One of God's creatures...
The next couple of weeks went by uneventful. I was still waiting to hear news from the restaurant owner so I could get back to work, but my phone didn't ring at all. Instead of panicking and worrying about whether I would still have a summer job or not, I decided to embrace this opportunity to lay back and do nothing, literally. I mean, nothing that didn't encompass my own personal growth in one way or another.
I realized how much I had been neglecting myself during the past couple of years while trying to achieve my goal of graduating and landing a full-time job: I gave up the things I loved, such as going to the movies, reading, running and, most importantly, swimming (I used to swim competitively back home in Mexico before I came to Montreal, and I trained 5-6 times a week, at least an hour and a half everyday). As a result, I gained some weight and was completely out of shape. I didn't like what I was seeing in the mirror, and then only I became aware that it had been detrimental to my self-confidence to a certain degree. One thing is true: you have to be comfortable in your own skin and love everything about yourself in order to be able to project confidence and to spread joy, love, and happiness to those around you. It all begins with oneself, so this was the building block with which I started to rebuild my life. Literally.
I saw this as an opportunity sent from heaven for me to start healing in every aspect of my life. So I took it. I fully embraced it. I didn't question it at all. Deep down, something told me I was exactly at the right place, at the right time, doing what I was supposed to be doing: taking care of myself; that nothing would come my way before I took care of this. It's somewhat odd, but I swear I didn't feel anxiety about whether or not I would be able to eventually generate income to support myself. Somehow, it didn't matter. Something told me I was the priority at that point. I guess that's when I started to connect to a higher power; the source with which we are all born but somehow lose touch with over the years while being conditioned to live up to society's standards.
I know some of you will probably think I smoked a really good joint while talking about this, but I promise this source of higher power exists. It manifests itself in abundance the moment we stop questioning and start accepting; the moment we start being grateful for everything that happens in our lives, "good" or "bad". I have learned to use these adjectives more wisely, since I have come to realize that nothing is entirely "good" or "bad"; that it all depends on our attitude. As I have read so many times now: "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it". So by deciding to turn around these "unfortunate" (I would rather call them "unforeseen") events of ending up unemployed upon graduation and having to take a job as a waitress with an MBA, and using them to my advantage instead, I discovered that the key to happiness lies within us: it's a conscious decision that we make everyday, not to let anything bring us down and to keep on going, no matter what life throws at us. There's always a bright side to everything and, most importantly, there's always a silver lining: we just have to train ourselves to see it.
In my case, that silver lining was the ability to wake up at whatever time I felt like it, to start living my life in slow motion after having rushed through it practically all my life and, more intensely, during the past three years. I won't lie, it felt super weird at first to wake up at 9-10 a.m. in the morning and not having anything to do. It was hard at first to get over that "guilt" of not being a "productive" member of society; of doing whatever the hell I wanted with my day without having any responsibilities to take care of. I was not used to this. However, as I started getting used to this new pace, everything became clearer.
I walked one day to a downtown square where I used to eat lunch in the summertime while I was still an intern. I remember sitting on a bench and thinking back on those days, when I hurriedly ate my lunch in order to walk back to the office on time; always with a pinch in my stomach derived from the stress that never went away. The saddest part is, I learned to live with that pain; it was part of my life and I accepted it. But it was not normal. This is not the way we're supposed to live! I watched people walk past me in suits; almost all of them frowning and absorbed in their own thoughts; not noticing the beautiful flowers and trees around them; not taking a pause to soak up the sun for a minute. I thought, "What a sad life. I don't want this for myself". So I laid down on the bench and looked up at the sky. Above me, a gorgeous maple tree? (don't take my word on this; I'm not a botanical scientist, but the leafs looked like maple leafs! LOL) was providing me with partial shade. I noticed the leaf colors... WOW! There was like a degrading pattern of green: from a darker green on the outside that faded to a light yellow at the center of the leafs. "How hadn't I noticed this before? So many times I ate lunch here, but this is the first time that I can actually appreciate nature's beautiful work of art". Again, I swear I didn't smoke any joints and I was not high. Well, maybe I was: high on life!
I stood up after a good half an hour and started walking, with no direction in particular. Headphones on, listening to my favorite tunes on my phone. I don't know when I got there, but when I looked up I was at the Old Port: my favorite part of Montreal. The day was warm and sunny, so I decided to go buy a maple ice-cream (my favorite). Another thing I've learned since: eat the goddamn ice-cream, drink that glass of wine, dance the night away if you feel like it! Life's too short to go through it repressing ourselves. I'm not saying though that we should live in excess; it's just a matter of striking that balance between discipline and giving in to the occasional craving. So I gave in. And then I went to have a glass of white wine. It was amazing. I would hit the pool tomorrow, but today, I was just one of God's creatures enjoying paradise.