New Year

I love new year. Not the new year parties or fireworks, but the opportunity to start anew. I know that in the big picture this particular time is quite random, but I still love to pause and review what went well, what not so well, what I want more of, and what I want less of.

Of course sometimes things happen that cannot be predicted nor impacted, but in the past few years things really seemed to go my way. I realize that I’ve been extremely lucky and it cannot go on forever, but I intend to enjoy this for as long as I can.

Kuva 1
One of the highlights of my summer was a visit to Finnish writer Tove Jansson’s summer cottage on a small island called Klovharun.

This year I visited five new countries (Cambodia, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Switzerland). In addition to these, I visited London, Tallinn (twice), Champagne region and the city of Strasbourg in France, Luxembourg, and Waterloo in Belgium. And on top of all the trips I moved to Stockholm in September and traveling a few times between Helsinki and Stockholm. I have also changed jobs.

For a few years now I’ve been trying to focus on minimalism in terms of focusing on things that bring me joy and eliminating everything else. Things that bring me joy are travel, people I love, my work, good food, and high quality items. Things that cause me stress are e.g. obligations/expectations put on me by somebody else, clutter, non-functioning items, and relationships that only take, but give very little.

This year I succeeded with maintaining important relationships, traveling, and eating great food, but failed somewhat with acquiring new items, most of which were related to my move to Stockholm and the fact that most of our common things were left in Helsinki at my boyfriend’s place. This is the money I could’ve used for travel, but now I needed to buy duplicates of items, which we already own, but they are not in the right country. 🙂 I have also always wanted to work abroad and in 2017 I made it happen, which was awesome.

Additionally I also decluttered almost 300 items that were broken or unused (e.g. wrong size clothing). In the decluttering process I also cleaned up my digital clutter meaning that I deleted the songs I didn’t like from my iTunes library, deleted my unnecessary old files, and named and filed the rest so that I could find everything easily.

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Suomenlinna Fortress in Helsinki

So what’s going to be same and what different next year?

  1. I have now visited 46 different countries and my goal for next year is to reach 50 countries. I have already booked trips to Slovenia in May and to Canada in July, so two more to go. 🙂
  2. I continue my minimalism thinking and try to limit the number of new things I buy at a minimum. Also if I’m not using something, it deserves to go and be used by someone else. But overall I consider overconsumption to be a huge issue and I don’t want to contribute to it.
  3. I intend to keep my credit card debt at 0. I had a lot of credit card debt for years and now that I only have my student loan to go, it feels great. 🙂 I also want to start saving in a structured way as I tend to spend all the extra money I have on travels.
  4. Learn Swedish. I have a good background as Swedish is the second official language of Finland, so everyone has to study it, but as I haven’t used it for more than ten years, it’s super rusty. As Swedes speak really good English, the language skills aren’t essential, but I finally have a real chance to get my Swedish to a decent level and I intend to keep this as a focal point for the year 2018.
Kuva 3
View of Helsinki from Ateljee Bar

All in all the theme is the same – more of what makes me happy and less of what’s not important.

In Russia they say about the new year: как Новый год встретишь, так его и проведешь – meaning the way you meet the new year is going to be the same way you live it. I spent my new year with my boyfriend and friends drinking champagne I brought from Champagne, so I expect the same from the year to come. 😀

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