One day I had a cold shower. I looked at myself in the mirror and I couldn’t recognize the person I saw. I was grey, empty, blocked. One year in a new city and I had created nothing meaningful. A work that wasn’t enough, relationships that didn’t go much further than the surface, habits that were already boring. Love was leaving space to routine and call of duty. Life was easy, too easy, and the plans that everybody expected from me felt wrong. That was not me, not the life I wanted.
Where was that happy extrovert that could speak to anyone in the street and was able to become friend with young, old, animals, walls? Where was that restless human always striving to be the best version of herself? Where were my joy, my drive, my dreams?
My personality was hidden somewhere, I knew it, but I couldn’t find it. I immediately started to plan a way out. I was itching, I wanted to be myself again, that was my challenge.
Days passed and my brain never stopped to scan my last years. Eventually, I understood. Expectations shaped my behavior and transformed me into that quiet and passive being. Or, better, my calm and compliant side let others to determine how I should be, and changed. But you can’t change your nature.
Day by day, I let go every weight that came from the outside, every thought, belief or habit that wasn’t mine. I started to attend yoga classes, work on my spirituality and body. I started to explore the city by myself as a tourist. I let my thoughts and creativity free to wonder. I stopped looking for the perfect job and apples for a low level part-time that would challenge me to go back to my origins. Speak with strangers, in the streets, with a purpose. And this is how I ended up fundraising. And it worked.
Alive again and excited by this journey towards the real me, I left for Australia and I haven’t stopped removing layers. My life changed completely and unexpectedly, and I’m still on the way.
Expectations can come under different forms. They can be evident like plans for the future, but also subtle like little shifts in behavior, that eventually lead to big changes. Getting rid of all this heavy stuff is a long process, full of discoveries and little moments of personal glory.
So, if you don’t want cold showers like mine, do a simple thing. Stand in front of a mirror, look closely and intensely at yourself and answer this question: would you like this person if you could meet him/her in the street or at a party?. I call it “The mirror proof”. It sounds stupid, but it can lead to epiphanies. Be true to yourself and give the world the chance to meet the best version of you, every single day.
“Live the Life of Your Dreams: Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision and purpose instead of the expectations and opinions of others.” Roy T. Bennett,