Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life

Let’s start a little blog post series. I am turning 40 next week, and I thought it would be fun to look back at my last decade before my birthday. So, every day for the next ten days, there will be a new blog post reminiscing about one year. Also, check out my Instagram for a few more photos and videos from these last ten years of my life.

The Big Picture

The year is 2014. I live in Istanbul, my favorite city in the whole world. Together with my spirit animal and cat Canavar. In a big and bright two bedroom apartment. I use one of the bedrooms as a walk-in closet. I work as a teacher, have even been in a leading position. I have a group of great friends. I earn so much money that I don’t need to keep an eye on my bank account. It is the year where I also fully and immediately pay off my student loans (Bafög) from Germany. – And everything really sucks.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life | janavar

On my 30th birthday. I was super skinny after my life had turned belly-up a few weeks prior.

Man, was I unhappy when I turned 30. Freshly separated, alone in a new apartment, and very very depressed. Looking back, I know that I dodged a bullet. But I did not yet see that back then. My 30th birthday itself was a bit of a light at the end of the darkest tunnel: I spent the sunrise on Nemrut Dağı, which I still remember positively. Oh, and how a day later I accidentally got off the road while turning my rented car, got totally stuck, and needed a group of strong men to help me out. Duh!

That summer my grandfather died just a week short of his 101st birthday. Instead of flying to Germany for a birthday party, I went to a funereal.

I would say in general my 31st year of my life was one about being utterly lost. Everything felt harder. I didn’t know who I was or how to proceed.

Eventually, I thought I would just apply for a new job at the German schools in the U.S. Worst thing they wouldn’t take me. Best thing they would offer me a job and I would get to move far away from my misery. It turned out that the school in Boston wanted me – and I couldn’t wait to move there. I spent months getting rid of things and preparing my move. During my winter break, I flew to Boston to sign my contract. It was the winter with the endless amount of blizzards and snow. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I thought I loved all that cold and snow and ice.

At the same time, I traveled around Turkey as much as possible. I made sure to see a lot, go out a lot, and try to live life to the fullest – even when it felt like life was constantly puking all over me.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life | janavar

I had such a fun trip to Cappadocia in April 2015

My Firsts

Besides standing on a mountain for my birthday, I decided that I would get my first tattoo just when I had turned 30: seagulls flying all over my back. I still am happy decision and also with my second tattoo that I got that year.

I went to Dubai (for the first time) for a work trip (for the first time) where I bought my first (and so far only) pair of Manolos. The trip was amazing because I managed to see so much of the city while also working. In hindsight I think I must have slept less than I do nowadays. And I still love the pair of shoes I bought. I don’t wear them much – out of fear of destroying them, which is probably a little stupid.

From summer in Dubai to winter in Boston. I experienced my first blizzards ever and, at the time, found them magical. Obviously, I was there on vacation and did not consider that everything is much more fun then.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life | janavar

My first blizzard in January 2015

What I Learned

Mostly, that some years are just crappy – but we survive them, too. It is more important to know yourself and your own goals because you do not know how and what other people in your life decide to do.

I definitely also learned to have fun and just take the trips and just buy the shoes. At the same time, I prepared for a big international move and got rid of so much stuff. When I really put my focus on it, I can empty beauty products and part with a good amount of my belongings.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life | janavar

I loved my desk so much and still miss it – including its spot right at the window. I actually just checked and it is still available, hint hint, Rich!

That year, I read a lot of Ayn Rand and identified with many of her ideas. That was before I learned how she and her works are perceived in the U.S. I have always enjoyed her more as a fictional writer and philosopher from the first half of the 20th century.

Also, I am really not a great car driver. I did well during all my road trips that year on pretty empty roads, but, overall, it definitely was more luck than skill that nothing ever happened.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life | janavar

Canavar was always there. Well, except for that one week in May 2015 when he was lost in my apartment building’s basement. That was so scary, and I was super happy when he returned.

My Travels

1. Nemrut Dağı

2. Dubai

Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life | janavar

I enjoyed my work trip to Dubai in June 2014 a lot

3. Bodrum & Kos

4. Germany: Mecklenburg

5. U.S.: Boston & New York City

6. Cappadocia

7. Kars to Van

Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life | janavar

Akdamar Island to me is still the most beautiful place on Earth

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2 thoughts on “Reminiscing My 30s: The 31st Year of My Life”

  1. So lange soll das schon her sein!?! Ich wünsche dir alles Glück der Welt für die nächsten 10 Jahre mit deiner kleinen Familie und an einem Ort, den du liebst. Einen Toast auf deinen Opa und Canavar! Prost!

  2. I’ve really enjoyed reading this and look forward to learning about the other years as well!

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