I met Monika 4 years ago in Czech Republic at one conference and I can’t say we became connected instantly, but our friendship grew and deepened with time. She is kind and optimistic, fun and a really great co-speaker. It’s always pleasant to spend time with her.
Last month I invited her to chat with me about what matters the most to her, moves her to reach her goals, her childhood memories connected to clothes and we also touched consumption a little bit.
Hi Monika, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What are your values?
Hello, I’m Monika and what I value the most is family. I wish to create my own in the future with a loving partner and kids, to have my own place under the sun, home where I feel cherished, happy. To have a job where I can teach, a job that will give me motivation to grow and evolve.
But before all that, I wish to get more experiences, go abroad – especially with the current situation I see in myself. I wish to explore challenges outside Slovenian border before I get settled.
Currently I am focused on my studies; I study Mathematics and techniques. Last year I was studying in Prague as an Erasmus exchange student, and now that I recall memories I know there were some difficult times, but overall the experience was amazing. We had so much fun, I had so much free time to explore and I met so many great people. I was also really inspired by professors there, who were enthusiastic about their field of study – they devoted their life to research a specific topic, wrote articles about it and so on…
This also awakened a dream in me; not only to teach but also be a researcher. I strongly believe that you must be present in the class, to experience the situation firsthand, research it and then lecture about it academically.
So what would you say moves you forward?
I always aim to reach goals, it’s what moves me and makes me want to get up in the morning. To know there is a goal I wish to achieve, a challenge I wish to overcome. No matter how hard it is, with all the not so fun parts on the way, I won’t give up.
A friend once told me a saying that I repeat to myself – It’s not about the destination, but about the journey. Because I know the goal is as important as the way how to get there. I don’t want to forget how to live in between reaching goals.
Another thought that moves me is gratitude; sometimes we forget how much we have. But happiness is not in having a lot of stuff and wishing for more that would fulfill us, It’s about appreciating the ones that we already have, to seek satisfaction in the little things, small gestures, people in our lives. We take things for granted so soon, and when they are gone you wish to appreciate them more before.
It can be as absurd as having your nose all blocked up so you can’t sleep at night. And as soon as you can breathe, you forget how it felt when unable. But on the other hand, it’s okay that we don’t feel gratitude all the time, because that would also bring an overwhelming feeling for the ones that lack what we have.
I am inspired by people who are wise and have many talents, but still remain humble.
You said you have a really good memory - what about clothes? Do you have any memories from the past?
Oh yes! I remember playing dress up with my cousin at our grandma’s place, trying on grannys clothes and pretending we have a fashion show. And I still have a drawer with my beloved childhood pieces that I wish to keep for my children.
I refused wearing clothes that were pink or had stripes, hearts or flowers – I prefered monochrome clothes. But now I love vibrant pink colour for my sports clothes, it gives me a boost.
As a kid I was crazy about those bunny slippers, do you remember them? Later my friend got me custom made ones for my birthday and I was the happiest, because I couldn’t get my size in stores of course.
Now when buying clothes or other things, what makes you do the purchase?
I always ask myself if I really need the item – I remember once I didn’t go shopping for 8 months; I just couldn’t bear the stress of deciding whether I needed the thing or I wanted to buy it because I saw it looking good on someone else. It’s not wrong to buy yourself things when you wish to and not only from necessity – but I think it’s a waste of money to buy something wishing it will look as good on us as it does on somebody else and then not wearing the item at all when it doesn’t. I know I had moments I was buying items I never wore later.
I see the problem in chasing trends, but it’s impossible to catch them because they change so fast. And people constantly comparing themselves to each other, it’s very toxic.
So my biggest defence against impulsive shopping is thinking through and waiting before purchasing; I in specific time I still wish to buy it – then I will, if not, then it’s okay.
And it’s also another story if you know who you support with your purchase, it’s a difference buying from locals or buying from productions in the third world that are unethical.
So you find it important to know who stands behind an item?
I think we are not so conscious about who stands behind an item, how it was made, from who we buy. We don’t really talk about it much. And I know I don’t give that much attention to it now, I still search for what I can bear financially while also searching for durability. Especially with shoes – for me they need to last longer than only one season. But I also believe that in the future we will talk about environmental awareness more.
What is sustainability to you?
Sustainability to me is wearing my mothers sweater that her mother made for her. Something that does not loose on it’s quality over time. Something opposite of capitalism.
Thank you Monika for your time and yet another lovely conversation.
Photos were captured in the summer of 2020