Thriving Despite the Chaos – It’s Possible

October 10, 2020 Katja Presnal

Hi from Helsinki, where things have morphed into new beginnings, and exciting new projects. We are not living a normal pre-Covid life, but we are living this careful waiting period of trying to enjoy life by eating out and buying a new pair of shoes, but also a little bit irresponsible YOLO, because we don’t really know if we are just on the edge of the larger second wave to start and if we, in fact, should be hunkering more at home.

We live in a world where things went all wrong, summer plans got canceled and someone’s uncle just died. Where we are scared of hugs and don’t trust people we once adored. We live in a world where we demand change, but it can be difficult to even know what kind of change would even do at this point, or where to start.

We’ve had our ups and downs this year. Health problems, sick parents, canceled travels and celebrations, bucket list things not accomplished, missed opportunities, and changed plans. I’m not that religious, but I’ve prayed. Probably the same prayers as you have.

Despite everything, many things are going really well. I’ve had more work and more interesting projects now than when the year started. Workwise this year has been even better than last. Also, Matt got a big promotion.

Isabella moved back home and is now studying distantly and also working fulltime, and already started planning her thesis, and most likely will be able to graduate early. Gabriella graduated high school and got into the same college where Isabella attends. Gabriella has had four art exhibitions this year, the latest opened in a fancy shopping center today. Kristian is doing his International Baccalaureate diploma studies and as his IB-1 year kicked off the last two years we are planning on living where we are now. We know we want to stay in Finland, and we want to finally buy our dream house and settle down.

I started writing a book this spring, and in the midst of writing the book and being stuck at home, I went out for a walk with Matt and our dog Hugo. I was telling Matt what I had been writing, and I was at a point that I was not sure if I should even continue.

I even thought to myself: “I wish I’d get a sign if I should continue writing or not.”

Within thirty seconds I was literally rolling down the hill. I slipped on a rock and fell down on a steep downhill. I twisted my other knee and another ankle, not being able to walk for a month, and while doing the magnetic imagining for the knees, the doctors realized I will need reconstructive knee surgery on both knees at some point.

It could have been a sign that continuing writing will lead to a disaster and I should stop writing, but I took it as a sign “sit down and write.” So I did.

Now, don’t get excited yet, I don’t know if I will ever have the guts to publish it. But I am one of those people who did come out of the COVID-19 quarantine time with over 150,000 written words, and together they form a story and multiple life lessons. I first wrote my stories in English, then I started from the beginning and started writing them in Finnish.

And that itself tells everything about my life in Finland. I am still more comfortable as an outsider, looking at things through the global lens. It doesn’t matter that I am Finnish and speak the language, it still has taken me three years to try to understand how everything really works in this country. Reverse culture shock is as real as it can be. I think everything in English first, then I rethink how they should be thought here in Finland. But my different perspective on things allows me to be happy here, see and appreciate the good in a different way, and it has also helped me to offer a fresh point of view to my clients professionally.

This year has been a sum of multiple unfortunate events, but in many ways, we have been able to turn the obstacles into opportunities, a theme that seems to be constant in my life.

And that’s what I want to share with the world too. My methods of how to come out as a winner, despite what life throws at you.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.