I turned 27 quite a while ago, but whatever! The delay probably depicts this year better than anything, so… Long story short, I turned 27 , had the loveliest birthday, and am pretty damn happy with life. Looking back, what was the past year like?
Although I’ve landed into it all suffently enough for it to honestly feel like I did nothing last year, I’ll still go with the original opening I had planned for this post, which was: “I don’t even know how to start this post, except for by saying “just… wow””. Lol.
27 was professionally by far the most successful year I’ve had so far and looking back, writing this post, I’m simply overwhelmed by the range of things that I got to experience and managed to squeeze into just the matter of 12 short months. I’ve worked insanely hard for many years, this year included, but the number of small and big successes and steps forward squeezed into this year honestly have me overwhelmed and wondering how on earth I deserved all of it. I’m not saying I don’t – I really think I do – but nevertheless, it’s been a lot to take in and I still don’t think I quite do. Now it all seems like a piece of cake, but it was not.
During the fall, I received the Fulbright ASLA Graduate Grant, which led me to apply for five of the most highly esteemed arts administration programs in the United States. I graduated from the Sibelius Academy, worked with my first legal internship with the local Intellectual Property Law Center, played with Finland’s most esteemed professional orchestras, the Finnish National Opera Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphonic Orchestra and Helsinki Philharmonic. I got my first full time contract at the Opera, which was a privilege and an honor, as a consequence of which I decided to cancel the exchange semester to Paris I had originally planned for for spring 2022.
The choice to stay in Finland for one more half a year truly ended up being a good one, as it turns out the many great news of the fall of 2021 were just an interlude to everything coming up. In April I was appointed as the Executive Director of KAMARIKESÄ, a chamber music festival in central Helsinki – a dream-come-true position for me at this point in my career, both professionally and personally. In addition, I got the opportunity to act as the Executive Producer of Mänttä Music Festival, the largest piano music festival in Finland, to work, learn and develop my legal skills as the Legal Trainee of Teosto, the Finnish collective rights management organization, and to continue working as a full-time violinist at the Finnish National Opera. I received funding for my upcoming studies from the Swedish Study Foundation, Lisi Wahl Foundation and the American Scandinavian Foundation, accepted the award certificate for my Fulbright ASLA Graduate Grant, and accepted a study spot in the study program I had aimed for for over a year, at my number one school of choice, at Columbia University in my dream city New York. I was invited to perform Mendelssohn’s violin concerto as a soloist in Italy, and got to play several chamber music concerts as well. Finally, I finished my Master’s degree at the Sibelius Academy and my Bachelor’s degree in Law at Tilburg University. I started a podcast with a really good friend of mine, and somehow managed to have many incredible people rooting, supporting and encouraging me.
This was a year when things really kicked off and started to move forward like never before. At the same time, as you can probably guess, I’ve worked more than I ever have. I’ve worked so hard, I’ve felt guilty for working so much, occasionally so much so I’ve lied about what I do. Simultaneously, I’ve enjoyed every single minute of doing so. I haven’t felt even remotely close to a burnout, mainly thanks to the large variety of things I’ve gotten to do. Professionally I’ve felt incredibly satisfied, and have somehow managed to also enjoy the days and weeks when I’ve had the chance to just relax.
Although this was most certainly a year of professional and academic accomplishments, it makes me happy to be able to say it was also a good, soft and kind year to me personally. If my year as a 25-year-old was one of healing and growing back to the strength, confidence and independence I know I have but somehow lost in the turmoil of the first half of my 20’s, my year as a 26-year-old was one of just enjoying that newly discovered feeling of being whole again, and grasping the opportunity to be happy and enjoy life. This was a year of enjoying more and worrying less, and realising, with the unsettled lifestyle I currently have, the best thing I can do for myself is let myself build a home and let myself be at peace wherever I am, for whichever period of time I get whenever I get the chance, and to grab the chance to happiness when someone reaches out a hand to just enjoy life. Although I’ve all the time known I’m leaving, I’m also really proud for having found some kind of peace in all of this temporariness.
Over all 26 is a year I’m (again) extremely grateful for, and one during which so many of my professional dreams came true and goals realized I find myself – for the first time in my life – saying: I’m only 27?! I am happy with where I am, and honestly, there is not one place in the world where I’d rather be. I look so much forward to seeing how things turn out and what the world has in store for me, I wouldn’t choose to speed it up to the future, but also wouldn’t want to live in the past. Now is pretty damn good, and that’s a good feeling.
For year number 27 I wish nothing more than just more of this. I assume what is to come is quite a bit more shaky and unstable, but in the name of honesty I think I’m quite ready for whatever is to come. Come what may, I’ll be able to take it!