30 and too old for this shit

Three months and a couple of days. That’s how long I’ve been 30. Whenever I say my age to people I meet here, their instant reaction is “what, I would have guessed 25?!”. Good for my ego, but I could not be happier over being exactly the age I am. Life has taken a few twist and turns getting to this point. “And what point would that be”, you might ask. Or not, but I’ll tell you the answer anyway.

 Will never get too old for Bali sunsets.

Will never get too old for Bali sunsets.

If we look at the superficial aspects, I’m currently freelancing from paradise. I’m living in a hostel, spending most of my time sitting in cafés writing and love driving the scooter to get there. Money is a stress factor, for sure, and sometimes I wonder what the hell I’m doing. But when these are your daily views, you can’t really complain.

The big thing, though, of reaching the admirable age of 30, is that I know what I’m too old for. I can say “I’m too old for this shit” and walk away, without feeling bad about it. (Or well, mostly. I'm getting there.)

So, I give you, a list of shit I’m just too old for.

*Drumroll please*

Too old for this shit

  1. Holding on to negative thoughts and false expectations.
  2. Playing it cool with my feelings because vulnerability scares the hell out me.
  3. Pretending things are okay when they are not.
  4. Letting others expectations dictate my choices.
  5. Judging other people and their choices.
  6. Holding on to people it is time to let go of.
  7. Worrying about things I cannot affect or control.
  8. Thinking I am not good enough.
  9. Waiting for things to happen instead of taking action.
  10. Not being grateful and happy exactly where I am, wherever that might be.

Bonus: Shit I’m totally not too old for

 Breakfast! 

Breakfast! 

  1. Dancing till sunrise at a beach bar, just because I can.
  2. Learning something new, no matter how bad I am at it.
  3. Having pancakes for breakfast.
  4. Asking for help when I need it.
  5. Laughing so hard I cry.
  6. Taking insane chances once in a while.
  7. Writing blog posts with "shit" in the title.
  8. Yoga. You’re just never too old or too inflexible or too whatever-your-excuse-is. Just do it.

Time for a change: Going nomad (for a while)

I have some news. September 4th I'll get on a plane to Bali. Well, to be more accurate, London - Hong Kong - Singapore - Bali. (Honestly, I should not be allowed to book my own flights. I always go for the cheapest option with fifty layovers, even though I'll spend more on crappy airport coffee than what a better flight would cost me. And I do this. Every. Single. Time.) So the news here is not that I'm going to Asia for the first time. It's that I'm not coming back until January next year. I'll be on the road for four months. Part of it will be vacation time, but the main chunk of it will consist of me working part-time, traveling around Asia.

But why?

I could just answer this with a "Why not?", but there are a few reasons why I brought up the subject with my manager earlier this summer.

Recharging
Sometimes you just need a longer break from your usual ways and routines. Going at life in a slower pace. I’m not talking laying on a beach drinking umbrella drinks all day, everyday (but hey, valid life choice).

Just focusing less on worrying about your to-do list and more on being in the moment. I want to spend my mornings doing yoga by the ocean instead of cursing people on the subway, if only for a period of time.

Reconnecting with creativity
This is nothing that will be magically solved by living in a paradise by the ocean, but it will hopefully make it easier. The most creative thing I'm able to create when I get home from work is a poetic list of actions for the next day. "Buy food. Answer e-mail. Find a therapist who can deal with my emotional baggage." You know.

So for a while, I want to focus more on my personal projects. Improve my writing, take photographs for fun again, explore videography and maybe learn something new.

Traveling slow
When I'm traveling, I always feel like I have to leave the party to soon. Never getting the chance to feel that I'm ready to move on. When I was in Australia doing the East Coast for a month it was like being heart-broken every third day (except when leaving Brisbane, sorry, that city just didn't do it for me).

I want to travel slower. Spending a proper amount of time in each place, without feeling stressed. Getting under the skin of a place. I want to be on a first name basis with the staff at the local coffee place.

Trying out the digital nomad lifestyle

For four months I'll be living out of my backpack, working from where I can find decent wi-fi and establishing routines with colleagues in another timezone. I have no doubt there will be challenges, but I'm also convinced the benefits will outweigh the troubles. And I'm truly grateful for working at a company where my managers not only are letting me do this, but are also excited about it.

This also means new things for this little ol' blog of mine. Frequent updates, more personal stories and a lot of photographs. Hope you'll follow along!

Finding your way

At my previous job my manager told me that I at some point would have to decide what to focus on. We were a small web agency, only three people, so I could get away with doing a little bit of everything. I liked playing around with code, so I built websites in Wordpress. Photography has been a passion for many years, and with that came an interest for Photoshop and editing, so I did some of that too. I studied communication new media, which resulted in a interest for the social media landscape. I could spend months discussing and analysing how business could use new tools and technologies to their advantage.

The list goes on, but in short I saw myself as a half decent Swiss Army knife and the idea of removing some of my interests for the benefit of one scared me. And I know I am far from alone in feeling a bit lost in what to focus on.

Picking a side

At my current job I was hired as a social media specialist. However, I am fortunate enough to work at a company where you get the opportunity to evolve and try different roles. During the last year things have started to fall into place and with my twenty-ninth birthday coming up I decided to put in some extra time contemplating the core question of it all:

What makes me excited about going to work in the morning?

  • I like being involved in different aspects of a project and understand the whole picture.
  • Being in a position with an overall responsibility triggers my motivation.
  • Working with people who are really good at what they do (and learn from them) inspire me.
  • I like leading a team towards a common goal and building something together.
  • I enjoy going through the process of understanding the client and what result they really want (which is usually not what they ask for in the first place).

All together it is getting clear to me what I should focus on right now. Project management. It is not something I would ever have guessed four years ago, it is far from easy and during my last project I learned about a hundred things I could have done better. And when working on my next project I will think about a hundred new things I can do better. Which is kind of the whole point of it all.

If you are having similar thoughts, trying to figure out what you want to do, you can start with watching this video about how to find fulfilling work. It might give some inspiration.

Things I learned 2014

In the beginning of this year I wrote that 2014 would be a year for answers. It was.

It has not been a parade of happy times. I have not been dressed by little birds in the mornings and I still curse people on the subway on a daily basis. You know, the usual ups and downs. But I have learned a thing or two about myself and what I want to do with my life. Realized my priorities, made a few decisions.

But before diving into the chaos that will be my life in January, here is what 2014 taught me.

1. Costa Rica is a paradise

IMG_8304_1.jpg

Costa Rica might not be the only paradise in the world, but it is definitely high on the list. One day I will come back and explore more, it feels like I only got to read the first page of a really great book.

2. I am not a natural-born surfer

IMG_8159_1.jpg

Yeah, I know, it shocked me to. Do not think I give up that easy though, 2015 will be the year I learn how to surf, mark my words.

I am currently thinking Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic or Brazil during spring. And since my last attempt at Baleal Surf Camp did not go as planned, I will be back this summer. Hopefully I will see a few faces from last time there as well.

3. I really love pole

poledance-sanna.jpg

I have been training pole dance for some time now, but nothing comes natural for me in this sport. It is hard work, a lot of pain and slow progress. However, in November I changed my routine a bit and it is paying off. Suddenly moves that used to feel impossible is no longer a problem, and on my last session before Christmas I nailed the shouldermount (it may be the ugliest shouldermount of all times, and it looks like I have hunchback, but you know, baby steps people). So now I am more excited than ever to get back in the studio after the holidays.

4. Yes, New York is as magical as everyone says

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Everyone says it, and it does not matter how high your hopes are. You will not be disappointed. A special thanks to my Airbnb host, E, who let me tag along to both brazilian barbecues and weird dress-up parties. I had a blast.

5. Wedding photography is hard work

Perrine & Stefan
Perrine & Stefan

Photography has been sort of the theme for the year. Everything from taking portraits at work, to documenting friends children, to shooting cars. But the biggest challenge was definitely the wedding. New ground for me, both more fun and exhausting than I could ever have imagined.

6. I'll be totally hot when I'm 60 years old

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Me and my roomie had a party with the theme "Old people goes spring break". My costume was so convincing that my friends wondered who the weird little lady was when I waved to them on the street outside my house.

Also, we all need to play more beer pong.

7. What is important for me

This is something I have been contemplating this year. What matters and what does not. It is easy to get caught up in other people's world views, easy to just follow the stream and wake up one day twenty years from now and realize you have wasted all that time on things you do not care about. I would like to avoid that. And I have an idea now, about where to go. Not exactly a detailed map (I could never read maps anyway), but a sense of direction.

2015, I am ready for you.

Conference Report: Sime 2014

Sime. A conference by, and with, a bunch of fun and crazy people. I used to be part of the team, and as we former Sime people joke about, once you are in, you are never really getting out. Every year I am surprised by how much I still enjoy it. So, here is my brief summary of Sime 2014.

Everyone talked about

David Robert's talk about exponential growth, disruption and changing the world got standing ovations, which does not happen often at conferences in Sweden. One of the best talks I have seen, with a perfect mix of education, inspiration and emotions.

You can not watch it online, but here is another talk from him, similar from the beginning.

A quote worth sharing

"I have started building fewer apps and more geeky stuff, which interests people less, but it's more fun for me." - Puck.

Smart kid. I think we should all focus a bit more on what is fun for us.

Impressed by

Both Natasha Tsakos and Lanz Pierce left an impression at the end of the first day. Natasha with an interactive presentation that was incredibly well thought out and executed, Lanz Pierce with being an inspiration talking about the hip hop industry as well as giving a great performance with her single Waterfalls.

Buzzword of the day

Data. “Big data is the Holy Grail for most media companies” was said on stage, I believe by Thomas Franzén, CEO of Bonnier AB. Yes, data holds a lot of answers, but as a Erika Hall said at The Conference this summer, you need to know what you are asking. Otherwise you'll just end up with 42, which is funny for us Douglas Adams fans, but I doubt it will do the job as a the Holy Grail.

At a session later, Rochelle King, Global VP of Design and User Experience at Spotify, made some good points regarding data and design.

  • Data and design are tools to craft great user experience.
  • You have to remember that there is real people behind the data.
  • What data are we collecting, and why are we collecting it?
  • The designer need to remember their role and the people behind it.

This surprised me

sime-chip
sime-chip

The number of people who were willing to implant a RFID chip in their hand at the conference. One even did it on stage. Interesting, but it will take a few years (and a lot more testing) before I feel inclined to join the club of high-tech humans.

This provoked me

Listening to Jonas Häger, founder of Lexbase. In a time when more and more companies try to take responsibility for the world around them, Häger does not at all see the problem with their service. A service that capitalizes on people's fears and prejudices.

Another thing I did not quite understand was a comment from a panel member during a workshop about innovation. She answered the question "what stops innovation" with "introvert people". Really?

Three things I will remember

The thought that tech is as natural as a bird's nest.

After a discussion about innovation, me and my colleagues agreed that constant stress kills innovation, but limited stress (and boundaries in general) drives it.

"Companies should be allowed to try and fail", said Therese Engström, Sime Social Impact. Our demands on companies taking responsibility are increasing, which is a good thing. But online, this often turn into a witch hunt, where people go from criticizing to crucifying companies and people who fails, without finding our the facts first. Take a deep breath, stop see things in black and white, and try to be constructive. It would do us all good.

A year for answers

1502473_567334653348654_2070739792_n 2013 started with fireworks over Brisbane River. Sitting next to a bunch of people from all over the world, drinking beer and sharing travel stories. Then I got back to Sweden. I turned 27 and realized I was far from where I wanted to be, but not sure where that place actually were or how I was supposed to get there.

2013 was a year that questioned everything.

2014 is going to be one that answers.

How I got talked to as a little girl

A couple of months ago, this article, "How to talk to little girls" by Lisa Bloom got shared like bananaz a zillion times. Everyone I know shared it on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. If you haven't read it, you should. It's a great article. And it still pops up in my head sometimes. How people talked to me, and my friends, when I was a little kiddo. How that made us into the people we are today.

I was never the little cute girl. I can't remember getting compliments for how I looked. Not that I was butt ugly (I was bloody adorable, I tell you!), but people around me cared about other things. I got measured of what I did. Like arguing for what I believed in. Standing up for myself. And admitting when I had done something wrong and facing the consequences. My parents have a lot of faults, but I have to give them credit for that — they did let me know what was important. And other women in my family, like my grandmother, who was more an inspiring business woman than the traditional knitting lady, mostly talked to me about books and school.

And I think about who I would have been if I was a cute little girl. If my parents didn't give me credit for arguing for what I thought was right. If they just cared about me being quiet and cute. I would probably be a completely different person. And I'm not sure I would have liked that person very much.

A new beginning, far from home

A few years back I listened to this Swedish guy talking about creativity, and one of the things he said got stuck in my head. That "despite internet opening up the whole world for us, we are still very local". We read the local newspaper and mostly Swedish blogs. When we could read what chinese paper have to say today (ok, might need some help from Google Translate there), or read blogs from countries where the war actually happens. The point is that even when we have the whole world at our fingertips, we still don't look further than our noses (do you even say that in english?! anyhow ...). So this blog is basically about me taking a step out of my comfort zone. With a focus that hopefully will make sense, but we will see about that.

(And do feel free to comment on all my spelling and grammatical mistakes I undoubtedly will make, okay? Thanks!)