Alright so here it goes. As some of you might already know I was living and working in Stockholm for quite some time now, and just over a month ago I decided to move back to Vienna.
After almost one year and a half of living in Sweden, I decided it was time to pack it up and head home.
This decision has been one of the toughest ones I have made in a long time but I am oh so glad, and oh so relieved that at last, I have made it. It’s a huge load off both my loved ones and my own shoulders.
It has been incredibly tough to say goodbye to such great flatmates, colleagues and friends, and I write this from the bottom of my heart; Stockholm people you mean the world to me and I really do hope that this is just an ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ you are always welcome in my home (wherever that may be), to travel the world with me and I’m definitely going to be back to visit.
Once I broke the news, I was overwhelmed with a wave of sadness, love and support that came my way.
Understandably, everyone has been asking me …why?
Well, to be honest, there is not one single reason for this decision but I’m gonna jot down a few here, so if you’re going through a similar situation, I feel you and this might help.
Not making a decision – is also making a decision
I’m not the type of person to wait around. Although it does seem like I was contemplating this decision for quite some time. I came to a point where I said, by not making this decision I am indeed making one – the one to stay and be away from my loved ones. I got sick of the humming and hawing, of the uncertainty and feeling like I wasn’t happy in Stockholm nor did it feel like home. Life is short, so it was time to make a big decision.
Being away from loved ones sucks
Those who know me, also know that I’ve been in a long distance relationship for the entire time I have been in Sweden. Long distance sucks, it’s not fun and it’s tough.
However, I do want to highlight that it wasn’t the sole reason for my departure – my boyfriend was willing to move to Stockholm, but once that actually came close to becoming reality I got in a bit of a panic. Which was one of the last signs that things just didn’t seem right. My inner feminist and ego didn’t want to give up that fight for quite some time, but in the end, it was the best thing to follow my heart.
When I say loved ones, I don’t just mean my romantic relationship, this is also about my family and close friends. It sucks to be away from them, yes Stockholm is close but it is still not the same and it most certainly makes a difference whether you have your roots somewhere or not.
I spent way too much time missing people and if there is one big lesson I learned – it is that in the end, all that matters is your relationships.
Sweden is expensive
On a more pragmatic approach. All things in Sweden is pretty much expensive, flying to Vienna and Ireland (and elsewhere) on a regular basis is expensive and income is not that much higher. It’s difficult to make that equation add up you’re not satisfied with life and work there.
It’s dark and it’s cold too
It gets really freaking dark in Sweden, winter depression is a thing. Light is one of our main energy sources, we need it and yes it makes a huge difference. Unfortunately, even Swedes have told me they never got used to it. The winters are incredibly long, but on the other hand, the long summer nights are bliss and I learnt how to create and cherish the cosy nights in.
In the end, a job is not going to make up for everything else
I moved here for my job and my job only. I didn’t know anyone coming here and I was leaving my partner, friends and my family behind for a great career opportunity. I had a great time working at Natural Cycles; I learned an immense amount, met and worked with amazing people but in the end, a job is never perfect and it is not going to make up for everything else.
As the company grew, things started to change and I didn’t feel like it was the right place for me anymore nor did it seem to bring the career opportunities I was hoping for. With that, the whole perspective of living in Stockholm changed.
Your job and your career isn’t everything. The other areas have to be full too, and to me, it was definitely not worth risking my relationships over. One of the biggest lessons I learnt from coming to Sweden is that a job is not going to magically make you happy, it is a big part in your life, but it’s not everything and we shouldn’t let it define ourselves as much as we do.
It was time to ask myself the big questions
I think one of the key drivers in this decision-making process was asking myself the big questions in life.
Where do I see myself in 3-5 years?
Am I happy? What would it take to be happy?
Does it have to be this difficult?
Where am I now and where do I want to be?
Am I truly living according to my values?
Writing these things down on paper always gives you clarity, although I do this on a regular basis anyway we did it in-depth in an online course I did again (more about that below). These questions are often scary and overwhelming and we tend to look away, but they help to focus on what truly matters.
Gut feeling and following my heart
During the course of January, I did an online meditation and personal development course by Laura Seiler a German-speaking (English folks skip this paragraph ;)) podcaster and honestly, it has been a life changer. This woman is not only a huge inspiration but has completely changed my mindset on life and how I approach it. She teaches you how to set goals in life, how to let go of things and beliefs you no longer need and how to live authentically and follow your heart. I know it might sound overly spiritual (those were my exact thoughts first too, believe me) but she does it in a very modern way so everyone can benefit. Highly recommend checking out her podcast.
Our rational minds always try to argue against or for something, make sense of it all, write up a pros and cons list and do the right thing. Then you have another 20 people giving you advice on what to do. If its one thing I now know it is that the only person, who can make this decision and know what is right is YOU. Listen to other’s experiences (even mine here) and draw from them what resonates with you, but always make up your own mind.
Beyond grateful for the time I had in Sweden
As I flick through my photos and type these words, there’s a clump in my throat because I already miss all of the lovely souls I met in Stockholm and the times we had there.
My experience there gave me room to grow more than I can comprehend right now and I will never forget the time I had there. Thanks to each and every one of you for making my time special there.
For now, I am taking a small career break (and a breather while I’m at it) cause I haven’t done that in the past few years. A couple of days ago I was lying in bed reading a book, sipping tea and I have honestly not felt this relaxed and happy in years.
Life does not have to be complicated, it’s the small moments and it’s the simple things that count.
In the upcoming weeks, I am going to spend some time with family which includes travelling 😉 I will be heading to L.A., Boston and Ireland. And although whats to come after isn’t entirely clear, I feel like things are going to be just fine (although I’m a little scared too of course).
I will probably start some freelance work in English copywriting, Blogging or what not once I return in April. So if you need someone or know someone who knows someone please do send them my direction.
Hope to see you all very soon, if you’re in Vienna please do get in touch.
Sending you lots of love and hugs,