The Christmas holidays are almost over, we have started into a new year with a full stomach after enjoying Christmas feasts and biscuits. It is this strange time between Christmas and New Year where we have lost track of the weekday, everything feels calmer. The irony – Christmas is supposed to be the quiet time of the year, yet, it only really gets quiet after Boxing Day (or St. Stephen’s Day as we call it in Austria).
As I mentioned in previous Postcards, I do not believe in New Year’s resolutions. I do not see the point, because, frankly, most of us have forgotten about them a week into the new year. Naturally, the end of the year is type of assessment – the last orders come in and the year-end reporting shows how successful we were in terms of our business performance. Needless to say, I also use the end of the year to look back on the past months. But I do not really need the new year to help me with goals – irrespective if they are of a professional or personal nature. I try to constantly assess and adjust them throughout the year – I find it more realistic to work with goals which have been broken down into smaller pieces than a big and unrealistic “reinvention” at the beginning of each year.
Nevertheless, I tried something new this year. Previously, I assess my accounting, compare it with the year before and then kind of measure the business but also myself. While this is straightforward and necessary, it ignored many other areas which are important to assess as well. As I mentioned in Postcard #268 about negative thought spiralling, it is vital to know your successes – big and small. And often, they are cannot reflected by financials measures only. Hence, I looked back on other indicators as well and it left me with a much better and more accomplished feeling than the mere financial point of view.
Probably the biggest change for me last year was the move towards more fashion content on this site. As the name “The Pink Lookbook” suggests, I always wanted to share more about fashion, but for some reason, I ended up focusing more on other areas. This also meant that I started using YouTube. In “real life” I enjoy presentations and lectures. Those who know me in person also know that I am extremely talkative, hence, it is no surprise that I excel at talking in front of a crowd. But putting myself onto a platform like YouTube was daunting in the beginning. I never wanted to be an influencer and this is still nothing I aspire. But talking about fashion on this gigantic platform also opens the door to not only subscribers but also comments from strangers. Once the video is out there, anyone can leave their views on it and it has been interesting to see what was going to happen. While the majority of feedback has been positive so far, I did have to learn how to process negative reactions as well. I guess this is only the beginning, the more videos I will publish, the more negative comments will come along as well and it will take me some time to get used to it. But overall, I am really glad that I moved out of my comfort zone and started “Project YouTube”. I enjoy producing the content but also connecting with people from all over the world over a shared interest – fashion. The benefit from this move cannot be put into financials – I had to learn how to speak and act in front of the camera, improve the audio and editing, and, dive into new topics and dedicate a lot of time to research of new areas. Content-wise I have a lot of plans for the coming months and there will also be new things on both of my websites – here and on Pelagona.
Another big thing for me was my travels to India. After Covid, I finally made it back and it was probably one of the biggest moments of the year. I finally could personally see business partners again, meet new ones and also visit the artisans. These trips are always a little adventure – you never know what will happen but India reminded me why I have always loved travelling so much: the excitement before you board the plane, the views, sounds and smell of a new place, exploring hidden places, shopping for local products and meeting new people. Covid had brought a lot of this to a halt and while I resumed travelling in 2021 and 2022, 2023 felt as if everything was back to normal. Almost. Because the after-effects of the pandemic are still very obvious, especially in India. Many people have lost loved ones and financially, the past three years were tough on many. It felt good to see that things are starting to come back to normal again and I was also really impressed by the positive attitudes of so many people in India I got to meet.
A big personal milestone was that I finished my Master’s in Art History which makes me really proud too – it was not my first degree but it was quite an undertaking to finish it alongside work, during a pandemic and with all my travels. There were many nights where I logged in from a different time zone to attend a class or when I got so caught up in my research that I forgot to go to bed and ended up writing in the dark. My thesis was about the lacquer panels in the Chinese cabinets at Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna. These rooms are not open to the public and when I got to visit them for the first time, it was during one of the lockdowns and I had the whole palace (almost) to myself. It is one of the most visited sights in Austria and walking through the rooms and not meeting another soul was truly surreal. It was hard work but this degree and its whole process broadened my mind, opened doors to new projects, expanded my network and I also made new friends.
As you can see, I do look back on the past year and, naturally, I am also looking ahead and planning out 2024. But my view has changed a bit; our jobs are a core part of us but they are not the sole dimension defining us as people. I could start the new year with unrealistic goals relating to business or with resolutions like “I want to stop eating so much chocolate”. But frankly, this is boring and unenjoyable. I will keep enjoying chocolate and I am also working towards my goals which I set whenever I think it is the best time, not when the calendar tells me.
I wish you all a Happy New Year! Thank you for another year of reading my articles and watching my videos 🙂