An end-of-the-year review by Maggy BerLoon
Now, at the end of the year, it´s good to think about everything that happened. It´s good to think about the beautiful and not so beautiful things. This year was one hell of a rollercoaster. Although it was often really challenging and besides all the sweat and tears, we also had quite a lot of happy moments. A full bottle of life with a tremendous amount of new experiences, regarding our job and personal life. The last one, like private experiences and challenges, have had dominated the year 2017, so this is going to be quite a personal end-of-the-year-review. Just to let you know in advance.
To summarize it:
In Dec´16 we left our beloved home in Berlin and moved to Radevormwald. A sleepy place in the middle of nowhere but nearby (about 40-minute drive) to our hometown Solingen. This giant loft surrounded by woods and a small river should make us happy, regarding our job and private life. At least we hoped so. It´s important to take notice of this past year´s event since it had a significant impact towards the year 2017.
In Feb´17 we realized that Radevormwald is not our thing:
So, Jan and I decided to look for a new home, again. This time it should be a flat AND a separate office. To combine work and living as a married couple and business partners at the same time can be quite a challenge. It can be tough, especially, when your surrounding offers you nothing but nature. It wasn’t possible to meet friends and family spontaneously because they still lived too far away. We started to feel isolated and began to get on each other´s nerves. Somehow this is a logical consequence when you are a couple and spend every single minute with each other. To live in the countryside was a romantic imagination, but it´s not our thing at all as we had to realize quickly. If we wanted our relationship to remain happy, we had to change our spatial situation.
Of course, before, we were aware this could happen. I mean, the change form a big city like Berlin to the middle of nowhere is extreme. But you always know afterward whether it was the right decision or not. Shit happens. But what the heck. Ultimately you still own the possibility to change your situation, always. Even if it would have been easier to move to our hometown Solingen right away, we needed this experience in Radevormwald to appreciate or hometown again and see the good sights of the city. Honestly, back in Berlin, I never thought it was possible to move back to Solingen and become happy there – so I thought. Thanks, Radevormwald.
May 8th was a special day:
I turned thirty years old! A little bit nervous I looked forward to this event, but ultimately I just felt great. Thirty years is an excellent age! Somehow I slightly did feel more grown up, but at the same time, I don’t. Overall I stopped caring about several things, like the opinions of others for example. A pleasant feeling of indifference started to spread. I know who I am and what I wish for my life. A wonderful sense.
I spent this special day with my most favorite person in The Hague. Vacation became a scarce thing, so Jan and I spent some beautiful days there and recharged our energy reserves a little. We needed energy for the future removal to Solingen, or better said the future removals.
May and June`17 were supposed to become exhausting:
We did two removals at the same time and completely without a moving company! Now, finally, we returned to our hometown Solingen, back to old friends and family. But the biggest change was going to be the separation of living and working. On the one hand, we moved in the coziest flat of Solingen and on the other hand our BALLOONS UNITED OFFICE was born or more precisely, the freilust OHG headquarter. As besides we started a company on which roof BALLOONS UNITED and LOONERS UNITED operate. Who knows, maybe more and other projects will follow in the future, but that´s of secondary importance.
Now, after several months passed, I can tell for sure that it was the best decision to split living and working and move to our hometown (although we´re missing Berlin big time). It´s just an awesome feeling to come to our office every single morning and to return to our comfy home in the evening to relax. Although it´s been a long and exhausting period until we finished removals entirely since we continued working during this time, every single drop of sweat was worth it.
In a long time, I finally feel like I arrived and I´m very thankful for this. Now Jan and I can continue with our lives. At this point, I would like to thank everyone, who supported us during this time!!!
July´17 became exciting:
For the very first time, we returned to Berlin after we left our beloved adopted home. To be honest, I was scared shitless of this trip. I knew that this confrontation would show whether it was right to leave this town or not. I was afraid that after returning to Berlin I do not want to go back ever again and realize that moving to Solingen might be the biggest mistake of my life. A very emotionally charged journey. Luckily it became clear very quickly that we made the right decision. It was just wonderful to be back in Berlin and visit hardly missed friends. We spent a fantastic time together and welcomed some new family members since some of our friends have had a baby. It was just incredible, and at the same time, I looked forward to going back to our old new home at Solingen. I might say, we did everything right.
In August`17 everything went upside down:
After we almost finished our removals and were one hundred percent sure that it was the right decision, finally, after an extended period, our life felt calm and fine. The past ten months (starting with us leaving Berlin) were challenging and took a lot of effort and energy. Nevertheless, we felt happier than in a long time before and were full of enthusiasm to finally work on projects, which had to wait during this extended period. However, sadly everything turned out completely different suddenly.
A very very close family member became the final diagnoses after a longstanding cancer disease. So after a year-long fight including many ups and downs, it could be over at any time at this point, no more hope left. The following weeks were the hardest experience Jan, and I had to deal with so far. But our luck in this misfortune was that we were HERE, not in Berlin, not in Radevormwald, but with our family. So, we were able to go down this difficult road together, which ended in early October.
Yes, unfortunately, this is also an essential part of living. However sad this is, it binds us together, makes us stronger and shows us that life can pass by quickly. So, the most important thing is to live, live, live and do what makes you happy (whatever this means individually), as well as worrying less about things. Period.
October´17 was challenging, but also brought an amazing incident with it:
We hired our first employee. So, our freilust-family welcomed a new family member, and from the very first day, it felt like Claudio has always been here. We complete and inspire each other perfectly; things can continue like this. To be an employer yourself is somehow crazy and fantastic at the same time. This did also increase my wealth of experience, and I´m pretty grateful for it. Every morning, I look forward going to work and spending my day with Claudio and Jan. Now, it´s possible to split up tasks and working fields to hopefully become more productive. But besides working, we just have a lot of fun together at our office.
Well, I enjoy it big time to be an independent entrepreneur and to see how our company develops (a few years back I honestly would have never imagined that). Okay, okay, from time to time I´m also sleepy and unmotivated, but to know, that I could quickly decide for myself where to get up or not, makes things easier and motivates me again and again. Everything I do, I do it for myself and our company, and now others participate as well. That´s just incredible! To be self-employed and this together with my husband is the most significant thing that happened in my thirty years of living and is worth any effort and risk. To see how our team is growing and to observe how someone becomes enthusiastic about our matter without ever knowing a thing about it before, as well as becoming a valuable member in a short time, is insane and makes me extremely happy.
At this point, I would like to thank everyone who did and still support us on this path. Thank you, dear reader!
My conclusion of the year:
So, that were the most life-changing experiences of my year 2017. As you can probably see, balloon related topics come off badly as I think. It feels like the past year consisted primarily of removals, enduring, functioning, recuperating and standing up again. Yes, there also were quite a lot of happy, rollicking and beautiful moments as well. But all in all, it was a tumultuous and exhausting year. To be completely honest, I´m relieved and happy this year comes to an end now, and I look forward to the new year in a positive way. Furthermore, I hope that my review of the year 2018 will be full of balloon and Looner related things. But I´m pretty confident. After we went through so many stressful situations, the conditions couldn’t be better now. There are a few exciting and thrilling things waiting for us, for example several PR-stuff, special meetings towards Looners (I can´t tell specifically), hopefully working on reserved projects (if I say too much now, I suppose I´ll get a problem with Jan, so let yourself be surprised) and my personal highlight: in May we´ll come to the USA and travel through California. There we´ll also be some special meetings with single Looners, which I look forward to. But beside the meetings, I just can´t wait to make a catch at our bucket-list and go on our first long and big vacation since we are self-employed.
My dear year 2018, I look forward to meeting you, and I´m curious which surprises you´ll have for us. I look forward to new experiences, new meetings, and hopefully a lot of new Looner-adventures.
My dear readers, I hope you will accompany me and I wish every one of you an incredibly great new year filled with much life (but only the good type please if possible, if not, suck it up and go on).
Stay healthy and happy. See you next year my dear friends. I´m excited!
Bye, bye 2017 und HELLO 2018!