Back To Where I Came From

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Most of my recent blog posts have been about writing. Writing, reading and everything around it have been recurring themes on this blog because much of December and January has focused around writing – lucky for me! 

At the same time, though, life keeps on happening and therefore this post is more about the other things that are going on around my writing: thoughts about my future, both the near and far ones.

When we began our travels in the end of July six months ago, we had been saving money for a few years to do this trip. That money allowed us a completely different kind of freedom and the opportunity to see what the rest of the world is up to. We got to Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and then to New Zealand. It has been a rollercoaster ride.

But now it’s time to give up that freedom. The money that was saved has been used well – and as we’re starting to run short on it, it’s time to find ways to make money again.

To find out that solution is far from easy.

It isn’t only about finding work but it’s also about where to find it and what it is I want to do. What happens after our trip comes to an end? What happens when you give up the kind of freedom we’ve grown used to during this past year?

Finding Meaningful Work Isn’t Easy

In June, I wrote about my thoughts on graduating. I wrote that there’s a harsher reality waiting for me when I give up the freedom of being a student, but that I’m ready for that.

When writing it, I felt it to be true. I guess I still do, but nevertheless, taking on another new chapter feels daunting. I’m doing it, for real this time: trying to find a job, an apartment, not rely on study subsidies or student discounts anymore. It’s real. But at times, finding a job feels overwhelming and causes feelings of anxiety.

I haven’t had too many good work experiences. Either it’s because I’m picky or because the working world as such isn’t, well, working. I’ve had my share of shitty shifts, bad bosses, ugly work atmospheres and unrealistic or unnecessary work assignments.

Time after time, I thought I’d like to work as this or that, only to realize it wasn’t for me. And now I’m supposed to be on the job market again, finding myself work that hopefully will be better than my previous experiences. But what kind of job? Is there someone out there looking for a fiction writer to their company? I could be that person!

What? No? Okay. I guess I have to find something else.

It’s a strange feeling to go through different work ads and realize that you don’t want to “build your career” in any of those companies. I’m not passionate about selling and making profit – but our society runs on consumerism. I’m not eager to deal with customer care unless I’m really passionate about what I’m doing. I want to work with something that feels meaningful, that truly matters to me – but the current working world doesn’t seem to offer too many solutions.

It feels like so much weight is put on the employee and how one fits in the company but not so much on the company itself and it’s way of doing thing.

It’s essential to me to feel that the people working in a place are aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it and are willing to give their best – just as I will if I work there. More often than not, however, it seems like the boss who is supposed to be there for us employees and help us do our job well doesn’t know what he or she is doing or isn’t motivated to do his or her job well.

There is no such thing as a perfect work environment, that I know – but there are good opportunities to create a great work environment. It simply requires conscious effort.

So, maybe I’m picky, maybe I know what I want. Fine. But where to find that right kind of job?

The Language I Speak

For now, I have found two work ads that resonated with me and sounded like worth giving an opportunity to. I’m hoping to hear from them in a month or so. And this brings me to the next thing on my mind – both jobs are situated in Finland.

So, partly this post is about finding a job – but it’s also about where that seeking seems to take me.

We left Finland to find something better abroad, a different and maybe a more suitable culture. We both honestly thought we would be better off somewhere else.

But lately, as I’ve been thinking about working over and over, my mind leads me back to the land of forests and a thousand lakes. It’s because of my writing.

Not including this blog, I write mostly in Finnish. My journal entries, my fan fiction and my novels are all written in Finnish, a language spoken by approximately five million people living in this world.

The thing is, reading and writing are my greatest strengths, and these strengths have the best opportunity to succeed in Finland. Therefore, it would be in my interest to live in Finland to make a career out of writing. Right?

But I’m not homesick.  I don’t, per se, miss my social life or the Finnish food and culture so much that I would love to be back. I can see myself finding a nice yoga studio, the perfect writing environment, an active lifestyle somewhere else. In another Nordic country, perhaps.

I have no officially serious reason to go back. But because of my strengths in my own language, I’m drawn to my home country. I’m most likely to succeed on my career – if I get back to Finland and stay there.

It bugs me because it feels like my freedom to choose is being cut. At the same time, I’m curious to see what can come out of it. I have these ideas about my own small company, focused on writing and reading, and all my hopes for my author career – and I know the best place to make them happen is in Finland.

Our time on this trip has given form to these thoughts and it feels like the right time to try finding the paths to realising them.

But just to get back to where we got started – if I’m in a country I really don’t have a need to be in and I’m starting out with work that I might not even want to do and that might end up in another disappointment, where will that lead me? Will I still be able to hold on to all my ideas about writing?

So many questions, so few answers.

So, to sum up this blog post: I’m thinking about a lot of things, mostly about the future of work and where it will take me. I’m optimistic about the fact that things have a tendency to find their way. Things will work out. And hopefully something good will come of it – if I get to choose, that good will have to do with writing.

Still Life Sunday: Morning Swim

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4 Morning Swim

I open my eyes and recognize the familiar wooden paneling, the white curtains with small flowers on them that let in the light in the mornings. I lay in the guest bed of my parent’s summer cottage.

It’s a wonderful place to stay at in the summer. It’s placed on the highest point in the area with a steep hill down to the private beach with a dock and a small terrace. When I was little, the small terrace was the place where my grandparents wanted to drink their afternoon coffee if the weather was fine. Me, who didn’t drink any coffee at the time, got some homemade juice and cookies. It’s one of the best memories I have.

The dock again got burning hot during the warmest hours of the day. If you wanted to go for a swim from the dock, you had to be quick – otherwise the hot wood would burn your feet. So what me and my sister usually did was that we ran from the terrace to the dock and jumped right into the water. It was one of the most entertaining things to do during the day, especially when our father joined us in the water. He was a good swimmer and especially good at diving. He used to dive deep and tried to catch our feet. It made me and my sister giggle.

This morning, I get up from the bed that is placed in the room next to our wood-burning sauna. It is our guest room but since we rarely have guests at the cottage I have made the place into my bedroom.

The weather is fine as the sun shines and a gentle wind sways the leaves in the birch tree nearby. I put on my sandals, open the door and let the cool morning air brush my face and my naked body.  I grab my towel and walk down the steps to the ground where large stone steps take me to the dock.

I am heading for my morning swim.

I love mornings at the cottage. I am usually the first person to wake up and I enjoy the calmness and the quietness of the nature. I walk down to the dock, observing the birds and the calm shushing of the leaves that fill the air.

The towel finds it’s usual place on the bench that is fastened with screws to the dock. I place my feet on the metal steps that lead down to the water. I brace myself and take the first step down. The water feels cold. But I take another step, and another. Goose bumps run through my whole body. I know this feeling from before and what it leads to, therefore taking another step and getting deeper into the water.

When halfway in the water, I turn my back to the dock and face the water. Taking a morning swim requires self-discipline, almost some sort of sadistic willpower. And I embrace the shivering coldness, take a huge breath of air and lower the rest of my body into the water. I let go of the steps and take a few powerful breast strokes, leaving the dock behind me.

The water feels light on my body, welcoming me to a new day. My heart pumps blood and oxygen to my body, invigorating my arms, my legs and back, filling them with energy. I feel the sea weeds against my legs and my stomach, a somewhat uncomfortable but at the same time tickling sensation.

I swim a few meters one way, then turn and swim the other way. After that I return, pull myself up the stairs and on to the dock. The world feels new, and I feel fresh and ready to embrace a new day. What a great way to start my day.

 

 

Today I Quit My Job – Part III

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This is the third and the last check-up post where I reflect on quitting my job which happened two weeks ago. Two weeks already! Or only two weeks – hard to say which one feels more right.

Well, above you can see a picture of me, taken a few days ago. It’s Friday morning, and I’m enjoying a strong cup of coffee on the stairs of a big house me and my partner are staying at for one and a half weeks. We are taking care of a dog – you can see her in the photo as well.

It was mostly a spur-of-the-moment decision, to volunteer as care-takers for a dog and a house. I saw a friend’s post on Facebook, asking if someone had the time to take care of her dog while she was away, and we decided to take up the challenge.

The house is a 25-minute drive away from the city in the middle of the beautiful nature of Finland. Comparing to the life in the city, this place is a whole other world. In the morning you hear two roosters crowing in different directions and in the evening the crickets dominate the world of sounds. The nearest food store is at least five kilometers away which means we seldom leave this place, only when we must.

The calming, simple way of living does good for my soul and mind. I feel relaxed, calm and free from stress. It feels great, and it definitely feels like something I’ve been needing for the last few months.

For the last week, I have been focusing on sleeping, cooking, analyzing reality-tv-competitions (how you can guess the winner and the looser of the episode by watching the interviews they show during the episode) and taking care of the old labrador lady who loves food and proper belly rubs.

As you might guess, I’m feeling pretty relaxed (although sometimes it feels like my dog allergies are getting the better of me).

And what do you think, how do I feel about quitting my job? You might guess that I’m still feeling good about that. And my friend – you guessed right. I am feeling good. I feel like I’ve actually shown respect towards myself. I still feel like I did the right thing. I did do the right thing.

We are returning back to the city on Sunday. On Monday, it’ll be a proper start on my writing routines. But for now, I’ll just enjoy myself and the company of my partner and the dog.

See you on Thursday!