I consider myself one of the luckiest people alive because I love someone and he loves me back. And even better: we are living together, are happy and are fuctioning pretty well. I've been with my boyfriend for more than five years now and I am still so into him. There have been so many beautiful and magical days and nights with my love which I am grateful for. I like to complain about life's challenges but I also know that in this respect I already won.
But you know, love is not always rainbows and sunshine. Relationships are hard - everyone who says otherwise are lying. The main thing is that it just has such a huge impact on your life and your well-being. Love is such an overwhelming emotion that sometimes it can seem too much to handle. In May I was on a business and fun trip to Berlin. I was looking forward to this trip, also to spending some time with myself in the city. But because of little stupid circumstances (we went to the movie theater before the trip so my boyfriend put his phone on silent) I couldn't reach him for two days - which I hated. To say I freaked out a bit is an understatement. It's not that I have to talk with him all the time, it's more that I need to know he's safe because otherwise my mind makes up the worst possible scenarios. It was not pretty and it showed me that though I'm a lot calmer and emotionally stable than I was when I started dating my boyfriend, I can still be obsessive and crazy. But well, love makes you go crazy every now and then.
The other thing is that when you love someone your happiness depends on their's. So when I moved forward in life this year I couldn't enjoy it that much because my boyfriend remained stuck. I have to consider his working situation and future plans too. Suddenly there are two lives I have to keep in mind and there's a double potential of things going wrong. But you know what? If this is the price you have to pay for being with the one you love, then I pay it gladly. Because it's so worth it.
Until October I worked for a publishing house. Though I enjoyed many parts of it, it was also really, really stressful at times. In the beginning of the year I edited a novel for the first time in my life. It took months (I actually started editing it in 2015) and it was so much harder than I expected. Turns out I'm a lot worse at grammar, spelling and spotting logical errors than I thought. It was fun, I love doing it, but it was also frustrating when the novel landed on my desk to re-edit it again and again and again.
Added to this was other stressful work stuff. I don't want to go into detail but as I was the only person who does marketing at this publishing house,plus other stuff, I always had to take care of a million things at a time and it really strained me. I noticed this in February when I was planing to go with my colleages on a trip and the week before there was so much to do that I really couldn't take it anymore. I got physically ill. I got the flu. Which forced me to take some time off and breath. And also to think. Because work is just work. It should not make you ill. If you're stressed out all the time, then you're doing something wrong. Either the job is not right for you or you have to find a way to minimize your tasks. That's what I realized.
There was also uplifting work stuff, though. In February I went to a congress of people who work for publishing houses and it was so inspiring. There were so many young people in my age and it showed me that there are many possibilities out there. Also I organized and went to two bookfairs which were also stressful of course but also fun and motivating and they went ok. When the book I edited was finally released I held many readings with the author. It was the first time that I hosted readings and it was so much fun. I felt so confident and grown up. This is what I loved about this job. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and often I found that I am a lot stronger than I thought. I also learned layouting which was fun.
In October my one and a half year trainee program at this publishing house ended and though my boss wanted to keep me, I decided to not continue working there for the reasons I mentioned above. Instead I continued my graduate studies and let me tell you, studying is so much fun! It's also a lot of work but I am interested in it, so this makes it easier. And the freedom and flexibility of studying feels great compared to working a 9-5 office job.
I also started a part time job at a local company. I was an office helper which sounded easy in the ad but it was actually really difficult because I had to do bookkeeping and things like that. I hated it. I did everything wrong, I messed something up every day. I dreaded going there to the point where I felt depressed the night before because I knew I had to go there the next day. I was working only two days a week but still, two days a week is a lot of wasted time when you spend it hating your life. In December I thought about quitting but my boss was quicker and fired me. It was not mean or anything like that from her side. We both knew that this is not working out. Sure, being fired is not my favourite experience but it was also a huge relief. Now I am looking for a new part time job which will hopefully suit me a bit better.
Or rather: His lack of work. My boyfriend is done with his master and has been looking for a job for many months now. The problem is that he is a foreigner here in Germany which means first, that he needs a job in order to get a new visa and second, that German applicants are prefered if they have the same qualifications. So this was a true battle and it is not over yet. He still hasn't found anything. I as well as my parents are helping him as much as we can.
On a more positive note, 2016 has been a great year for me in terms of creativity. The main focus of my creativity is on writing my novel. I hoped that I would be done with it at the end of 2016 and I am still far from this but to be fair, this was a pretty unrealistic goal anyway and I am very proud of my progress. In the beginning of this year I still attended a writing class at my school and in January I read to them my first five pages of the novel. I had read to them another scene before in 2015 and while they were still a bit critcal then, they loved my beginning in January. It just proved how much I learned in this course. Unfortunately form March on the school didn't offer this class anymore, so I took the initiative and started my own writing group. I'm so proud that I pulled this of. We are a rather small group but we are very motivated and I love working with them. I couldn't do it without them.
Also I have made a couple of photoshoots in 2016 which were fun and inspiring.
2016 was also a fun party year (well, if you can still say this - I mean, I'm 25, my idea of party is a lot different than from when I was 20). It started with a calmer but nice New Year's party at my friends house. For my 25th birthday in July I wanted to do something special and I invited all my friends to a bonfire party in the forest. It was so much fun. Everyone I love was there, there was a bonfire, great food and drinks and even better conversations, dancing and even a Pinata. For me it was a perfect birthday!
On Halloween I dressed up in my gothic dress and my boyfriend and I went to a party in a club. They played all my favorite songs and we danced so much, the kind of dancing that makes you not care what anyone else thinks, that makes you forget all your problems, the kind of dancing which turns into kissing which turns into more. It was truly magical. In December we hosted a small dinner party for our friends. We cooked ourselves and everyone loved our food. We had funny conversations, played games and drank so much wine. It made me feel like a grown up and I truly enjoyed it.
I also went on three vacations in 2016. In April I took a train trip to Strassbourg, Luxembourg and Maastricht. The great thing about living in the middle of Europe is that everything is so close and I take advantage of this far to seldom. It was my first solo trip. Well I was only travelling alone for three days, but it was a start. Travelling alone is pretty cool because you get to decide what to do without having to pay attention to anyone else. But after three days I had enough of me-time. In Maastricht I met up with my roommate and one of my best friends from college. I hadn't seen her for years before that but when we met again it was like no time had passed. It was wonderful and I enjoyed being with my friend so much.
In August I went on a trip with my friends to Amsterdam. We visited the city but mostly went to the Amsterdam Comic Con and it was so much fun!
Finally in December my boyfriend and I decided pretty spontanously to fly to his home in Michigan over the holiday. It was beautiful. It really made my soul breath. We spent a lot of time with his family, we went shopping, went shooting (for me it was the first time), went to the zoo and we simply enjoyed being with each other in this winter wonderland.
Despite the major (mostly work related) challenges 2016 threw in my way, I had so much fun this year. I spent many fun times with my friends, there was a hilarious karaoke evening, I enjoyed life with inspiring blogs, tea and candles on a regular basis, we made many bonfires, we went to an awesome Japan festival, we did a lot of hiking, we went to the lake often in summer, I saw the Rent musical live, we borrowed my mum's oldtimer convertible and drove around in it feeling like movie stars and we had a great time at an Escape room. And so much more.
Also of course I consumed a lot of awesome media including Podcasts (RadioLab and DearHankandJohn being my favorites), movies, books, tv shows (The Magicans!), and music (Beyonce's visual album Lemonade touched me so much). But the real reason why 2016 was fun despite everything was my...
Your attitude towards life truly makes all the diffrence and I realized this already a couple days into 2016. I was watching "Don't trust the B in Apartment 23" (which is hilarious by the way) and it made me feel so positive about my twentysomething life regardless or maybe even because of all the challenges. More than anything I just really wanted to have fun, to feel alive.
I was also amazed by so many scientific discoveries and new possibilities. I mean, we ARE living in the future. What a time to be alive! A great and exciting time, though of course terror and Trump is terrifying me. In March I watched the documentary "I am Alive - Surviving the Andes Plane Crash" and it filled me with such a joy and gratefulness for the simple fact that I'm alive. I visited two authors who both had amazing houses full of personality and it was the first time that I understood what a wonderful thing your own house could be, therefore a dream was born. I got a new smartphone for my birthday and with it I could finally use Instagram and somehow it made me enjoy the little things more.
So though I am far from where I wanted to be at the end of 2016, it was not all bad. Some of it was actually really amazing.