A new year is like a book with 365 blank pages to fill. It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, and always brings lots of hopes, wishes and dreams with it. Although I’m not the person who writes endless lists of New Year’s resolutions, I do like to sit down at the beginning of the new year and set some intentions for the next 12 months ahead. However, this year feels a lot different for me because it seems like all the feelings of optimism and excitement I usually have at the beginning of every new year have reached their peak. Here’s why…
When I took the plunge at the beginning of 2017 and decided to be self-employed, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had my little savings account and thought I’d give it a year to just see what happens. If I somehow manage to make it through the first year without using up all of my savings, I thought, I could be proud. So many things have happened within those two years, great opportunities opened up, lots of amazing brands and even more amazing people behind those brands trusted me to work with them, I got to see places of the world I’ve never been to, we moved into our own office, I launched a podcast, got voted Fashion Blogger of the year 2018 by an Austrian magazine and I survived the first two years of self employment. This being said, one of my biggest (career) wishes came true: I found a way to make a living by doing something I’m very passionate about, and I’m my own boss. Besides my own business, I’m also part of a fantastic team of two girls I’ve been looking up to for years. Although I only joined the Daily Dose team two years ago it feels like I’ve been part of it way longer and I’m so proud of the platform Vicky and Kathi have created. All the passion and work that went (and still goes) into it paid off when The Daily Dose became part of the Vogue Community this year.
During those past two years of self employment I didn’t only learn what it means to be responsible for your own business, but inevitably I also learned a lot about myself as a person. I was able to clearly define my values and goals for my career and my private life. Although I do not like to plan out my whole life (I’ve never been a big fan of long-term plans because I like to give the unexpected some room), I manifested some of my biggest wishes for my life. This helped me to intentionally take one step at the time into a certain direction and brought me to where I am right now.
Dear Past, thanks for all the lessons.
Looking back at 2018, I can whole heartedly say it probably was the most exciting year of my life, but probably also the most stressful one ever. Between working approximately 60 hours per week and traveling a lot for work, we had a wedding to plan and moved into our new home right before we got married, after leaving a month for our honeymoon. The year seemed to fly by but also so many things have happened along the way. Patrick and me grew together, we chose to do life together, and we legally became what we’ve been from day one one: A family.
Although my relationship with Patrick – our marriage – is my safe haven and the most precious bond I have with someone who I’m not blood-related to, there is another relationship I re-discovered in 2018: The relationship I have with myself. It’s probably the most important relationship anyone of us has. The years before I had neglected my relationship with myself. I didn’t do any sports anymore, I didn’t take any me-time, and simply didn’t take good care of myself. I was in a toxic relationship that I had mistaken for true love, and my job back then took up so much of my time that I didn’t have any energy left to do anything good for myself. A downward spiral was forming: No time for sports means you’re getting frustrated with your body, which results in taking even less care about what you’re eating and taking in lots of unnecessary sugar because you’re constantly tired, which leads to bad skin and eventually, you’re at a point where your self-esteem has hit rock bottom. I simply didn’t feel good in my own skin anymore.
I knew something had to change.
One of my biggest resolutions for 2018 was to take better care of myself and do more of the things that are good for me. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but every tiny little step into the right direction already helps more than you’d think. I registered at a Pilates studio close by, I made an effort to prepare more healthy home-made meals and I put some designated me-time into my calendar. This was anything from a long walk with Maxi in nature, to getting a manicure, to just spending some hours alone at home doing nothing but reading or watching Netflix, or calling my Mom for an hour. It might sound silly, but those little things are the foundation that helped me feel like myself again. Now I can say, I’ve never been in a better place emotionally and mentally – thanks to the incredible people who I’m surrounded by, but also thanks to having found a healthy relationship with myself again.
You don’t need a knight in shining armor.
What I finally realized was that there is no one else out there who will come and save me, but me. We are all responsible for our own happiness. Only if we’re happy with ourselves, we’ll find our inner peace. We cannot fix internal problems with external solutions. There’s also no clever book that will teach you how to be happy with yourself, it’s just up to you to learn it and embrace it. Happiness is not determined by what’s happening around us, but rather what’s happening inside us. A lot of people depend on others to gain happiness, but the truth is, it always comes from within.
One thing is certain: When you are happy, you radiate positive energy which will in return attract the right people and new opportunities will be drawn to you. This way, the downward spiral will turn into an upward spiral sooner than you know.
I’m by means no guru who knows it all or has found the key to eternal happiness. But I’m aware of the fact that this “life in squares” we’re portraying on Instagram often looks so dreamy. But let me tell you: Sometimes it’s not, quite the contrary. It’s only a tiny fraction of things you see, and there’s a whole lot more going on beneath the surface. What may seem like the perfect home is often only a tidy corner, with piles of laundry and still unpacked moving boxes in the other room. Or what may seem like perfect skin is often only the right light and a really good foundation.
I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know that you’re not alone. We all have our bad days, or even bad phases that last a little longer than we wish. But truth is, no matter how bad, hopeless or frustrating some things may seem, there are always brighter days ahead – even though you can’t seem to see them yet. Focus on the positive, be kind to yourself and others, try to be patient and don’t give up. You’ll see: Good things are coming.
Dear Future, I’m ready.
So why am I excited for 2019, you think? Because there are still so many unfulfilled dreams and wishes on my list that I can’t wait to pursue. It was my first NYE as wife, and marriage in itself is very exciting if you ask me. Patrick and me have made some intentions for the new year together, that we want to live by. We haven’t made any big travel plans yet because we simply enjoy being at home and inviting friends over. Our travel bucket list is long, but we also want to explore Salzburg and its surroundings more. We want to live more mindfully, keep on working on reducing plastic waste and on eating less meat. We want to go home from the office earlier and enjoy more quality time with each other, with our friends and family. My parents are also taking a big step this year which I’m very grateful for, because it means I’ll get to see them a lot more.
Business-wise, there are also exciting things happening behind the scenes of You Rock My Life and I can’t wait to take this little brand I built to the next level in 2019. There are so many ideas floating around in my head and I honestly cannot wait to put them all into action and show you what we have planned.
After all, the new year is only a week old and there are still 358 pages left to fill. I’m determined to follow my path with an open mind and leave room for the unexpected. You know how much can happen in one year… I can’t wait for all the chapters to come. I hope you are all entering 2019 with a happy heart, a positive mind and good intentions, too.
*photo credit goes to Melanie Nedelko – one of the many wonderful people I got to meet in 2018.