"You're on your own now"
Updated: Nov 20, 2018
What a wonderful 3 weeks I spent with my family in Mexico! All pampered, taken care of, surrounded by the love and hugs that I sometimes lack in the solitude that inevitably comes with the search of a brighter future in a new place... However, it was time for me to go back to Montreal and face reality.
As I boarded the plane on my way back, all I could think of was: "Now what?". I had no job, no savings, nothing... except for next month's rent and living expenses to pay for. I decided to come back one week earlier than my family (since they were flying in for my graduation, too) so that I could spend some time with myself in order to figure things out and to not let them see me stressed by the time they arrived.
I remember spending my first day at my apartment lying on the couch watching Netflix. Well, not even watching, since I was just sapping channels, staring blankly at the T.V. without looking for any show/movie in particular. I felt like a failure. I went through all this trouble; spent so much money, time, and energy on my MBA to end up at the starting point. Well, worse than the starting point, since I wasn't even in my home country. Boy, was I f*cked... or was I?
I can't even remember what I did that week. I guess I slept all day? Who knows. I had no plan. All I could do was wait for graduation day and talk to some people in the meantime. But no one was around. Summer was coming and my family too, so I just went with the flow. I went to yoga, for sure. That I remember. It was the only thing that was helping me keep my shit together those days.
My mom, my grandpa and my grandma arrived on May 27th; just one day before convocation. I was back in "live for the moment" mood. I greeted them at the airport and then took them to their hotel. My aunt, uncle and cousin joined us a day later. I was really happy to have them all in Montreal. Honestly, I didn't even think about my precarious situation while they were with me. They were so proud of my accomplishment (and I was, too), that I just let go (again). We celebrated. We pigged out. We drank champagne. We enjoyed each other's company. My friends, life is such a precious gift, and our time in it is so limited that there's no use in letting our minds wander from the present moment. I had left my family almost 2 years before to embark on this journey. I hadn't been with them like this after all this time. Why was I going to let my thoughts ruin the moment? It made no sense. We never know if there will be a tomorrow. I had them here. Now. With me. I wasn't going to let anything ruin that.
We went to Québec City and had a really good time there. However, the time came to say our goodbyes when they had to head back to Mexico. I remember my grandma telling me: "You're on your own now. This is your life. You know what to do with it". Did I? I wasn't so sure. However, I didn't let that insecurity come across and reassured her that I would be fine. That everything I'd worked for was finally materializing and that they had made the best investment of their lives by helping me pursue my happiness. Because that's what parents want for us in the end, right? To be happy. What made me happy, though? I wasn't sure at the moment, but I was determined to find out.
Saying goodbye to my mom was super hard: here was the woman who made me who I am today; whose example I've looked up to my entire life: a divorced woman who, all by herself, gave her two daughters the best opportunities that any child could hope for. I couldn't disappoint her. I was not going to disappoint her. When she kissed me goodbye, she told me that she trusted every decision I'd made up until that point and that I would make from now on. I wasn't going to let her down. Pressure was up, huh?
They left the hotel around 8 a.m., but I didn't have to leave their room until noon. I remember that sinking feeling in my stomach when they closed the door behind them. School was done, my break was over, all the celebrations were finished. I was truly on my own. That was a very overwhelming feeling I don't think I'd ever felt before in my life; not even when I moved to Canada and didn't know what was waiting for me. It was a strange combination of fear (of the unknown, mostly), but also of excitement: there was a very wide range of possibilities I could choose from. I could be/become/do anything I wanted. I just didn't know it yet.
Again, I laid in bed staring blankly at the ceiling. Sapping through channels; staring at the T.V. What the f*ck was I doing??? I had to take action. The solution to my problem was not going to fall magically on my lap. I had to do something. My brain, like a powerful computer, began scanning through its files to look for someone in my network who could give me a helping hand. Recruiters? Nah. Summer was just starting; everything was dead. There was no use in looking for a full-time job now. Wait a minute... my grandpa became very good friends with a fancy restaurant owner downtown. Could it be possible that he needed a hostess for the summer? Hell yeah!
I went to see this guy during Grand Prix weekend. Man, was the street packed! I explained my situation to him and basically told him that I needed a job to pay for my bills and that I didn't want my family to know I was unemployed (let alone, ask them for money). Indeed, he was looking for another hostess/buzz girl to take care of the terrace tables during the busy summer days, in addition to a very nice Russian girl who would later on become one of my best friends. "I'll take it!", I said. There I was, a recent MBA grad welcoming customers and serving tables. Was I ashamed? Not at all. What was I to be ashamed of? Any job, as long as you do it with integrity, is worthy. Plus, I needed to put food on my table. Seriously my friends, you can never let that despicable thing called EGO take control of your life. Was I overqualified for the job? Maybe. Did I feel bad when one of my former MBA classmates walked by the restaurant and saw me holding menus at the staircase? F*ck no! All she could say was: "You look really happy". And I was. I truly was. All my life I wanted to experience what it was like to have a summer job as a waitress and the like. I finally had it. Plus, I needed a break. And I'm not going to lie to you: I was having the time of my life!
More on that to come...
Bottom line: you can't live up to other people's expectations. You will be eternally unhappy if you do. No one is walking in your shoes; therefore, you're the only one who knows exactly what you need at a specific point in time. Always follow your heart and you will never be wrong.