Monthly Archives: December 2011

Just an ordinary Christmas

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It’s the 24th of December. There’s a smell of fresh coffee and buns in the air and our breakfast table is overflowing with different sorts of homemade jam, cheese, orange juice and other delicious things. My Dad is reading the newspaper while my Mum, my sister and I chat about what’s been going on in our lifes.
“Oh, I cut out this article for you about a girl who wrote a book about finding the man of her dreams. I thought it might be interesting for you as… you know”, my Mum says. She disappears somewhere in the back of the house and comes back with a piece of newspaper.
“She’s done a lot of online and blind dating and she really did find a guy in the end”, my Mum adds while I’m scimming through the text.
“Ha!”, I exclaim. “Now that she’s in a relationship she’s writing a book about all the problems she has to deal with.”
“What kind of problems?”, asks my sister who unlike me isn’t single, but has been in a stable relationship for the past 2 years.
“Like him leaving his socks everywhere”, I reply.
“Oh yeah, that’s a common problem”, my sister says knowingly.
“Your father is no exception”, my mother adds.
My father suddenly looks up from his newspaper. “What!?”
My sister and me are holding our breaths. We have reached a critical point in our breakfast conversation which is going to decide about peace and war on this holy day.
“I just said that you’re always leaving your clothes lying around in the bed room”, my Mum starts her assault.
“What kind of clothes?”, my Dad asks with a slightly aggressive undertone in his voice.
“These white shirts you’re always wearing underneath.”
“I only put them on the chair at night, so I can wear them again the next day.”
“No, that’s not true. Sometimes there’s shirts lying around for a week. And they’d still be there if I didn’t put them in the laundry basket.”
“When did that ever happen?”
“Just last week there were at least 3 shirts piled up on the chair.”
“Which chair?”
“The chair next to your bed.”
“There were never more than 2 shirts on that chair.”
“No, no. I do remember quite well that it was 3 shirts because I put them in the laundey basket.”
My Dad gasps loudly. Then he goes back to reading his newspaper. It’s just an ordinary Christmas with my family.

I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely Chrismas time with your family. No matter if it’s quiet and peaceful or a little hectic and exhausting (like mine). Our family is the place we’re coming from, they’re the people that define a big part of who we are. And even if we evolve into completely different directions, they will always be there for us. And even if sometimes I can’t show how much I appreciate them and they’ve driven me crazy more than once, I’m happy to spend these days together with them.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

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Pulling through

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“I am so fed up with this internship”, my sister moans and takes a huge gulp from her steaming cup of hot wine punch she’s holding between her glove-covered hands.
Being a good sister I pet her shoulder and ask in my most sympathetic voice:
“Aw, what’s going on?”
“You know how the whole department moved to a different part of the building this week, right?”
I nod, maybe a little too vigorously, while watching the steam from my cup swirling up into the cold winter air.
“So my boss told me to take her storage container up to her new office”, she continues.
I can feel the muscles next to my mouth pulling to the right and left. I know this is going to be a hilarious story. Most stories involving bosses are. But this one isn’t just yet, so I fight the urge of grinning and concentrate on keeping a serious face. Because that’s what my sister needs right now. A serious listener.
“So I take this massive container which must have contained a dozen gold bars or something similarily heavy and roll it all the way down to the hall to the elevator, take it to the fifth floor and all the way down to her new office.”
I nod again and wait.
My sister gulps down the rest of her beverage. I wonder if this is the end of the story. I look at her and see that it looks like the steam from her cup is coming out of the top of her head which brilliantly matches with the slightly furious look in her eyes. My mouth starts to move again, but I manage to hold it back for another moment. There’s no messing with my sister when she’s angry.
“The next day”, she continues, “my boss calls me to her office and you know what she said?”
“Wha-hat!?”, I almost scream.
“You can take the container back down now. I’m finished with unpacking.”
We’re both freezing for a moment. Then I burst into laughter. I’m laughing so hard that I choke and almost drown on hot wine punch.

I’m sure you know what it’s like to go through a rough patch. When you feel like everything is too much for you to handle and you just want to quit and run away from it all as far as you can. For me, this happens almost always towards the end of the year. I’m getting into this weird mood where I’m feeling incredibly demotivated and kind of depressed. I’m not sure about the reasons, but I’m having some theories about it.
First of all, the change of season. I’m looking out of the window right now and all I can see is a muddy grey mess spotted with the occasional rain drop and brown leaves flying by in the harsh winds. It’s close to noon and I already feel like turning on the light. That’s probably the most depressing part of this time of year, at least here in Germany. I hate nothing more than getting up in the dark and coming home when it’s dark again. But my mind seems to think that it’s not enough to just have darkness around me. It likes to absorb it, making me feel dark on the inside, too.
Secondly, I think that after a hard year’s work, my mind feels like it’s needing a break, some time to just relax and laze about. But the end of the year is coming closer like a wall that’s about to crush me if I’m not running away fast enough and there’s so many things I still need to deal with. Finish that goddam PR concept I’ve been working on for weeks and weeks in order to make it a masterpiece. Dealing with my ignorant landlord who pretends I’m responsible for his property’s deficiencies. Buying christmas presents for my loved ones (ok, that’s actually fun). Waiting for my next surgery appointment only to find out that it’s not going to be the last one as expected.
If you weren’t depressed before reading this post, I’m sure you are by now. But I can tell you: There’s hope! Because I’ve come up with a couple of strategies to help with pulling through when things are getting rough. So here’s what I do:

  • Muuuuusic. It helps in pretty much any situation. Wether I’m happy or sad, I want to laugh or cry. For the last couple of weeks I’ve swapped the book I’m currently reading for my iPod to accompany me on my way to work and back. Squaking guitars and pounding drums are an incredibly effective way to wake me up in the morning and to motivate me for the day. Here is one of the songs that always gets me into a good mood.
  • Dancing. Sometimes you just need to dance it off. Get rid of everything you’ve been keeping inside and transfer it into motions. There’ve been a couple of times recently when I would just turn up the music and go wild in my living room. I’m sure throwing my arms and legs around in weird ways makes me look like a complete idiot. But I’m telling you, it’s so much fun! And noone’s watching anyway. Plus, it’s good exercise in order to burn all these christmas cookies I’ve been eating.
  • Singing. I’m a person who likes to sing a lot. A LOT. I’m sure my neighbours hate me for not being able to shut up for long when I’m home. But making my voice sound like Justin Bieber on helium just makes me feel so much better. Ok, maybe I should consider avoiding songs that involve a lot of screaming. “I’ll attack, I’ll attack, I’ll attaaaaaaaack!”
  • Hot beverages. I love that cozy feeling in my stomach when having a hot cup of coffee or tea, especially now that it’s starting to get freezing cold outside. I must have spent a fortune on Toffee Nut Lattes lately. But they’re just so freakin’ delicious!
  • Writing. Sometimes it just helps to get things off your mind by writing it down, literally or by turning it into a story. For me, writing has always been a good way to deal with things that are going on in my life. Good or bad. Even though I feel like I’m better at writing when I’m in a strange mood than when I’m happy. Oh my!
  • Talking. When I’m not feeling well, I like to call my sister or my mum. Unfortunately, I can’t help but act grumpy most of the time which leads to the other person being annoyed. Which makes me angry at myself. But still I somehow always feel better afterwards.

So until the new year arrives in all its brightness, I’m going to keep on dancing and screaming in my living room with a cup of hot coffee in one and my phone in the other hand. You should try it, too!

I have never… been to a rock concert

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“Oh my God, I’m so excited”, I scream while I’m following my friend who is skillfully navigating us through a huge concert hall in Frankfurt where we are about to see one of our favourite bands perform. Unlike me, my friend is a pro concert-goer, so we have no trouble finding our seats.
“Wow”, I say as we step out on the balcony and I see the thousands of people standing in the crowd below us.
“Do you want a beer?”, my friend asks.
“Yes”, I want to yell, but I’m afraid my voice would shake from the excitement, so I simply nod.
I sit down, but I start to feel uncomfortable after a couple of seconds, so I get up again.
“I’m at a rock concert”, I think to myself. “I’m not just gonna sit down like an old lady. I’m gonna dance and jump and freakin’ scream.”
I start to jump up and down a little to prepare my body for the tremendous amount of exercise it’s going to experience for the next couple of hours.
My friend returns with the beer and I’m taking a huge gulp to calm me down a little.
“She doesn’t sit down either”, I think. “I did the right thing, like a real pro.”
While we watch the clip that is shown on the huge screens next to the stage for the 28th time, someone suddenly taps me on my shoulder. I turn around.
“Are you going to stand throughout the whole concert?”, this lad asks me.
“Erm, probably, yeah”, I reply, wondering if he’s trying to hit on us. But then he starts to get this rude tone in his voice:
“Well, then you should have bought tickets down there.” He points at the crowd below.
“Relax, man. This is a rock concert, after all. Noone’s gonna stay seated once the show starts”, I reply calmly, trying to stay serious.
“I will talk to a staff member if you don’t sit down”, he shouts and stomps off.
We hesitate, not sure what to do. We sit down reluctantly. Suddenly, there is a weird feeling in my guts. This guy is about to ruin everything. But then my friend starts to giggle and I can’t help but join in.
“Unbelievable”, I say. We’re shaking with laughter for a while. Then the lights turn off.
When 30 Seconds to Mars finally enter the stage the crowd goes wild. Me and my friend jump off our seats and start moving to the music. So does everyone around us. I turn around and see the lad, standing. I grin.

Honestly, I don’t know why I hardly ever go to concerts. I LOVE music. I listen to it everyday. On the commute to work, at home, when I go shopping. I always carry my iPod around and if I forget it, there’s always a song playing in my head. There’s probably nothing more powerful than music. It can make a bad day look a lot less worse. And it can make a bright day even brighter. I think, it can even change the way you look at things, at your life. It can make things happen. And that night I went to see 30 Seconds to Mars something happened to me.
Jared Leto (who by the way is the freakin’ hottest badass I’ve ever seen) sang: “And I swear to God, I will find myself in the end.”
And I thought: “Yes, I will!”
He sang: “Did you ever believe? Were you ever a dreamer?”
And I thought: “Hell yeah, I am!”
He sang: “I will never forget.”
And I sang: “No, no!”
He sang: “I will never regret.”
And I shouted: “No, no!”, waving my arm up and down with the beat.
He sang: “I will live my life.”
And I scremed with all my heart: “No, no, no, no!”
Because that’s what I’m going to do. I will live my life! I tend to have lots of ideas and dreams. Some of them might be silly. Some of them might be great. Some of them might even be achievable. I even start to explore some of them, but almost always a voice appears in my head at some point. Saying that what I’m doing is stupid, that it’s not good enough and that there really is no point in doing it. Sometimes I can fight the rising doubts for a while, but many times they just win and I quit. Or I don’t even dare to start.
But I have come up with a plan: The next time I’m starting to doubt myself, I will think back to that concert. I will think back to how awesome it was to witness something so inspiring and great, something that united thousands of strangers for a couple of hours. Because Jared is right: We are the kings and queens!

This post is the start of the “I have never…”-series in which I’m going to do things I have never done before. Because I didn’t dare, because I didn’t have the time to or just because I was too lazy. I believe that doing new things can be a great inspiration and a good way to get a new perspective on things. And apart from that: it’s just great fun!