A single solution

The art of being single; An homage to all the single ladies out there.

As a single woman, I faced different obstacles at any age in life. Opinions of others grew from all the edges and try to convince me to follow a path, mostly their path, never thinking if it would be the right one for me. Because I just have to fulfil the tasks, I am given as a woman by birth. How dare I am not doing it at the right timing society commanded it to be.

It is still a huge stigma, especially for a woman who decides to stay single on purpose because she decided to find herself first. 

It can be quite intense and sometimes it can happen, and I found myself stuck. In a mindset or behaviour or a place in life where I didn’t want to be. I started to accept things as they were and I know other women face the same as I did too.

The status of my life became often a topic in family gatherings, meetings with friends or on other occasions. Where did I get asked questions like, “Why are you not married? It is about time, don’t you think?” “You are not getting any younger.” “If you want kids you better hurry finding a husband.” The worst part of those questions is, that they are mostly asked by other women, you know the ones fulfilling their tasks already the duties you miserably failed. And they do not hesitate to remind you of that, sometimes even unknowingly.

Can we please stop asking a woman at any age such questions? It can be very triggering and painful because you don’t know what is going on inside of her life. You never walked in her shoes; you’ve never seen what she saw. You probably never experienced what she did. So please just because a certain path was the right for you, it does not need to be the right for her. Let’s be kind to each other and support one another. Especially as women we need to support each other more, not only face to face but more important behind each other’s back. We all have a story to tell, and we all have the right to share it or not, without any pressure.

I experienced those questions many times myself and let me tell you a few years ago after a breakup that left me devastated those questions would break me into pieces. Lost in self-doubt and feeling worthless. Because society taught us as little girls, we have to be nice to be worthy. Be the nice girl, because people will like you more. Look beautiful, so you find a man to get married to. If I am not a nice girl, I am not good enough. If I am not beautiful enough I do not fulfil a task I was asked to take care of?

I truly believe happiness can never be found on the outside or in others. It can only be discovered within you and then shared with one another. If I am not happy with myself, I can’t make someone else happy nor can anyone make me happy. There will always be something missing and that’s the love for myself. That’s when a big change happened inside of me the need to make myself a priority and work on myself first.

When I started to reflect on myself and stop listening to the questions I started to realize what has been missing in my life and inside of me. I discovered, that the colours of my soul, the sound in my steps and the sparkle in my eyes were missing. But where did I lose them? So I started to meditate, spending more time with myself, time alone in silence, I started to read and reflect like this I started my healing process.

As I was realising during my process, that I was fighting for the wrong things being lied to, hurt and disappointed.  I completely forgot my value and my worth. Because there were so many occasions taking it away from me that I started to believe it. Don’t misunderstand me I still have moments when I listen to these voices in my head making me feel weak again, but now I have so much strength inside of me helping me to find my trackback again to tell this voice to get out of my way.

Let me share an example; Someone once sent me a video; the meaning to send it to me was out of encouragement to tell me where to focus on. Because the assumption in the room was, I have a wrong focus or too high expectations and that’s the answer to why I am still single. This person did not know my process nor my choice to be single and I was able to shut them off immediately.

The voiceover spoken by a man in the video was saying,” To all the women in their 20ies who are single listen to me because I am telling you how to become happy faster, lower (Here it comes.) your expectations, you are not a princess your father lied to you.” And so on, the video made it clear; As a woman, if you don’t have expectations you won’t be single. What if I don’t want it to be that easy? What if I want to have the right of expectations, such as men have them too?

I replied to this person with the following text; I am not in my twenties anymore, I do not lower my bar, been there done that, not approved by me. Yes, I am not a princess. I am a queen, and I know what I bring to the table even if I sit alone. To that, I received only one text back. “Checkmate”

This wasn’t a feminist attempt to make my point clear or any kind of making my point and showing my strength. I stood up for myself and I stopped a trial of behaviour towards me that I will no longer accept. Making fun of the status single in any way, and sharing it as “advice” is no longer tolerated.

During my process, I learned a lot and I became wiser on certain topics. And just like that, I started to change my perspective. I started fighting to let go and find myself and now I started the most beautiful and deepest relationship I ever have had in my life with myself. This process can be disturbing to other people as well. Out of nowhere, I was told that I am selfish and rude and that won’t make me worthy of any relationship. One thing I know for sure, others’ opinions will always be there but it is my choice not to listen to others’ opinions because simply I did not ask for them. In their eyes, I am ungrateful now because the questions that used to hurt me don’t bother me anymore. How unfair of me to grow out of their expectations because I focus on another vision of myself. 

Healing from the past and finding yourself isn’t a process that’s easy nor only wonderful and calm. It hurts, and it throws you back right into the storm you thought you left behind long ago. You lose people along the way you never expected to lose, things you thought were important to you aren’t anymore but as a reward for the pain you learn again who you are and what you want and you start loving yourself from a whole new perspective.

Growth will always require us to leave something behind whether this is habits, beliefs, careers, mindsets or even people. This is why making space for grief and letting go of this process is so important. You will mourn some aspects of your former reality to make room for your higher self. Honestly, it is all worth it.

I am completely aware, that this journey will probably never end because self-improvement at any stage of life will always bring change and it always requires work that needs to be done. And I am willing to do it and stay on this path because what I have experienced so far how amazing that I wish I had come here earlier. But without the things that went wrong, I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t have met the people I met, and I wouldn’t become who I am.

I am grateful for the lessons I learned to become the women I am today and the woman I will become. Taking the first step is always the hardest but also the most important, we only need to choose the direction wisely.

Here are 6 ways that helped me to improve my life while being single, and I am reminding myself daily to make them my habits:

  • Change your perspective, get in touch with yourself.
  • Learn to enjoy your own company.
  • Work on your goals and create new goals on the way.
  • Stop comparing yourself with others, what is meant to be will always happen.
  • Invest in other relationships and connect with your Friends and Family.
  • Focus on the positivity, being single is nothing negative.

To the lovely soul reading this, single or not, with kids or not, allow me to tell you; You are worthy and you are where you are meant to be right now. Believe in yourself, trust the divine timing and do not let others dictate what is right or wrong for you. Make your decisions, choose your direction, say yes when it feels right and says no when it does not. 

I believe in you.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This article is based on personal experience and may be triggering for people with similar experiences and life situations.

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Stories of a page traveler

Make your Bed Astrid Winkler

A book recommendation series

From the banks of the pages, I am writing about inspiring books I read and my thoughts about them. I write about books I would love more people to read and get to know about or which truly inspired me or sent me down a roller coaster of feelings. Reading for me is one of my joys and pleasures in life and I love to forget time while reading a book. 

When a reader is asked, “Why do you read so much?” I think the best answer we give is because this one world is not enough for me. Because sometimes you can even find yourself in the pages of a book or it turns out it is just a dream you are holding in your hands.

I love reading different genres and am not stuck in only one because I also love to learn new things, sometimes even about myself. For today’s review, I want to share with you the following book.

Today’s read: Make your Bed by William H. McRaven

I heard about this book many times before and how much those people would recommend it to me before I get my hands on it and I was surprised it is only a small hardcover I received and I thought, oh that’s all it is? A Sunday afternoon read of 130 pages filled with inspiration and knowledge. This New York Times Bestseller is not a traditional self-help book, nor just a biography but a wonderful inspiration that for sure will stand the test of time.

First of all let me start to tell you a little bit about the Author, “Make your Bed”  is written by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired) he served 37 years with great distinction as a Navy SEAL where he commanded every level as a four-star admiral. Early in the SEAL training and later in his different positions, he learned a lot about leadership, friendship and life.

He conducted all of his knowledge together in this book alongside heart touching and meaningful anecdotes to create this guide with a simple but great message. 

“Little things can change your life and maybe the world”

So what are those little things you might wonder? William McRaven shares 10 rules to follow every day to change our lives and if we stick to those rules every day we will be able to even change the world.

Changing Habits as such is never an easy task but maybe this is a little reminder for you, to take a small action every day.

Before I share a summary of these rules, I want to make it clear to fully understand the meaning of them. I highly recommend reading the original book so you won’t miss any of the touching meanings and the personal touch behind each rule. Take what resonates for you.

 

1 Make your bed start every day with a task completed.

2 Find someone to help you paddle through life.

3 Respect everyone by measuring a person by the size of their heart.

4 Know that life is not fair, get over being a sugar cookie and move forward.

5 You will fail often but do not be afraid failures make you stronger.

6 Take risks in life and slide down the obstacle headfirst.

7 Don’t back down from the sharks and face down bullies.

8  Step up when times are tough and always be your very best in the darkest moments.

9 Lift the downtrodden and start singing when you`re up to your neck in mud.

10 Don’t ever ever ring the bell – Never give up.

 

This timeless book holds wisdom and advice such as encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even when life doesn’t seem so easy. Thank you Admiral McRaven for sharing your knowledge and your service.

I hope  I could inspire you with this resume to change your life and the world around you with a small habit you might implement into your life. Let me know what you think in the comments and inspire each other with our stories of life or if you want to send me your book recommendations. Looking forward to reading from you.

If you want to know more about the stories behind the rules, get your copy here: Make your Bed by William H. Mc. Raven

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Healing Is A Journey Of Growth

Growth is unstoppable – if you don’t stop yourself.

In the last couple of weeks, it was a little quiet here. Lately, I have had a lot of stress at work and so much to do besides it and to move forward. I realised I had to take a break and talk deeper to myself. Learn lessons, understand emotions and accept all of them.  And you know what? It is okay. Because it means I’m growing. It means I will not stop.

Change is inevitable, personal growth is always a decision. 

Growing is a journey without a final destination. We will never reach that one day where we can say, all is done. We will never be as perfect as we make ourselves believe we should be. And it is okay because we are all on our very personal journey where we make our own rules, mistakes and lessons.

If you need to stay away for some days in silence or be loud and dance in the kitchen. Do it. It is your journey. No right or wrong (for safety reasons I need to say, as long as it is not illegal) Accept your weaknesses, introduce them as friendly as your strengths. Let them know that they are allowed to be a part of you because of them, you are who you are today. And sometimes it takes time to figure out how much positivity is hidden in all the things we thought are negative. There are so many gifts inside us. Open them, come to know about them, learn how to make them yours.

This journey is the most important travel experience you will ever make. The trip within you where you can only come back stronger. This way isn’t easy and you will struggle a lot. I do struggle too and I have my great days and my not so great days. But I learn to be responsible for my own peace and not let anyone else destroy it because of their own emotions and wounds.

I am responsible for my peace. You are responsible for your peace. 

A couple of days ago I saw that one quote saying “heal before you have children so they never have to heal from having you as a parent.” And what should I say, it hit me deeply and it made me also realise I can heal for mine too I heal to be the change I want to see in my own future.

We all have our wounds, we are turning into wisdom.

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The Irreplaceable You

You are replaceable. Everyone is replaceable. Probably we all have heard that before, somewhere, from someone. In our office or at home. And took it as a subtle hint. 

And yes, you know what? They are actually right. We all are replaceable. But always keep in mind, so they are.

A new team member can finish a project you started, a new member can do things differently or bring changes into the team and their development. Change does not always mean it is better or worse, it is sometimes just different. The way you handled it does not mean you did it wrong, maybe it just did not match with the expectations and that is totally okay. What is not okay is, to continue doing it the same way when you could do it better. When you could grow and change for yourself and the team. When it comes to a task, you can acquire any kind of new knowledge, you can learn everything if you want to to be able to fulfil it. You can learn anything if you want to and if you are open to it.

Let me tell you a small story to understand it better:

Imagine John, 34 years old man who works for the same company since he finished his studies 12 years ago. He has his degree, loves his job and he believes, the world is his. He owns a beautiful apartment near the beach, drives a black Mercedes A-class. He is able to afford to live an amazing and stable life while travelling the world.

If you look at him from the outside, he had it all, and he has all he wants. And apparently, he doesn’t really need to do much to get what he wants. At work, he also makes sure his colleagues know about his amazing lifestyle. Let’s say he is kind of arrogant and he clearly thinks he is irreplaceable. I mean he works there for 12 years, no one knows the company better than him, right? They need him actually.

Now let’s talk about Maria. She is 34 years old and has just started in the same company. She has joined John’s team. The company gave her a chance despite her credentials not being closer to John’s. Their positions are different from each other because Maria has no degree, she completed her school but she could never afford to go to college. She had to start working after school when she was 17. Her life has been the complete opposite of John’s life. Maria leaves the office taking the subway and walks for 20 minutes more to reach her rented apartment. She needs this job and after many different jobs she had, she can look back on experiences that often taught her lessons that helped her grow. She is hardworking and passionate about her goals and she never gives up. Maria always wears a smile on her face no matter what.

The key difference between Maria and John is, Maria is always aware that she is replaceable.

They couldn’t be any different, and if for a moment we place two of these in typical romantic novels, they would hate each other only to fall in love later on. Well, let’s drop that idea for another time. Life is not always smooth and happy. We face difficult circumstances or deal with difficult people. So let’s go back to John and Maria.

Maria did a really good job; she learned new skills in her free time, read books and did research on topics she did not understand. She learned fast, and her colleagues liked her and her spirit. Based on her new knowledge she became confident enough to bring up new ideas on how to change old and rusty processes. 

For John, Maria became a thorn in his eye. He never really understood why the company hired this girl without any degree who never went to college. The reason that she wants to change processes which he started 12 years ago in this company, who is she to change them now? What does she even know? Nothing right? I mean how can she, she never studied. He started to think, it is not fair, his reaction with his colleagues became rude. 

John wasn’t aware, that the company is going through difficult situations and the manager had to take a hard decision. Someone in John’s team needs to leave the company. John of course suggested Maria since she was the last person joining the team. But his manager observed the team and he came to know about their loyalty, who worked hard and who was constantly growing and who did not. So what happened might be unexpected if you look at it on a “logical” level. If you have already faced problems you won’t fire persons who are here for a long time. It is easy to keep them because they know everything. It doesn’t cost you money as it does to teach a new team member. But sometimes it is worth to take a deeper look, are they worth it? Will they help to grow the company or are they maybe only a burden because they don’t see new options? John’s and Maria’s manager did exactly that. He observed and took a decision. He fired John and replaced him with Maria.

Why do you think he did that? What was John’s biggest mistake here? Was it his lack of awareness? His arrogance? Becoming rude to his team members?

All the things mentioned above denote the lack of emotional intelligence. That can be fixed. But his biggest failure was, he stopped learning. He stopped growing. To believe that a degree is enough or all we need to open doors for us and become irreplaceable, I must disappoint you, it won’t be enough. Because having a masters degree but forever staying on the same level won’t ever be enough.

But what is it that makes you irreplaceable, like Maria? Is it even possible to be irreplaceable? What we learned based on John and Maria’s story? No knowledge, degree, status of education or certificates can make you irreplaceable. Because whatever you are able to learn, everyone else can learn it as well. 

So let me tell you what makes you irreplaceable. It is your energy. Your energy is your secret weapon where you have all your potential and maybe, you are not even aware of it. Energy is everything. And the day you finally realize this, it will transform your whole life. 

Maria did exactly this, unknowingly. She shared a positive spirit with her teammates her energy reflected in her sake to learn and grow further and this made her irreplaceable for her manager. 

We have energy around us and we all have energy inside us too. We only need to find our purpose and figure out how to share our energies with others. The more positive energy we share with others the more we are valued by others. These positive energies make you irreplaceable as a human. 

“When we are not aligned with our purpose, we cannot reach our fullest potential.”

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On the 32nd Road of Life.

And I assure you, the roads after 30 don’t end up in the dark tunnel, the way we feared it in our sweet twenties. 

Looking back at myself from my twenties, I remember that thinking about becoming thirty felt like the end of the world and the very end of life. I thought nothing more would be coming after that and everything should have been achieved by then. 

We are generally influenced by all the mid-twenty year’s old rotten stories, 30-under30 list, all the achievements of others like getting married to the perfect match and starting their own family. The fear of missing out made it hard to breathe, didn’t it? But we need to understand that, their goal does not have to be ours. Their timing does not have to match with ours and that’s totally okay. We need to be kind to ourselves. Moreover, the tenth page of your life could already be the first page of someone else. Some of us are more privileged than others therefore this whole idea of comparing yourself with others does not really help. 

And just because you don’t have what everybody has at the same age, it doesn’t make you less accomplished. It only means you are born to do extraordinary things and fulfil some other purpose. 

I can happily say that turning 30 has been a true blessing. I am more at ease with myself, I found my purpose, my focus and I learned that “life at 30” has been entirely different than how I imagined it to be when I was 20 years old. To me, this realization has been eye-opening. Never was I able to take myself so seriously before.

And honestly, for me, taking a hot bubble bath instead of wearing uncomfortable high heels on a Saturday night is way more satisfying. 

Tell you what? In order to grow steady, you must first kill the pest that shunts your growth. And therefore growing might feel like breaking at first. Don’t give up.

Stop worrying about yesterday. It is already gone, the decisions are made and there is no way you can undo things. What about tomorrow? Well, you don’t know what might come. We can’t know the future. All we have for certain in our hands is present. The time of now. Today is all you have got. Today is where you can change things. Today is where you can choose to make a difference. Today you can smile at someone to make their day better. Today you can be kind and today is all you have in your hands. This is the moment where you are able to have all or nothing. Yes or No. Good or Bad. Happy or sad. It is your choice. What or whom you let win over yourself, now you get to decide. 

I am not standing at the farther end of life already and I too am like many of you, still a traveller of life. But based on whatever I learned about life so far, I would say, take that step now that you are always thinking about but never had the courage to do so. Well, honestly! What could happen in the worst case? Your life won’t end there, right? Then go for it, please!

In the worst case, you will fall. But even if you fall and things didn’t work out you will still learn something. Only because you have one way in front of you it does not need to be the right one. Life sometimes takes us to different destinations. Way far away from what we expected. And you know what? That’s beautifully perfect. 

Please, stop finding excuses for not wearing that amazing red dress. If you love it, then wear it. 

If you fear you are growing old, then let me tell you, growing older is a privilege. And we should treat every wrinkle like a treasure. You are perfect the way you are. Start complimenting yourself and others because what else can make someone happier than receiving a sincere compliment? 

Get up and live life! Create an identity for yourself beyond your job role. You are not what you do professionally. It does not have to be that way, always. 

We have got one life. Let’s please not spend it only trying to fit in, doing things only for validation and acceptance. We can do better than that by finding and living our own purpose.  

And if you are still not convinced, let me stop with a small story. When I travelled through Cuba in 2019, a wise old lady told me; “Darling, always count your age by the numbers of memories, not by the numbers of years.” That has stuck with me and it always brings a smile on my face whenever I ponder upon my journey of life. 

So forget about your age, forget about every number you believe defines you and live your life to the fullest.

You can.

You will.

End of story.

Go, make it happen while I make mine happen. 

And oh, here is to my 32nd birthday. Cheers!

Lots of Love,

Astrid

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Kissing 2020 a goodbye with moist eyes and a smiling face

This year was truly special to everyone. The world turned upside down in a way we were never aware of. And that is not only because of Covid which changed everything in 2020.

For those whom we lost and those who have lost.

In the early  2020 the world lost wonderful souls in an helicopter accident. Two of these beautiful souls  were Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi Bryant. To me, it was a huge shock since I adored Kobe Bryant for a long time. He was such an inspiration not only on the basketball court but also as a human being. This accident that  took these souls away too soon also changed my outlook towards my own life. 

“Everything – negative, pressure, challenges- is all an opportunity – for me to rise.” 

This quote from Kobe Bryant will forever inspire me. 

And yes, he lives in thousands of hearts and his message has to be spread over and over again. I won’t stop following my way until I reach what I have set in my mind. An inspiration is gone but his spirit is still here. 

On April 4th, a beautiful woman gave birth to wonderful baby girl named Sara. – who was born still. This unexpected loss, the shock and the pain that followed again showed me how thankful we should be for what we got. She is a true inspiration, while she is healing she is still able to share love and joy and she inspires me everyday. To all of those who lost someone this year I want to say, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

2020 will forever be remembered. It is a year full of ups and downs. A year we never really thought could happen. This year challenged us in many ways.

Professionally. 

Meetings were done remotely and “You are on mute” isn’t just a phrase anymore. Homeoffice isn’t just fun while staying at home instead of our offices. For some of us felt like small private heaven initially but  turned out to be the opposite for some of us.

What are your experiences? Let’s play a small game? challenge. Share your best Homeoffice picture of 2020 and use the hashtag #homeoffice2020

Mentally. 

I am happy and proud to be a part of the masquerade 2020. I don’t want to miss telling my kids in a few years what was happening when the world turned upside down. This wonderful world has been through way more than this and it always found a way to heal. But we also got a warning. We have to be careful for, our loved ones and the environment.

But this time is also painful, we are far  from our loved ones and that’s why it is even more important to ask each other, “How are you?” 

Personally. 

Travelling, meeting friends, visiting a concert, was just not possible, many plans got cancelled. It might be tearful and sad but we should be grateful for what we got. For me, this year had a lot  to offer. I took a step into a whole new world, I have never been before.

Personally I want to say “Thank you” to all our health care workers around the world who are fighting this pandemic.Thank you for staying strong. 

A lot of things broke my heart this year, but exactly these things also gave me strength. The will not to give up and the power to keep going on, even when the destination was undecided. This year has been hard but I am thankful to be here and to make this experience and grow.

This whole new world

In August I got an opportunity to work for Test Master Academy.

At the Test Masters Academy Test Leadership Conference I got the opportunity to write about my personal experience.

After these amazing sessions, I led my own Interview Series for TMACL2020 with speakers.

After a whole month of writing about the conference and interviewing amazing speakers I got another opportunity to write an article for Tea Time with Testers magazine titled 

“Do we need Batman if we have Testers?” 

This experience awakened my passion for writing which I always loved and did with so much passion and that’s the main reason why I am sitting here today writing this first Blog.

Did my first conference talk  for #testflix 

This came to be while I was expecting it the least. I got another chance and I did my first ever public talk.

I remember the day, when I got the message on 10th September 2020, asking if I wanted to be a part of the Testflix Bing  in November 2020. All I had to do was to make an 8 min video about a topic I found important. Well I am not a tester by profession. So I felt pretty overwhelmed. What could  I talk about? What topic would help a tester? Why should someone even want to listen to my talk? But I didn’t hesitate and agreed to present my talk. It could not  be that hard right? I came up with topic which I found important for testers but was not much talked about – Emotional Intelligence. What an honour for me to start something completely new with The Test Tribe.

The topic I chose is really close to my heart and in 2021 you will hear more about it from me, so stay tuned.

It was a blast being a part of this amazing and one of its own kind event. 

All in all I want to say Thank you 2020,

for all the lessons you taught me, good and bad. For slowing down and giving us a little bit of silence. For bringing up new opportunities and a fresh start. 

For teaching me that in every negativity we can find something beautiful. We just need to look closer and open our hearts.

For changing my mind and showing me new ways. For making me realise what I truly need to be grateful for.

Thank you 2020, without you there would be so much missing.

Hello 2021! I am totally ready for you.

Cheers to you and Happy New Year. Stay safe and Love what you do. 

Yours,

Astrid

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