Thoughts on Graveyard Gardening

“What am I doing with my life????” I just talked to a dear friend on the phone for two hours. We both struggle with finding our path in life. We couldn’t decide which courses to take, which universities to apply to, and now how to get our lives together.

When I left school, I was obsessed with physics and even considered studying it. Now I’m drawn to the humanities, to the social aspects of our lives, to justice, and education, to creativity. I dream to be a journalist, a writer – nothing is less related to that than conducting physical experiments with neutrinos in the Antarctic.

In the past I have done some internships in various businesses and told myself after each one: “I will never do that again”.

We might find our way through the things we don’t see ourselves in. It hit me a few months back that I will never be a professional athlete, for example. Many other careers I will never pursue, popped up in my head:

Although these sound extremely interesting, I will never …

  • climb the highest mountains on this earth
  • bake pies for the queen
  • style the fur of dogs
  • work in a boutique selling hats to ladies visiting horse races
  • be a blacksmith for sensitive horses with commitment issues
  • play piano in an old smoke-filled bar every night
  • name the furniture for IKEA
  • take care of the plants on a graveyard (my friend laughed a lot at this and said she could actually imagine herself doing that. She would found her own graveyard. We didn’t come up with a better name than “Toni’s graveyard” yet because we couldn’t stop to giggle.)
  • cultivate bonsai and sell them online
  • sail around the world to test sailing boats
  • sell mattresses to people (can you tell I’m tired?)
  • have my own vineyard and host wine experts in my cottage
  • throw paper around in my laboratory, count bacteria, and think about that formula I have been inventing
  • act in Shakespeare plays (or any plays for that matter)
  • operate a machine that smashes bricks against a metal plate and then measure the impact (yes, that was one of the jobs I did in an internship)
  • design people’s homes and search for wall decoration pictures for three days (yep, intern…)
  • write information sheets for 4th graders about bees and walk with them along a river to find beavers (intern- although that wouldn’t be such a bad idea, I love bees…)

I worked for an environmental NGO in ninth grade and I said I could never do that again. Now, I study environmental and resource management. People change, and that’s great. If you are unsure about what you want to do in life, think about those careers you will never follow. Those dreams which could never be your own. Your path might become a little clearer in front of you.

Because this is such a funny exercise – please send me your suggestions of jobs you will never do!

Wonder Woman

wonderwoman

*contains spoilers*

Wonder Woman was a remarkable film. I’m not saying everything was right with it. But it showed female strength not only visible through special effects. It showed how powerful vulnerability can be and how much determination and belief in the good changes the world.

She wanted to help people, and she did. She followed her calling regardless of what the men around her were saying. In the end, they followed her. I cannot imagine how that would have played out in the real world we live in- they would probably have thrown her out of the room, just like they did in the scene in the London government.

Diana soon understood that she cared for humanity, for all the values we hold dear. She was stronger through her love, her holding on to the good, and through the belief in her abilities. This is not something you often see. In the media we often see women who tear each other down.

A memorable scene was when Diana was still a child and her mother told her she was not the strongest of them and therefore could never use the God-Killer. She was, in fact, the strongest. And her mother telling her she was not, held her back in her training.

We spend far too much time analysing why we are not good enough. Instead, we should be out there fighting for the good, fighting for what we believe in, and gaining strength on the way. If this film had been about a man, these struggles would have never surfaced. A male superhero doesn’t doubt his abilities. He uses some crazy moves and the villain is dead. She wasn’t sure which side to be on, she was uncertain. This made the film so real. We will never be sure what we can do, unless we try.

Another scene I loved was when she forgave the poison maker. She could have killed her. But she understood that it wouldn’t help anyone. They weren’t on opposite sides, they both wanted to survive. The villains we perceive to be the villains might not be. There might be structures we never understand and sometimes what we fight against doesn’t have a face we can see. But forgiveness and compassion always raises us higher than every villain in this world. Forgiveness is a strong power.

The film left me with a will to change something. I, too, believe that we are not doomed. That we can change our perspective on life and that we can love instead of fighting wars. This representation of a strong woman gives young girls something to live up to. A feeling that they are capable of everything they want to reach. A feeling that the good can win.

Nothing holds me here

In our study course we do a semester abroad after two years. I’m going to Sweden this August. Nothing holds me here.

A friend of mine who is going to Costa Rica has her boyfriend back home and she is not happy about having to go. Me, on the other hand, I cannot wait. I want to get out of this city, away from people. I want to make new friends and connect more to myself than before. Sometimes, I catch myself thinking in the same ways my mum would: You shouldn’t stay, you should go home, get some sleep, you have to get up early. And I obey. It’s hard to distance yourself from thought patterns you have known all your life.

I struggle a lot with my mental health, especially since it is exam phase at the moment. Distance is not the cure, but it can help. By saying I don’t want anyone to visit me there, I have pissed off many people. But I need this time alone, I need to fix my head.

When we stay at home we often don’t live up to our full potential. We have the same people around us even though we know that they don’t support our dreams. When you seek out for new friends, you can choose those who will encourage you to aim high. You can reveal things about yourself that you did not dare to, back home. You become truer to yourself and to others.

Nothing holds me here. I am torn between two faces: The lonely, sad, exhausted; the energetic, hopeful, inspired. The days I crawl up in bed become more frequent. The weight on my chest becomes larger. The clouds darken my sky. And I want to be the second one, I want to change the world. I want to write and dream and meet people. I want to sing and dance and laugh.

Nothing holds me here.