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  • Writer's pictureKajsa Silow

Celebration dance around a milestone!

Updated: Jan 20, 2019

"Don't write too much, lower your level of ambition". Ok ok, here it goes..

I was talking to a friend the other day who asked how I was doing.

"I'm having a bad cold, but besides that I'm super!!" I replied.

"How can it be super if you're having a bad cold? If you're having a bad cold life cab't be super."

We are all so different. Speaking the truth, my life would have sucked if I got hung up on all traumas and tragics, setbacks and mistakes, that comes with being born as a human being. And in my life those have been a bit more present than in a "normal Svensson"-family.

If life was about being 100% healthy every day, to never bump into problems, to never be imperfect to be able to stay happy, then I could just sit down on the chair and wait till I get picked off this earth. But if you like feeling human, to not let temporary obstacles drain your energy, to be incredibly sick but still feel life is amazing, to have strong willpowers and dreams that you wanna reach even if the path seems ambiguous, diffuse, unclear yet still wonderful, then you have a great chance in feeling alive and love living no matter those obstacles that naturally appear when you do things.

Take a mountain for instance. You bring your tools, knowledges and experiences that will help you and mentor you, and in your backpack you carry your condition, prerequisites and limitations that will define how you'll make your way up. Sometimes it'll be beautiful and easy, you feel light, strong and self-confident and you have a known (maybe even recommended) path ahead that seems to be the right one to follow. But it's also heavy, the acid makes you question what you're doing, your breath wears on your bronchus, the taste of blood in your mouth is present. You might even feel alone, start questioning your choice and sometimes you even need to take a step back down to regain perspective. If one can't stand being clogged in the nose up here, then one could just turn around and keep walking in circles down below and look up at the top that one will never reach. Sometimes you have to stop to get perspective, but if you stop fully because of "nasal obstruction", then you're never gonna reach it, the only steps forwards are the ones taken. The mountain is indescribable and the higher you get the better you start to feel, the top gets closer, you gain more and more confidence, for each pearl of sweat your heart beats faster, for each minute of resistance your successes will feel even more powerful. You feel so alive. You want nothing more than being just right there where you are and you'd love if you made it to the top, you might even have dreamt about it your whole life.

A mountain is a super metaphor for life. On the mountain one will have to blow one's nose, rinse and spray quite many times on the way to make one's way up.

And you know what, I'm done spraying and made it all the way up 🎈

Well, I reached it in June a year and a half ago. But the fact that I'm still here is the real verification that I really made it and that it wasn't the top on the way to the top in front of the top that covered the top behind the top. Not that those tops don't matter, they're the perfect points of motivational boosts to keep going upwards and not turn around. Yeah you get it.

House Be is a magical place. If House Be would've existed at that time when I was working as a design engineer in Gothenburg, I would probably have been the happiest person in the world since it would have meant that I could've worked as a design engineer but to have a part time office in Åre. That is, to work with one of my greatest interests and spend time in the mountains simultaneously.

One of the things that I mentioned to Destination Åre when I moved here and they asked what to do in low season to make people still wanna come here, was "bring the people who just sit by their computers anyway but don't want to wait for vacay up, focus on companies who believe in fresh air, physical activity and public health in the first place and let them function as sources of inspiration to influence the rest", I replied. I really didn't wanna leave my job as a design engineer since it was a passion of mine, but sometimes you even have to leave that which you love to make room for health, well-being, and as in my case my passion for the outdoors, adventures and training, to be able to try new ways of designing your lifestyle and to find new companies that value the same things as you do. I knew there was a perfect way to be able to work as a design engineer and spend heaps of time outdoors, i just needed to find that formula. I spent 2 of my last 5 years at the office to convince my employer at that time to try that which had been written in my contract when I started that job, which was to work away sometimes, on trains, in the mountains, on a surf wave and to get that "freedom and responsibility" that they so beautifully talked about. But all this became my mountain, my top before the top in front of the top covering the real top. Organizational changes led to strained freedom and flex. Those 6 years of full time studies with top grades, running my own design company on the side with increased sales, those lectures I'd held for entrepreneurs and economists, those prized I'd been honored for some of my projects weren't enough to prove that I was responsible and engaged with tons of energy and passion. And to make a long story really short again (really? hehe), after those 2 years I fell flat and just quit, reset myself completely and started building myself up from the ground again. I had no plans whatsoever, but it was one of my happiest moments. I'd lost the job that I loved and had worked so hard for, but I regained my freedom and peaceful mind.

My being asked to work as an expedition guiding at Expeditionsresor, moving to Åre and starting our own company Adventure Stories was the solution to one part. The birth of House Be was another. Through the latter I've succeeded to catch that last piece in the big puzzle for my kind of perfect combo of creativity and mountains, dream jobs and lifestyle, and getting paid for it too. And the new project as a freelancing senior ux-designer from distance and part-time (exactly how I wanted it) that I got through one of my contacts at House Be was the solution to the other.

It has been one hell of a dog yearing, blowing my nose, nose bleeding and everything else, and a countless amount of free hours of work on the way. But right at this moment I'm quite proud of myself, my will power, my problem solving spirit and my ability to put together a lifestyle in a way that works for me. That I'm not just standing at the bottom of the mountain and accepting a "no" just because, that I've struggled to make space for the other solutions to sewing ones passions together, and that I now work with people who believe in me, who trust me, who see me, who make me happy, who lift me and who give me freedom to live a life as a human being with human needs while living at a place where I don't get questioned by my choices and values in life. Now I stand steady on both legs and live exactly the way that my previous employer didn't think was possible. With salary, with meaningfulness, with perfect health, driven by bigger engagement than I ever felt as employed before.

It's actually sick! Here I stand with my flag at the top and dance around that milestone, blow those last bugs out of the way for my for my oxygen to flow freely, and keep on going with a big fat smile on my face. The only thing that ever worked. Not just to reach the top, but to feel that I actually felt as though I'd reached it even on the way up.!

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