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  • Writer's pictureAnnette Nilsson

My most important learning in 2022...

was to wait for the right moment. And patience is not my strongest trait!

In July 2021, my mother's house was hit by the floodings in Germany, and when I arrived after a long drive from my holidays in Sweden, I landed in a scene which was simply beyond my imagination.

People walking the streets, carrying their belongings, whole households being washed onto the streets covered in mud, toys, tools, contents of basements and garages piled up at the curbside.

Cars hanging in trees, gardens destroyed. Of course, worst of all, many people lost their lives due to dysfunctional and inadequate communication between politicians, decision makers, rescuers, and the population. It was tragic and traumatic, and it will stay with everybody for a long time, if not forever.

In the days to come, so many volunteers arrived from all parts of Germany, dropping of basic goods, soap, clothing, food, hands on help until today - it was unbelievable, and fills me with deep gratitude.

Clearing the house and the garden, I came across my childhood, diaries, records, photo books, collections of things which once meant a great deal and now simply were trash.

There was this moment when I realised that my mothers was coming to her limits, both physically and mentally. I decided to take her with me to the Netherlands, and organise everything from here. I was deeply grateful that she was not hurt or worse, but we both came to our limits.

In the beginning, it was mainly about settling, resting and adjusting to this new situation, finding myself suddenly living with my mum who asks when I would come home was a challenge in itself.

I tried to keep all balls in the air, my work, my relationship, my friendships, my interests, my sports, my horses, housekeeping, pretending that I could just carry on like before.

Until I could no more!

The situation would not be resolved within a couple of months, the rebuilding would take at least a year, and I realised that I had to make choices. I made a list of what had to be done, I set small goals for every day, trying to dedicate certain hours to the situation in Germany, keeping space for my work, and for the rest.

Until I realised that this too, did not work.

I had to be on top of the situation in Germany, nobody would take over. I also had to keep up my work, and take care of my own physical and mental well-being. My relationships and social contacts were partly understanding, partly not. I gave up my volunteer work, I did not write my blogs nor did I read a book.

I was fighting and struggling the circumstances, I was angry and upset. I just wanted to carry on with my life, until I realised: I will carry on with my life but first things first, and...

I do not have to do it ALL! Not at once, not on my own, and I also may rest!

And from this moment on, a weight was off my shoulders. I paused a few things, my regular excercise, social contacts, writing, reading, making a promise to myself that once my mum would move back, I would take one month off, recover, and then eventually pick up on where I left relationships, work, interests.

Needless to say that one month is simply not long enough to fully grasp the magnitude of what happened in Germany, it still haunts my mum, and me. I still am easily stressed and feel under pressure as the rebuilding is not complete, complicated by the political and economic situation.

I found new friends, and got to know old ones better. Letting go of people is much harder than letting go of things, but sometimes it is necessary to create the peace and space to carry on.

I learned that it does not help trying to change what cannot be changed, trying to carry on as if nothing had happened. Acceptance was the only way forward.

I finally understood the meaning of the proverb: everything has its time!

What kept me afloat were my horses, good friends, and the prospect and perspective that one day, it will all be sorted and settled, and when that moment comes, I will start to pick up the loose threads, slowly, and steadily.

And so 2022 ends, there is something good to be found even in the darkest moments, it might take time to see it, but it is there! Be patient, with yourself and others, and take the time it takes!

Wishing you a healthy and peaceful 2023! Love, Annette

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