Not gonna lie, the entire month of December 2017 I was trying to figure out what my motto was supposed to be the past year. Without looking, of course.
Turns out it was Purpose over Fear.
And turns out, that my forgetting about it, didn’t exactly help to go with it. I guess the main reason why I forgot about it was, that it’s already part of my believe system and that I came up with it last minute last year. It’s not always easy to see this principle, but I never want my life to be guided by fear.
Usually I write quite a lot in this area, but I want to keep is shorter this year. It wasn’t the most pleasant year and the realisation I had in the end of it, makes it all the more clear why.
One of the biggest new things in 2017 was, that we started living without plastic waste as well as we could. And besides a few exceptions, I think we did really well. Our plastic glass from 2017 is pretty much full by now and I’m very proud that we managed to use a smaller glass for two people than one person doing this alone, would usually use. My conclusions I’ll probably elaborate in the post I already wrote about this topic in the beginning of last year. I’ll tell you how we decided to treat the topic in 2018 further down.
In March we moved from my relative’s flat into a flat share. The moving process took much longer than expected and – despite extensive cleaning sessions – we did run into a few problems with the cleanliness with the flat. Mainly a miscalculation of floor cleaner, that ended up making the floor sticky, letting the prints of my slippers shine up as if we hadn’t cleaned at all. All in all, this mishap is still haunting me to this day and I feel quite bad about leaving the flat to my relative like this. Especially, because he got the impression that we didn’t clean at all. To this day we have to pick up our bikes which are in his basement, but feel to bad to actually chat him up about it. Despite a brief make-up chat with him. I hope we’ll finally resolve this issue, this spring.
The new flat share is great, located very close to the heart of Vienna, and for the first time I live within Gürtel, a street surrounding the inner city. It made me notice that life in Vienna feels much different in the outer districts, than in the inner.
And while not everything can be roses and unicorn puke, we have an amazing time with our flatmates. Some of the big plusses of this flat share are the community, dumpster diving for free food (man, you have no idea how much gets thrown away every week. It’s horrifying), communal cooking, the living room, which is basically a cosy 40sqm green house, and the fact that everybody still has enough space in their rooms to have their privacy when needed.
My relationship with Augusto feels healthier than ever and we also started dealing with the need for free sexuality far more openly, as I addressed it in last year’s recap. It’s pretty cliché, but communication makes all the difference in a relationship. Communication when you are both thinking rationally and aren’t in an emotional state of mind. Just sitting down every now and then, both knowing that we just listen, talk and find resolutions together now, has increased the quality of our relationship even more.
Last year I was also writing about TEAM FOX, my little newsletter. Well, over the course of the last year, this newsletter has turned into the beta version of a community platform. A platform for men who are into men, who want to meet in real life. In groups at interesting new events. I wanted to shift the community from online face catalogues to a more natural way of getting to know each other: In real life.
Tho keep the story short: While everybody said, it was a great idea, it was simply not working. The user base wasn’t growing and the existing users started using it less and less often. I’ll come back to that in a second. An important note, is, though, that it was making me feel miserable, it made me almost fall out with some friends and rally wasn’t what it was originally meant to be. I worked on this platform almost every day. And while I am still passionate about meeting new guys, and my existing friends, I was surely not passionate about the entire programming and marketing part of the project. And that kind of was the only thing I was doing in the last 6 months…
In Summer, Augusto and I went on a two week trip to Warsaw and Berlin. While it was great, seeing als friends again and making new, the biggest take away from this holiday for me was, that I wanted to get rid of my brand “Raindropcatcher”. It hasn’t brought me success in more than 10 years, people here have a hard time remembering it, and I simply wanted a more positive brand.
And while robin.is is becoming my personal brand (I’m even moving the About Wings Series over here), I created Moving Robin as my brand for Logo Design, which is something I want to focus on, instead of Web Design or Marketing.
Furthermore, I had a very intense experience in autumn: Having to put down my mum’s cat. One of the cats I grew up with. It might “just” be a cat, but I’m gonna keep Balu in memory. 4 animals in my family died within the same two month range, including my grandparent’s dog, who was also a big part of my childhood. Balu’s passing was the first time, that I actively experienced the death of a creature and while I’m on good terms with my own inevitable fait, it was an experience, that made me realise – yet again – how precious every moment alive, and every moment with the people and creatures you love, is.
You see, my best friend Armin is one of the most balanced people I know. He’s so balanced, he’s kind of tired of it. So, he frequently tries to behave against everything he knows about being balanced. Which – ironically – brings him back to feeling balanced.
In 2017 I was lucky enough to meet Armin more often again. We tend to meet up for coworking on Mondays and have some relaxing chats in our breaks.
But it wasn’t until the very last month of the year when he, yet again, said something, that has the potential to turn my daily life upside down.
I don’t exactly know how we reached this topic, but I suppose I was talking about how I wasn’t content with how my life was going at this point. At some point I must have said something like “I’m working hard to reach my goals and yet, I feel like I’m running in circles all the time.”
Armin looked up from the invoices he was writing and said: “Well, there you have it. Having a goal is where your troubles start. I have replaced my goals with systems.”
How would I get anywhere in life, without goals?
After all, I had reached a couple of milestones this past year! And it felt great, every time I did!
“Yes, but how did you feel in between?”, he made his point.
Sadly, he couldn’t explain it for me to understand in this moment. He even played me a chapter of an audio book, that was talking about the same concept. But anything the author said, already resonated with my believes and I felt like I was already doing the things he suggested.
When I got home that night, I was still bothered by this. Armin said, that he might have an easier time seeing it, because he has been practicing zen meditation for years. And this is the context where I’ve also heard about the concept of not having a goal before. But it never made sense to me. It always seemed counterintuitive, if you want to succeed in life.
This year I have been fighting for TEAM FOX a lot.
Due to problems with my server, I finally had to give up this December and take the platform down – after it simply never worked properly. Not only was I constantly fighting with the tech-part of it, but also, I started annoying the very people who were on it, trying to push them to use it finally. In turn, I got angry at them, when they slowly abandoned the page and – understandably – reduced the contact with me.
But now the page was gone. In a desperate last minute attempt to save it, I moved the existing events into a facebook group. I didn’t like giving Facebook this much power over my project, and the original concept of the page was wiped away, but at least something remained.
The following days – after the initial depression has faded – I started to notice something. I didn’t know what to do with my time. I was so used to fighting with the platform and it’s code – yes, even with it’s users – I didn’t know what to do, once the constant frustration with the page was gone. It was liberating.
I started to feel like this void can and should be filled with something.
And then it hit me. Back in our conversation, Armin had said something:
“Every morning I get up and I decide what I want to do this day. Shure there are some chores, but I keep them to a minimum.”
“But”, I responded, “for example, you wanted to play with kids, right? So you made the education to become a kindergarten pedagogue and a little later the apprenticeship for Original Play. There you worked towards a goal as well, right?” I had him, I thought back then! He couldn’t get out of that!
“Well, actually, when I studied to become a pedagogue, I was already working in kindergartens. And with Original Play, I played with kids from the very beginning. In fact, if I would have had the goal to become a kindergarten pedagogue, I would probably never have found Original Play, which makes me far happier. I only knew, I really wanted to play with children. That’s not a goal, it’s something I wanted to do when I woke up in the morning, and so I did it.”
Back then I still didn’t get it. But now I was sitting in front of my computer, realising, that I didn’t do any of the things, that I originally wanted to do with my platform – at least not within the last 6 months.
I wanted to meet new guys, create cool events, give them a platform to create cool events, and maybe even make Vienna a little more open-minded in the process.
And I ended up doing exactly the things I always dreaded to do: Programming, fighting for a project, that clearly didn’t work, pissing off the few new people I did meet, as well as the old ones, and hardly any of the events happened anymore. Almost every day of this year, I was working on things I hated, in order to get to the point where I would meet new guys and come up with cool event ideas, that people wanted to go to.
Ironically, now that the platform was gone and the whole thing was in a facebook group, I was doing exactly the things, that I wanted to do originally. And I was doing them right in this moment. Without a tedious path in between. And guess what. All of a sudden, people started to show up to the events again.
I can always go back to creating my own platform, when there are enough people in the group, and when I have the money to just pay a programmer to do the things I dread doing. For now, this is exactly what my little group seemed to need. New people, cool events and a Robin who’s not freaking out.
I have come to realise, that I can use the dos and don’ts list in any part of my life.
One thing I always wanted to do was work creatively on visual things and stories. One thing I never actually wanted to do was programming.
I removed an obstacle from the painting idea: I was too lazy to set up my workspace for it. So, I created a little spot that was always ready for painting. I also fixed a selfie stick above that workspace. Why? Because I wanted timelapses of the painting process that I could upload to youtube. I was just always too lazy to set up the camera. Now I just have to put in my phone and set the app to the right frames per second rate. 10 seconds of work.
And all of a sudden, I noticed, that I had a new system in place. It was not a goal. It was a system. My only ambition: I wanted to paint. And because I started seeing the obstacles, I removed them to give space to the thing I wanted to do.
I will not go too much into detail here, but I allowed myself a new experience at new year’s eve, which I wouldn’t have tried before. It took me one month of research and a very save space with experienced supervision and guidance at a friend’s party, to give myself this permission. If you want to know what I did and you know me in person, I’ll happily tell you more over a cup of tea.
This experience has made it all the more clear to me, that I had abandoned my inner child to an extent, that wasn’t good for me anymore. It made all the more clear, that I want to live in this very moment and explore the world anew. It made me realise how precious touch can be, when I had treated it mainly as a gateway to sex the last years. It made me understand what it can feel like, when you don’t give a fnck about what other people think about you, and yet growing your compassion for others, caring for everybody around you.
Yes, I’m gonna say it: I took a drug.
I took it with the promise to myself, not to take it again for at least one year. And with this I stick for several reasons. I don’t feel the need to take it again before that either.
But the ironic part is, that by putting this poison into my brain once, I lost all appetite for alcohol or weed (anything that makes your mind foggy). It made me crave meditation and sports. It made me crave actively feeling touch. It made me crave making connections with people even more. It made me crave letting go of my fear of approaching strangers. It made me crave learning how to not care what people think of me. It made me crave living in the moment, and doing the things I want to do right now. It made me crave clarity and purity.
And even though, coming down did make me sad in that moment – it did not make me crave the drug.
I said one sentence that night, that probably sounds extremely cheesy, but it really covers the experience perfectly:
“This is the purest form of life, that I have ever experienced.”
This purity of life is what I’m striving for from now on. But without artificial input. Just from my body and mind. Having had this experience made me realise, that there is so much more to life, than I had seen the last years and the memory of it provides me with guidance.
It was an incredible night that will probably define my entire year – or longer.
Disclaimer: Since that night, I believe that drugs can be tools for our way to becoming better human beings. But only with the necessary knowledge, precautions, setting and frequency. However, they are not necessary and I am definitely not trying to encourage reckless behaviour. You yourself are responsible for your body. Behave accordingly.
When it comes to the plastic waste topic, we have decided to use a much smaller glass and use it as our monthly limit, instead of having an annual limit. It’s still much less than the average person produces, but we allow ourselves more room for emergencies. Also, there will be exceptions in place, but as I said, I’ll go more into detail over here soon after writing this.
My 2018, I dedicate to systems instead of goals. To doing the things you love now, rather than working towards being able to do them. And, to doing these things in public. You never know what new doors open up, when other people can see you do those things.
Those things that you want to do. Now.
And this time I won’t forget it.