Ben Leander Willgruber | Visual Designer and Writer

The Biggest Challenges of 2018

When I realized I wasn’t going to have a regular Christmas party this year, I was glad to find one for Freelance Designers in Berlin. At the Meetup, founder Lisa Koch spoke about her past year and took a look back at some of her highlights (and fails) of 2018. As a Freelancer, I hardly ever reflect on how far I’ve come, what I’ve accomplished, how I failed and what I wanna do better.

What inspired me the most during the Meetup was reflecting on how you’ve started into this year and how this year evolved. To me, this year brought lots of change, good and bad one. I had an art show, I started writing for VICE, I went to Berlin;… In summary, I have new perspectives for my future. But this year also had many challenges and was definitely not an easy ride. Lisa encouraged us to look back at our biggest challenges and find out how we’ve handled them and how we’ve grown from them. That’s exactly what I wanna do today and I would like to encourage you guys to do the same. Just think about it for a minute and if you’re comfortable, I’d love to hear your stories in the comment section.


My biggest challenge of 2018 was finding out I have Diabetes. 

It happened soon after my last break-up when many things seemed to be falling apart. For a long time, I didn’t even wanna deal with it because my headspace was on full capacity. I also just wanted to distract myself from everything that was going wrong. But that wasn’t in my cards: as a side effect from having untreated Diabetes Type I, I had some very uncomfortable symptoms. Most noticeable was that I had tonsillitis eight times and therefore also had to take eight rounds of antibiotics.

I handled my diagnosis by ‘taking one step at a time’. I saw no point in thinking about what was going to happen in the long run as I don’t know what life has in stock for me. I had to learn how to deal with sudden changes as I never knew when I was gonna be sick again. I had to learn how to live a life I can’t plan for. I could have never gotten past this without the help of my friends and family. That’s how I learned that social support is incredibly important to me when I am facing a crisis. I also learned that I need to get better in recognizing my needs and telling them to others. As this year ends I am now more aware than ever of my right to feel certain ways and let other people know when what they do is hurting me. This might sound silly, but I was never very vocal about the things I dislike even when they make me incredibly uncomfortable.

I haven’t been sick in a couple of months and I hope I can continue down this path in 2019 and will strive to become the best version of myself (even if that sounds incredibly cheesy and makes me wanna vomit just writing it down).



2 thoughts on “The Biggest Challenges of 2018

  1. My biggest challenge was finding out I had hyperthyroidism. Who would have thought that many of my physical problems actually had a reason. I’m on my way back to finding energy again, which, to me, means writing. I have so many story ideas in my head..I want 2019 to be the year they come out!

  2. Excellent advice concerning reflecting on our past successes and “not-so-successful ventures.” Something we should all do on a regular basis be it annually, quarterly or whatever. Thanks for sharing this. Best wishes for 2019! Naked hugs!

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