Looking back at 2018

2018 started as one of the best years of my life: New Year in New York City and one of the dreams I had for a long time: my around the world trip. Starting in Argentina, flying over the Iguazú, passing Paraguay and Uruguay, and then going all the way down, stopping at places like the Torres del Paine National Park, to the most southern city of the world Ushuaia, and last but not least, the easter island.

As good as it started, as bad did it end. As you can read in this post the around the world trip ended with an autoimmune disease, which I am still struggling with. This disease taught me many things during the last year. I climbed high and fell low and now I am crawling up again. So what did this journey teach me?!

  • Health is very important and you sometimes forget about it, but I would say, friends and family are just as important. If you are healthy but have no one who cares about you, life is very sad. If you have health problems but people supporting you, life can still be beautiful as you can share your pain. I am very happy to have such a supporting family and so many friends passing by, calling, mailing, etc…. especially in this rather difficult situation who make life easier. Thank you very much!
  • You can find friends anywhere. I found them traveling, at the hospital, at the rehabilitation center, etc… It’s fun to find new friends in different situations. You can be there for each other and understand each other very well as you often struggle with similar situations. This sort of leads to the next point:
  • I got to know a lot of people with different backgrounds: people from different countries, with different cultures, people with disabilities, people that got abused, people that were luckier than I am and others that were less lucky than I am. Therefor don’t judge people from the first sight. They might act strangely from your point of view, but you don’t know what’s behind it. If you feel like there could be something worth discovering in the other person, go for it and take your time to get to know the person better. 
  • There are always (or almost always) people that are in a worse situation than you are. It’s not saying I wish other people to feel worse than I do but that’s just the truth. And while you have the total right to have bad days and feel awful about yourself, the thought of people in worse situations helped me not to be too sorry for myself.
  • This one is a little hard for me to write about: disability. Right now, people that don’t know me and see me without my crutches, would totally call me disabled and I have to say: I am!, at least right now! It is funny because most of my friends wouldn’t call me disabled, they would say I have some health problems. But that’s avoiding the word “disabled” as it has a negative touch to it. I think, we should try and not see the word “disabled” as something negative. We should use it to describe something (or in this case someone) without any emotions, just a neutral expression like “blonde”. Why is this so important to me? Obviously I am not too happy about the situation I am in right now, but I also don’t want pity from people (pity doesn’t help me) and I don’t want people to treat me differently than they did when I was not disabled. (This does not include helping in general, like opening doors for you, getting up on the bus when there is no free seat left, etc). Even though I can’t move my body the way I could before, I am still the same person as I was before. 
  • I could probably continue for ever but this is going to be the last one: Life is a constant up and down. You don’t always win but you don’t always loose. Everyone has to go through difficult situations but it matters how you go through them. Do you make the best out of them or do you just feel very sorry for yourself? Thinking positive makes situations less awful and easier to go through! Happiness is the key for a better life!

I guess this is not the usual “looking back” you read online but at least it’s an honest one and I hope you find it useful and think of it the next time you feel a little down. 

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