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They closed the schools. I was all alone, there wasn’t a very important reason to get out of bed in the morning anymore. So I wrote a social distancing diary. It’s a good read, I actually seem quite happy. When I look at my goals for 2020 I must admit that things didn’t really go as planned. I wanted to lose a lot of weight, exactly the amount I ended up gaining. My number one coping mechanism seems to be food. Preparing it for comfort, eating it for the same reason, or a bunch of others like stress, sadness or celebration. Also, I didn’t travel nearly as much as I wanted. It was supposed to be the year of going to faraway places, somewhere I had never been before. I travelled in my mind instead. I got some things I wanted even though in a quite unexpected way. I started moving, connecting to nature. I fell in love with the forest. It’s only a 10-minute-walk from my house and it turned into a magical place for me. I regularly get lost there, have a stare-down with squirrels, marvel at the beautiful mushrooms and ferns. I crave the stillness, solitude and smell, especially on gloomy days. Sometimes I wake up before sunset and immediately put on my dirt shoes, specifically designated for walks in the mud and adventures amongst the scratchy brambles. Welcoming movement into my life was one step towards healing, I’m quite sure of it. And something incredible happened – I stopped needing food. It made me feel heavy. I could go without it for a long time and in the end I settled for two meals a day. I started losing weight. I felt free. Food has been my way to deal with things for such a long time and it probably still is but I refuse to harm myself by binging. I allow everything, restrict nothing. Not even animal products. A vegan diet is ideal for me but I still eat a bit of cheese and yoghurt and I feel great. I didn’t go back to yoga class or the gym, I didn’t try Qi Gong, martial arts or any other fancy class. I became quite interested in Kundalini yoga but it wasn’t really the time to join a new studio so it’s something to work on next year, maybe. I didn’t even learn to meditate (even though I got a beautiful yin and yang meditation pillow) but I tried resonance breathing which was great. And I started to believe in magic. Well, not really magic. But ancient healing traditions like TCM or Ayurveda. I read about healing mushrooms and incorporated Hericium and Reishi into my supplement regime as well as Ashwagandha. I’ve never had more energy. And I started to see patterns everywhere, more than usual. It might have started with Christina’s Matcha Mornings podcast and her interest in modern astrology and self-actualization. Long story short, I now do moon rituals. Just for me, as a way to check in with myself and get a clearer picture of what what I (don’t) want in my life. I still feel a bit stupid for going down a weird spiritual and esoteric route even though I firmly believe in science, too. It’s a balancing act – as it always is for me. That’s something I have accepted now – it’s always black and white for me. I need the extremes, both sides, I can never choose. Freedom and security, femininity and masculinity, possession and minimalism, independence and strong bonds. I need it all. And then there were goals like “de-stress. me first. self-care. sleep enough. be kinder, more patient.” I feel a little psychic because that’s exactly what I got. I feel so much more relaxed and resilient. I keep to myself much more these days. Find magic in the mundane and everyday tasks. I sit with things for a longer time in order to appreciate them and live in the moment. I’m not perfect, of course, but hey, that Eckhart Tolle dude might actually be on to something. Kindness is something I don’t reserve for other people. I mean, in a way I’m still the same old selfish bitch I’ve always been. But I try to have compassion for myself. To figure out what I really need. I don’t always have to be hard and hide my vulnerability. One thing I welcomed into my life is warmth. I drink a few liters of tea every day, got a heating blanket and use my hot water bottle much more. I actually turn on the heating when I feel cold and take warm baths. The last points on my list were learning Spanish and, as always, drawing, painting, woodworking and playing around with clay. It wasn’t a very creative year, I think – much the same problem as with reading, I suppose, it was hard to sit down and draw something. But I had a few weeks when I was absolutely obsessed with digital drawing (I had just got an Apple pencil and Procreate). And I made crystals and worked on my wooden bowl, too! All in all there were a lot of little projects and I’m quite happy with that. And I actually did learn some basic Spanish and was able to communicate with the staff in Ibiza and Formentera. However, it’s something I still need to work on. Patience. All in all, this year was quite unexpected, transformative and healing for me. What a blessing.

RELEASE - What did you let go of this year? // Emotional eating, for the most part. Some limiting beliefs about myself. It was hard for me to deal with stagnancy and limitation. Not knowing what to do next, not being able to set any goals (with aticipaton usually being my most effective motor). It's still hard to just let everything happen but I live more in the now. I'm a calmer person with my thoughts limited to today, tomorrow, perhaps a few days ahead and not months and years as usual. What made all this possible was a lack of FOMO because everybody else is just as stuck as me. So the pressure to do something, anything, all the time, is something I let go of, mostly.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS - What were you deeply proud of doing, making, being, etc. this year? What made you feel good? // All those Smule videos. Even though I hate videos of myself. I had to fight it out with my perfectionism. I also got quite good at cooking and baking. I even know how to make sourdough bread now. I also learned how to play chess in November (inspired by The Queen's Gambit) and went geocaching for the first time. I started listening to podcasts on my daily walks.

BREAKTHROUGHS - What were your biggest breakthroughs? This can be in any area: emotional, spiritual, career, etc. // I overcame so much. I feel happier, more energetic, more in tune. I finally surrendered and accepted that I'm a forest person so I started walking through the woods for 1-2 hours each day. Movement is so good for my body. I started losing the weight I put on during the first lockdown. It's really quite funny how I hit rock bottom in 2020 but also found guidance and support, especially within myself. However, I feel like I had some kind of spiritual awakening, too. I became interested in psychedelics, astrology, alternative medicine, the lunar cycle, human design and the teachings of people like Gabrielle Bernstein and Deepak Chopra. Which is the cause of my eternal dilemma - duality. I always find myself right in the middle between two extremes. In this case I believe in both science and spirituality so I'm working on findind middle ground.

HAPPINESS - What was the most fun you had this year? When were you really happy? // Making great Smule recordings. / And plum dumplings in Manu’s mum’s kitchen. / Cooking and baking in general. / Listening to the Matcha Mornings podcast in the kitchen. / Going on long walks through the forest, preferrably on gloomy days (nice mood, less people). / Halloween with the fifth-graders. / Every second during lunch break with Becky. / Being immersed in a really good book. / Learning something new. / Building, doing, making, using my hands. / In bed with the fairy lights on, lying on my heating blanket. / Swimming, snorkelling, being underwater, facing the jellyfish. / In bed with Sash, snacking, drinking red wine, watching French movies. / Petting a cat. / Lying next to Frank on the sofa, eating dinner. / Hardware stores. / Practising the Cup Song with Manu on a patch of grass in the warm spring sun. / Sitting down with the kids, doing something creative myself. / Writing letters. / Eating dumplings. / Walking through interesting exhibitions and museums. Feeling so inspired. / Writing into my students’ friendship books. I used all the good stickers. / Mushroom forages with my mum. / The flat smelling of something delicious in the oven. / Burning a note with things I don’t want to keep in my life under a bright full moon. / The open-air cinema at Westpark with Frank and Manu. / Therapy sessions, I suppose. / All those flowers I received after the graduation ceremony. / Being done with grading the final exams. What a great feeling of relief. / The fleamarket. / Drinking Aperol Spritz right next to the lake. A decadent short trip with Sash. / That day at the plant nursery with Margit. The cats, the talkative apprentice, the little store, pizza for dinner. I loved walking through the flower beds with Margit, talking about this and that. / Playing Drawful and Role Models with the gang. And performing Good as Hell on BeatSaber. / Getting the first plant delivery for the balcony in spring. Watching the bell peppers and zucchini grow. / Hugging trees, listening to the sound they make when it’s windy. / Morning walks to Neuried. Getting a whole wheat croissant for breakfast. Walking back in the sunshine. / Cherry blossoms. The nest in the woods. / The Buffy musical episode. / Sunshine on the first day of the year, sitting by the river with Andre’s head in my lap. // Since I tend to forget about the little things I like to refer to my monthly lists of random goodness: January / February / March / April / May / June / July / August / September / October / November / December

LOVE - Who did you fall in love with this year? // Me!! And I spent so much time with Manu during the lockdown. So naturally I thought I was in love with him after a while. That’s what connection and, well, a lot of exposure do to me. But he talked sense into me and of course he was right. There are too many things about him I’d want to change. I even – and I really don’t know how and why – managed to go on a few dates:

  • Adrian - I visited him one Sunday and made cherry pie in his kitchen. We also took a walk in the woods and went to Passau together but he was just too boring for me tbh.
  • Chris - We had cocktails at Pusser's and he kissed me in front of a tiger slide in a toy store window.
  • Alex - Shamrock Pub Quiz. A G&T at the Keg. He paid for the drinks and the taxi because I needed to let him stay over. Wasn't even a half bad decision! But in the end I needed to ghost him. He hated himself so destructively much and used to have sex with prostitutes. Not my cup of tea.
  • Flo - Friday Late at Villa Stuck. Some wine near Max-Weber-Platz. He just didn't like my vibe. So sad, I actually liked him. We had a lot of fun.
  • Alex - A long walk through the forest under the moonlight. Tea in my kitchen. Turned out he's tracking-obsessed, likes techno and has a bachelor in economics. Not for me.
  • another Chris – My online friend for months. I like having someone to talk to. An audience so to speak? Oh my, I’m a horrible person. We met one Saturday and he taught me some chess theory but he's definitely not for me.
  • Max (M) - A happy-go-lucky electrician who talks a lot and wants a family. Pretty, charming, not for me.
  • Simon (M) - Another walk in the woods with a boring nerd. Seriously, I drifted off a few times. But he's kind and adores me. So I suppose it's not a bad thing to enjoy company for some time.

LOSS - Who did you miss? // All the people, obviously. I started writing more letters. Sometimes I thought I’d go crazy without anything to do. But after a while it got better and I started enjoying my own company again. The problem is of course that I’m an ambivert so I need people to annoy me in order to be ready for alone time again (and vice versa). In spring we regularly had online meet-ups and game nights. I organized a virtual pub quiz for my usual team and we played a lot of JackBox.

PEOPLE - Did you meet anyone new? // The most surprising thing was actually someone coming back into my life. During the graduation ceremony on the last school day before the summer holidays Becky texted me that she would become my new colleague. We had spent one year at a different school together once and she cause quite the stir. So I didn’t know what to expect but I love having her there with me, I really do. I don’t know what it is but we just get along so well. We hop from topic to topic without even thinking about it, never running out of things to say. I also spent a little more time with Margit. Online, of course, after we hadn’t been able to meet for pub quiz anymore, but also in museums, visiting her at home or going to a garden center together (we had the best afternoon ever – plants, cats and pizza). I connected with my mum a little more. We spent some lovely summer days together and going foraging in the forest. Eating dumplings with creamy mushrooms together. Discovering how similar we really are. Simultaneously rolling our eyes because of my brother’s neverending problems. I met Lorena, my Argentinian language tandem. We met quite a few times only to find out that my Spanish was rubbish but we really like each other and went to the botanical gardens and the swimming-pool a few times in summer. When I was still very active on Smule I met a few people there like Michiel Min, Amber and Stacey. Manu also introduced me to Mika and Erik and I spent some time on Manu’s Discord server so I met Alex and Flo there, two other friends.

TRAVEL - Did you travel? Where did you go? // Obviously travel was not really an option this year. However, miraculously we managed to go through with our plans to go to Spain this summer. So I spent a very lazy week in Ibiza with Sash. Basically doing nothing but reading, snorkelling, going to the beach or swimming in the pool. Eating breakfast. Lots of it. We actually rented a car and drove around for one day but there wasn’t much to see. After one week we joined our friends in Formentera where we had rented a house. Yanic and Obi had already been there for two weeks at that point, attending a guitar-making workshop. So I mostly hung around the house with Lena and Sash, we cooked or played games, I got really creative and made solar photographs, some embroidery and drawing, too. We collected snail shells and rented bicycles to ride around the island and go to different beaches. Super lazy summer holidays.

FASHION - What was your most beloved/favorite outfit? How would you describe your style this year? How did the way you dress change? // Not much, honestly. I spent a great deal of my time in the forest so I have some grubby old sneakers for my walks now. A practical warm jacket. Oh, and I discovered Kleiderkreisel, a second hand clothing app, and I found some of my favourite Barts hats. And a jacket with a Strange Women Society logo (bought it instantly). I guess fashion just wasn’t that important this year when you don’t have any big occasions to wear something nice.

MUSIC - What were some of your favorite records and songs? What song will always remind you of this year? What song lyrics reverberated with you? // I only managed to attend two concerts this year. Christian’s annual concert at the Gasteig and I saw The Darkness with Margit! They’re still amazing. Apart from that Manu and me were absolutely obsessed with Smule (a karaoke app) and played around with it excessively. Our biggest hits were the Cup Song and all the Tenacious D (Wonderboy, Kickapoo, Beelzeboss, Roadie) and One More with Feeling (the Buffy musical episode) collaborations. I listened to Exile by Taylor Swift and Bon Iver on repeat for a while and discovered Cosmik Debris by Frank Zappa. I loved singing variations on the Jai Mata Kali mantra while cooking or baking. And Bayonne's music was still so important to me. In autumn I came up with a "soft 90s music" playlist featuring artists like Faith Hill, The Corrs, Train and The Cranberries.

CULTURE - What were the most interesting exhibitions you saw? Any creative workshops or theatre visits? // At the beginning of the year we still attended the pub quiz pretty much every week. I also managed to go clubbing with Tom at SAUNA. And I went to the theatre a few times. I saw Ronja Räubertochter and Einer gegen alle at Residenztheater and Die drei Musketiere at Cuvilliéstheater. As soon as the museums were open again we also got our cultural fix so I visited Haus der Kunst, Villa Stuck and Lenbachhaus in October. Something I look back on fondly is an evening at the open air cinema in Westpark with Frank and Manu. I loved being around my best boys.

MATERIALISM - Something you wished for and got (for yourself)? // A heated blanket. Fairy lights for the bed (perfect reading light – my lamp is far too bright). Art supplies (lots of them). A copious amount of plants. A cordless vacuum cleaner. Shocking quantities of skincare products. Hair extensions and high quality hair products (I’ve never spent more money at the hairdresser’s than this one time – it’s probably as much as all the other visits combined). Speaking of spending money: I also started donating money to Greenpeace and a society supporting unconditional basic income.

MOVIES/TV - Your favourite films and TV shows of the year. // I watched most of the Studio Ghibli films for the first time and absolutely loved a few of them. I think my favourite must be Spirited Away (2001). But I also enjoyed these movies:

  • Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  • Princess Mononoke (1997)
  • Howl's Moving Castle (2014)
  • Ponyo (2008)
  • Knives Out (2019) [apparently the only film I liked this year that wasn’t Studio Ghibli or a rewatch]

Feelgood movies I loved watching again:

  • First Wives Club (1996)
  • I, Tonya (2017)
  • Space Jam (1996)
  • The Broken Circle Breakdown (2013)
  • Rocketman (2019)
  • The Witches (1990)
  • Practical Magic (1998)
  • You've Got Mail (1998)
  • Hocus Pocus (1993)
  • Les Petits Mouchoirs 1 (2010) and the 2019 sequel
  • Save the Last Dance (2001)
  • Stepmom (1998)

When it comes to television I actually climbed down my high horse and watched a few competition/reality/documentary shows, mostly about plants, architecture/decorating and make-up:

  • The Big Flower Fight
  • The World's Most Extraordinary Homes
  • Interior Design Masters
  • Queer Eye
  • Glow Up

And I discovered some really great TV series this year. I’m quite sad some of these were discontinued…

  • Spinning Out
  • Outer Banks
  • The Umbrella Academy
  • Pose
  • You
  • Please Like Me
  • The Expanse
  • Killing Eve
  • What We Do in the Shadows
  • Sex Education
  • High Fidelity
  • The Queen's Gambit
  • Hjem til jul / Home for Christmas
  • Kärlek och anarki / Love & Anarchy

BOOKS - Your favourite books/stories/poems/plays. // I experienced much the same effect as most people I know – suddenly it was very hard to read, even though you had so much more time on your hands. But my structure broke away, I didn’t have to spend all that time on public transport anymore so I wasn’t in need for escapism in form of diving deep into a book. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to live in a fantasy world instead of the real one but somehow I needed to stay present and couldn’t muster up the concentration to read much. It got better after the lockdown though. And I found some fantastic books at the beginning of the year, too. In the end I managed to read exactly half the amount of books as last year - 50 instead of 100. Here are some fiction highlights:

  • Robin Sloan – Sourdough and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
  • Madeline Miller - Circe
  • Leigh Bardugo - Ninth House and the Shadow and Bone trilogy
  • Naomi Novik - Uprooted / A Deadly Education
  • Sarah Andersen - Fangs
  • Hank Green - A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor
  • David Eagleman - Sum

In retrospect, I’m leaning heavily towards fantasy books. Shouldn’t surprise me, I suppose. There was a bit of escapism after all. I need more magic in my life.

Regarding non-fiction these three books helped me so much, unexpectedly I might add:

  • Michael Pollan - Verändere dein Bewusstsein
  • Olivia Wollinger - Essanfälle adé
  • Prof. Dr. med. Matthew Walker - Das große Buch vom Schlaf

I would have never believed how much of an effect a regular sleeping pattern (with enough time to rest and an early bedtime) could have on my mood and energy. I go to bed between 8:30pm and 10pm religiously on a school night now. Michael Pollan’s research was nothing more than interesting to me until I accidentally got the chance to see for myself and I was such a beautiful experience. What an amazing tool for the human psyche, really. All I felt was love. And Olivia Wollinger’s book… the title alone should have been reason enough for me not to read it but I did because someone recommended it and you know what, it actually gave me lots of insights. I learned not to limit myself anymore and I learned about toxic shame. I guess it really helped me to mostly get rid of my binge eating.

nov 3 2020 ∞
jan 4 2021 +