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My Thoughts on Turning 30

Crazy how time flies! It just seems to me as if I just graduated from high school yesterday and sniffed the air of a big city for the first time. Today I am turning 30 and take the opportunity to commit my thoughts on digital paper. There are also a few pieces of advice that I would like to have given to the little Rosa.

Could be worse

Around me there are many friends turning 30 as well. 30 is such a large number! Is it really? People are getting married around me, babies are born and houses are being moved into. But personally, none of this matters to me at all. And I have to admit that I couldn’t care less than about turning 30. Even if I use it as an occasion to celebrate our farewell together with Dani before we start our world-trip. Such a big birthday is a reason for at least the rest of the world not to come up with an excuse and really appear. Even if the cancellations a month before, that there was no babysitter, really made me smile. But also here applies: If you really want something, you will find a way. Otherwise excuses. What was that again? The wheat separates from the chaff!

Everyone is pregnant, engaged or getting married. I just wanna save animals, eat vegan ice cream and travel the world.

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My little life-review

I was born under Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze. However, after spending the first 17 months of my life in what was then Yugoslavia with mom and my two brothers, we couldn’t go back home after visiting my dad who was a guest worker in Germany. The civil war had broken out and the best thing that could have happened to us was not having to grow up there. After I was able to go home with my two big brothers and my parents for the first time when I was seven, we spent almost every vacation there. Our houses were looted, photos burned, heaters, bathtubs and windows torn out. My mom’s village no longer exists. It was burned down during the war. My grandparents’ graves, which I never got to know, were desecrated. Every holiday season was used for renovation and reconstruction.

I have a seemingly infinitely large lump in my throat when I accompany my mom to her home village, which simply doesn’t exist anymore. In which she grew up and looked after sheep with her three sisters – until she was 24. I love the stories of my mom and her aunts when they tell me how they first saw a bike or even a bus. The village has disappeared from the face of the earth. Here and there are one or two groundings from which trees grow. Not even birds can be heard. Dead silence, in the truest sense of the word. Only ruins remind us that there was a lot of activity and popular festivals. Mom and Dad met on one of them.

Even then I loved being both in front and behind the camera :)
Even then I loved being both in front and behind the camera 🙂
Children with an immigrant background

“Small, fat Rosi” – that’s what I was often called. Wasn’t entirely off-the-wall, because I was really tubby as a child. And the fact that I was a “foreigner” didn’t really make things any easier. Even if I had it much easier than my two bigger brothers, who were a bit older and had a hard time learning the language. Children can be really mean. The fact that I was at the same time the tallest and heaviest girl in my class added to that. But I always enjoyed going to school. I met my friends here without having to make an appointment. Super practical!

Time passed and I immediately switched to the Catholic girls’ high school – even if I am serbian-orthodox. My conservative-minded parents probably wanted to play it safe. 😉 In addition to English, I also learned Latin, French and Spanish with ease. I had a super relaxed school time, made it very easy for me to study and never had to do much to be good. So I could always work a lot on the side. Be it giving peers tuition, carrying out newspapers, washing hair at the hair salon, selling shoes at Deichmann, working as a delivery service or in the service in general. For over 12 years I accompanied my mom to cleaning almost every evening so that she didn’t have to go alone. I generally never considered myself too good for anything.

Many roads lead to Rome

After I finished my Abitur with flying colors, I received a scholarship to study in Munich. I enrolled in nutrition science in Freising / Weihenstephan, was registered as one of the few and moved to Munich. My career as a model went on. A lot went well, but a lot didn’t. I broke off my studies after long deliberation. My parents haven’t thrown their hands up in despair just once because of me. They probably would have preferred me to have stayed in Garmisch and went to the local bank. Or would loved to see me studying medicine. But I broke off, enrolled in economics at the FernUniversität in Hagen and then had a stalker on my neck. I also became a victim of domestic violence. A very bad combination for parental nerves.

I packed it all in, fell in love with my lawyer in this infinitely grotesque situation, moved to him to Berlin and continued to work as a model. Unfortunately, I never really arrived in Berlin. The cool, gray and dreary city also has its beautiful sides, but somehow they never fought their way to my heart. The bottom line was that I sat in the car every free minute to visit my friends and family in Bavaria. Seeing the mountains, bathing in the Eibsee – I never knew beforehand how much I need nature to be happy. My passion for photography has come more and more to fruition and is now a big part of me. But I also plunked Berlin down after 5 years. I had to go back. Back home, back to Munich. And that’s exactly how it felt like: as if I had returned home after a long journey.

This was an once-in-a-lifetime-feeling: Seeing me more than full-size in Munich's underground during Oktoberfest
This was an once-in-a-lifetime-feeling: Seeing me more than full-size in Munich’s underground during Oktoberfest
Planned without a plan

And now I’m sitting here, writing my thoughts on my own blog that are even being read. Thanks for this! <3

I have finished my studies and am now a Master of Disaster or more precisely Master of Science. Mom and Dad are satisfied with it. Even though I will never get rid of the feeling that they think that I am not really using my intellect and that I have no “real” job, since I am not in the office from 9 am to 5 pm. And work like every “normal person”. There seem to be 3 generations between me and my parents. But we have somehow come to terms with that. At least they see that I am happy and stand on my own two feet. Even if they don’t always understand how to survive with what I do. In fact, I sometimes wonder myself but somehow it works! 😉

And now I’m going on a big trip. From the middle of January I will go to Cape Town for three months. Then let’s see where my path takes me. Maybe once around the world, but maybe I’ll come back after a few months and stay. I love to travel, but not because I don’t like it at home. That’s why it would be perfectly fine to come back home and travel again and again. I have no idea what my next year will be like. Sometimes that scares me too, but I already know that it will probably be the best time in my life. From where I know this? I have it in my own hands!

Cape Town combines everything I need in my life: sunshine, the ocean and some (animal) friends – (c) Matthew Keil
Cape Town combines everything I need in my life: sunshine, the ocean and some (animal) friends – (c) Matthew Keil
Not every farewell is bad

I already know that I will cry my eyes out on the day of departure. In fact, I weep easily. I will of course miss my friends and family very much. The laughing and shining children’s eyes of my niece and my nephew. And of course Buggy and my squirrels. Infinitely! But I know that I have to start this journey. There is never a perfect time, but it feels pretty right. I am maximally free and independent, healthy and I’m nobody’s fool. Plus, I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. When I want to go home, I just come home. My parents and loved ones are also healthy, a very important factor for me. I’ll probably never be able to travel that carefree again.

But I have learned one thing over the years: Not every farewell is bad. Sometimes it’s good to say goodbye to things and people. Often you only realize what you really had in them. Or you can finally let go of things that you have clung to in vain. Anyone of us can probably sing a song about that. You just have to think about how good it is to clean and sort old things out. It has never hurt to get rid of the skeletons in the closet. Not every farewell is bad. What belongs together will also come together again.

Serenity and gratitude are the way to happiness

Two things that I would have liked to have given to the small, chubby Rosa from the past would have been serenity and gratitude. Nowadays, I am very good at it and realize that these two virtues make up a large part of my happiness. In fact, I was never really ungrateful, because we had to start from scratch in Germany and work everything out anew. I learned from my parents that everything can be worked out with honest and hard work. And nothing can be taken for granted. There are people who are hungry every day, have no roof over their heads or even running water. We should never forget that. Gratitude and humility go hand in hand with serenity. Everyday problems and aches and pains are becoming more banal and don’t ruffle us so quickly. Except for life-threatening diseases, we actually only have luxury problems in this country and always fall soft.

We also have everything in our own hands. We have the luxury of being able to determine our lives every day. Everything is in our own hands. Regardless of whether it is a change of job, retraining, separation, travel or eating, sports, etc. But that can also cause us endless stress: the oversupply can also paralyze us. We always have to make decisions. We constantly compare not only offers of the latest trends and must-haves, but also ourselves with other people. That can only make you unhappy. I got out of this ride a long time ago. I hardly buy anything new because I don’t need anything anymore and I have already everything. In addition, I can hardly pack anything in my backpack. The really important things are not things anyway.

THIS is happiness and true love <3
THIS is happiness and true love <3
Sharing is caring, but saying no is also important

Shared pain is half of the pain. A joy that’s shared is a joy made double. I am a big supporter of empowering each other. Together we can move so much more than alone – see the Moments Festival. I constantly try to help friends as best I can and it is not for nothing that I have been given the name “Mother Teresa” by some of them. However, sometimes I also subconsciously expect friends to do something for me. Sometimes disappointments are really inevitable. Especially in creative professions, it is often expected that you do something for free that you could otherwise (not little) charge money for. You have no costs. But here it is much more about the principle of appreciation, which is often trampled on.

“Rosa, couldn’t you just …?” Sure I could! But do I want that, too? Saying “no” must also be learned. Especially when you have the title “Mother Teresa”. I really like to help, but only people who really appreciate it. In fact, I have to say that over the years I have also noticed that cheapskates are often very stingy with emotions, too. Have you already noticed that, too?

Collect moments not things

That is exactly my motto and I try to remain true to it. It is the moments that we experience that we will tell about in years to come. That will make us shine or laugh. Moments with friends, with the family and generally with our loved ones that nobody can rob us of. We should keep that in mind. Every day we wake up healthy is a gift. Go more into nature, finally go on the vacation you’ve been dreaming of for so long! Put your cell phone away more often and perceive the moment with your senses.

Listen to the stories of your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. At some point they will no longer be there to be able to tell them. Each of these stories is also a part of you. At some point you will miss having this opportunity at all. Our parents don’t expect much from us, mostly it’s just our time. But at the same time it is the most precious thing we can give them. Without them you would never be where you are now. Don’t forget that. It took a lot of time and nerves to raise you. A little bit of gratitude and humility is certainly not an exaggeration.

Years ago I would not have posted such photos - too naked? Too sexy? Today: Who cares? I love this picture - captured by one of my dearest friends, Marc Gerst
Years ago I would not have posted such photos – too naked? Too sexy? Today: Who cares? I love this picture – captured by one of my dearest friends, Marc Gerst <3
Be aware of awareness

What music is playing? What makes you really happy? When was the last time you hugged someone really tight? Or given the feeling that you are happy to see him or her? How is your gut feeling right now? When was the last time you invited your friends to cook? How does the coffee smell in your hand? When did you consciously take your time for someone and didn’t pack him / her between two appointments? When was the last time you went to the bookstore and just flipped through a few books? Why do you still say yes to things you don’t feel like doing? Why are you chasing other people’s goals and not your own? What are you afraid of?

But unfortunately we have forgotten the awareness of the important and often small things in stressful everyday life. How stressful we are in everyday life is up to us. We can’t change some things, but we still get excited about it every day. Too cold, too hot, too gray, too many discontented people on the street, breasts too small, ass too wobbly – we can find faults all the time. Either you change it, if you can change it and otherwise learn to deal with it. The time you waste wailing can be better used to solve your problem.

Awareness – sounds so easy, but we are so rarely conscious at the moment. I catch myself too often. Sometimes I am 10 steps ahead with my thoughts, without focusing on the here and now. Sometimes I wish I could see the world more with children’s eyes. With the eyes of little Rosa, who wrote “rope jumping” as her favorite sport in friendship books. Even more unprejudiced, even more naive. To discover a lot more playfully without the fears and worries of an adult. But I also try to incorporate that every day, to free myself from all prejudices or pre-made opinions. Of social conventions. “You don’t do that!” Who says that?

What is important in life?

In retrospect, I would advise little Rosa to do everything the same way. Trust your gut feeling. Never apologize for who you are, there are people who like you for that very reason. Believe in yourself, you can do anything, if you really want to. Know your worth and don’t let arrogant people get you down. They have a problem with themselves, you can’t do anything about it. Distance yourself from people who are not doing you good and are just sucking your energy. Giving always makes you happier than taking, but only to the right extent. Don’t put other people’s happiness above your own happiness. You have the right to be happy, too, not just everyone else around you.

Every high and much more every low shaped me to the person I am today. With my corners, edges and curves. Every tear, every stomach ache because of laughter, every fall on the floor, every scar belongs to me.

Recently a good friend asked me, if I was afraid of dying. I didn’t have to think about it for long: No, I’m not. Of course I would be infinitely sad, no question at all. But I would only be afraid, if I thought I wasn’t making the best of my life. But I do. I love and LIVE my life every day. THANKS to everyone who makes it so lovable and worth living. I love you too. <3

Life never felt so good – (c) Matthew Keil
Life never felt so good – (c) Matthew Keil

To stay up to date, here is my Facebook Fanpage – sharing is caring! I would be glad, if you accompany me a bit on my journey! 😉

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