Why You Need to Follow Your Heart. Time Waits for No One

As I'm sitting here with my late-time cuppa, cloudy weather and writing in English, my inner reality couldn't be more different than what's really happening outside this room. But that's what dreamers and idealists do. Or at least that's what I have been told.

I always loved escaping into words and daydream. When I was a kid, it was all productive and such, as it was my job to have an imagination an develop interesting worlds and stories. The worlds I was constructing had strong visuals and fierce heroes. But that was back to the time of dinosaurs. Kids today are technology-bound, well adapted to a world of gadgets and science.

But what about one's soul? What about one' purpose?

My generation lived mostly in its head and thoughts. This generation lives more in its social media pages or apps. Things change and there's nothing wrong with that! It would be pretty hypocritical of me to criticize tech, as I'm writing this from a wireless-connected laptop, as I just finished a mini-browsing of my Facebook and Instagram.

All that I'm saying here is that we need a return to ourselves, to our inner beings, to our hearts. We are so connected, so informed, so skilled, so prepared nowadays, that we forget to stand still and often find ourselves on autopilot. Mostly like a machine.

It all comes back to the soul. To the heart. To the purpose.

For the past 7 years, my life has been like the one of a hamster on a treadmill. That's the typical image of a 30-something in this century. I was doing all of what society and peers were expecting of me, yet I wasn't fulfilled. "Things can't always be perfect!" I kept telling myself in order to soothe that restlessness I had inside. Over and over again.

Numbing life with life and getting smacked down by life.

Ironically enough, our minds are not the masters of the lives we have. We might... think we have control over what's happening, but if we don't take conscious choices, if we don't stand up and fight for what we believe in, it all happens to us. And then it leaves us with a lesson to learn and a question to answer: "Will you follow your heart?".

Again and again, life decided to give me some "subtle" pokes. 

As a storyteller, I dreamed of becoming a movie director, to be able to tell stories through image, sound and words. Life happened. Peer pressure made me give up because "There's too much competition! You'll lose precious time! Take the safe path!". Ended up studying Sociology for four years instead. 

Yeah! Like this proved to be the "safe path". Either way, it was my choice.

Finished Uni, got admitted to a Master's programe, got my first job as a Life Insurance Consultant (the irony of selling life protection when mine was going to be tumbled down!). 

Life happened. My mother got breast cancer

That marked my first meeting with chronic disease and full-on regret. Feeling sorry for all that I made wrong, for all that I should have or shouldn't have said made me realize that we always have a choice to how we act. We always have a choice to do or not to do something. I chose to be strong for her and look for stability. I wasn't living for myself. I was now living for her. 

So I changed jobs to a place that in other conditions I never would have looked at. 

But I ended staying there for two and a half years. I learned how mean and double-faced human nature can be, and how damaging stress can be. Looking back, this experience also taught me to be humble and serve others, despite of their behavior. I was beginning to learn life. 

At the end of those years, I chose me above all else, and quit. The pressure on my emotions was too big and wanted to brake free. I give my praise to God that my mother recovered and is still a part of my life. It made me begin to lose Ego.

Got another job in sales and vehicle management coordination, and felt at ease. I was beginning to get back to myself bit by bit. But after only seven months, and having the past experience of feeling trapped in a place I didn't belong, I chose to leave and pursue my own thing (once more) in graphic design. 

I had just finished a beginner's course and was preparing for my final exams, Steve Jobs just died and made me become aware of my own limited time. I compulsively watched his Stanford 2005 Commencement Speech until it became engraved inside my mind. 

Although it was a normal consequence of life, death still scared me and put some anxiety all over my actions. Do things now!

So I did! Got the best results at the Graphic Design exam, and went into planning mode to pursue my dream. The focus was mostly on myself and on what I would achieve.

In came life again. Because, you know, shit happens! My grandma died

At the beginning of that year, the woman who was one of the pillars of my personality and the one that I drew much of my inspiration from was gone. Leaving me with an inflamed Ego and a big regret that I wasn't more time there for her.

Time doesn't wait for anyone. Life goes on even without your input. I needed to choose once again. I thought of her, and what would she want me to do. 

I just started a Photography course, as it was the closer that I could get to telling visual stories. Given the death of a close family member, many would have stayed at home for some days, grieve and then go back to their activities. But I chose to be strong once more and go to my course. 

So, that night I stayed at her wake, went to sleep at 7 am, rested for 4-5 hours, and then went to class. Nobody knew, nobody saw anything on my face. I kept it to myself. Once more, I chose to be strong for my family and do the right thing. There's a whole other story about this experience, but I'm not going to cover this now, maybe in a later post.

All these experiences were bringing me back to God

I always been like this. I grew up an Ortodox-Christian, not actually a church-goer, but passionate about all those stories in the Bible and God's goodness and protection. In my deepest despair, He is the one I turn to, He is the one my soul needs. Nothing else. Even if I do it unconscious, when I get afraid, I pray.

That year I prayed to be happy. I let my soul in His hands and prayed for it to be soothed. 

And it was. That fall I began a relationship with my best friend, a guy I've met at my Graphic Design course and that quickly became my go-to person. He is similar to me in so many ways (good and bad), that I really couldn't have asked for a better match. I wouldn't had known what to ask for! Our relationship grew stronger as months went by. We had our ups and downs, but it was all fine in the end. 

Life resumed its course. I got a job as a Shop Manager for a telecom retail company, got passed some of my limits, learned a lot about me and people once again. But something felt off again. Stress was much higher than my inner feeling of fulfillment. It ended up putting great strain on me, and I came to work only to wait anxiously to get back home to my plans, peace and quiet. So I left. It didn't feel right. 

As I felt myself calming down, I began to see things clearly and once more planned starting my own thing. 

Guess what?! Once more it didn't happen right!

I planned to get a job in order to raise money to start my own photography business. Found a job in sales, advertising space and client relationship. All good, all stressful as always, but it was comfortable. Somehow, my dream got postponed, as I never felt quite ready. I was scared shitless, to be honest!

Life grew bored with my behavior and decided to give me one more "poke". Into my right eye. On a Friday.

The time when it happened was just right, as I once more grew to comfortable into being pushed and pulled by life and not listening to my intuition. Whenever that happened, fear took command and made me settle, going totally against my dreams of always going for what it feels right.

I told the story of my multiple sclerosis diagnosis here. The thing that I would like to add to it is that as I write this story, I understand that our lives are empty without doing something with purpose, without really using the gifts we have been given. 

I have always loved to write and tell stories. I was always able to leave myself aside in times of great distress and turn to helping others.

Now you tell me. What do you choose: a life that happens to you, or one designed by choice? 

Because things will always happen, go well, go bad, get stuck, or anything else. But what really matters is what you do with the cards that you have been dealt, and how you use them to serve others? 

For me, that's what life is all about: smart choices. God knows what He's doing. Always!

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Sincerely yours,

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