Judging by the amount of articles and notes shared on social media telling people what to do or not to do before turning 30, turning 30 must be a big deal.
The beauty of the 21st century is that we can read advice and stories and seemingly easy share in the lives of people on the other side of the globe in real-time. But we have to “pick and peel” ourselves. We have to do the work, after all it’s our life. Thank God
Yes, I did turn 30 at some point this year. I’m part of the older half of the planet’s population.
Sitting on a beautiful beach on the afternoon of my birthday, I was reflecting if there is any way of summarizing what I’ve learned in these 30 years. Impossible, but let’s try!
“When the rain washes you clear, you’ll know”
Living abroad has challenged everything I thought was true. My months and years in Poland, India, Kenya, Uganda and the UK have taught me more than university and books ever could.
Every time I arrived at a new place, integrated and finally left, the more layers of colour were washed off. Sometimes literal rain, often a conversation or an incident, but mostly listening, watching, having to act and failing or succeeding, washing clear can be painful but liberating.
But again – after all the washing off you have to chose what to paint back on. What does Manuela stand for?
I am more than a walking photo album displaying my trips. Strangers commenting “I’m jealous” on your status updates. Not a warm feeling!
My challenge is to be an active world citizen with a clear profile and a purpose doing justice to what I’ve experienced and to those who I’ve met. Work in progress!
It’s a worthy challenge to be the same person between 9am and 6pm as between 6pm and 9am.
Whenever I live my personal values at work and home, I experience integrity and feel alive.
Most of us have to earn an income to afford their preferred lifestyle. And independence doesn’t come easy. Once you have to budget, you have to make choices. It’s tempting to sell your 40 hours a week and join the cycle of earning and consumption.
But I want to use these 40 hours a week for something I believe in. Well, for now I can. About the luxury of the pursuit of meaning at work read my next post.
Digging deeper – easier together!
Knowing yourself, managing emotions and communicating your opinions and needs clearly – do these sound like simple soft skills? Well, at least not to me. Emotional roller-coasters, indecisiveness and self-centered behavior happen to the best of us!
My best step of this year was to get a fabulous coach – a person to help unleash my professional effectiveness and help me achieve ‘flow’. Finding somebody who is committed and skilled to ask you the right questions and challenge your assumptions – priceless. I can only recommend it!
Scuba Diving is better than expected
I mean really. I was scared of doing it. 6 metres under the water for 15 minutes breathing oxygen from a bottle with 15 kgs of equipment around my waist? To watch fish? Panic zone!
How often do I try out things that I’m scared of and they end up being mind-blowingly amazing? Quite a few times… but definitely not often enough!
God exists, but you have to believe
I know God exists because I’ve seen him do wonders, met his angels and his devils. Jesus calls me every day and I’m trying to hear it. I’m thankful to all who have helped to strengthen my faith. God has watched over me and his promise lasts.
Love is a verb not a feeling – What an idea to wrap my head around!
Anything for my friends – My friends inspire me, together we come up with great ideas and we make each others lives human and worth living. And the best thing about growing up is to realize that your parents are your friends as well!
A Chinese fortune cookie last year included a note “A friendship that can end, has never really started”.
To those who have taken me to the doctor; To those who were hospitable when I was in trouble; To those with whom I laugh, cry and relax; To those who’ve cried, laughed and relaxed in my presence:
I promise we’ll be ghost friends after we die and we’ll walk through walls and scare the sh*t out of people!
Every day is your birthday
Birthday-week is a great concept, who doesn’t want to celebrate the gift of life a whole week? But how about birthday-year!?
Let’s not wait for New Year’s Eve, or lent or our birthday to change a habit. John Covey suggests “If you’ve made a mistake, admit it and correct it, so that it doesn’t have power over the next moment.” Any day and any minute is a good day to try out something new, to dare that change, small or big.
My amazing flatmates put up a paper garland saying “Happy Birthday” on my door. I left it there, as a reminder!