Monday, March 25, 2019

Carping that Diem

Bestie Boy likes to label me a hedonist and I guess part of me is indeed pretty hedonistic. This attitude definitely became more dominant with age and experience after having realised that life may be over way sooner and more suddenly than we have planned and it really is not a good idea to wait with anything for retirement. Apart from "dying", which should happen well in your retirement. 
I recently splurged on a lot of things out of a whim and there was a brief moment of "well, that was a bit impulsive, no?" but I felt validated in my (expensive) hedonistic gut decisions by two sudden and unexpected deaths: one of a colleague less than ten years older than me, one of a good friend's mother. Back in 2011, I had a health scare that ended well, but I resolved to not take anything for granted and not to waste time in unpleasant circumstances if I can avoid it. In other words, life is too precious to spend months or even years suffering in a job you hate or a relationship that makes you unhappy.
If there is one thing I know, it's that I will try even more not to bookmark things for later and also to make a conscious effort to show the people I care about just how much I value them.

Monday, March 18, 2019

It's a Fine Balance

On Friday morning, I thought I had a weekend ahead of me that would be of the "me"-variety and allow me to get some household chores and other projects I had procrastinated done since the only thing I had planned was visiting a friend's charity exhibition with two other friends on Saturday morning. By Friday night I already had more plans and eventually it was quite an action-packed weekend...again. Somehow those productive weekends rarely come about and I'm not complaining either as I am not forced at gunpoint to meet friends but voluntarily do so. It is a fine balance though between having nothing planned at all and over-committing to the point that I actually wish I had an extra two days to recover from my busy weekend. This past weekend was just right for me.
I am a social animal at heart and highly spontaneous, but I do need some downtime, too. Now that I have made a conscious effort not to travel as much on weekends I really notice that I appreciate those weekend breaks much more and love alternating them with weekends in Vienna when I can catch up with friends and also just enjoy "living" at home with no plans.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Original vs. Copies

Last weekend I was in Venice. The real one as in Venice, Italy. I have not counted how many times I have been there in total (15 perhaps?) but it is one of my favourite cities and every time I arrive, my breath is taken away despite the gazillion tourists and tacky souvenir stalls. Since Venice is so close to my native Klagenfurt and not that far away from Vienna either, I have never really stopped to appreciate how lucky and privileged I am for being able to visit for very little money. For other people, visiting Venice remains a lifetime dream because they live far away or don't have the time or financial means to travel there. Just how much of a dream city it is, I realised when I encountered two fake Venices, both in the form of a hotel/mall/casino complex owned by the Sands chain, one in Las Vegas (where I actually stayed at the hotel for a conference) and the other in Macau. Unlike in the real Venice, the gondolieres there must be trained opera singers as they belt out "O sole mio" quite impressively. Also, the "canale grandes" there are of a swimming pool turquoise (and smell of chlorine) unlike the murky grey of the actual Canale Grande Even so, no copy (be it Venice, Hallstadt, or another city) can ever live up to the real thing and I am forever grateful for having the original Venice within easy reach. And I won't be condescending to those whom the fakes make happy, either!

Monday, March 04, 2019


Last week, I met quite a few people from my two previous workplaces. It was lovely to see all of them but a highlight was the unexpected message I received from my former manager (pictured above in Dubai where we were on a business trip together in 2012) who was in Vienna for a day only and asked if I was spontaneously available to meet him before his flight back to Hamburg. Since I already had dinner plans, we only had one hour to catch up, but the mere fact that he thought of getting in touch (to quote him "I thought if she only has 15 minutes to say "hi" and exchange a hug would already be worth it") really made me my day. We share so many happy and funny memories working in the same crazy team that travelled and partied so so much. It really was a period of "work hard, play hard" and since then I am forever spoilt when it comes to hotels as the four years in his team were a blur of design hotels and fancy dinners. It seems like a lifetime ago and even though I have resigned myself to the fact that my work life is not remotely glamorous any more, but the subject matter of my work is way more interesting now, to be fair, I do get quite nostalgic at times. My ex boss has also since left that team and is currently not experiencing the best time at work, so those golden days are a thing of the past for him as well.
It actually was on that trip to Dubai that I realised what a privilege it was to have a boss whom it does not feel an obligation to have dinner with, but whom you can talk to like a friend. Having had a horrible manager before, who was a bully and really poisoned the atmosphere in the team, working in this new team was like a breath of fresh air and I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulder. We were the only German speakers in the (small) team, which created an extra bond and I really took it as a compliment when he repeatedly told me that I was a "great travel companion". Since then, he is my personal benchmark for a great manager who can also be a friend and confidant...and who gets in touch years after you don't report to him any more.
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