Life has always fascinated me. I have always been captivated by its loops, sharp corners, slopes and sudden stops that lead you to adulthood.
For most of my 20’s I felt like I was on this race to experience all those exciting twists and turns. I was on a race to meet all these pre-planned goals I had set for myself that would validate my adulthood. I would study abroad in Spain, be the first college graduate in my family, obtain my Master’s degree, find the right guy, get married, have two children before 30 and seal it by celebrating my adulthood in the best party on earth…Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Carnival! All in one big breath!
I applied the mission to the vision and as planned, I paraded into my thirtieth year of life dragging my husband down the Sambadrome with the most festive and silly Tropicana costume one can imagine. But that did not matter! I was officially an adult and I had sealed it with a bang!
Little that I know that adulthood entailed a lot more than setting pre-set goals and putting blinders on to meet them. After I accomplished all those goals, I left my life on autopilot. I went with the flow of things because ADULTHOOD was hard!
Working full-time as a teacher, married with two young children three years apart, being a Latina daughter and oldest sister was all too overwhelming for me. Because if anybody knows what entails being the eldest Latino child in the family understands the struggle: ALL questions to ANY issues are directed to you!
By thirty-one I was living on survival mode! I just wanted to make it through the day, cross out all my tasks on my sticky notes pasted to my laptop screen and get on the road to get home before the five p.m. traffic swallowed me whole into bumper to bumper hell. Adulthood had definitely arrived and it was taking a toll on me.
The easy part of living on autopilot is that you don’t have to do much thinking. The hard part is when you crash because you forgot how to fly manually.
I became irritable, unsatisfied, exhausted, and numb to life’s small moments. Granted, I was grateful that I was blessed with a family, a great husband, beautiful healthy kids and a career. However, deep inside something was weighing on me. I would put in prayer and would ask for guidance as well as forgiveness if these feelings came from ungratefulness. However, I continued to be in the subconscious rut of survival mode. This lasted for a while and I could not pinpoint the root of this feeling of uncertainty. It affected me to the core and to the point that I felt I had lost my essence, substance and what made ME.
Then a sequence of life events that happened due to my survival-mode living style, I was confronted with the raw reality that I could no longer afford to live like that. Neither could my children, husband, mother, sister and those dear to me. It was like adulthood came with a vengeance, punched me in the stomach, pulled me by the arm and gave me wet willy all at the same time. Excuse the analogy but there is no other way to describe it.
After much soul searching, I came to the realization that my emptiness did not come from the dissatisfaction of accomplishments the usual overachiever suffers from. Nor did it come from not appreciating the blessings in my life. It came from not living an intentional life.
I was completing tasks in all aspects of my life because either they were part of the plan, they seemed like the traditional thing to do or it was a requirement of some sort.
I made the decision to begin putting actual thought into my actions or choices in life. To really think critically and question the true reasons behind my actions or non-actions. I started to really ask what was my intention behind every choice. I began to ask myself the purpose of going to an event I was invited to, activities I did with my family, my reactions to my husband’s actions, my parenting techniques, or recreational activities. I began to put everything into question.
This was a hard process because it forced me to really shed light on so many aspects of my life that I truly did not want to face. It forced me to see that I was wasting my time on things that did not have a purpose or had no true value to my life. However, it also set me free. I unapologetically began to rid myself of events, activities, people and tasks in my life that were not purposeful and ultimately not brining me to a higher self. I began to feel self-fulfillment, joy, peace, energy, motivation and excitement for life as I did back in my early twenties.
Living life intentionally continues to be an ongoing process for me. In my journey to intentional living, I am warming up to my mid thirties through personal transformation. It is helping me reach new grounds of maturity and consciousness. It has pushed me to reevaluate my values and beliefs.
Adulthood and I have come to a happy love and hate relationship that hopefully will conclude in a beautiful partnership. I am hopeful adulthood and I will eventually be able to walk hand in hand into the horizon, look back, see the trail of footprints and be able to say, “I lived a purposeful life, because all those footprints were worth every step”.