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words

inspired by

everyday life.

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05

21

My head has felt more unsorted in the last few weeks than it has in months. And I've been trying to sort out my life. For two weeks, I've been sorting through all my possessions and figuring out what I want to do with them. And that was more challenging than I thought it would be. Not the sorting, but much more what it brought up in terms of thoughts. The feeling of once again being transported back in time and realizing that there used to be something that now isn't. Relationships, friendships, hobbies, special moments. I felt like I was reliving my last 29 years. In fast forward. And then I had to say goodbye. From things, from my old home and from people. My old roommates. My room. My piano. I'm not really that attached to things, but when the piano transporters picked up the piano, I sat on the floor in my old room and cried. Like a little kid.

After that, I briefly asked myself why I was actually doing all this. And a lot of people have been asking me that in the last few weeks. The answer to that is a longer story. But it actually started pretty much 14 weeks ago. That's when I decided to go on a houseboat by myself for four days without my phone and laptop to figure out why I was feeling permanently stressed. I didn't want to just take a short vacation. I wanted to fundamentally question and rethink my lifestyle, habits and daily routines.I didn't take much with me.  But I think the four most important things were my journal, my ukulele, my Bible, and a book, which was the impetus for my photography project: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer.

I know I get excited about things quickly and that enthusiasm can wane quickly, but I'd still say, even 14 weeks from it, that it's the best book I've read in my life. Not only because, as a designer, the cover and the beautiful font excited me from the start, but mostly because it makes people want to be more themselves.

One dialogue at the beginning of the book stuck with me. It's between a mentor and his mentee. The mentee asks: "What can I do to be more of the person I want to be?" And the mentor replies, "You need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." The mentee quickly writes the sentence down in his notebook and then immediately asks: "Okay, and what else?" His mentor pauses for a long moment and then replies: "Nothing else. That's all." 

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For me, going on vacation has always meant taking as little as possible with me. Just a hiking backpack with the bare essentials. And when I came back, I always wanted to empty my entire room and throw everything into a container. Because each time I realized how happy I was with the little I had and that I didn't really need all the things I had left at home. Until now I could never live that in my everyday life. But four weeks ago I had the opportunity to try it out for the first time. I moved into an empty room in Berlin for a month.

When I arrived, there was only a mattress, a shelf with four shelves and two shelves on the wall. I only took as much as I could carry at the time. Two backpacks, my bike and my bedding. I wanted to see if I was missing anything or not.

 

There were a few things I was missing. My cozy blanket, some thick socks, my ukulele, my sports mat. I spent hours the first few days sorting and arranging things by color and shape, thinking about where I could put what and how what could go together. Every single thing I took with me suddenly became incredibly valuable. The one glue stick, the one pair of scissors, my one book, the one jacket, my two pairs of shoes, and the five postcards. All of a sudden, I felt an incredible sense of responsibility towards those things. When you only have something once, you are insanely careful with it and take care of it. And for some reason, things become more beautiful. But there's a second thing that happened: I started getting bored, and that happens with me, if at all, only on Sundays. But now that I have so little around me, I have less to worry about. Less tidying, less cleaning, less fixing and less sorting out. And I have to say that I love having so little because it gives you time for things that are so much more important than owning things.

Relationships, for example.