My Past Year: What I’ve Been Up to and How Times Have Changed

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The past six months have been a crazy whirlwind of happenings. If not to say even the past year. From odd career choices over varying schedules to pure travel mania… Where to start?

Perhaps it all started when I gave up working in an office environment at the beginning of the summer of 2014. I was simply fed up with stupid, repetitive tasks, a 9-5 or 9-6-work-week and the feeling of being trapped in something I couldn’t emotionally support anymore. Most of all, what bugged me was not having enough flexibility in pursuing my real passion: The need to capture great things on my camera and succeeding in the photography department. After 4 years of entry-level and junior-league office jargon, I simply wasn’t feeling it anymore.

Instead, I gave up everything (and mostly my pride) and became a server and bartender at a cute German restaurant around the corner from where I live. During that summer of 2014 I met many great characters. People I am still in touch with now and who I regard as part of my close friend circle. From relaxed beach days over weekday parties to exploring sights in New York – the city had me again and I was in love with it like never before. The service industry is a fast-paced beast and after that summer ended, 80 percent of our team had moved on to better means, mostly to the country they had come from (we had a few European peeps amongst us). The core team still stayed for a good amount of time.

Beach days during the week - until then unheard of
Beach days during the week – until then unheard of
The Germans won the Worldcup during that summer
The Germans won the Worldcup during that summer
Sightseeing with a friend
Sightseeing with a friend

Mostly actors, singers, or other creative types take on these jobs because the hours are flexible (evenings and weekends) and they are able to pursue their passion on the side. I too thought it would be a perfect side gig, considering I worked 3-4 shifts a week (mostly weekends) and earned as much if not more than in an office setting. I had also gone back to remotely working in an office, but this time for the giant Google while doing German-based tasks from the comforts of my home. So life was pretty good throughout the fall and winter.

The amazing summer team
The amazing summer team
Fall came around
Fall came around

It was mostly about living in the moment and meeting new people and having a fun time overall. Taking an eye-opening philosophy course helped in setting my priorities straight. Of course the winter months especially were dedicated towards working on my first photography book ever (something I will hopefully be able to expand on very soon). They were also meant to be spent with friends while celebrating and enjoying the cultural sides of this magnificent city (all those shows, theater, and talks I never had time for).

Halloween at work
Halloween at work
Winter friends
Winter friends
Winter parties
Winter parties

Then our solid restaurant team broke apart (partly due to management issues, partly due to everyone being fed up). It is a fast-paced industry after all. And perhaps since spring the odd job was more of a nuisance than a serious source of income. It was also then that I took up a few major travels and went back home for the first time in 2 years. Germany, Italy, and Iceland – it was quite a magical trip after all. As life had it, I couldn’t dwell on my life as a bartender no-more. Not after forming new dreams and needing a Plan B to make these dreams come true. Consequently, at the end of July, I gave up what I had been doing for 14 months straight and since then life has never felt this good!

The thing about a restaurant job that no one tells you is that once it starts annoying you, it affects you to a greater degree than an office job that starts annoying you. While in a similar situation I could have stayed in an office setting for another half a year or so, all of a sudden the customers, the co-workers, and the kitchen staff were just a major thorn in my eye. Since providing good customer service was a crucial part of the job, I didn’t see many options to succeed. It was therefore best to move on.

Last day at work
Last day at work

So I spontaneously booked a trip to Mexico, because it had proven its healing powers in the past and because some of my most welcoming friends live there. It turned out to be a fantastic trip with only a few hassles (or rather: lessons to be learned) here and there. But most of all it was an adventure more than anything else. From here, I was to relax in New York for a few days only until it was off to Chicago. To visit the other side of my family and witness an amazingly beautiful wedding between my cousin and his now-wife.

Exploring Oaxaca/ Mexico
Exploring Oaxaca/ Mexico

March, April, June and August had indeed been major travel months. And the moment I got back to the City, I interviewed for a position and was offered it almost on the spot. I’ve never had so much good luck when it came to a job. I have now returned to a full-time office setting and am doing paralegal work for a German law firm. As weird as this may sound, I am enjoying what I am doing even though training will be pretty crazy in the next few months. Returning to the office grind was surprisingly easy after being out of it for a while. I am used to planning my life around a work-week and I really value the social time I now have again. Most of my friends are only able to meet on the weekends and that was rarely possible with my previous job.

Finding new interests
Finding new interests

Perhaps this is also the first time in my job history that I am not giving my entire heart and soul away. I am still working on that first photo book and in addition I’ve decided to take up online graphic design classes in order to make my dream of a creative career come true. There are a ton of great programs out there and for some you don’t need to spend an abundance of money on. I might dig deeper into this once I get there (think separate blog post). Perhaps I can feel the excitement of a changing world around me and being able to resonate with the environment I am in. What a great feeling that is indeed!

In addition, I’ve also returned to blogging on a regular basis. Something I had abandoned for a very long time. Thanks to gentle reminders and means such as the 30-Day-Blogging-Challenge (of which I’ve only completed one full round so far), I’ve become motivated to write down whatever I wanted. Mostly about some cool stuff happening here in New York. And of course also recapping travel agendas and my impressions during those trips. I’ve by far succeeded my blog post count from the previous year and perhaps even 2013 (although I still have ways to go until the end of this year!). Altogether, I feel that falling into the blogging challenge was a major success. Even if I am not part of it at the moment, I’ve certainly (re-)connected with some great bloggers around the world and gotten some insight into overall feelings and changes happening to a good bunch of people.

I’ve been noticing more and more lately that thoughts area a powerful thing. If you really want something to happen, the universe will come your way and make it happen. Positive thought processes are more crucial than ever in these times of change. I don’t know about you, but being in New York and having a good amount of friends here I couldn’t help but notice that there have been many changes. A fair deal of people have given up their old jobs since spring of this year to pursue a new dream or dig into an entirely different career. There are very exciting times ahead of us and as of now I can feel the buzz around me stronger than ever. I hope that you have picked up on the good vibes, as well, and can make a few dreams come true.

I suppose that was a pretty decent recap of what happened to my life in the past year. Of course, so many more things have been going on. But that is to be saved for a future post. Promise!

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12 thoughts on “My Past Year: What I’ve Been Up to and How Times Have Changed

  1. So glad I decided to click on the link on Facebook and check out your blog! love they way you’re writing and I will definitely come back here again! Love, Lina.

  2. Leaving another comment, because my first accidentally linked to a completely different website. Haha. Oh, well. I’m so glad I decided to click on the link on Facebook and check out your blog! love they way you’re writing and I will definitely come back here again! Love, Lina.

  3. Yay! A life update! I love this, Laura! So excited to hear about all of the positive and exciting and inspiring changes going on with you. Sounds like you’ve really found your groove and are letting the universe open up, going with the flow of it, and truly following your soul. I am so happy for you!! xoxo

  4. A wonderful year! I’m wondering if I need to give up the 9-5 for a shop or cafe job. I don’t think I can take more office life. You’re an inspiration to those of us stuck in the cubicle!

    • Not sure if you still feel this way after your new gig or if one day you want to give up office life for a while. Whatever you decide on doing, do what your heart tells you! The one year away from everything certainly helped in re-defining my priorities, setting some travels straight, and enjoying life on a different level. If I could had one it any other way, I wouldn’t have, because this was the only way I would have come to appreciate a few things in my life. Especially being able to go to the beach during the week as opposed to the weekend and going out on weekdays was an interesting experience because it turned my routine upside down and shaped the flexibility I needed at that time (and perhaps still do). Hour-wise it’s also great to not be bulked in a commuter train during rush hour… 😉

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