Have you ever wondered, how your life would be, if you had taken a different turn at some point in your life? Chosen another career path? Met other people or seen different places? Maybe you are dreaming of being more creative or less chaotic? Of earning more money or having more free time? Than you are not alone. My life did take several turns and it did take me to different locations. I had enough money and a fulfilling partnership, but still something was missing.
At the age of twenty I wanted to explore the world. I wanted to travel the globe, meet new people, have an exciting job and earn enough money to fulfill my dream life.
Most of all, I didn´t wanted to “waste my time”, so after I had made the decision to undergo an apprenticeship as a bank clerk, I decided these two years shouldn´t be wasted and as a consequence I studied economics. To me this was a logical choice.
Where is the creativity?
I had always wished to be more creative, but feared to rest unemployed and earn no money, if choosing a “non-logical” career path. By that time, I had no idea how our brain exactly functions. I didn´t know anything about “logical choices”, “old patterns” and “negative beliefs”. That it is our brain, which tries to “trick us” and stop us from living our full potential out of fear of the unknown.
My choice wasn´t a bad choice per se. It led me into an interesting job and a long-lasting partnership. It led me into a “good life”.
At the age of 29, my hormones kicked in and all I wanted was kids. My partnership was flowering and I knew, I had made the “right decision”. Our first child took my routines apart. It was so different to what I had expected, different to the life I had before. I felt, what every new parent experience: there is a life before and after you became parent. One has nothing to do with the other.
Adjusting to new circumstances,
was the main device. Unconditional love together with the obligation to care for this little human being. The freedom to stay home and taking care of our baby contrasted with a lack of money, boredom and a world which completely spun around this little man. I missed my work and wanted to follow my old dream of being a working mum. This world of breast feeding and infantile exploitation was like an outer space. All decisions were only made after reading education guidebooks and discussing with other mums with which vegetable to start the kids diet with. Our son was my way of living out my creativity.
Is this my identity?
This early time of experiencing being a mum set the base for my new identity. Completely absorbed in motherhood, I identified with being two instead of one. My main focus was to care for this little person. Still, I had the feeling that “this couldn´t be it”. After 15 months, I restarted work on a part-time basis. Once, to get out of this “New-parent-bubble” and secondly to earn money and prove to myself that I can be both: working mum and loving mum.
Life is about change.
Only a few years, one more kid and three moves later, my husband was promoted to a job in Switzerland. He should work in the local entity as an Expat. Expat (=Expatriate), means that your Company sends you away from your home country to work in another entity on a different part in the world. Switzerland, our “new world” wasn´t that far away. Still, we had to adjust to a French-speaking environment, while experiencing the beauty of Swiss nature and an amazing view of Lake Neuchatel and the mountains.
This is, where I entered the “Expat Bubble”.
The bubble started right away: as we didn´t knew, for how long we would stay there, we selected an International School for our kids, to avoid that they had to adjust to a new language every time we had to move again. The school was mostly frequented from foreign people. Normally one of them would work full time and the other one was responsible for taking care of the household. I stayed home with the kids and organized our family business. I got creative in organizing birthday parties, inviting other kids over for playdates or their parents, worked voluntary in the school’s parents club and got completely absorbed into the bubble. (Read: Our Exceptional Life as Expat Family.)
This was my new identity
Throughout the years, I got completely captivated in taking care of our family. My identity was mainly about “us”. “Are the kids doing ok? What are the plans for the weekend? Where do we go for vacation?” I concentrated my creativity on baking birthday cakes and organizing kids’ parties. I felt so much responsible for everything, that I even wasn´t able to share the work or ask for help. I told myself that, if I couldn´t handle that bit of housework, I wouldn´t be worth the beautiful life we had. Living in a foreign country with enough money to visit the environment, going on ski trips or having a nice summer vacation. I felt, I have to proof to myself and the world, that I also add my part.
Living an Expat life can be a hard decision. My husband was confronted with a high workload in his new job, whereas I took care of the rest. From that moment on our career path took different directions. He worked and I took care of everything, which had to be organized while changing the country. We got help in the beginning, but I still had to deal with authorities, face language difficulties, while integrating in the new environment and keeping up with our friends and family at home. I seldomly was bored. Other than that, I had no career left, as I had quitted my job before leaving.
Returning to our home country after 7 years, caught us by surprise. I immediately felt the pressure to decide on new career path. I took on voluntary work to keep myself busy, make new connections and avoid questions on when & where I wanted to start working again. The Yoga and meditation practice I had started, helped me to navigate through this period, but I fully concentrated my learnings on “empowerment” and “finding my purpose”, instead of doing the work. All my efforts concentrated on becoming, instead of living in the present moment.
Diving deep, I went inward to investigate my identity. I examined the situations and changes I had to face in my life throughout the years (new surroundings, new houses, new friends). Suddenly I understood, that this is a necessary work, I had to do before I could empower myself to new adventures. There are so many hidden beliefs and trigger situations, which provoke you to re-act instead of consciously acting. Reaction is immediate and often times impulsive, whereas acting is thoughtfully calculating your options. The more you are centered in yourself and the present moment, the better you can observe a certain situation before reacting. I had to understand these patterns and heal old wounds, before I could move forward.
It is a process.
And there is no shortcut. Only through root cause analysis you can transform old patterns and belief systems into new ways of thinking and living a purposeful life. No podcast or webinar, no seminar or workshop will immediately bring you to your purpose. But you will always learn something along the line. The purpose can´t be found on the outside, it is always in the inside and it had been there all along. You have to start freeing yourself form bias and old judging. You have to clear your vision, before you are able to see it. I had to unlock the thought of not being good enough, which rooted deep in my childhood, before I could acknowledge, that this is what I really want to do: living out my creativity.
Present moment awareness
Is the key. It´s important to look in the past and unlock old patters and habits. But the key to access your potential and finding your purpose can only be found in the present. Here, we are complete. Only, when we don´t dwell in the past and don´t dream of the future we are completely present and in line with our purpose. In this moment, we are not thinking about becoming, we just are. Knowing, that I can´t change my past, I had to start NOW to have more creativity in my life.
The same is applicable for you: whatever you dreamed of BECOMING, you have to start with BEING it right now. This is the only way to change your paths and shape your dream future.
Accept your past without regrets, handle your present with confidence, and face your future without fear.