Fall leaves with the word "change"

2020 – a year of change

Katharina Clasen
7 min
February 10, 2021

It’s the beginning of 2020.

As it is the case every year, the social feeds are overflown with motivating new years resolutions, goals that are supposed to „get you to the next level“ and inspiring mottos guiding the way for the year ahead. As I am working my way through the plethora of quotes and step-by-step guides, I find myself thinking: „This is the year I will finally start off with a plan in mind, too!“

Spoiler alert: I didn’t. I never do.

A year of change

Looking back at 2020 now, I don’t feel bad about it. 2020 was a year of change for me – for us, to be more precise. Many of these changes were unforeseen and they took us by surprise. We could have never planned for that.

A huge change in 2020 was, that I stopped being self-employed at the end of February. And I did so at the peak of my self-employment, both from a financial as well as a personal development point of view. I had finally hired my first two employees and things went very well.

Nevertheless, I still spontaneously decided to join Codeatelier in March and bring my clients and employees along. And being an employee again brought along unforeseen and exciting changes as well: Other kinds and maybe even bigger responsibilities for more people and bigger clients as well as having the privilege to work alongside colleagues again and being able to work on new tasks and develop new skills.

There also were internal changes. Like how I decided to try even harder to find ways to use my time and resources to bring along positive (especially environmental) change. This kind of internal perspective shift is probably what brought along the external changes as well.

I am pretty sure that this is what made me completely revamp my lecture again in the spring and come up with a „life-centered innovation“ process to try out in the course. It’s probably needless to say, but adapting a lecture in such ways always is a huuuuge endeavor. Especially since I also switched to online lectures in 2020.

But the biggest unforeseen change in 2020 – and most certainly our whole life, happened in August. And I would rather like to call it a miracle, than simply a change: I got pregnant

Embracing uncertainty

So looking back at my 2020, I have to say: not planning isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not strictly sticking to a plan leads to being more open to opportunities, that suddenly present themselves. Not planning can make you more open to trying things and that in turn often leads to incredible insights. Not planning often also means being a little bit more unafraid of change and open to new beautiful experiences.

Not planning means embracing uncertainty!

Remember the new year's goals and mottos I mentioned? To embrace uncertainty is probably the only „motto“ I ever set for myself. It wasn’t on new years eve (I think it was around the middle of 2019) – but still, pretty close. And let me tell you: That doesn’t come easy to me. I think I am what you call „deterministic“. At least that’s the worldview my logical brain arrived at all by itself. And that makes matters like that – how should I put it – a bit weird to think about. So I sometimes have to turn this brain off and – again – just embrace uncertainty and go with the flow. And I feel like I improved a lot in that department since. And, for me, that is important. Because like I said before, I think being unafraid of change and accepting, that we can’t control everything, opens us up to more opportunities and, most importantly, leads to a happier life.

So that’s what I did in 2020. I did not think through every possible thing that could happen if I stop being self-employed before jumping into the new role at Codeatelier (at least not as much as I normally would 😉). I just did it. I did not give in to the urge to have a perfect plan for „my life as a mom“ or „our life as parents“ but decided to let faith lead the way. I tried to not worry about things I couldn’t control but to just embrace uncertainty. And even more importantly: To embrace every beautiful thing that might occur along the way!

Fear of change and decisions

Just a few weeks ago a friend of mine left her job. It wasn’t an easy decision for her. She liked working there, but she also knew, that she had to set different priorities now. She told me, that it didn’t feel good to „close this door“ and it is very hard for her to do so.

This made me think about the fear of change. How we are afraid to make the wrong decision. In her case, I think she knew that this was the right decision for that specific moment and the situation she is in right now. But I feel like she was afraid that when the context would change and she would feel ready, the door she closed would still be shut and she would regret having closed it in the first place.

I can sympathize with that! I also kind of closed the door on my own little UX studio. I took my clients and employees to Codeatelier and I was canceling my tools and insurance – where possible. And I too was afraid of this step – afraid to regret it at some point. I was afraid that at some point in the future, I might want to be self-employed again but by then, would have „destroyed“ everything I build.

But is it really like that? I ask myself. And does it even matter?

Decisions probably aren’t that big of a deal

First of all, we should acknowledge that we are the ones closing (and opening) doors. It is not happening TO us. And second of all – and that is maybe even more important: we can only make decisions for this moment in time. We can’t make them for the future, because we can’t know our future.

And you know what I think it comes down to? Making a decision isn’t that big of a deal. At least not as big as it sometimes feels. It won’t change us as a person completely. Making a decision just brings us onto a specific path. A path, that is right for us now. And we will follow it and make many more decisions there, leading us to new places. Apart from our own conscious decisions, things around us change as well, or big life-changing events happen. Just imagine me in the bathroom holding that positive pregnancy test in my hand. In that single moment, everything changed – and it did so in the most beautiful way!

So if you find yourself at that moment, dreading a decision and trying to „plan“ for the future – just like I or my friend did. Then stop for a moment and ask yourself:

What is right for me NOW?

Let us find comfort in knowing that this decision most likely won’t close doors in our future that we want to be open. If we arrive at that point in the future, we will have grown and changed BECAUSE of that decision in the past. If I want to go back to self-employment at some point, I will have learned so much, done so much, made new connections, and so on. And I will be a mother by then. So I might not even care about that specific door anymore. And who knows? Maybe a better door will be wide open for me then!