I've spent the last four years doing a lot of soul searching and learning to forgive for myself, asking what my next step is, trying to figure out where to live, ... to going on a lot of walks along the beach, runs in the rain, packing up a moving truck filled to the rim and driving it across the Bay. I have clear memories in my mind -- I've seen my Dad on the floor of my foyer, fighting for his life; I've studied addiction to the point of obsession. I've watched my daughters suffer as they deal with abandonment. I sold this big beautiful house, and moved to a tiny two bedroom rental apartment just to let my daughters finish their school year in San Ramon... moved the girls from the East Bay to Mom's away from their friends and a lot of our family back to the peninsula. I kept thinking - I cannot fail.
More recently, I've been able to simply move forward and feel renewed. I took what could be considered the worst life situations and leaned in and addressed them. I would not let the failure of another stop me. The hardest of lessons is realizing that change is good and to not waste time feeling sorry for myself -- from where my life was a blur, working hard but not necessarily smart, traveling to places while I was at Google but letting others decide my career direction, accepting a non-existent marriage, needing a Nanny and my parents to help me with my daughters, making decisions without really thinking about the full 360 consequences, and having a completely full calendar with my kids completely over-scheduled... not having a partner to help me with the house and the children for so long.... from taking each moment of the day -- and then trying to fit in the most of every second, every minute, every hour.
Not feeling true contentment, not loving myself enough, forgetting my worth, dreading the weekends..... and over time, to simply what I needed to do and embrace change and accept it. Over the last three years I see my focus pivot -- no longer in the the house on the hill, I turned in leased luxury cars, still trying to figure out what to do with all this furniture and pictures on the walls, big changes in my career, letting go of the material things that I had owned.... I literally have stripped down, sold or given many of my possessions, and living in the room that I grew up in. I am now wide awake. I found a way to accept simply my circumstances -- to forgive and let go.
What is important is taking care of myself first, and then my loved ones and finding courage to do things I didn't think I could do alone. I continued to sing every chance I got; and for a while, I did sing live again with a few bands. It felt good to get that out. Still feel that I should sing again - this time to use the emotion of what I've lived the last few years to sing from my gut, my heart. I spend a lot of time at Sharp Park Beach by the pier that my Dad used to take us to go fishing when we lived in the Sunset, and sometimes bring the girls down the cliff to Montara, or to the water at Pillar Point and Half Moon Bay. After months of staring at the ocean and waves, I finally took a surfing class early last year -- and then another two months later. Last year during spring break, I was able to surf on Oahu with the push from a Local Surf Instructor who felt my vibe and encouraged me to paddle harder til I was able to stand up and catch a wave.
After I found myself getting over grief and truly healing, I met someone. It wasn't easy, but with the right amount of time, patience, and some time apart, we found admiration, respect, friendship and Love. I see my equal who has the same values as me and looking to be grounded.
I am so grateful for every single new day. There is a lot of pressure to always being an example to my daughters -- but what I try to do is show them no matter what challenges they are forced to deal with, having to deal with Allie losing her hair since she was four and now Alexia.... to not be petty, to stay focused on today, let go of being angry, being okay with being sad, maybe even depressed but knowing you can't stay there for long... and to just be grateful for the life we have, and choose happiness; to accept life as a gift -- and realize and see the joy in the every day.
Today, I now find simple things like going to the grocery store therapeutic or going on a run by the beach. Because of his example, I am learning to live simply, to focus on the moments every day ... before the girls voices change, to remember to help others, to think before I speak or act, to remind those that I love them, and show them what loves means to me. I'm reading three books at the same time, reading about how to be vulnerable and rising strong, a book on decluttering, and learning about Love languages and how to have a truly successful relationship; I am also exploring resources on empowered parenting. I have let go of the ideal of "perfection." I remind myself not to waste time on negative thinking OR more importantly things that I can't control. Teaching that to my girls has been also tough. I know it is is ok to fall, to fail. That I am enough. To be grateful always. To be compassionate. Worthy of love and affection. To give into shame.
Long gone is that picture-perfect, materialistic, unfulfilled, completely blurred, calendared life --- now I wake up to a "Good Morning" and think about how fortunate we are to simply have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food on the table. I remind myself to slow down.... to take my time. Meditate... Reflect.... Listen. He reminds me that I can't do it all. The old me would have been offended but now, I know that this is ok. I marinate in the simplicity of every new day - planning my days the day before, making sure to think about three things I'm thankful for each day while not rushing and trusting the timing of my life.
Lately, I've been thinking a great deal about the people that I have influenced in my career, specifically the last two years while I've been at Accenture and Triad. While I learned a great deal about ad support teams, operations, hiring, offshore teams, implementation, publisher ad technology, efficiencies, creative, product management, and retail clients, one thing stood out for me and that was listening and guiding the passionate, hard-working teams that worked for me.
I've spent the last month assessing my evolution -- focusing on what I'm great at and being honest about what I need to work on. One thing is for sure -- I am in charge of my career and am grateful for the road that has brought me to where I am today.
Now, as for my family unit -- I try to live each day making it different than the last. Life is simply too short to have the same day day in and day out. While I am undergoing new challenges, I make sure that I am taking care of the important things that I had not completely tackled and finalized; I do have so much hope for the future. Grateful for everything we have, for the special people that are in our lives, and to ask for help when I need it. To let go of expectations. Because of where I am now, whom I spend my quality time with, and my life today, I simply remember just how lucky we are to be alive, that my home is not in the four walls of a house, but where I build my home around my significant other and my daughters. I remember that I am the source of my happiness and to give without expectation. To give with an Aloha heart. To be vulnerable and dive in without knowing the outcome. Falling is ok. It's the getting up that is important.