What the Funk? The Space I Have Been Living In
I want to upgrade my personality and change my perspective on life. What does that even mean? While I don’t think I am a bad person or that I have been depressed since well, let’s say we moved to Barcelona, what I have been is a bit lost. I planned for the exciting gamble that was Belgium. My calculated risk paid off when I started living my life abroad and all the chips fell into place. I landed a job that sponsored my visa in Brussels. I was riding that wave, the high of making one of my biggest dreams become my reality and doors just opened. I met my husband serendipitously, but when he threw a curve ball in and wanted to leave my beloved home where I had created a family- a community of amazing friends that are closer to me than my own relatives- I had a hard time coming up with and figuring out what was next.
I didn’t recalibrate life or know how or what direction I wanted to walk in. I was so sure of Belgium and only compromised on Spain. And not to say Barcelona, and Spain in general, wasn’t an illuminating milestone or season of my life, it was. It was all those things. But I was different. Recently married and uprooted from a place that had become my comfort zone, I wasn’t sorted. We ventured off toward the much warmer and sunnier Mediterranean, but I had no idea what I would do there. I wasn’t grounded. While I had gained my footing in Belgium and was independent, carefree and driven, I lost some of that on the road south.
Growing some sense of roots, I got involved in the International Women’s Club of Barcelona where I met my co-founder of the since dissolved company Barcelona Connections among a host of other inspiring women. I was also afforded the time to write my book, Big Time Journey of a Small Town Girl. I transitioned into a new career as the Content Manager at GBSB Global Business School. Yet, I still didn’t feel my head was on quite right and that my purpose was being fulfilled.
As life goes, the universe decided the season should change and we were expecting Henry’s arrival. Working out my husband’s immigration paperwork and readying for a big cross-Atlantic move was all a part of closing one chapter and starting anew.
Becoming a mother was one if not the most aweing transformations of my life. Henry and I transitioned to Poland not but 12 days after his birth and my husband would make his way to the US, where we would eventually join him almost five months later.
From my incredible in-laws’ home along the Baltic coast, I landed in Washington DC without a solid support system. Finding a rhythm in our nation’s capital with a plethora of activities for kids was rather easy. The expat moms I fell in circles with were indispensable, just a magnificent group of women in the same boat I was in trying to keep afloat and sailing.
Men often don’t understand the hardships mothers face from physical to mental hurdles we have to overcome sometimes daily to look like we are functioning at “normal” capacity. So alot of the “weight” I was grappling with moving back to my motherland just got burried.
Okay- fast forward, Henry just recently turned two. Living in DC, I shrugged off, well more matter of fact, I tried to rationalize that I wasn’t working because daycare costs were an astounding $2500/ month. Nonetheless, what I term the “Americanism,” or the stress to be constantly striving and hustling for success at whatever cost, still weighed on my mind-what was I doing to progress my career? I was taking up space. Yes, I was trying to be the best mother I could be to my beautiful boy day in and day out, but this unseen pressure of being stuck was crippling. I bid my time freelancing, still writing for the business school in Spain, teaching yoga and meditation for a host of law firms, Fortune 500 companies and studios. I even took on the occasional nutrition client which gave me immense satisfaction. These activities I fit into my role as a mother kept me sane and intellectually nimble.
But all the while I had this heaviness in my chest of what’s more? I wasn’t doing enough. Other moms can tackle a much longer to-do list. Comparisons and judgements festered. But this is what I wanted. Right? In Europe 1-2-even 3 years is termed average for maternal professional leave. I guess I was born on the wrong continent and hard wired differently.
Uhhh! Life! So, in this long evolution from Brussels to DC, two bustling political enclaves, I felt my heart strings being pulled by the latter questioning my life decisions.
Now in the present, I find myself living in Norther Virginia with that same pesky question, what’s next and with time differentiating me from that person before, I wonder, who am I and what do I want to become?
Being stuck has overstayed its welcome. The muck I have been wading through has played out figuratively in my mind. I know this momentary sentence is not fatal. Replaying my own teaching and words from wise souls that have come before me, I realize life is impermanent, and in a week, month or even a year, life can and will be entirely different.
What made the “Belgian” Emily, the European Emily so unique-I looked for opportunity and solutions everywhere. No hurdle was too high to overcome. Doors just opened. People appeared. I loved myself and what I had created out of literally nothing. I was enamored by life and its possibilities.
Back in the land of the free and the home of the brave, I must manifest this new DNA in myself. Where it may have sat doormat, I need to find the spark in the room.
In Belgium, I set out to meet people, to help them, to grow myself. I knew moving to Belgium wasn’t going to be a financial win and so it never factored into my stress. I wanted to make a difference whether in the yoga studio, having a Belgian beer with a friend or catering a scrumptious meal with Bookalokal in my home. I set out to have an experience and the universe gave me exactly what I asked for. You will soon get to read all about those adventure in my new book.
I digress. How can I help today? What talents and gifts do I possess that can better serve others, to help make society better? That is the question. I am done being stuck in a funk!
Can you relate? We have all been there between jobs, relationships, moving from one place to the next. There are phases in our lives where we uncomfortably have to sit idle before the next big thing can begin and it can wreak havoc on our physiology, but don’t fret. If I can get through it, you can too!