10 Years Later. Reflecting on the Value of Time & Being or Finding Your True Self.
"I'll do it in 5 or 10 years" is a phrase I always tell my husband or family members when they ask me to go on vacation or take on an uncomfortable task. It seemed as though using that phrase was much easier than finding a way to tackle a challenge now. "I'll do it in 5 or 10 years," I always tell myself. "I'll graduate college in 5 years" (it became 9 years and I'll go more into detail about that in a future blog). "I'll get married in 10 years or maybe never" (it turned out to be 9 years until I met my husband). When my husband and I started dating and discussed marriage or buying a home I told him, "Maybe in 10 years" (it turned out to be 3 years into our relationship that we would purchase a home and get married).
You'll notice the difference in accomplishing my goals once I met my husband. For years I took the easy way out and said I would do something later. It wasn't until I met my husband that he showed me that life is too short to not work towards living your dreams now. If not now, when?
After my sister's passing, my family and I had to go down memory lane and find pictures for her keepsake book. Although this photo did not make the cut, I decided to share this with you and some of my thoughts as I reflect on how much of a difference 10 years makes.
This photo is one of two times that my sister visited me while I was living in Houston, Texas. She saved up money and the courage to finally take a vacation to celebrate my 21st birthday with me. We had an amazing weekend exploring areas in Houston and even taking advantage of tax free weekend. In the story of our lives, this would be the only time we would have a girls weekend together without any other family members, curfew, or pressures of being our "perfect selves."
I do not regret anything about that weekend. It was the first time I saw my sister being her genuine self, not the picture perfect image of who she thought she had to be. This picture would normally not make the cut for my sister because her bangs are not perfect and our faces are sweaty from dancing but we still loved this moment. My sister rarely took photos in this pose with her hand up and bangs slightly out of place. This photo was HER. This was my sister being her carefree self enjoying the fact that I was at the age where she didn't have to babysit me but we could enjoy this night of dancing together as two adults. Finally, we were both FREE to be ourselves.
If you told me then that would be the only time I would get to have a girls weekend with my sister because she would pass away from cancer less than 10 years later, I would have said you were crazy. My sister was a perfectionist. She cared about how she looked, how her food was prepared, or how clean her house was. Of all the people in my family to pass away at 47 she would be the last person we thought would go.
While you may think this post is about death or losing someone, it is not. It is about everything I have learned about life by spending 5 weeks of this year going back to my roots and spending time in Chicago for the final months of my sister's life.
I spent weeks speaking to people of different ages, races, religions, and political views. During my conversations I determined that not being one's true self was a common theme. People were ready to move towards living a "better" version of their lives instead of appreciating what they had. Questions I was constantly asked during my sister's funeral were:
"When are you going to have children?"
"Don't you want to have a better job?"
"Why do you want to live your own life and not what your parents want?"
"Don't you feel incomplete since you do not have a child?
These questions all have a common theme - living your life according to someone else's plan or idea of who they think you SHOULD be versus you being who you ARE.
A lot of people were stressed whether it was due to financial reasons or not liking their jobs or not having the "ideal" life that their family members thought they should have. What broke my heart the most was learning that some people have a different persona when they are with friends or family. I am guilty of it too. My husband brought it to my attention that I often play the unintelligent role when I'm with my family knowing full well that is not who I am. After he brought it to my attention, I realized he was right. For years it was easier to not be my fully intelligent self around my family. Knowing that my intelligence and logic would just create anger, debates, frustration, and disappointment knowing who I am is not who my family thinks I am. "I'll show them my true self in 10 years I tell myself. It's just easier that way."
The time spent portraying one's self as the "perfect" daughter, son, wife, mom, father or spouse takes away from people being able to fully develop who they are as a person. Not having the moment to take a step back and find who you are or why you are meant to be here to begin with leads to a feeling of something missing which leads to anxiety or depression. I am one of the few people who had the opportunity to find myself and be confident in knowing who I am as a person. I chose to have that freedom at 18 when I moved from Chicago to Houston. All the trials and difficulties I had led me to be the woman that I am today. Having the freedom to know who you are comes as a price. It takes years of sacrifice and trying to remind yourself of not attempting to fit into a mold that other people think you are but rather holding on to faith knowing you are here for more. You are here to learn what your purpose is in the world and to use your talents to help others along the way.
My hope is that we have a cultural change. That we have empathy when people have the courage to be themselves or explore why they are on this earth to begin with rather than condemn them or think of them as less than enough. If you were like me saying "I'll do it in 5 or 10 years" you will lose time finding who you are or developing the talents for which you were placed on this earth to use. I feel that a lot of the fighting going on in the world is due to our inner voices being suppressed as a result of us having to be a version of ourselves that are acceptable to others and not true to ourselves. It's easier to not tackle the challenging things in your life and put them off until later. If there's anything I learned about my sister, it is what if later never comes? Will you be happy knowing that you did not pursue what you wanted?
The reason why I created this blog, my YouTube channel, and other social media is to help others who have no choice but to be part of the rat race and never have the freedom or time to be themselves. I know what it feels like to feel hopeless thinking that there's nothing more to life than by working without purpose. To be sleep deprived, working 24 hour days and still barely making ends meet. Feeling like you need to find that "perfect" partner or savior who will take you out of your situation. It wasn't until my late 20's when I had fully developed my true self and realized I did not need a partner or a "savior" to help me out of my situation. I learned by saving money and making extra money online I could finally take back control over my time so that I could spend more time with the people and things I loved. Time is valuable and should be spent wisely. I share my saving tips in the hopes that you will save money towards a goal and I share my selling tips so that you can make even more money to achieve your goal sooner.
"I'll do it in 5 or 10 years" is no longer a phrase I use. I try to work WITH my husband (not rely on my husband) to create a plan of action to achieve our goals or dreams. It is my hope that my blog and future posts motivate you to take the time to find yourself and make the most of the time that you are here on earth. What if you had less than 10 years to live? How would you live your life? Is what you are doing today making you happy?
The perspective I have gained from my sister and discussions with others has helped motivate me to work towards my goals everyday. It may be posting something on e-commerce, or editing video, or learning about new trends in business, or saying "yes" to a good opportunity. No matter what it is I want to be known as the person who helped change our culture from being obsessed with the rat race to finding a balance between financial success and success in the quality of your life. They say people remember the time you spent with them and how you treated them. I hope we learn to love ourselves and one another.
"I'll do it in 5 or 10 years"has now changed to "I'll find a way to do it today or soon."
Only time will tell how my journey will end and I'm glad you're here with me to watch it unfold.