For a long time, I was not looking forward to entering my 30s. But in the last weeks, I have been reflecting a lot about my 20s and now I feel like I am ready to close this chapter of my life. With a big smile on my face. So much has happened in this time. It has been a journey of self-discovery in life, work, and relationships.
It was just around my 20th birthday that my life started getting really interesting, and all thanks to BEST, a student organization I was part of when I studied at TalTech. I found an inspiring group of friends, among which two great mentors who believed in me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I would not be where I am today without them. They pushed me to coordinate projects and later encouraged me to see myself leading the local board. As my confidence grew, I started seeking opportunities also on the international level.
Left/first: Core team of summer course on fire safety (2012).
Right/second: Local board of BEST Estonia (2012-2013)
The 4 active years I spent in BEST were a great and fun adventure. I got to explore, learn and discover. There were many opportunities to work with really motivated people in Estonia and across Europe. I met many of my best friends in these years. When it comes to work, most of the time it felt like running against the wall, over and over again, learning from mistakes and trying better next time. But that did not matter because we always tackled these challenges as a team and we also achieved many great things at the same time. I had the pleasure to work with and lead really amazing teams. I was not always the best team member, leader, and manager, but I was doing my best. I liked what I was doing and always gave more than 100% of myself. At times it lead to decisions I regretted, but that taught me to set priorities and seek more balance in my life.
Left/first: Management of international BEST in Milan (2014-2015)
Middle/second: Management of training department in Instanbul (2014-2015)
Right/third: Training department meeting in Thessaloniki (2014)
While I had the adventures of a lifetime with my new friends, I also had to say goodbye to my grandmother, and two pets that had been on my side for more than a decade. Some friendships grew further apart and a relationship came to an end. I had some struggles with health here and there. Through heartbreak and challenges, I grew stronger and learned to appreciate what I have.
In 2014 I started dating the love of my life (who I also met in BEST) and we set on a beautiful adventure together. After two years I moved to Belgium and we could finally enjoy each other's company without the hurdles of a long-distance relationship. We settled in, got a cat, and turned our apartment into a home. We made countless trips to Estonia, visited my relatives in the US, and explored Europe. In 2020 we got married in the midst of the pandemic and managed to pull off an international wedding. We still cannot believe our luck.
Left/first: At the start of our relationship (2014)
Middle/second: Vacation in Dubrovnik (2018)
Right/third: With family at our wedding (2020)
While the first half of the decade was more about exploring and collecting different experiences, the second half has been about settling down and finding out what I want to do and focus on. That has been a journey on its own, with challenges, lots of trial and error, and boomeranging from Vlerick (student) to Showpad (technical support engineer), to Vlerick (learning designer), and back to Showpad (learning and development specialist). I believe I have figured out what role I want to play in learning and development and am committed to empowering people to be at their best.
Left/first: Technical support of Showpad at Fort Lauderdale (2018)
Middle/second: Digital studio of Vlerick (2020)
Right/third: Product & engineering ops team of Showpad (2021)
Wow, really, what a decade! I am super grateful for all the experiences and adventures. Also for all the ones that did not make it here, such as studying for half of it, working in a start-up, dozens of cool BEST projects and events across Europe, wonderful holidays, and all the fun adventures with our cat Mr. Sniffles. I am grateful to all the people who enriched this journey and for all the support I received from my two families. You have all made it absolutely wonderful and special.
Cheers to life and 30 tours around the sun!