistent. And you very often think, that nothing will ever be good enough. Whenever you make something good or reach the target, you just need to do it even better the next time. And even though we celebrate with hugs, high-fives, or even fancy dinners and drinks – you barely get to swallow your food, because you need to run into the next meeting about the next briefing for the next project to reach the new goals. We run and run and run and run…

A thousand questions
The first couple of days in September, I was extremely frustrated. I knew I needed to do something about my situation. But I wasn’t sure what yet. I didn’t want to let down the guys at work and just leave as if I didn’t care for them. But I didn’t want this. I’ve never thought about leaving the industry. But now I did. Because would I be able to find an agency, where people worked ‘normal’ hours. And would work life outside of agency life suit me at all? Wouldn’t I get bored? Or feel that everything went awfully too slow? Would it be creative enough for me? What would a hybrid digital creative like me do outside of the ad industry? Would they put me in a box? And make me work with just one area? Who was I outside of advertising and digital? I’ve grown up in this industry. I came here 14 days after high school, when I was 20 years old – and I never left. Part of my identity is here. I know this industry. And I know what to do here – and how we do stuff here. Really, this industry is all I know. I know what I love about this industry. And what is challenging and hard. And unhealthy. But it’s still home to me. Would I feel at home in another industry? Would I even want to, really?

Saying it out loud
I started talking to a few people about my thoughts. The people closest to me. Which helped. Saying these things out loud, which I’d mainly kept to myself all through the year. When you work in a small industry like advertising, in a small city like Copenhagen, you cannot speak freely about thoughts of quitting your job. Because your word spreads like fire.

And the very first thing, people will ask you, when you mention these thoughts, is: “Then what do you want to do?”

But this wasn’t about the replacement.

In the beginning of September I found out, how hard it is to find another job while having a 70-hour work week. Someone asked me to come and visit them for an interview. But having no spare time in your calendar, when do you make this happen? And will you even be able to actually take in the vibes from this new place? Are you able of feel what you want?

Then something important happened…

I got angry
During a meeting, when I got more tasks pointed out for me to do, and I asked us to be reasonable, a colleague of mine looked at me very frustrated and said: “I get so annoyed with you mentioning work hours. So what if you need to work for 10 more hours per week. It’s just for a period of time”. This sentence got important to me – especially coming from someone who only worked 40 hours per week. Because 10 more hours for me would be 80. And I’d done this all through winter time. And I never want to do the same ever again. “Just for a period of time” was not true. The period of time had already started way back in September 2012. And I’d been working like this for 12 months now. So this wasn’t “a period of time” to me. At all! This was my life! How my life had become.

So finally I got angry.

Actually I got furious. I just didn’t show it then. I silenced. Because spending more energy wasn’t worth it. As I biked home from work, I saw a postman in his vehicle. I remember thinking: “What if I had a job, where I just needed to do stuff. Not really using my head. Just deliver, and then leave”. Of course I knew, that a job like this would bore the brain out of me within just 2 days. But it could be an escape. Later this evening I thought the same thing about the waiter: “What if I should just serve people and make them happy. And never be forced to constantly make up new stuff”. If I had a job like this, imagine all the cool projects I could do in my spare time. Of course I know I was stereotyping big time. But it was clear to me, that I had these escape-thoughts once more.

Anger is useful for pushing things away
That night out I was so angry. Which made me not care. And I needed this. Because I’d cared way too much about my work place and my colleagues for far too long. The great thing about anger is, that it’s extremely useful with helping you to push things or people away from you. Anger helped me with this.

The very next day, I felt huge sorrow. Because what happened inside of me would change my everyday life. I’ve put so much work and effort into my job and agency, into the clients, and into my awesome colleagues. And what I knew I had to do, would put myself in a completely new situation without these people. Who I cared for. And without all the work, that we’d build up. And then what? What’s next? What would I do? I cried on the phone with my mom that day. And with my friend Maria too. And then I went to bed – only to wake up in a completely calm state of mind…

The rise of the totem pole
During my sleep it was as if a solid totem pole had risen up through my spine. And this one sentence was clear – and made me feel peace and comfort: “I don’t want this. And that’s all I need to know”.

So a week later I went to the board telling them, that I didn’t want to be partner in the agency anymore. I knew saying this out loud would have huge consequences. Because when saying this, you also say: “I’m not part of the team anymore”. I needed for the board to take action, instead of myself. Because this would give me more time. Time I needed to get in touch with myself again. To find Laura again. And my true energy and being.

I got fired
Two weeks later I got fired. The agency are closing down my position and returning to their core business; being a code house and a subcontractor for other agencies.

I not only felt a huge relief. I felt free.

My last 3 months of working with the agency I spent working from my home office – finishing up projects and assignments. I noticed, that after just one week of working from home, my creativity returned. And also my energy for creating new stuff. Side projects. For years, whenever I’d gotten a great idea for something, it had made me kind of frustrated. Because I never had time to actually develop any of it. But now I could. Now I felt the energy. Now I could build my own stuff and turn ideas into execution. One of the projects being Mindre End Tre, which a lot of Danish tweeps got to know very well during December.

I made new findings within myself during these last 3 months of 2013. Besides feeling inspired and feeling creative again, I also felt extremely tired. For the past 3 years I’d been used to sleeping only 5-6 hours per night. Now I needed to sleep 9-10 per night. It scared me a bit. Hello stress relieve. But I accepted this. And didn’t try to force it being any different.

I found a new life sentence too, that I started to live from: “I want my life back”.

This sentence was in the back of my head every day. Changing how things were – into how I wanted things. With my family, my friends, my love life, my hobbies… everything but work. I didn’t spend time on worrying about work and the “what’s next” issue. I spent time on focusing on life besides work. I started to think, how I want more challenges outside of work. Not hard ones, of course. Challenges as in focus. Like learning how to sing better. Or learning how to speak Spanish better. Like getting a boyfriend. Saying yes instead of the constant no, when a nice cool guy asks me out.

I just needed to deal with a few more things… like my apartment.

Fundamental change
The very first week of working from home, I discovered a huge water damage in my kitchen. Water came up from the kitchen floor! For 2-3 weeks all the water that I’d been using in the kitchen hadn’t reached the downpipe due to a major leak. Instead it had run down to the basement – and filled up the floor separation. Only for me to discover this, when the floor separation was so full of water, that it came up through my kitchen floor.

3 months has just past. And even though I’ve went through the hell of living with a noisy dehumidifier, a broken floor – and then a new floor, it’s still an on-going situation. Because the carpenters didn’t do the floor correctly. And they need to come out and either fix it quite a few places. Or start all over and getting the new floor off to fix the old floor underneath and then put yet another new floor on top. How things like this can make you tired!

As I talked to my dad about though… this water damage was quite symbolic: What I experienced was indeed a true change of fundament. I need new grounds to stand on.

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I WANT A NEW JOB
This New Year’s Eve meant more to me than the past couple of New Years. December 31st was my last day at my old agency. And from January 1st 2014 I’m free to find a new job.

I’m also ready for a new job. I’ve needed these past 3 months to finish off my old job. And finding myself again. And I’ve needed the time to not think about work at all. This means, that I’ve only told the people, I met anyway about my work situation. Which have generated interesting meetings and contacts. But nothing that I’ve committed myself to yet. I am looking at this as a fine opportunity to talk to different companies, also the ones I wouldn’t have considered interesting to me workwise just a few years back. But now I look at the non-agency industry with an open mind too – because I’ve seen how many of the companies here have moved into a digital space the past couple of years, where I’d be able to find the exciting challenges and projects, I like working with.

One of the next couple of days I’ll post a blog post (in Danish), where I’ll be more specific with what I’ve worked with for the past +14 years, what I love doing, and what I’d love to find in my next job.

I want a job:
- in the creative, digital, innovative space
- probably within communication, innovation, marketing, relation, or advertising
- in an environment with talented passionate people
- in a down to earth culture, where people have a life besides work, even due to their passion for it

I know, that I’m driven by ‘making a difference’. This is why I like to build up things too. Instead of only managing and running projects. I love to touch people. With creating that flow, mechanism, communication or concept, that makes a difference to them – either through making things easier or more effective, or making them think, touching their hearts, or making them act or involve themselves.

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LOVE
In May 2013 I was talking to a friend, Thomas, from the same industry as me. Both of us were single. And we were sitting one night after work by one of the Copenhagen canals looking at the water while having a coffee. We talked about love life. And what was extremely clear to me, was that I didn’t have a boyfriend because I worked as much as I did.

Writing a review of your year, like I’ve done for the past couple of years, makes some things stand out! For the past 3 years in a row, I’d been writing extremely similar year reviews; with how I was working too much, sleeping way too little, and how I hadn’t fallen in love.

I’d changed my behavior to protect myself
I told my friend by the canal, that for the past 8 months I had barely given any man a chance. When I went out with my friends, and a man was smiling at me and trying to get eye contact, I’d act very un-true to myself and look away as quick as possible. If he was consisting, and tried to make a move and come over to talk to me, I very quickly had to go to the restroom or to the bar – just to get away from the conversation.

I didn’t want more people in my life having hopes or expectations to me. And involving myself with a new guy would create exactly this. Not to mention: When will you be able to get to know each other, when you can only offer time for coffee on a specific date 5 weeks from now.

It wasn’t that I lived in complete celibacy. I was just very stingy with my time. And I had to be almost overwhelmed by “there’s something so extraordinary in this chemistry between us, that I need to find out more”.

I didn’t like my new behavior. Not looking people in their eyes. Not being outgoing. Not interacting with new people and strangers. None of this was being the true me. But I was very aware of the behavior. I used it to survive during this phase in my life. Even though it wasn’t what I wanted. I used it to help me focus on the friends I went out with. Or myself.

You don’t get a boyfriend when acting like this.

Focusing on my love life
So in September, when I decided, that I wanted back my life, I also decided to focus on my love life as part of this ‘I want Laura back’ path. I should say yes more often. Yes to coffee, a beer, a walk in the hood or forest. I should give men a chance. Not all, of course. But whenever my curiosity was awaken.

After two weekends in a row, where I’d been out with friends (who are couples), I noticed, that you don’t necessarily talk to any interesting hot stranger, just because you go out. So if I wanted to focus on this, I’d have to ‘put myself out there’ more. So I decided to give internet dating a chance, to open up even more opportunities. And to be able to ‘surf’ through potential ‘I want to get to know you better’ men on a normal Wednesday evening…

Putting myself out there
10 minutes after my registration, I was about to delete my profile! Because my God! When you’re the ‘new lady’ on a platform like this, the welcoming from the men are overwhelming. It’s like they barely look at you – they just want a chance for me to check them out. You get so many irrelevant e-mails from men, who find you exciting or attractive. But who hasn’t thought this through on second; would I ever find him attractive? It’s written pretty clearly, that in general I’m not attracted to men more than 5-6 years above or below my own age. So no… I’m sorry – you’re too much like my little brother. Or you look way way too ‘grown up’ for me to ever be sexual attracted to you… another way of saying old. Thank you for liking my pictures. But have you checked your own? Thank you for finding me interesting, but could you seriously see our lives potentially unite and melt together one day? …our lifestyles and interests being completely opposite.

Politeness is tricky online
The good thing is that after just a couple of weeks, it does become that extra window to look through, alongside of meeting people the old analogue way. I just needed to learn how to reject people faster, without sounding rude. Online it’s like men compare “she responded to my mail with answers to my questions” with “then she must be super into me”. Politeness is tricky online. It’s one of the most easiest things to misunderstand – or put more in to.

I dislike secret people
One of the very first e-mails I got on this dating platform, was a man writing: “Your last name is Jul, right?”. There was no hi or no bye, or no mentioning of his own name. So I found this super shallow. Almost arrogant. And I was just reminded how much I dislike ‘secret’ people. People who give nothing of themselves! So I wrote him back with a sentence almost as short: “Why question, when you already know? Regards, Laura Jul”.

A fine add on
To support platforms like this, I have to say, that yes – even though I hear myself say ‘eww’ inside my head, when ever men around 50 has been checking out my profile – or even worse, when they write… and even though it feels completely overwhelming and full of just irrelevant opportunities, you are able to find interesting likeminded people in there… and a lot of your friends… and hot models and ugly weirdos and a whole lot in between. But out of 400 men looking at you, 5 of them are actually good-looking and present themselves as someone, you can see yourself have coffee with. So it’s a fine ‘add on’ to meeting new people on a normal week day.

I don’t do dates on cafés
Meeting men this way and going on dates reminded me of situations that I had basically been avoiding for the past 8 months. How I really don’t like the typical ‘date’ situation. How I avoid having coffee in a café, I usually go to – because I know for sure, that I’ll meet people I know. And this situation is private to me. In the beginning. I want to avoid the situation of the “we’re new with each other” – how everyone besides us listens to our conversation, because what you ask each other in the very beginning reveals that you don’t even know how he takes his coffee. And a public space like this doesn’t create the surroundings, that will make me more interested in him… like digging deeper into topics, that I find interesting. That makes me get to know him better. The topics or life experiences with learnings from love, pain, damage or suffering. Being able to ask how come – and getting the true answer. And not the “we’re at a public café, where every one can listen” answer.

I also like privacy on a first date better, because it allows me to get physical, when I want. And not when and how it’s appropriate.

You need to be chosen
I’ve been thinking about how important it is – to everyone – that you’re chosen! That the other person chooses you. Seriously, guys… and ladies for that matter… don’t keep on writing someone and trying to get someone, if the person never writes you! There’s a big difference in answering a text or e-mail – and writing one. Notice, if you are the one who get in touch always… and she is the one just answering you. Or chats in return. If she never writes you first – or never starts the conversation – she’s not into you enough! Let her go then. There’s much truth in the saying “Set her free. She’ll come back, if blah blah blah”. You need someone who wants you. Not someone who’s just polite enough to answer you.

And be vulnerable. Say what you want. If what you want is ‘get to know you better’, say it. If what you want is ‘just tonight’, say it. Honesty and being brave will make you go far – and with the right people as companions. With less misunderstandings and less hurt feelings afterwards. I have always wondered why this is so hard to so many people. Everyone wants things to be easy. Especially relations. Yet they put complication on top of complication in to it with their insecurity, their fear of showing true feelings, their masks, their games, their fear of rejection. Rejection may hurt. But fact is, that if you get rejected, you’re not made for each other. At least not as the situation is right now. So there’s really no harm done. He wasn’t the next ‘right one’ for you. So why spend more energy on this?

There’s a huge comfort and acceptance in saying: “I’ve been honest to myself. And also to you. I’ve done, what I could. And that is all I can do”.

So put your cards on the table, where we can both see them. Right next to mine. So together we can play the same game. With honesty and clear sight.

Insecurity is a contagious disease. It can affect even the brave ones. I wish more people would be brave – and dare to be vulnerable. I think vulnerability makes everything more… sharp. Pain hurts more. True. But not for as long. Because you don’t protect yourself from it. You allow yourself to feel it! And the body – or mind – cannot feel this amount of pain for a very long time in a row. So it softens with time. Vulnerability also makes the happy situations even more happy – because your heart is straight open. And you feel the happiness run through your body. You don’t just experience it with your mind. Vulnerability add more to life – in both ends of the spectrum. But I believe this is what life’s about; not going through it being all numb. But gaining and learning from what hurts. And what “happys”.

I like my new focus
Ones love life is truly something you need to choose. And I am grateful I finally decided to focus on it, because it brings a lot of great experiences. And kisses. And sex that tells you, you don’t need to see this guy again. And hot and fun and passionate steamy sex that tells you, you want more of him. And reminders to me about how I love living the couple’s life; Doing things together, thinking about each other, the fun, interesting or touching conversations – during the breaks from having sex… If I am to continue my life with getting only 5-6 hours of sleep each night, I want sex to be the reason instead of work.

The digital clean up
A thing that makes me wonder, which you become aware of when being single, is how many single people, who never ‘clean up’ in their digital space. When you and a boyfriend split up, it’s the most normal thing in the world to take down photos from your living room wall of you and him in Thailand. You and him in love. You and him as partners and family. These photos belong to your past. And therefore you get rid of them, like putting them in the ‘memory box’ in the basement. You never look at them. Because you’re done with him. But you’ve got them. Unless of course you throw them out, because your memory is enough.

You couldn’t blame a man, coming to my place and seeing pictures of me and my old boyfriend, for wondering, if I was still living in my past. Or hoping to return to my past. If I was still keeping photos of me and my ex as my screen saver or on the night counter… in my analogue home… you couldn’t blame the new guy for wondering whether I was ready for something new, right? Or stuck in the past?

The odd thing is, that people forget about this cleanup in their digital home! When you have someone over for the first time in your analogue home, you show them around. This is me. This is where and how I live. Today, when you get facebook friends, people show themselves around. But you are still the one who decides, which doors are open! You decide if albums, or down to the exact photo, of you and your ex, is to be exhibited and shown for all your friends. Or if it’s really just a private matter.

I don’t get, why people don’t do a digital cleanup after a breakup. There’s a thousand relevant ways to show a potential new girlfriend about your past love life. When the timing is right. But I don’t find facebook as being one of them. Because you’re not there for the conversation about it. It’s easy to un-tag yourself. To take down albums or photos and save them locally on your computer or in your cloud – like you do in the basement with the memory box. Or to just privatize them. I am aware that many, with ex (or even ex ex) girl/boyfriend photos on their fb-profile, don’t look at them themselves. But then why should others? Make yourself relevant. And present. For now. You’re past is relevant for sure! But not in every single detail.

Men with a package
During the past couple of years I’ve met some men with a kid from an earlier relationship. Every time this happens conversation about ‘replacement’ shows up. What is obvious is, that a parent have no problem with the thought of their own girlfriend acting as a step parent to their kid. Actually they just love the thought. Because they’ve chosen her… me. And they have feelings for me themselves. But. Even though they are fine with their ex girlfriend getting a new boyfriend, what they fear the most is this new boyfriend acting like a parent to their kid! Taking a father’s role. Their father’s role. The exact same fear as the kid’s mom thinks about me. Me – or the new boyfriend – will we be able to replace them? Will their kid like us better than them?

And truth is, that yes – sometimes! Every kid sometimes finds mommy or daddy annoying. And prefers someone else. But sometimes they’ll find me and mommy’s new boyfriend annoying too. Or all of us. But fact is: We can never replace.

I’ve been the kid with parents, who probably had these kinds of fears at some point way back then. My parents got divorce when I was 6, my mom and her husband when I was 15, and my dad and his wife when I was 21. But what I’ve always loved was my parents: My 6 parents. None of the 4 step parents or parents of my half siblings can ever replace my mom and dad. But I have always felt like the luckiest kid in the world – having 6 grown ups in my life, who loved me, supported me, and wanted the best for me in life.

Whenever I meet a man who has a kid, and I see and hear about his fear of replacement, I tell him about the kid’s perspective. The perspective which is so often forgotten, when couples split up. Imagine receiving love from 6 grown ups – or 4 as it is in most situations. It’s possible to give your kid this upbringing, if you – the adult – work on your respect and cooperation with your ex and her new boyfriend. For your kid. And for yourself and your new girlfriend.

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FAMILY
Every year I drop a few lines about my observations or experiences with members of my family. I’ve got a big one, you know. Many brothers and sisters. And many parents. I love it.

Becoming a man
During 2013 I’ve seen my youngest brother grow into a stronger and more secure man. And I’m so very proud of him. For the past couple of years I’ve seen him be the bravest as he’s ever been. Looked himself in the eyes, even when insecurity and worries would look back. Faced them. And worked he ass off inside himself to make the changes. To become someone who stands tall. And even though he’s still not the first to open the conversation when he’s out, what comes out of his mouth is thought through and clear. The gaining of self-esteem has affected his education- and work life. Not to mention his love life. And truly shows how being brave and honest with yourself – and building up yourself through hard work can make you change your life into the one, you want to live. A life – and a change – you can be proud of too. And on top of all this, he’s still as sensitive, helpful and compassionate as always. Now even better.

Working for it
My youngest sister is my sister and friend. We were born 11 years apart. And therefore our lives are at completely different stages. Nevertheless she’s one of my siblings, who I’ve got the most – personality wise – in common with. She’s one of the people in the world, that I laugh with the most – as in laughing so you cry your eyes out. And she’s the one I cry with the most too – as in crying your eyes out from being touched by… well, youtube clips and all this emo stuff, that we find online and show each other. I am still her big sister. And she is still my little sister. I doubt that this will ever change, because this lies deep in our personalities – and in our relation, no matter how ‘alike’ our age and stages of life time will turn us into being. I admire her; how she manages 2 jobs besides her university life, beside getting good grades, and getting into universities around the world, still being a good friend to her friends, a lovely girlfriend – and an awesome and sweet sister to me. I love that she doesn’t let things stand in the way for her goals for her educations, not even love. Because she knows, that she’s still young. And this is what she needs to do. She’s so true to herself. Also in her love life.

Change of roles
During the past couple of years I’ve seen more and more situations where the ‘parent – daughter’ role start to change… or equal out. It’s as if we’re in the transformation time, where I take over with more of the things, that used to be purely my parent’s “job”. Their responsibilities are no longer just theirs. We are grown up kids. And they are starting to get older. All of my parents are bright and well. But my dad’s overview is not the same anymore. My mom’s legs won’t walk as far anymore. My step mom’s patience isn’t as big anymore. So the roles change. And I step in more. With planning, gathering, hosting…

She melted
During spring my mom got aware of a lump in her throat. Which she told me about. Not wanting to tell my other sibling about it. Because she didn’t want to worry them. She’s had a lump in that same area twice before – the first one about 20 years ago. But this time it felt differently. And the doctors couldn’t say straight away whether this was a good or bad sign. Or if this was a benign or malignant lump.

I wanted to join her at the hospital, when receiving the answer. Whether this was cancer – this 3rd time. It was obvious to me, that she would have never asked me herself. To not be a burden. But I felt her relief all the way through the phone when telling her, that I’d go with her. No one should receive information like this by themselves.

It was hard for me that I couldn’t tell my siblings. Especially since I started to feel my mom’s concern stronger and stronger. The night before the hospital appointment she was so worried, because this 3rd time felt so differently, that she didn’t behave like her natural calm self.

You don’t get much sleep on a night before an appointment like this. Knowing, that the message you’ll receive at 10:15 AM the next morning, can change your life in a split second. Not to mention your mom’s life. I was really glad that I could go with her. That she shouldn’t be alone. And that I could hold her hand and look at her, not only facial expression, but whole body expression, as the two serious doctors told her, that there was no cancer in the lump. Yet she needed an operation. It was as if her body melted in the chair… a hundred tears at a time. I saw indeed what relief looks like.

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IN GENERAL
There’s so much fear in the world. And I have a hard time getting why. Well, I know why. But I don’t get why people allow it. Why they chose not to work harder on not living in fear constantly.

Everyone just wants to be seen. Seen as who they really are. And yet at the same time; everyone is so afraid of showing and telling who they really are. No wonder they aren’t seen then.

Fear frustrates me
Fear creates more fear. Two people can sit right across each other, smiling and laughing – but still be covered in fear. One opens a conversation, but doesn’t tell the whole story, because of fear on what the other person will say. The other person feels that the first person isn’t telling the whole story, which makes him feel uncomfortable and this create the reaction to protect himself… too. So two people meet – and spend time protecting themselves towards their own ideas and fears on how the other person will think or react towards them. So many people live in the fear of rejection. We’ve probably done this ever since the story of man began in East Africa. We know, that Homo Sapiens survived due to our cooperation skills. So not being good a cooperating or fitting in – or being liked by the others – would reject us. And we’d be alone. And we’d die. But seriously; is it not time to change behavior then? To work on this fear? To open up? To be honest? Honest to ourselves too?

I must have a strategy
I get misunderstood quite often, due to the fact, that I have – on this planet – an odd way of apparently living with less fear than the majority. This makes this planet a hard one to live on, I think. Because in some people’s eyes I am too honest and too direct. I must have a strategy with being honest, they seem to think. Some kind of hidden agenda.

A consequence of all this ‘living with fear’ is analyzing. When people keep the truths away from each other due to fear, they analyze what they think the person means. Not considering, that she means exactly what she says. So people will start to analyze on truth and make up own stories. Like if I complement a man in the bar for how the color of his shirt suits him. It’s actually a compliment to the match between the guy and the color he’s wearing. It’s not me saying: “I find you hot. I want to kiss you”. But I made him feel seen. And since this isn’t everyday experience, he will now misunderstand my behavior – because he is not used to honesty. Or being seen.

It was still a compliment
When I want to get to know someone better, I say: “I would like to get to know you better”. I don’t sit around and wait for him to say it first – in fear of being rejected by him. I just say it. Or write it. It’s really very simple. And if I get rejected, we weren’t supposed to get to know each other better. Nevertheless “I would like to get to know you better” was still a compliment to him. And an honest one indeed. So both of us are happy. Him with getting an honest compliment. Me with being true to myself and making a man feel seen.

I’d love to see more daring in the world. More braveness. Less fear of losing or being rejected. Screw rejection. It hurts for such a short time if you deal with it honestly. Rejection helps you find out, who you’re not supposed to be with. Or work with. Or hang out with. Or have sex with. At this point in life. It helps you find a better path. With people who chooses you.

Turning 35
I’ve always loved my age! I feel my age. Even though people my age feel so many different ways – and live their lives in so many different ways. But for the first time ever I had thoughts about getting a year older. Because what about my life plans? The family plans? What about the ‘getting married and having kids’ situation.

I’ve always felt blessed, that I only think about having kids, when I’m in a relationship. When I’m not, I feel completely calm about the ‘kid situation’, because I’ve always known for sure, that I will in fact have kids. And that 3 kids are waiting for me.

But! Even though I’ve re-thought this situation over time… that I might not give birth to all 3 kids myself, because at this age it’s quite common to meet someone with one or two already given birth to… then still – will I give birth to my first-born as a 38 year-old? 12 years ago I would have never thought so!

I felt this ‘pressure’ for a couple of days. And then it disappeared again. I’m very sure everything will turn out exactly how it should be.

Ending a 9 year relationship
In December I went to the hospital again. This time to have my 5-years appointment at the oral and maxillofacial surgery department. 5 years ago I went through a big surgery in my jaw – increasing the width in the top jaw and extending the jaw in the bottom… with metal and screws. The planning of this started 9 years ago, when my dentist found out, how much having a small mouth and an unequal bite affected my head (aches), neck, shoulders, and back.

Through all this time I’ve been in the hands of the same team at the hospital. And even though I’ve been in more pain, than I hope, no other person should ever experience, I’ve always felt taken care of by these people. Especially my surgeon Thomas, who was ‘the young hope’, back when I met him the first time. And now the head of the department – with hints of grey hair – as we closed my case in December.

I felt sad and grateful at the same time, biking home from the hospital. During these 9 years Thomas has cut in hundreds of peoples faces. And made a difference to them. The department is always busy. Way way too busy. And since he’s one of the leaders, you need to wait extra, whenever something urgent comes up due to accidents. Still he is able to focus on you as soon as his assistant calls your name. He makes you feel at home and feel safe. He lets you know, that he takes care of you – because he actually does. This is not just a job. This is not just something, he comes to get paid for. He actually does this to help you. And you feel this.

I am grateful for getting him as my surgeon. And grateful for the sweet dear nurses. It’s so weird saying goodbye to a team, especially a surgeon, who you know professionally, but who literally got under your skin, because they’ve seen you and been with you during the most crazy time in your life. The most painful time. The most odd time. The time you looked the least like yourself. Completely vulnerable – and in their hands. A man comes to your hospital bed, he holds your hand and says, that everything will be just fine. You know that in 10 minutes, they will put you to sleep. The same man, who just held your hand, will now hold a knife in his hand instead. He’ll do a 7-hour surgery… in your face. And you’ll be awake – in the worst pain ever imaginable – after 15 hours. Not recognizing yourself until 15 days later… somewhere far behind these eyes, due to all this swelling. You do this out of trust. And I am deeply grateful that my surgeon’s personality and talent was trustworthy.

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THE BLOG
You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged as frequently during 2013. I have needed to downscale my ambitions. I used to post new stuff Monday to Friday. Now I tend to skip a day or two during these five weekdays. And my holidays have made me leave the blog empty for longer periods of time. I’m not fond of this. But it’s been important due to too much work. And too little time. Thinking about how busy I’ve been, it’s quite incredible how much I’ve actually blogged though! Because it takes an extreme amount of time. It’s something I chose to do to keep myself updated. And when you don’t got as much time to go out in the fresh air to find the inspiration, it’s nice that you can find inspiring stuff from all over the world with just a few clicks.

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I DARE YOU
Have you actually read this far? …and without skipping a chapter or two? If so, I’m impressed. And honored. And very grateful. I find sharing important. And every year, when I make myself write this thing – what feels like a dairy for a whole year in one big chunk – I’m moved by the response I receive afterwards. I rarely get many blog comments on this post though. I don’t get many personal comments in public either. Me being open – and  public about my life once a year – doesn’t necessarily make others be the same. Which I totally get. But I would like to dare this matter!

I get a lot of personal stories sent to me in private e-mails. From readers, who I know or don’t know, who got touched by my words or felt recognized. Or who just want to compliment the ‘novel’ and the naked view into my life. Yet another year. I love getting the response, because it shows me, that it makes sense for me to sit down and get sore eyes from the screen light for this many days in a row it takes for me to write it. Even though the stories and thoughts in this writing are mine, I know that many of them are universal. And through this we connect. If you let me know. So it goes both ways.

Writing about my year makes my learnings stay for longer. They don’t just slip away. Through taking the time to reflect, I think I can live a life with less thinking as I continue. And more knowing! Because I once thought all I needed to do on this topic, until I found my truth – for the time being anyway. Allowing me to live a life with more certainty. And maybe less repetition of fails. Or at least making it obvious to me, what dysfunctional patterns I continue doing – because I wrote about this last year too. So I still haven’t changed the way I do it. And I need to, if I want things to be different.

What I want to say here too is… if you consider sending me your thoughts or your story, because me writing about my year made you think about yours… then I ask you to consider to share this ‘out loud’. As a blog comment. Instead of a private mail. Just consider this. In the name of sharing. And connecting with each other.

If your consideration ends in fear, my e-mail is: laura@laurajul.dk  ;) You’re also welcome to be brave without being public. I just needed to dare you a little.

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THANK YOU
For reading this far. For following my blog. For following me… and my life.

May you be true to yourself and others, may you learn – and get stronger.
And may 2014 be about living, rather than surviving.
Kindest regard,
Laura

quotes_About-changing-your-life

THESE ARE MY CHOSEN INSTAGRAMS FROM MY 2013:

LauraJul_01 A_January 2013JANUARY 2013: Me being tired

LauraJul_01 B_January 2013JANUARY 2013: One of the beautiful perspectives on riding your bike home from work at 3:30 AM is, that you’ve got the city to yourself. This night new snow had fallen. And I ran over an angel. I only saw this, as I crossed it

LauraJul_02 A_February 2013FEBRUARY 2013: Working from my local café and hangout during weekends

LauraJul_02 B_February 2013FEBRUARY 2013: One of this year’s many concerts at Vega. This is The Passenger at Lille Vega. Such a humorous personality and awesome storyteller

LauraJul_03 A_SXSW in Austin Texas_March 2013MARCH 2013: At the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas

LauraJul_03 B_SXSW in Austin Texas_March 2013MARCH 2013: Waiting for the taxa to arrive with good friends at SXSW.
More photos here

LauraJul_03 C_SXSW in Austin Texas_March 2013MARCH 2013: Incredible view from the airplane on the way home from SXSW. When flying across the US, I listened to Bon Iver’s Holocene on repeat while thinking about a side project, I’d been keeping in my mental drawer for a year and a half. I finally had some spare time to do notes of this project. And during summer I finally had the notes put into a presentation. The project is about storytelling items. And reflecting on this and listening to the vulnerable voice of Justin Vernon, while flying above the earth almost made me cry

LauraJul_03 D_Art by Leigh Ledare_March 2013MARCH 2013: At the Leigh Ledare exhibition at Charlottenborg in Copenhagen

LauraJul_04 A_April 2013APRIL 2013: I bought this vintage S on a trip home to my childhood island, Bornholm

LauraJul_04 B_Tara Donovan_April 2013APRIL 2013: From a trip to the awesome Tara Donovan exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art with my mom and some of my siblings

LauraJul_05 A_May 2013MAY 2013: In May the sun was shining lovely. This is from inside a local café

LauraJul_05 B_May 2013MAY 2013: One of my favorite places in Copenhagen. The J.C. Jacobsens Garden at Carlsberg. Once the private garden to the founder of Carlsberg, J.C. Jacobsen’s private residence. Now a secret tiny park for the public

LauraJul_06 A_June 2013JUNE 2013: Walking home from a meeting. The sight was pure yellow

LauraJul_06 B_Midsummer_June 2013JUNE 2013: Midsummer’s Night – with good friends and the loveliest Copenhagen atmosphere by the Christianshavn Canals

LauraJul_07 A_Roskilde Festival_July 2013JULY 2013: At the Roskilde Festival

LauraJul_07 B_Roskilde Festival_July 2013JULY 2013: Great vibes at the Roskilde Festival

LauraJul_07 C_July 2013JULY 2013: Going for a swim in the public pools at the Copenhagen Harbor

LauraJul_07 D_Sweden_July 2013JULY 2013: A weekend in my dad’s house in Sweden picking lots of berries

LauraJul_07 E_Sweden_July 2013JULY 2013: My dad’s wonderful house in Össjöa, Småland, Sweden

LauraJul_08 A_Italy_August 2013AUGUST 2013: My oldest younger brother checking the view from the back side of my dad’s ex wife’s house in Piemonte, Italy. Such an extraordinary place

LauraJul_08 B_Italy_August 2013AUGUST 2013: Me posing in Barolo, Italy

LauraJul_08 C_Bornholm_August 2013AUGUST 2013: Looking at the rock called “The Lion’s Heads” on my childhood island, Bornholm. It’s located by Hammershus – Northern Europe’s largest medieval fortification

LauraJul_08 D_Bornholm_August 2013AUGUST 2013: A cute Bed & Breakfast my mom and I walked by on a walk from Gudhjem up to Helligdomsklipperne on Bornholm

LauraJul_08 E_Christiansø_August 2013AUGUST 2013: The view from “Big Tower” on Christiansø (The Isle of Christian) towards “Small Tower” on Frederiksø (The Isle of Frederik)

LauraJul_08 F_Christiansø_August 2013AUGUST 2013: The cute little cabin “The Blue Cock” where we stayed on Christiansø

LauraJul_08 G_Spain_August 2013AUGUST 2013: Me chilling by the infinity pool at the place in Almunécar, Spain, my friend Tobias and I rented through AIRBNB

LauraJul_08 H_Spain_August 2013AUGUST 2013: The extraordinary place of La Alhambra de Granada in Spain.
So very impressive

LauraJul_09 A_Sweden_September 2013SEPTEMBER 2013: Me and wood. At my dad’s house in Småland, Sweden

LauraJul_09 B_Sweden_September 2013SEPTEMBER 2013: With friends at the bonfire at my dad’s house in Småland, Sweden

LauraJul_09 C_TEDxCopenhagen_September 2013SEPTEMBER 2013: Me at the TEDxCopenhagen conference
- matching Simon Spies in the background

LauraJul_10 A_October 2013OCTOBER 2013: Doves by “The Storks Fountain” in the center of Copenhagen

LauraJul_10 B_October 2013OCTOBER 2013: Beautiful fall color at “Vestre Kirkegård“, the local cemetery, where I love to go for walks. I always see something new here. Some new detail. And I look at names on gravestones and make up stories about the lives of the people resting here

LauraJul_11 A_Bornholm_November 2013NOVEMBER 2013: I went home to my childhood home in Bornholm for a weekend.
And found a whole bunch of childhood photos – some of which I turned
into this collage of me as a kid

LauraJul_11 B_Sweden_November 2013NOVEMBER 2013: My younger sister and good friend Maria and I went to my dad’s house in Sweden for a weekend – to relax, enjoy nature, and listen to the fire in the fireplace

LauraJul_11 C_Sweden_November 2013NOVEMBER 2013: The lake Össjöasjön by my dad’s house in Össjöa, Sweden. Such a beautiful clear weather. And the perfect reflection

LauraJul_12 A_December 2013DECEMBER 2013: Lots of screws and metal. An x-ray of my mouth from the last visit to the hospital. Closing the case of a 9 year long relationship – and a jaw surgery 5 years ago

LauraJul_12 B_December 2013DECEMBER 2013: Creating a heart. For the Mindre End Tre project I made with my friend Jonas. And for Christmas. And for life

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