This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion. Read them all!
If I had listened, I would never have become the woman I am today.
I am a stubborn person who has the unfortunate habit of listening to her intuition and taking risks. That's why I decided to write three situations when I chose to listen to myself rather than follow a logical path. Those ended up being the most decisive moments in my life.
When I left the family home
I come from a family where work is more important than anything else. My mother found me my first job as a maid in a hotel at 15 years old and I stayed there for over 8 years.
All family discussions revolved around this hotel. I was so unhappy for so long, my life became more unbearable every day.
I was too afraid of my parents’ reaction if I were to leave that I had to find a way to avoid justifying myself. I had to leave my home.
I didn’t have much money or furniture other than what was in my room. In order to quickly raise funds for my project, I sold my car and shared a place with a friend. I moved out in February 1999 and in April 2000 I left my job. The year following this decision was even more difficult. I was working part-time in a clothing store, but, I was "FREE".
Free from the pressure of my parents, free from work that made me sick, but most importantly, free to do what I wanted to do and free to become everything I wanted. I never regretted this decision and my parents finally understood that I wanted other things in my life.
When I got my heart broken and lost a friend
Around the same time, I got my heart broken. I am aware now that it was mostly because of my fear, my low self-esteem and lack of experience. He didn’t only break my heart into a million pieces, but it also made me physically sick.
Fear was my biggest enemy. It prevented me from having a beautiful story to share and fulfilling this dream of having someone close to me, even for a moment.
To top it all off, I also lost a dear friend. A man who, the first night of his retirement, died of an aneurysm. He had worked all his life to support his family, whom he didn’t see very often because he was so dedicated to his job. The days before his death, he told me how eager he was to rest, to "cut wood" at his cottage, take time for his family, and so on. He didn’t even have the chance to live one of those moments because he died just before. It was a wake-up call.
I was Working non-stop, doing exactly what was expected of me and I had this constant fear preventing me from actually living. If I died tomorrow, what would be my regrets?
I had way too many dreams to be yet fulfilled so I decided to take care of myself. I moved alone in my own apartment and I found a job that would allow me to achieve two of my three greatest dreams, sing and travel.
The third, finding my life partner is still a dream. The lifestyle choices I made so far haven't led me there yet, I hope to get there someday.
When I Left my roots, my family and my friends.
In my mid-30s, I felt like I was going around in circles. Even though I had been told that I had everything I needed to be happy, I felt the thirst for life
The anger that often gave me the boost I needed to move forward was getting stronger on a daily basis. It was time to make a decision and I decided to leave everything behind.
I left my family, my friends and my job aka financial safety net, just because I needed to see what was on the other side of the fence. It was tough, especially on the social aspect: at 35, you can’t create a social network as easily as in your 20's but, I didn’t give up and worked hard to build a life for myself. It's been 8 years since I left my roots and I have never regretted it.
Life challenges us every day but I like to create mine. It's weird isn’t it? It’s as if the events of everyday life were not enough for me.
People often think and plan their major life events such as their wedding or the birth of their child with a good idea of what they want. Me, I only know two things. The song at my funeral is going to be Franck Sinatra's "My Way" and my funeral epitaph will look like "Thanks my God, it's finally over, thank you for not waking me up."