I believe that the Universe is out to help us. And by Universe I don’t mean anything religious, I mean it as concept. If you know what you want, you are more likely to get what you want, because you are aware. It also works the other way around, it will tell you what you really want if you listen for the signs. This is why stories are so powerful. Even if you didn’t listen in the past, you can go back over the stories of your life and find the signs today, now.
We are constantly given hints about our passions but it is totally up to us to notice them. I believe that these signs or hints are strongest when we are growing up. This is the time when we explore the world and up to try almost anything.
When I was six I decided I wanted to be a writer
The national radio station (yes, we only had one at the time) asked children to send in their stories, so I sent in a story of a cat. To this day, it cracks me up because I have never been particularly fond of cats. The radio station picked my story as one of the stories that was read on air. This had a huge impact on me and I decided there and then that storytelling was my life’s mission. It was true for a while, I just loved telling stories.
As a teenager I would hurry home from school, lock myself in my parent’s bedroom and walk around the bed, moving my arms in circles and tell myself all the stories that needed to be told. I could even come up with scary stories; I met up with my girlfriends in dark basement and told them (and myself) stories which made me almost too scared to walk home alone. I made up all these stories on the spot – pure fiction and no plan – I wouldn’t even know myself how the story would end. My siblings would constantly make fun of me, mimicking my arm-moving storytelling and it really hurt. At some point I stopped telling myself or anybody stories.
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When I was eight I wanted to become a teacher
Still believing that being a writer was my calling, I realized that I could probably not make a living just telling stories. I wondered what kind of job I would enjoy doing while still being able to write my stories. I admired my teachers and it became clear to me that I could be a teacher as well as a writer. Especially since teachers in Iceland had three months off in the summer time. Over the next few years I fell more and more in love with the idea of becoming a teacher and still clearly remember what kind of teacher I wanted to become – just like the ones I admired the most, those who were a bit tough but caring.
When I was 12, teachers in Iceland decided to go on a strike to get a pay increase. My teacher didn’t feel good about going on a strike and tried to explain to the class why the strike was inevitable. I asked my teacher what his salary was and he wrote it on the board. I knew instantly that this was not enough to live on. The teachers had my full support for the strike, and I decided to find a profession that was more fairly rewarded.
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When I was ten I discovered photography
I was inspired by my brother to try out photography. For a time I was his first and only model and I became very interested in the whole photography process. I watched him develop photographs in the bathtub at home and wanted to try it out myself. By the time I was in middle school (13-15 years old) I was taking pictures with my own camera and my brother was getting his photographs published in a student magazine. I soon saw the limits of a point-and-shoot and borrowed a manual camera from my dad.
I took my new hobby quite seriously for a while and even became the president of the photography club at school. Once I got to high school (16-20 years old) there were lot of new things to think about and photography didn’t fit into my life anymore although the point-and-shoot was always with me.
When I was twelve I sewed my first outfit
I spent a lot of time with my grandmother who was a dressmaker and also knitted sweaters (one per day!). My mother also regularly sewed nice clothes for me and my sister. When I was six, I knit my first sweater – with a lot of help and it was only a doll sweater but still. I had created something beautiful and useful with my own two hands.
Six years later I started using my mom’s sewing machine and created an outfit – a top and pants – from scratch for a family trip to France. I was so proud wearing my outfit on the promenade in Nice. I will never forgive the pigeon that flew over me and soiled my outfit! During my first year of high school I took several dressmaking courses to learn how to take an idea for an outfit, sketch the pattern and then make it. For a while I even thought of becoming a fashion designer. But my mom painted a very dark picture of the life of an Icelandic fashion designer so the idea slowly faded away. At the age of 20 I moved to Germany to study and started to buy clothes at H&M and saw no point in making my own clothes anymore.
Childhood interests come back…
Writer, teacher, photographer, designer… I had all these ideas from the age of six to twelve and then I didn’t think about them for decades. Until they started to come back to me during what I call my self-discovery journey (see last blog post) and they kept coming back over and over again through the years and still do. When I wrote down the vision for my life 7 years ago – it was actually a speech that I wanted someone to give on my 90th birthday. It became very clear to me that I wanted to quit my job as a successful CEO and become a writer and teacher in entrepreneurship.
The vision came to me through various writing exercises that made things crystal clear. I was actually enjoying my life at the time so I didn’t see a reason to change anything. It wasn’t until my life changed for totally different reasons that my vision from 2006 became so strong that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I had to at least try to follow my passions. My strongest passions today are the first three interests I listed here – writer, teacher and photographer. I haven’t figured out where the fashion designer fits in yet. Maybe it just explains my love for nice clothes. Or the time isn’t right yet.
The story of my passions continues in the next blog post but I strongly believe that the stories from our childhood might actually be the strongest indicators of our life long passions.
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