Never has the hustle been more glorified than it is today. We are constantly urged to get better, fitter and improve every last aspect about ourselves. Our culture tries to convince us that we will only find lasting happiness if we always push ourselves to do, have, and be more.
I used to believe that message. I spent years dieting and hating my body. I exercised as punishment and as a means to lose weight, not for the joy of moving and learning new skills.
I believed that resting means being lazy, and that there is no bigger sin than being lazy when you could use that time to be productive.
I believed that being exhausted meant you are doing your best, and nothing but your best is acceptable.
All of the above is bullshit. It took me many years to slowly dismantle the lies we have been told by society, diet culture, and popular opinion that we are only worthy if we lose weight, achieve more, and continually push ourselves to exhaustion. We are not required to be a certain size to be worthy. We are not required to achieve financial success in order to be lovable. We do not need to be successful entrepreneurs, hustlers, bossgirls, or any of the other popular catch phrases in order to be complete.
We are, just as we are, worthy. We are complete. We are worthy of love and respect because we are human. No achievements necessary.
I had to experience burnout and depression before I finally understood that I could quit the game. Just because the world tells us we have to be a certain way doesn't mean we have to listen; we get to decide how we want to live our lives.
Quit the Hustle is your permission slip to do less . You are allowed to rest, to be lazy, to be happy with a job instead of a *career*, and to enjoy food with enthusiasm. Stop counting calories! Stop apologizing for not being in life where you thought you *had* to be! Take your time, do your thing, or don't do anything for a while if you need a break. It's okay.
This book is encouraging you to take a deep breath. Relax. Don't listen to them. Just be.
You are enough.
At the beginning of my 20s I was heartbroken and lonely. Loneliness was the theme song of my teenage years and early 20s, my constant companion. I wanted to escape from my loneliness, but I felt trapped.
Trapped by my own fears, trapped by a life that didn't feel like mine, trapped in a world both too small and too big.
What do you do if it feels like you're in the wrong life? If you're so unhappy, so alone, so lost, you can't see a way out?
I ran away. Despite being almost breathless with fear, despite the strong resistance of my family, despite not knowing what I was doing - I ran. I booked an open-ended flight from Germany, my home, to Canada, my dream. And that's where the story really begins ...
Let's Pretend This is Normal is a book about love and courage. Because love saved me.
(Loves saves us all.)
But in order to find that love, I had to be brave.
Loving someone is scary. Opening up your heart is a vulnerable act: what if it doesn't work out? What if the heart gets damaged? Or broken?
But here is the thing: what if it does work out? What if you open yourself up to love, and it heals you?
At 22, I fell in love with a man who was 48. Who had 4 children. Who lived 10,000 km away from me. Whom I had only known for 3 days.
Meeting him felt like coming home. I belonged. It felt right.
We went for it against the odds. Against the advice of friends and family. Against what our heads were trying to tell us. Because our hearts knew. And we trusted them.
I wrote this book to let you know that you are not alone. That there is hope. That sometimes, we have to do things that are so scary, we want to throw up. But it's worth it, because there is happiness to be found on the other side of fear.
This book is my reminder for you that you are strong. Much stronger than you think you are.
And it's a reminder that life and love can take you places beyond your wildest dreams - if you let them.