Why the Euro is not as good as you think

People, we need to talk about the Euro.

I don’t know what you were expecting from this post, but it won’t be a five-page long discussion of the impact of the European currency, if the countries in the EU should adopt it or not etc. This is going to be a post purely focused on the design. Because whatever you say, it is important and the design of the Euro overall sucks.

What does the currency look like?

The currency is comprised of both coins and notes.

The coins are the cents:

1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50.

… and the Euro-coins:

€1 and €2

The notes are:

€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and (as of 2019 slowly being phased out) €500.

I didn’t have all the coins and notes at hand because, let’s face it; I don’t have a job or a large distrust of the bank system. So here are a select few for you to get the idea of what the currency looks like if you don’t know already.

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A €10 and a €50-note. A €2 coin, 20 cents (front and back) and 50 cent.

The Euro could have been so much more fun

First, I’d just like to say that it is a nice idea and all. Having the same currency all over the European Union makes money exchange redundant and makes trading easier. Each country is also allowed the fun little perk of designing one side of the coins into depicting something that you think represents your country.

The thing here is that it seems like very few countries have taken to design something fun. Instead, most countries opted for the safe choice of depicting a current or former leader of the country. I took the opportunity to do some calculations on this. Turns out that on the €2 coins (including both previous and current issues) where people are depicted (20 in total of all countries together) only 4 are depicting women. The rest (80 %!) are of men. Greece even has a coin that shows the Greek goddess Europa being adbucted by Zeus who has transformed himself into a bull to take her away from her family and marry her against her will. I know this is a legend in Greek mythology, which is kind of cool and all that, but isn’t it time to finally stop the bullshit and not show sexist stuff on something that is being handled every day my millions of people?

Finland though, is having some fun with their designs, showing some beautiful nature-inspired coins. If Sweden ever gets the Euro, that’s what I hope we’ll do too. Or that we would have some badass woman on our coins, like Austria does with their €2 coin showing the pacifist Bertha von Suttner who was the first woman ever to receive the Nobel Peace Price.

Seriously Europe, have some fun when you can – Kings on coins is getting old.

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A €2 coin from Luxembourg depicting H.R.H. Grand Duke Henri, issued 2014

Now for the cents…

Getting to pick your own design for the coins is basically the only possibly fun thing about the currency and the cent coins really mess with your head. Even though I’ve been living in Germany for the past 10 months, I still can’t deal with all the different coins and here’s to you Mr. Luc Luycx from the Royal Belgian Mint: you’ve caused me daily agonies because of your coin design. Who in their right mind would put a GLOBE right next to the number of the cent-coin to make it look like this?

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A 1 cent-coin

This makes me so frustrated as every time I pull out a 50-cent coin I go *yay*, before realizing that it’s 5 cents, i.e. worth 10 times less, and that I’ve got about five of those and an additional two hundred 1 and 2 cent coins in there. Who does that to a person?

Could it be that it’s only me having this issue? I mean, really, the coins do look different from each other and no one else that I’ve spoken to about this issue finds it hard to differentiate them from each other. What do you think?

Maybe I just have to get used to the currency. Or get used to the fact that I’m not good with money and shouldn’t be allowed to touch it. Ever.

Fun fact: There are some countries that are not part of the EU but still use the Euro as currency. These are: Saint Barthélemy, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican, Kosovo, Montenegro and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

5 things people tell you about vegans that simply aren’t true

I have noticed that there are some statements about veganism that come up again and again. Usually, these are out of pure concern from other people but sometimes I see people going a little bit overboard, turning concern into an uninformed opinion or plain offense. It’s drawing close to christmas, and being thrown together with family and a bunch of different kinds of foods may cause some tension. That’s why I want to use this blog post to address some of the things some people might say about vegans that simply aren’t true.

1. Being vegan is only for the privileged

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This one is totally fair if you are not informed about the potential of the vegan diet. It can be the cheapest diet in the world, eating grains, legumes, vegetables etc. You don’t need all those meat- or dairy substitutes like pulled jackfruit, soy cheese, almond milk etc. It’s great to have these items, but they are sometimes quite expensive.

But let’s take a moment to consider why the vegan substitutes are mostly as expensive as meat and dairy – and sometimes even more so – by considering the environmental impact of producing one beef burger vs. one soy burger. If we compare the water use in production of beef compared to soy for example, one study from the Netherlands found that producing a soy burger required 158 liters of water, while a beef burger required 2350 liters. There will always be several different aspects that need to be considered when we compare and discuss footprint of production, but studies have repeatedly found that beef burgers especially require a lot of resources to be produced. How is it then possible that vegan food still is more expensive than meat?

I believe part of the reason could be society’s view on agriculture. Agriculture is still deeply rooted into the way we live and the products we rely on, and the vegan substitutes create a threat to these industries. I will discuss this more in detail in another post, but one example of this is that here in Germany, food products are taxed at 19 % normally, except for animal products that are only taxed at 7 %.

I understand why people may think it is expensive or privileged to live vegan, but this is clearly a misconception because people aren’t informed of what it actually costs to eat animal products.

2. Vegans are annoying

I don’t know if this can be considered a fair statement or not. In my opinion, vegans are not annoying – at least not any more so than the average non-vegan. We’re all people and sometimes people rub you the wrong way for one reason or another and in some cases there is nothing we can do about it other than just accepting it and moving on. What I think is unfair though, is for people to say that someone is annoying simply because that person is a vegan (the same goes for the other way around too of course!)

What I do know about many vegans, as is the case for a lot of people who are passionate about something, is that it sometimes is hard for us to shut up about it. We want to educate, we want to tell people about this amazing new thing we have found. If you discovered something that made you feel happier and healthier, wouldn’t you also want to share it with the people around you?

The tricky part is to do it right…

  • Choose your battles
  • Don’t be arrogant
  • Listen to others
  • Don’t deliberately piss people off

I am sometimes totally lacking this skill, and more than once have I been in a heated discussion and most certainly been perceived as annoying. But while I rightly deserve being labelled annoying sometimes, the vegan community does not.

3. It is unnatural to be vegan

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Humans need meat. We’ve been eating meat since day one and not eating it is totally unnatural”

Sounds familiar? I bet it does. This is part of an ongoing discussion between some vegans and some non-vegans and I think there are arguments out there that are reasonable to show both sides here. There are some studies that look at our anatomy and say our bodies are simply not designed for a diet containing meat. But in contrast, others have been made to show that without meat we might never have developed into the humans we are today.

I’m not going to get into this discussion now, but I’ll tell you something that is not natural:

For people to be putting animals (sometimes half-alive) on a conveyor belt to slice their bodies open and cut the flesh into pieces; then having someone else pay $5 for it at the grocery store.

4. Vegans are not able to reach the minimum dietary requirements

 I think what started this discussion in our I-have-to-work-out-and-look-sexy-and-ripped-the-whole-time-crazed-society was protein. I’m not saying it is the only thing non-vegans think about when they question your dietary choices, but if I hear “but where do you get your protein from?” once again I am going to flip.

HELLO?? Where do Gorillas get their protein from? Elephants?

Granted, you do have to eat more in terms of volume when you go vegan (please, don’t forget that because it’s crucial to your health and wellbeing), but it doesn’t mean that plants are completely void of protein (even apples contain a little bit of it). So, if you eat a well-balanced vegan diet, you may end up being much healthier than another person who eats animal products who may be lacking nutrients found only in certain plant foods.

Another misconception is iron and calcium. Both traditionally seen as coming from meat and dairy respectively. While this is true to some extent, a lot of plant foods also contain iron and calcium – spinach for example contains both.

In other words: hitting the marks on a vegan diet is not hard, you just have to eat enough.

5. Vegans are stupid

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this one. I honestly don’t know how common this statement is, but it’s something that I’ve heard myself a few times from some people and I am just assuming that I can’t be the only one who has heard this. Basically, this claim boils down into vegans being less intelligent than other people because they don’t eat any animal products and therefore lack some essential nutrients.

And listen to this:

I myself even thought vegans must be less intelligent than non-vegans at one point.

It is a bit of a shocker. But we all sometimes make mistakes and form ungrounded opinions when we’re confronted with something we aren’t familiar with. This was the case for me, and I can only apologize for it and say that I have drastically changed my opinion since. When you hear it, it is just absurd and hardly even worth addressing. But if you’re ever confronted by this kind of statement, just pull out this impressive list of amazing, intelligent people who are vegan and let the others see for themselves.

Six special things you didn’t know about Germany

I have lived in Germany for almost a year now, and for every day that passes, I am starting to feel more at home. I believe the reason is because there are some really great things about this place that make it easier to feel at home. Germany is not so different from Sweden, but there are some… let’s say quirks that I have had to get used to. This post is about some of the things that make Germany such a special place.

1. Germans are extremely polite

The German politeness was something I found interesting when being confronted with the culture. Coming from Sweden, where you would address an older lady you’ve just met the same way that you’d talk to your little brother, I found the politeness difficult to adapt too. In German, they use a special form of you when talking to someone older, a colleague in a higher position or someone you just met: Sie, instead of the regular du, which incidentally also creates grammatical issues.

A lot of the time, you will also be addressed with a title here, such as Frau = Mrs/miss or Herr = Mr, something Sweden did away with around 50 years ago. The first time someone called me Frau, I nearly fell off my chair.

2. The language is difficult (no surprises there) but also nice

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I couldn’t help but to laugh at this quote when I first saw it. But whatever people may say about German, it actually is a really nice-sounding language in my opinion. I know there are thousands of jokes about it out there, and sure – some of the words are indeed outrageous, like Wirtschaftswissenschaft (Economics) – but most of the time, I think the jokes are a little undeserved. The grammar on the other hand is a whole other story. It’s all about the grammar rules and there are lots of them.

A difficult language may not be the best thing about Germany but nevertheless makes it special, and if you want to try to speak the language with the locals – go ahead. It will be very much appreciated! No one will scold you if you get something wrong, but they might politely correct you if you sound confused. Such as saying Kirsche (cherry) instead of Kirche (church) as you can’t get married in a cherry (duh!). Or they may be too polite to question you; like the time my brother meant to order dessert at a restaurant (Nachtisch) but instead asked for Nachricht (i.e. the news) and the waiter brought the daily newspaper to the table.

German also features some words that there’s no English translation for, such as Schadenfreude (the joy you feel for someone else’s misfortune). Check out some more great German words.

3. Beer, beer, beer!

stainless steel beer dispenser

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Germans LOVE their alcohol! They don’t drink in masses, it’s just that socializing with a beer seems to be the thing here. I’ve already written about the Swedes’ love for coffee but in Germany it’s all about beer. To be honest though; seeing as there is such an immense variety of beer to choose from, it’s not that strange that it has become such a tradition here.

Even if you’re not a fan of beer you will find something to suit your tastebuds for sure. If you drink alcohol but dislike the bitter taste of beer – ask for a Radler. A Radler is a mix between beer and lemonade (Shandy in English) and despite the seemingly high weirdness factor it is quite nice. Fun fact: Radler means cyclist in German, and the name probably came from the desire to have a drink but still needing to be able to get home by bike as the alcohol content is lower.

4. Germans can mix any drink and like it

It’s not just the Radler that is a mixed drink here. The Germans will mix any drink and be happy. Since 1973, they’ve been mixing Coke and Fanta, bottling it up and selling it like MezzoMix and they also came with the idea of carbonating apple juice and calling it Apfelschorle. Here, any soft drink can be combined with any other soft drink or – if you want to get the recommended daily intake – beer.

Tasty? Sometimes. Interesting? Definitely.

5. Christmas markets are HUGE

selective focus photography of baked pastries

Photo by Keith Lang on Pexels.com

It is drawing close to Christmas and if you live in Germany, that does not escape your notice because there are Christmas markets popping up where you’d least expect it. Even in the smallest villages there seems to be at least something going on.

The city where I live is smallish with about 200.000 people. Here, they’ve managed to squeeze in hundreds of booths selling everything you can imagine, places to get food and drinks, and even some kiddie-rides. Centered on the square is a pretty gigantic Christmas tree (Or Tannenbaum, if you’re feeling it by now). Everything is covered in twinkling lights, and there’s this constant soothing smell of candied almonds. In conclusion, Christmas markets in Germany are wonderful, but to enjoy them to the fullest you may have to be prepared to drink mulled wine (Glühwein) in the pouring December-rain.

6. In Germany, bread is life

We eat lots of bread in Sweden and I dare say it acts as a staple in most people’s homes. But in Germany, bread is essential for health and survival. Germans will purposefully wake up at 7 am on a Saturday to go get fresh bread or bread rolls (or both, no one’s judging here) from the bakery. The bread here is real too. You can find wheat toast at the grocery store, but most natives will opt for the hearty rye loaf bought at the bakery instead. In fact, I learned from my German friends when I lived in San Diego, that you go down the bread aisle and you just poke all the breads at the supermarket (no kidding). The bread with the most resistance is the one you buy. I call it, the pillow-test because most of my friends would exclaim “Oh, yuck! Not this one, it feels like a pillow”.

 

These are some of the charming oddities I have noticed about Germany that make it such a special place. If you have been here and noticed any other things that I didn’t bring up here, it would be very interesting to know!

3 reasons why honey isn’t vegan and what you can choose instead

When I get the question “what was the last thing you gave up when you became vegan?” I typically answer:

“Eggs.”

I know this is strange to a lot of people as the most common answer to that question clearly is “Cheese”, due to its addictive properties (Oh yeah – surprise!). This makes it very difficult for a lot of people to give up cheese and I’m not going to say that it was easy for me to do so; it just happened to be that a carton of eggs was the last thing left in my house after I had decided I wanted to go vegan and the last thing I then gave up.

Or so I thought…

Actually, the last thing I gave up when going vegan was honey but without realizing it at first. I think a lot of people tend to forget about honey not being vegan because there’s a lot of confusion around it compared to the rest of the stuff, which is all pretty straight forward (except for mussels and oysters but I’ll make another post on that some other time because that deserves to be talked about too). That’s why I’m attempting to make it a little bit less confusing with this blog post.

bee perched on white petaled flower closeup photography

Photo by Thijs van der Weide on Pexels.com

Three reasons why honey is not vegan nor cruelty-free

1. Bees are in many cases factory-farmed just like any other cow in any other mega-dairy

This statement may seem weird considering that bees get to fly outside, enjoy fresh air and collect flower nectar, and the picture you have of beekeeping is probably vastly different from the one you have of dairy-farming (and if you don’t think mega-dairies are so bad, you should check out some of the problems). But, in a lot of cases, honey production shows an unpleasant reality. The queen bee may have her wings clipped to prevent the bees from “swarming” (i.e. leaving the hive and looking for a new one), and the bees gets smoked to sedate them, which can only be considered a major stressor.

How can we be so sure that bees don’t feel pain even though they don’t have traditional pain receptors? How can we know that sedation doesn’t affect them negatively in the long run? Until we do – I vote we don’t do it at all. After all, no one would try to make a living off of you by asking you to do something that might have adverse effects on your health, right?

2. It is cruel to take the honey — even if the bees make more than they need

Aren’t you wondering why bees make honey in the first place? Or does it seem obvious?

I’ll tell you for what purpose they’re not making it: for us humans to slather it on bread or enjoy it in our tea. Bees make honey for their own survival. Bees need honey for food. And yes – bees probably produce more honey than they strictly need to survive (even in the wild. I can’t see a reason as to why they wouldn’t – we all like to stock up, don’t we?). Does that justify us taking it from them? The answer would be no.

One additional point that should also be made here is that when beekeepers take the honey, they normally replace it with some kind of syrup (mix between water and sugar), which is not as nutrient-dense as honey. Consequently, the bees’ health suffers.

3. It is a very slippery slope

Honeybees are the perfect example of a slippery-slope-way-of-thinking and I will tell you why. People might give you reasons like “By eating honey, I support beekeepers who provide a home for the bees and in return we get to take their honey.” While this statement has a point to it and I can see people saying it because they genuinely want to care for bees and are oblivious to the works of the industry, it is still wrong. I wonder why we as humans are so brought up into thinking that we cannot care for anything or anyone else if we don’t get anything back. Had bees been buzzing around like flies without making something sweet and tasty, we would never have bothered with them at all. But as soon as there is a profit to be made, there is bound to be humans there poking around. And the more profit we can make – the better. That’s when we start to compromise the health and safety of the bees for our own benefit.

Is it possible that we can provide the bees with a home and let them do their thing without stealing from them? I like to think it is possible, but that takes action from us. From me and from you. Drop the honey and plant some flowers in your garden or in a flower box for a start!

Then what can you use if you want to go bee-free?

As sweetener instead of honey:

  • Sugars (cane, raw, brown – the list of sugars is looong)
  • Syrup (maple, agave, date, cane)
  • Fruit (bananas, apple sauce or similar)

As wax instead of beeswax:

  • Carnauba wax
  • Soy wax

Here in large parts of Europe and especially where I’m from, some of the substitutes are more difficult to get if you want to live more environmentally-friendly. These include bananas, dates and agave. In this case I can understand the reason for using honey as a sweetener as it can be produced locally – however, due to the reasons mentioned above I don’t support it. I love it when people are excited about making a choice that is better for the environment, but please go for the sugar or the apple sauce instead. I’m certainly not perfect in this area myself, but I try to stay away from products that have been shipped from far away when I can get something that is equally good from within my own country – especially when no animals have suffered for it.

I hope you have learnt something from this blog post, and if you are interested in reading more about honey or learning about veganism, please visit these websites:

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on honey
Plantbased News on honey

Swedes’ love for coffee and my recipe for healthy raspberry bites

For those wishing to know more about Swedish culture, I will now introduce the concept of fika and let you know exactly how much Swedes love coffee. If you have no such wishes, just go ahead and scroll down to the recipe and bake away!

Fika is a word for a small break where you sit down with someone and have coffee and a sweet snack of some sort, the most traditional one being the cinnamon bun (not to be confused with the appalling American version with heaps of glaze on; one of my life’s biggest pet peeves). There is always a drink involved and that is usually coffee. Swedes LOVE coffee. So much that we are one of the ten countries in the world that consume the most coffee, with an average of 8.2 kg per person in 2017. Along with the rest of the Scandinavian countries (that seem to be consuming even more than us!) we end up topping the list. Hands down to Finland though, miles ahead of everyone else with a whopping 12 kg per person.

I just made myself a cup and took the opportunity to do a quick calculation. Dividing 12 kg by 365 days gives approximately 33 grams of coffee consumed per day. I take about 9 grams coffee to brew 1 cup and by these measures it would mean that the Finns drink 3-4 cups of coffee per person per day and the Swedes falling short on just 2-3 cups per day. I have to say I was pretty surprised by this discovery. 3-4 cups a day doesn’t seem that much to me. I know plenty of people who easily drink 5-6 cups of coffee in a day. My mom, for instance. Plus, her coffee is so strong most people would black out if they came to her house for a fika.

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Now, I have covered coffee – but what about the snacks? Most of them are originally non-vegan as they use mostly butter, milk and eggs. But there is nothing that says you can’t make a vegan version and there are plenty of wonderful recipes out there. In this post, I have chosen to share with you my take on a traditional simple sweet that you can find in most cafés in Sweden. The chocolate ball.

These sweet snacks are the tastiest and simplest ever. Originally, the chocolate ball is made with oats, butter, cocoa, white sugar and coconut flakes to coat them with; so, when I first went vegan I opted for the plant-based version in which the butter is exchanged for margarine. While also trying to stay healthy (although let’s face it – we all break sooner or later), this is still not something you would eat every day. So, I decided to make my own healthier vegan recipe, simply substituted the sugar and butter for dates and peanut butter. These snacks have been a staple in our home for some time now, as we are without a functioning oven and therefore involuntary raw-bakers.

Yesterday, I had cravings (I’m only human) but found no cocoa and no peanut butter in the pantry. I wasn’t just going to give up like that. Not without a fight. I needed to figure out something else that would satiate my sweet tooth and then I came up with these little treats, featuring raspberries and coconut instead of cocoa and you can safely enjoy the whole batch if you’re having a bad day or happen to just be really hungry. I guess they are fairly similar to these raw bars etc. that are getting more popular by the minute, although I don’t know if mine strictly count as raw as I used boiling water.

Without further ado – here they are. Full of antioxidants from the spices and the raspberries and no refined sugars. Enjoy!

Healthy raspberry and coconut bites

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Makes about 20 pieces

  • 8 dates
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ cm fresh ginger
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Ground nuts for coating

First, boil the water and cover the dates with it when done. Let sit for 5 minutes for the dates to soften. In the meantime, mix all the dry ingredients apart from the nuts in a bowl.
Blend the raspberries, ginger, vanilla extract and the dates (still with the water) in a high-speed blender until smooth. Add the raspberry mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until dough is firm enough to stick together. If mixture is too dry add more water (about a tbsp at a time) and if too liquid add more oats.
Place two plates beside the bowl with the dough. Pour a layer of ground nuts onto one plate. Form the dough into balls (about 1 inch in diameter) and then roll them in the nuts to coat evenly.
Transfer to the third plate and put into the refrigerator to rest for about 1 hour.

The importance of the niche?

I had a thought the other day, and it was far from a pleasant one. I was having a good start to my day, scrolling through my WordPress page and reading some inspiring blog posts while enjoying a cup of coffee. The sun rising slowly outside my living room window. Losing my job recently means that I suffer a kind of chronic stress but determined to not let that get me down all the time I try to remain outside my own feelings from time to time. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get anything done because of the sometimes paralyzing fear of the thousand looming decisions I have to make. But the realization I had, scrolling through all these blogs, was one that left me uneasy in a whole other way: all blogs seem to have a niche and mine doesn’t.

I thought about it for a while, but I can’t come up with a common theme that runs through my blog posts and binds them together. I just write about whatever I feel like doing in the moment because it makes me happy or inspired. My intentions with this blog may have been far different from the actual product. In years of writing fiction, I’ve learnt that sometimes that is the case in writing. If you don’t plan everything ahead (and sometimes even if you do!) things might turn out different than expected. Characters might go totally rogue and suddenly, you’ll find yourself in an unexpected place and you are not sure how to get back to where you were. That’s what my blog has become, only a tad more timid and manageable of course.

I have read plenty of metablogs (in case you don’t know what a metablog is; it’s simply a blog about blogging) and one ingredient to becoming a successful blogger according to many of them is the niche. You’ve got to have a niche. Judging by the number of blogs I have read and enjoyed, all of them do. But when I look at my own blog, I can’t figure my own blog out.

Thinking about it more closely though – maybe there’s nothing wrong with writing for just the pure pleasure of it? I know we can’t all be Carrie Bradshaws (although, who would want to? We all know she really was the worst), but come to think of it; I myself enjoy reading random blog posts where the writer is just discussing a topic from their point of view. There might always be the possibility of recognition in that, which is something I think a lot of people like to find themselves in.

Maybe I will find my niche some day and gain a larger audience, but until then I’m alright just writing for my own happiness and for you. After all, we are all humans with different experiences, but it’s nice to know that some people out there that you have no connection to, actually think and feel the same way about a lot of things you thought you were alone with. It took me a long time to dare to start a blog, and now I’m finally sitting here and despite not having a niche I’m very happy I did. So, if you are unsure about the purpose of your blog and feel a little down like me (hey, recognition!), please just keep writing. It will help you figure it out in the long run, and it will make you happy. Just like it makes me.

Losing my job – a blessing or a curse?

– …you will still receive your salary for next month. We are saying to everyone who leaves today, that they can just take that and don’t have to come back at all.

Losing my job was not something I had counted on and especially not without a warning. I had come into work right after my two-week vacation to an ordinary Monday. After around two hours of my workday – angry customers, the occasionally really nice phone conversation etc. – my boss called in one of my coworkers for a meeting. When she came out a few minutes later, tears were pouring down her face. After some inadvertent staring and perplexity, I decided to ignore the tumult around. I stuck my nose back into my work and remained like that for some time. The only distraction occurring when my coworker had gathered up her stuff, left her desk empty and came to say good bye. I was extremely confused but didn’t think more about it after she left.

Of course, not until about ten minutes later when my boss called me into her office. In one, hasty breath she asked if I had a minute for a short meeting (imagine if I had said no) and did I want a cup of coffee or tea? So that’s it, I thought. I was going to get sacked.
– No, thank you, I said. I didn’t want to be sipping coffee while she was telling me I had just lost my job. I followed her into the office and there she laid everything out for me. Nothing personal, the company was in big financial problems, she hated to let so many people go and it was a bad day for all of us. Sure, I almost rolled my eyes thinking about the colleague who had just left the office ten minutes earlier with tears streaming from her eyes.

I had a funny feeling leaving the building after that meeting. I had worked there for nearly a year and had hated maybe 90 percent of that time. The haunting feeling of never fitting in and never finding anything that you’re good at is something I have experienced often, and it was not stopped by this job. It didn’t require any specific skills that I didn’t have. It was just a regular job for regular people like me. I got it because I happened to be in the right place at the right time and I couldn’t believe my luck when I was called up and offered it. But it turned out to be less than ideal for many reasons. Mainly because of my coworkers. I felt like an outsider from the moment I stepped over the threshold. The funny feeling I had stepping back over it for the last time was a mix between relief and shock. I hadn’t planned on staying at this job for a longer time. I didn’t like it but at least it gave me a steady income so that I could pay my share of the rent, electricity and groceries. I had thought I would stay on until I had found something else. Or at least until I was ready enough to set my own thing up, spread my wings and take off.

But suddenly, that choice that I had thought I would make at some point, became unattainable. It had been pulled away from me like someone pulls a rug under your feet. Sure, I could just continue home with a month’s wages in my pocket, not having to cry ever again before going to work in the morning. But at the same time, I had lost the satisfaction of finally saying ‘No, this is enough,’ and go on to do bigger and better things. But now, I didn’t know if I was even close to ready to take matters in my own hands. Being pushed over the edge with only month to figure that out was more than I had cared to bargain for.

I am now exactly halfway through my month of “figuring things out” and so far, I have to say it’s not going great. I don’t know if you have ever been in the same situation, but I am pretty sure you have at least experienced some changes in your life that may have been terrifying in the sort of way it kind of paralyses you. I think everyone with any uncertainty in their life, however big or small, feel more or less stressed and that is exactly what I feel now. The relief was after about a week transformed into worry and is now bordering on frustration. Sometimes, I get myself down, thinking I will never be able to break the circle of jobs that make me unhappy. But at other times I think perhaps this was what I needed to finally do something about a situation I was unhappy about.

Maybe, all we need to take a step toward what we truly want, is a push in the right direction? I just didn’t expect it to be this hard.