Having life figured out

When do we try to stop figuring life out? A friend of mine said very wise words to me a couple of days ago. He was wondering about the people who have “life all figured out”. What he meant with this, was people who already know how everything should or should not be and have a clear imagination of how things in life should be dealt with and how everybody should react in certain situations. This all sounds perfect. Sounds grown up. But if you have already figured all these things out – there is no room for learning, sharing and broadening your mind. If you live a life of rules, of wrongs and rights, do´s and dont´s – how can innovation happen?

Let´s take the example of eating a meal. In order to eat a meal you´d need a fork and a knife, a table, a chair, a plate and hot food. What if you didn´t have any of these things? Will you a.) never be able to eat a meal in your life again? Or b.) will you just sit on the floor,  eat with your hands from a big bowl of something you have never seen before? Well, I personally would choose the second option.

When do we stop saying things like: “This person needs to get his/her life together. It´s about time to get a real job and to take responsibility for life. Life is not a game, it´s time to get serious.”

I have heard these sentencens from different people of different ages. It´s like we´ve all been brainwashed to believing things nobody has ever been able to prove. Weren´t the most exceptional people those who did not follow everything society had expected of them? Those who took risks, decided for adventure or followed their passions? Who tells us what’s wrong and what’s right? And who tells me how I should behave and what life is or isn´t? I think we all make our own decisions and definitions of life. When do we stop to judge and start to see and appreciate each other?

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18 years of schooling eventually produced – ME

Yesterday I graduated from my Master´s Degree of Business Administration in Marketing and Management in Östersund, Sweden. If I held a speech it would probably be something like this:

The path to this point in my life was a rocky one.

When I was five I wanted to go to school so badly! I was bored of kindergarden and could not wait to join the “big kids” in their school. Because I was a little bit younger than the average (6-7 years old in Bavaria), I had to take an “intelligence” test. The result of the test was that I was intelligent enough (yay, good to know when you are only 5 years old), but a little “lazy” as they said. The reason for this label was that I had to create a ladybug from red and black paper. My ladybug had only 2 black dots on its wings – why should I cut out more?

In primary school we had a pedophobe teacher. (afraid of kids, or at least not very keen on educating kids) She hated me as well as many other kids in my class and told my mom I was dyslexic. At that time in Germany the teacher had the power to decide which level of education the kids should continue with. In Bavaria, Germany we have three levels of education – my teacher proposed me to go to the least academic one.

I ended up in a school where the teachers´ task was mainly to keep the pupils from fighting or taking drugs. I was one of maybe 8 Germans in a class of 30. I did not care about homework and the teachers didn´t either.

In the age of 11 I understood that school mattered. A friend of mine went to boarding school  for boys in order to improve his grades and to move to a better school. I liked the idea and convinced my mom to make it happen for me as well. With fundings from my grandma I went to a catholic boarding school for girls.

With the right encouragement from the nuns and a very structured life in boarding school, I became the best student of my class within one year and was able to move to a better school in my hometown.

This school was another catholic girls school – not because we are a very religious family (quite the opposite actually), but because the school was small and saw each pupil as an individual and offered the right stimulation for each of them.

From 10th grade on I went to two different secondary schools, did my Bachelor´s and finally my Master´s degree.

I was the first one in my family to finish a university degree. What made that possible for me was the support from my family and that I did not give up. Sometimes things seem difficult. But if you really want it, you will find a way. It´s not you against the world. There are many people in similar situations, or at least people who understand your situation that will help you. Accept help, stay focused and keep on going.

Teachers and even sometimes your closest friends and family don´t always know what´s best for you. Do not give up! Believe in yourself and prove them wrong!

 

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the way I see it

Since I moved to Sweden I have been taking portraits of my friends and many students from university. This is my hobby and I love taking photos, editing them and making my clients happy.

Nevertheless, I wish I could have the camera implanted into my eyeball in order to capture the beauty I see. Every person is beautiful and I don´t mean this in a purely visual way. Of course not everybody is perfectly symmetrical or matches modern “standards” of beauty. But every person has something magical. It might be the smile they have when they talk about a topic they love or the sparkle in their eye. Every person has a mystery surrounding them and I am here to press the button in the right moment.

Three weeks ago I have been to Henri Cartier Bresson´s exhibition in the museum of photography in Stockholm. I actually had no idea what was going to expect me. I simply followed a friend of mine who had heard of him before. My god was I happy to be there! Henri really knew how to take pictures. Different from me: he went to photography school and learned everything about composition, geography and the techniques of picture taking. He spent hours finding the perfect spot for a picture and he would take maximum 2 pictures, trying to capture the perfect moment. He started taking photos way before digital photography was invented and that´s maybe the fact that fascinates me the most. He was a master of his art, skilled and talented. I love love love his work!

 

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Passion

I am surrounded by passion in my life these days. The weather here in northern Sweden has been amazing since 2 or three weeks with temperatures reaching 28° Celsius. My expectations for the summer here were so much lower. Everybody kept on telling me that it will never be more than 25 degrees… Last year people said they experienced only 3 sunny days during the whole summer.

These days I am in the lucky position of getting to know the other side of Sweden and of the Swedes. Swedes seem to posses two personalities. A winter and a summer personality. While the stereotypics about Swedes might match to their winter-habits, one would wonder if he/she landed in the right country when coming here in the summer!! People are suddenly super outgoing. BBQs EVERYWHERE! Girls and boys in swimclothes cover all public grass areas in town and the smell of freshly grilled meat lies in the air. Even people in supermarkets and generally on the streets seem to be nicer. Suddenly Swedes are opening up, involving strangers into conversations and offering free smiles!

I am surrounded by passion. Passion for life, food, sun, friends, community and SUMMER. Seeing all this makes me never want to leave. Or is it just getting better and more intense because I am…?