2015 was most remarkable and significant year so far in my life. Although every year has had its important lessons in shaping me into the person I am today, nothing quite compares to the drastic transformation I’ve had this last year.
It's the year I started my business, the year I overcame my big fear of driving, the year I went vegan and most importantly it’s the first time I’ve felt confident in pursuing my own path.
On heavier note, it’s also the year my Oma passed away, I miss her very much and wish I could share all of these changes with her. I did get a visit from her in a dream right after launching my website. In the dream we talked on the phone and it felt so real, I could hear her voice, her same adorable Dutch accent.
I was able to say thank you to her for all her encouragement she had given me, tell her everything I’ve been up to and that I was happy in my life. I woke up crying and felt in my heart that it was really her, telling me that she knows.
She was my last grandparent and though she is gone now, she left me with love and a new appreciation for life and its meaning. This has helped me decide to overcome my fear of what others think and to let go of some insecurities I had been carrying around since my adolescence.
Before I go any further I want to talk a little bit about 2014… because I don't think I would have had the momentum to create the positive changes in my life if it wasn’t for the challenges and breakdowns I had previously. Don't worry, this isn't the part where I tell about the "power of positive thinking".
On the contrary, for me it was more like the power of negative thinking and acknowledging that my intuition was trying to tell me something was wrong. All the difficulties I was going through and the negative emotions is what provoked me to examine my deeper life goals and not just the surface goals.
2014 was my year of being lost, frustrated, paralyzed by fear, stuck, disappointed, and a profound feeling of insecurity about my perceived lack of achievement. I was tired of my job and that after 10 years of working-full time, I hadn't come any closer to figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t feel like I was representing or doing any justice to my true potential, and was starting doubt whether I had any potential at all. I was uninspired and pretty damn close to giving up and moving back to Victoria (as if running away from what I was feeling would have helped anything). Basically I was experiencing my ‘Quarter Life Funk’.
Not that the previous years were much easier, as far as feeling a bit lost, working way too much, and abandoning my creativity… but 2014 in particular was much more difficult because I had decided to add (unnecessary) pressure to myself for being (then) 25. I felt as if I should know more by now, I should be doing something different by now, I should be having an impact and accomplishing this, and that, by now.
I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders ––as if on my 25th Birthday I was supposed to magically transform into the person I wanted to be and to take care of everyone I love (so silly, I know).
Since moving to Vancouver 5 years earlier, I had barely seen my family and I was starting to not live by the values I was raised with: love, free-thinking, learning, curiosity, creativity, and zero influence to do anything 'by the book' (even though reading lots of books was a big part of our early years).
Instead I let the pressure of society get to me, the expectations, the fear of judgments, and I dreaded being asked the question “so what do you do?”. I started to believe that all this was supposed to define me as a person. But I overcame this way of thinking, thanks to my wise mother who was always quick to tell me how that’s a bullshit question anyway and that it’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable by it… She told me I was putting way too much pressure on myself and that those things (job, status, money, looks) are definitely not what define me, and I shouldn't let people who do define others by those things get to me or care what they think.
After much emotional turbulence and self doubt for not measuring up to my expectations after moving to the 'big city', I reached my break-though point. Instead of avoiding the tough questions, my thoughts shifted to:
What about my life specifically is making me feel bad?
What would help make me happy?
What is it that I’d like to accomplish?
Should I focus on exploring my creativity again?
Take a deep breath and fuck any [bullshit arbitrary/external] standards of where I “should be” at any age.
Remember what matters most is love and relationships, and the time spent with those you love.
I gave myself solitude to reflect on those questions and spent more time with family. It also helped having my loving partner and supportive friends encouraging me to stay in the city and not give up! It amazed me how much the people in my life believed in me and I couldn't stand the thought of letting them, or myself down.