I believe we all experience a wake-up call at some point in our lives. One that carries the power of transformation. Mine was losing all my stuff to a breaking in in April 2013.
In a nutshell, I came back from holidays to an empty apartment. I was sad and shocked, but I wouldn’t say I was overly mad. As soon as I came in, I felt something had shifted in me.
At the same time, I learnt that there had been a massive flood and the news everywhere was that people were losing their entire homes. They were definitely in a more precarious situation, which helped me put things in perspective, to the point where I felt I had to donate the little I had left.
Today, I understand this impulse better: empathy and shared-vulnerability links us to our humanity. Compassion is taking empathy a step further and taking action to alleviate another’s suffering.
While gathering my bearings again, a different process had kicked off internally and I made a decision that would eventually surprise me and everyone around me.
I had to start over, and I decided to take what probably was my FIRST big leap of faith: hugging my family and friends, packing the little I had left, quitting my job as an Industrial Designer and moving to Amsterdam, a place I had fallen in love with during my holidays.
There were no certainties, I did not have a house, a job, or friends. I had ME though, and I was determined to make the most of a fresh start at the age of 30.
This was the beginning of a transformational journey inwards. One that obviously started with less material belongings and certainly no attachment to them.
A journey in which I quickly learned that:
- I can live with less and feel lighter.
- You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.
- that a fresh start is not a new place, it is a mindset.
Though I knew that actually living was going to be different than visiting on holidays, my first months in Amsterdam were a bit rougher than I had anticipated. I couldn’t find the job I was hoping for, my little savings were running out and I felt lonely.
Though I had always thought of myself as an independent woman, I soon realised how I had underestimated the importance of having my family and friends around. I come from a family of 6 and my life-long friends were always up for meetups, and that meant I didn’t know how to be alone.
This, together with the less outdoor inviting weather, made it clear I had no chance but to turn my attention inwards and be-friend myself. Happy to report I did learn how to be alone and actually enjoy it.
We’ve all experienced this with the lockdown - we’re wired for connection, and connection with others is paramount to our wellbeing, as is knowing how to BE with one-self.
Hopefully, you needn’t go through all this, but do I hope that by sharing my story you find inspiration and valuable insights.
I have founded To Be Honest to share my learnings and the tools that have supported me with whoever is going through something similar. Don’t be shy and reach out - I’d love to hear from you. No strings attached.
I’ll be sharing part 2 in the next post. Watch this space!
Until then, I am looking forward to reading about your thoughts and stories.
PS: if you read are able to read in Spanish, I invite you to check this article where I tell my story to one of the Argentinian biggest newspapers.