First, a note to my followers. I want to say HUGE thank you for following me, reading my crazy blog posts and empower me to share the most intimate and personal moments of my life for the past 9 months. I feel your presence in my life, your compassion, and your energy. You give me purpose and add meaning to my life.
Second, I want to share a short story that started the journey to self-discovery.
It was a moment that could not be described by words. It was transformative and transcending, moments like that permanent imprint in our mind.
I was on a business trip. It was a hot, steamy Texan morning as I found myself walking to the corporate office of the top Fortune 50 company in America. I was wearing bright red polka dots dress, navy blue leather pumps, and carried black business case. It was very early, so nobody was walking along with me. I was entirely alone in my unprofessionally bright and cheery outfit. Suddenly, I felt a breeze coming out of nowhere. I stopped and closed my eyes. I let the breeze to move my skirt, my hair, I thought it was petting skin on my cheeks.
For a moment, time stopped, and my mind was free-floating in the sea of warm air, sunshine and pure, undiluted joy. This was the time when it hit me like a tone of bricks. It is done. I am here. I arrived.
For the past 15 years, since I have immigrated to the U.S., I strived violently to grow, learn, develop, and accomplish. On that morning I realized, I did it. Everything I ever dreamed about or wanted already happened.
Why that morning matters? Because it is on that morning when my unraveling has begun.
Three old mindsets that served me well
Focusing on building future
You, I and most successful immigrants come to America to build a better future for themselves and their families.
We work very hard. We overcome many obstacles, such as learning new Language, assimilating to a new culture, managing homesickness, and starting your work life from zero again.
We continue working through all the roadblocks by keeping an eye on a bigger picture and thinking that all the sacrifices now will lead to a better state tomorrow. The mindset is what keeps you and me going.
The challenge comes from the fact that sometimes I was so hyper-focused on tomorrow that I almost numbed my present. Yes, I had to numb my feelings to keep pushing when I wanted to quit jobs, leave my spouse, stop trying, and go back home to Ukraine. The mindset saved me and brought me the energy to continue, but also limited me.
Things, accomplishments, and status
There is a saying in Russia, a fed person is no friend to a hungry one.
After I left home at 17 years old, I thought of one thing and one thing only, each day, every day. How might I find the right person to build a home and family together? It seemed like once I get married, have kids, have a stable income and a beautiful house would bring me solace and happiness.
The reality is… things, accomplishments, status, money, traveling, and all other external things do not bring happiness. They do bring comfort and joy, but true happiness, in the real sense of the word is always internal and come from within us.
I heard the words before, but I did not get it. That morning, I realized that the internal void could not be filled by external actions, acquisitions, or anyone else.
My happiness is a choice. It is a state of mind, and it is a practice that needs continuous attention. Remembering to take time to fill our lives with gratitude and joy is a must, and I recently realized I need to re-learn the truth.
Thriving versus surviving
Since I was very young, our family was very focused on “making it.”
My parents taught me how to be frugal and stretch every penny. I recall all the meals were made at home, we had limited clothing and shoes, and we were taught not being needy and ask for much. I was taught about work ethics and working hard. I got lucky; my parents taught me well.
One thing I wish I would see more is my parents taking time off to enjoy themselves. It seems we always worked. All the time!!
There was no time for leisure, rest, or recreational things. I do not recall a lot of fun things we did together. That said, one thing was for sure – my parents loved us, all three of us, very much.
The working hard and surviving mindset empowered me to achieve many things and delivered me a great job, three beautiful kids, long term committed relationships, and a warm home in a small town in Colorado, which i am very grateful for.
On that morning, in Texas, I realized that everything I ever wanted already happened. The future has come and became present.
The crisis came from realization- there is nothing to want, there is nothing to drive towards when all my dreams came true.
To figure things out, I decided to take time off to think about what is next and how to proceed with my life. During this time, I will write, think, and reflect. I will ask you to trust that I will return to writing soon and share my learnings with you.
Again, thank you for supporting me and understanding the critical moment in my life.
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