BENLEANDER_Design Studio

+43 650 707 9191 (12-18 h)
hello@benleander.com

Resolutions and other Lies

My three years of COVID have been more confusing than Britney Spears’s Instagram activity and although this is the first year I was infected, it’s probably the year the pandemic affected me the least. In good old blogging tradition I wanna look back at my year and my past resolutions, but this time I wanna do it a bit differently. 

Resolutions Mehsolutions

I already know what I have and haven’t accomplished from my past year’s list, so there’s no need to write a full post about it. I did finish the first draft of my book and am currently editing it, I did make time to travel and even did so by myself and I did practice yoga and meditation. I didn’t make these Zen practices super regular parts of my life. And I didn’t (always) put my own happiness first. I do wanna have a quick look at how I’ve spent this year but feel free to fast-forward to the hopefully funnier (and less reflective) part at the end.

Riding the Highs and Lows of 2022

This year was definitely an emotional rollercoaster, so much so that I switched my focus in therapy to work on my emotional stability (which is a work in progress). In January, I was dating a kind and humble guy, but he wasn’t right for me. I struggled to realize this and tried to work on something that, in the end, wasn’t meant to be. When it ended, some friends involved themselves with their opinions which lead me to distancing myself from many people in my inner circle. Then, I lost four of my biggest long-term clients who gave up their businesses after the rollercoaster years of COVID. I struggled to realize in time that I needed some change. Instead, I tried to survive by teaching at a local institute and with my few freelance jobs. Of course, I also had some beautiful projects this year like the book Randnotiz der Jugend I designed but I still need more clients to keep going. So, I also wanna remind everyone reading that I am a designer and am always happy to be recommended 🙂

book design

Not having enough work stressed me and I became depressed. Keeping myself busy with meaningful work does wonders for my mental health and also keeps me from overthinking – a realization I had later the same year. During a ski vacation with friends, I noticed how happy I was when I was away and decided I needed to fly away. Since it was the middle of Corona restrictions my travel options were limited. I eventually chose Sri Lanka, a country I hadn’t considered before. Sri Lanka surprised me and helped me get out of a really dark place. I found my will to live again. I cannot describe the magic and the impact this country has had on me, but being there, especially for the Buddhist New Year, was incredible to me. I woke up day after day in the most stunning nature and felt indescribably happy and content.

Sri Lanka Pidurangala

After I came back, things settled and my mood got better. I had my biggest success of the year in the form of the surreal moment when Jacqueline Kaulersch and I landed on the cover of PAGE magazine with our comic series LESS is LESS! Further along the line, however, teaching jobs got postponed or canceled while I tried juggling freelance work with private endeavors like DJing (for example in bar 8020 in Graz), the Hollenegg design conference and the largest techno festival of Graz, the Springfestival. There I also had the start of my short summer romance that later continued in Berlin. To clear my head, I went on a surf and beach vacation with friends to Portugal. In the end, this vacation was unfortunately quite troubling. While I really enjoyed some of the moments, we also got into fights and discussions about pretty mundane things. A friend gave me the feeling I was a burden and that they’d rather gone on vacation without me. This was one of the most disappointing moments of this year. I realized that whatever I feel or think about someone doesn’t mean the other one is on the same page. Whenever you have expectations you may be disappointed and in these moments, I struggle to put my own happiness first. It sucks losing friends but sometimes the healthiest thing is some distance. After we had our fights, I decided to keep traveling by myself and stayed for ten more days in other parts of Portugal. The biggest spark of joy was my last day in Porto when I went partying with others friends on a beautiful hill in the city. That day I got the message that my sister was in labor and only minutes later another message that my niece was born. I couldn’t be happier having become an aunt!

However, when I came back to Graz I felt unhappy once again. I was depressed and thought I’d escape to my happy place: Berlin. I was excited to see my friends there, visit art galleries and cool clubs, and revisit my summer romance I mentioned earlier. My first reality check arrived in the form of a positive COVID test. On the hottest day of the year (37 degrees), I was locked in my room panicking over whether or not I had infected some of my roommates. The rest of my time in Berlin was mixed as well. I had lovely days, saw the band Moderat live, and managed to finish the first draft of my book, but I also had an STD scare, panicked over Monkeypox, found out my summer romance was a bit less romantic than I was hoping for and ended up spending a lot of time by myself without anything to do. This was when I realized I needed more jobs. Luckily, I was on the finish line of a job application process that had started quite a long time before I went abroad. During my time in Berlin, I found out that Jugendstreetwork Graz (remote social work) wanted to hire me! Finally, I was gonna use my psychology diploma, get out of the office and work socially!

Since I struggled so much in Berlin, I decided to leave the grey city behind but not without going on a final Tinder date four days before my departure. As destiny is a cruel bitch sometimes, this ended up being quite an intense connection and when we said goodbye at the train station, the both of us were crying. However, when I was home and busy with work again, I knew there was no point in continuing the connection with him as I had decided I (probably) wasn’t gonna move to Berlin in 2023. At home, I finally managed to be and stay happy for a longer time and I attribute this to the fact that I was super busy at freelance work, Streetwork and my teaching position. Also, I had a tattoo appointment at my friend’s studio who finished my sleeve. Also also, I met a really kind and nice guy after I returned home. I don’t know where our connection will lead and maybe it won’t lead anywhere – but it doesn’t have to be eternally good to be great now. Maybe this sounds harsh but I believe there is beauty in the inevitable. And in the end, if you decide every morning that you wanna be with someone for one more day, isn’t that more proof of a connection than doing it out of routine?

So, all was good and well until I found out just a few weeks ago that Jugendstreetwork Graz wasn’t gonna exist anymore in 2023. So, here I am, once again having no plan for how to continue in my (work) life. My plan, for now, is to focus on the current year and my upcoming New Year’s vacations. I know that running to another country isn’t the way to find permanent happiness – but I’m not saying No to temporary happiness when it’s available! At least, not having a job in January means I’ll have plenty of time for art projects, such as my yearly short film project ‘Unterdrückte Nummer’ I uploaded earlier in December.

 

Resolution Suggestions

You have no idea what your future resolutions could be? Here are some suggestions:

  • Take more photos you take for yourself
  • Wear more comfortable clothes, like sweatpants and yoga pants
  • Wear them to an actual Yoga studio
  • Stop this trend when you find yourself in a bar wearing pyjamas
  • Read something else than the Netflix subtitles you turned on because your chips are too crunchy
  • Unfollow everyone posting diet recipes
  • Learn how to make IG Reels, create a viral video, then never use it again
  • Don’t get a TikTok account (or delete the one you have)
  • Eat something without thinking about the nutritional values (not recommended for Diabetics)
  • Tell an embarrassing story to someone you admire
  • Record a sex tape (make sure not to accidentally get internet famous for it)
  • Learn something new about yourself (optionally on Acid)
  • Listen to understand, not to respond
  • Make more plans with people you like but don’t see often
  • Eat fewer animal products
  • Nude model (even if just for one person – it counts!)
  • Travel by yourself (even if just for a weekend – it counts!)
  • Write a blog entry about something traumatic and later let me publish it for free, thx

Finally, here are my actual resolutions for 2023:

  • Have an exhibition in Graz in June
  • Try to find a publisher for my edited book
  • Regularly do Squash, Volleyball and Yoga
  • Look for a job again (potentially abroad)
  • Travel (potentially again in March)
  • Star in an upcoming short horror movie
  • Keep working on feeling more complete (meaning finding what’s missing too)

 

As always, I wish you reading this the best of years in 2023! Thanks to everyone for stopping by, occasionally or regularly, it means the world to me. I guess, this blog has had more transformations than Ren̩e Zellwegger, and yet it has been a quiet place of consistency just for myself Рand everyone reading! Again: Thank you <3

 

BenLeander

 

P.s.: Wanna donate some money for Christmas time? There’s a PayPal link below 😉

 

My best experience this year…

Solo Travelling a Country in Crisis: Sri Lanka

 

Compulsive nonconformist who left the 9-to-5 world after studying psychology and has since then devoted himself to design and writing on a freelance basis. Has at least four different kinds of chips at home at any given time.

Do you have something to say?

%d bloggers like this: