When I start looking back on 2017, I can't even believe that it's nearly over.
When you are young, adults always tell you, that time is passing by faster the older you get. And they were right. Two weeks until 1st January 2018. And it still feels as if 1st January 2017 was yesterday.
At the same time, so god damn many things happened. And I am so bad when it's about remembering. But 2017 was different in so many ways. There are so many memories, being as tangible as if they were brandings on my skin. Though, I'm not going to talk about each and every of those moments. I'm going to talk about what 2017 taught me. And that is quite a lot. So let me share my most important experiences.
The first lesson in 2017 was: Running away doesn't lead you anywhere.
You never reach anything, you are completely helpless and useless at the same time when you are running away in panic. Running killed several relationships and friendships in my life, so it did in 2017. And though I started facing my fears already in 2016, it needed another year to realize how serious this point is - and how much more effort I needed to put in it. So I did. And I grew. I'm still working on it, this is going to be some kind of lifetime progress. But my ability to face my fears and to talk about them has grown. Which makes me really proud.
Second lesson of this year is: Every end is a new beginning.
It can hurt so damn badly, when you realize, that you have to let go of people you loved, plans you had, a future you imagined. Saying Goodbye, leaving, moving on - it's never easy. And sometimes it might shatter your heart with a big boom and you might think, you would never find a way out of the mourning, the pain and the need of ice cream or Nutella right out of the glass at 7 in the morning. But you ALWAYS heal. It goes on. And then comes the day when you realize that you moved on and that it doesn't hurt that badly anymore. So you will open your eyes, look around and see that new things have already begun. And that this is another chance for you to create the life you want to live. So use it.
Number three is some kind of never ending challenge for me - but so important to mention: Risk it! You will win, either way.
Anxiety is playing a big role in my life. The need of keeping myself safe is so big - there are days I am not even able to think about other things. But it's getting better and better and this year showed me how much better I got when it's about risking things, trying new things, giving chances to situations which seem to be out of my control or going through my life without constantly being ready to use my safety net. And what I found out again and again: Even if I lose, even if the worst case is happening, I will survive. I will get through this. And I will step out of it stronger than I was before. No matter what you experience - you will have grown afterwards.
The fourth lesson is not a really new one, because I heard the words before. But this year, I FELT them for the first time: You decide what you're worth.
I have asked myself so often if I was worthy enough to be invited to the party of XY or to be loved by Z or to get that job or whatever. But come on - who in hell decides what I am worth, except myself? It doesn't matter at all who invites me to a party or not, who loves me or not, who offers me a job or not. What really matters is what I allow people to do to me. What really matters is that I am my best friend on this way and that people who are not good for me or who don't give me a chance are definitely no people I should keep in my life longer than neccesary. It's my decision that I am worth anything. I am.
The fifth one is is a quite soothing one: Identifying good friends gets easier the older you get.
I finally have a picture of what real good friendships should be like. Most of all it's about being easy. And I do have these people. These beautiful, easy ones I could open up my heart to. These people, I could trust. People I would always have an ear for - or a place to sleep, a warm tea or a cup of ice cream. People who are always welcome. People who enrich my life. People who give me the feeling of being great, fearless. People who remind me of the good days to come when I'm drowning in my own tears. People who reach me their hands and help me getting back on my feet when I fall. It's no fighting and no fears. It's being each others advocate in a natural way, without the need to make an agreement before. All of these friendships have grown on their own, I just cultivated them a bit. And in the end, that's it: If it feels good and it's easy, it should be.
Number six is something, that needed to be corrected after many years on the wrong way. I really believed, that big fights are the end of friendships. So I refused to give second chances. But now I know: If somebody is fighting for your friendship, give them a chance - even if you thought it's lost.
Most of all there is one girl I owe all the special thanks when its about this topic. We had a fight in 2016. And also she has this property of being so damn honest it often hurts. Far too long this frightened me to death - so after our fight I tried to run from her. But she fought for our friendship. She tried to message me, tried to speak to me, tried to safe us. And she did, by being stubborn. So we built a new friendship, based on honesty and on the goal to make it easier. Und with this I regained my belief in friendships and their ability to survive fights. I'm pretty thankful about that.
Number seven. Another discovery, another good friend I owe all the credits. I have been spending so much time and energy on other peoples stuff this year. And now and then I was close to losing myself in it - or at least I stressed myself. Too much. Thanks to her, I tried asking myself an important question now everytime I start to stress myself: "Whose Shit is that?" Such a helpful tool. I kept out of many, many conflicts that way. Staying serene is a good base for productivity. And by not directly involving myself in other peoples problems I have the chance to be a much better advisor. I totally enjoy that.
The most beautiful one is definitely number eight: Love always has another surprise ready for you.
So the important thing about surprises is, that you are not prepared for them. Let me tell you, I am always some kind of prepared. I am so good when it's about imagining upcoming situations, about pondering over possibilities. So I'm always prepared. But I wasn't prepared for this. I met a man. I found a love. And I could NEVER have imagined, that it would struck me THAT hard. I am used to feeling deeply. But loving him is beyond all borders. Waking up next to him is giving me these warm shivers morning after morning. Looking into his eyes gives me the feeling of being home day after day. Falling asleep in his arms makes me appreciate night after night. I wasn't expecting that. But I couldn't be happier.
And last but not least 2017 finally taught me, that I definitely do have a greatest passion. It taught me how to embrace my emotions. That feeling deeply, experiencing intensely, being shaken to the bones could be scary, but most of all it is a gift. It is life. And it's so beautiful. Connecting with people, getting closer by sharing thoughts and feelings. Going through joy and pain together. Finding out what luck means - to me and to others. Being honest and open. Being the one still standing after every fight. Crying tears of grief, anger or joy. Finding chances to evolve in every vulnerability of mine. Facing fears, no matter how f***** up it might feel right in that moment. Being myself with all the ups and downs. That's my greatest passion. And I will live it.
Thanks to all of you, who guided me through this year. Thanks to everyone who believed in me when I couldn't. Thanks to those who challenged or criticized me and gave me a chance to grow. Let's do this another year.