Monday, January 29, 2018

Pre | Post | Past | Future

When this post goes live, I will be a year older. Yay! 46 years old to be precise. If you think this sounds horribly old, I will agree and also take a guess that you are still in your twenties or (early) thirties.  When I was a teenager, 46 sounded semi-dead to me. Seriously. My mother was that age when I was 21 myself and while she has always looked admirably young for her age (and still does, at 70) and been very active, there was no doubt that this was the type of age where you would have achieved *everything* (aka had children, bought a house and got a job you knew you would work in until your retirement). Now that I have reached this number and have not actually ticked off any of these things I had taken for granted when I was younger, I of course think very differently and yet am very VERY happy and content with my life and the fact that I am slowly, but steadily heading for my 50th birthday. Which sounds really old no matter how many funny cards want to assure you that 50 is the new 20 and you will age like good wine. I might think very differently in 4 years time, but right now, I am determined to throw a big party (like I did no my 30th and 40th) and celebrate life together with my friends. In fact, on Saturday night as I was enjoying cocktails with my favourite party people we were talking about our half century birthdays and I checked online what day of the week January 29, 2022 will fall on. Well, it happens to be a Saturday. Bam! All I'm saying is: save the date, people!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Geography of Nostalgia

When I started working at the Firm in 2007, I noticed I really missed my old hood, the Schottentor area of Vienna's first district. I'm sure there's a post on this sentiment somewhere in the archives here.  I missed the places where I would occasionally meet friends for lunch (more often I just had my regular home-made rucola and cheese sandwich) and what contributed to this nostalgia was that this was also the part of the first district that was associated with my happy student days. It did not help that the Firm's office was located in a rather ugly, non-descript part of Vienna's otherwise beautiful city centre and I never really liked it there at all. In the summer of 2008, the office relocated to its current grand location, right at the intersection of Graben and Kohlmarkt, which you could call the very heart of the first district. For the past 3 or 4 years, I even had a "window seat", i.e. a desk with a priceless Graben-view that was particularly beautiful in winter when the Christmas "chandeliers" were up. Not to mention the office's convenient location for quick toilet breaks when you were shopping on Saturday or needed a pitstop before going home after dinner or a cinema visit in town.
This past Saturday, my friend (known here as PP's Sis) redeemed the birthday voucher I had gifted her: sushi at Meinl am Graben, followed by coffee in town. The two of us had enjoyed many weekday sushi dates (so much so that the waiter didn't need to ask us for our orders any longer as we always ordered the exact same) until her office relocated to the not-quite-as-sexy Hauptbahnhof area, and then, about a year later, I left the Firm and the city entre myself. At first, I had consoled her as she moped about missing her previous Mon-Fri quarters and even though I "got" her loss in theory, I must have forgotten this feeling I had experienced myself 10 years ago until it hit me myself. With a vengeance. It's not only the area itself, it's also about feeling no longer in the loop of such important things as being the first to see SALE signs being put up and new stores opening, which we had both always taken for granted. On Saturday, I noticed 2 new stores on Herrengasse that would not have escaped my attention if I still worked there. The horror!
Even though my new office is a mere 4 subway stops from my old one, it really feels a world away and with the exception of one cool restaurant, I really don't ever feel like spending a minute longer in the area after leaving the office, ever. On the bright side - not only did I survive (come on, let's be a little dramatic here!) a similar "displacement" before, but my new hood also has one big advantage: close proximity to the Old Danube, which I really appreciated last summer when I went swimming after work pretty much every sunny afternoon. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

So Many Places, so Little Time

The new year is barely 2 weeks old and I am already busy planning my various mini-breaks. It's unlikely that I will manage to renew my Star Alliance Frequent Traveller Status this year (and believe you me, I am prepared to go to extremes in trying to do so), but I still have quite a few things planned and want to use my 25 days of annual leave wisely. In Austria, you usually earn an extra 5 or so days after 20 years in the same company or industry, but having chaged jobs and fields of work in 10-year-intervals in the past it's unlikely I will ever climb to that "next level" either, so I'll just have to work with what I have. I have also never been on a flextime contract where overtime can be converted into time off, so those 25 days, they are precious as gold to me. I will definitely take another sabbatical again if the opportunity presents itself as to me, time is always more valuable than money. Enough disposable income to enjoy your time off to the max is a precondition, though and therefore I am o.k. with having to work until I win a ficticious lottery (I don't play), meet a billionaire who proposes to me and/or makes me the sole heiress of his estate (somewhat unlikely) or become filthy rich in my own right (hm, will look into that). Until plans A, B, or C work out, I will grace the office with my decorative presence.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Reincarnation Nine to Five

I assume we all know people who look eerily similar to some film star or TV personality, or our mean PE teacher from school, but have you ever encountered people who might look completely different but in their behaviour seem like the long lost twin or reincarnation of somebody else? Recently, I repeatedly catch myself mentally labelling people in my new office with names of previous colleagues, because they really remind me of them with regards to attributes like ambition, humour, a tendency to create name it. Very likely it's simply a sign of becoming old that you naturally accumulate a rolodex-like inventory of people to cross-reference, but funnily enough in my case I only seem to meet "twins" of people I (used to) know in a work context. Has this ever happened to you?

Monday, January 01, 2018

What. A. Year!

2017, I really liked you! So many good things happened, so many happy memories were made. I can't remember when I did not feel mopey and sarcastic in the slightest when looking back on a year, but  this time, I only feel content (or, to put it in Instagram-speak #blessed). I am not one to bear grudges for long and therefore I chose to forget the stressful moments of uncertainty that happened this past year, such as not knowing if I would end up unemployed. It turned out that I found a new job seamlessly and managed to enjoy almost 2 months of sweet doing nothing in between employers. The no-expenses-spared trip to Australia with my Mum that I had planned with military precision turned out just as wonderful as I had hoped it would and we both not only enjoyed it, but managed to not annoy one another too much, which is no little feat. This was the grandest, but by far not the only trip I took this year, and travelling remains one of my most loved things ever. I really miss those business trips with the Firm, by the way, but hey, I can still kill my carbon footprint and conscience on my own budget at least. Last but not least, a friend who had been "dead" to me for several years unexpectedly returned to my life and has made it a lot richer and warmer ever since. On the other hand, I finally managed to let go of someone else who does not even deserve the term "friend" with quotation marks, and who had not done much to boost my mood or self-esteem, ever. Not so much that he is quite dead to me yet, but we're getting there.
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