I had an interview with Female Magazine for a feature a couple months ago and I was asked what is the difference between being in my 20s vs 30s. I narrowed down my perception of self and how it has evolved over the past decade. Here’s the evolution:
1. Me, myself and I.
In my early 20s, my life was built around achievements and goals, I was always driven and pursuing as much as I could handle. Although not always efficient with my time, I tried so hard to do more than the average person. I always felt like, if I could do just a bit more, I would “succeed”. The meaning of success was to achieve and win in every aspect of my life, and that by doing so would make me happy. So I kept searching for more markets to conquer, more mountains to climb and more odds to defy. This pursuit for more never had much regard for family, personal relationships or friends. I would miss a lot of opportunities to build stronger bonds, forgo romantic relationships for the sake of my career. Nothing else really mattered, because I lived life for my self, selfishly alone.
2. Adulting is hard.
After I hit my 30s, I had expectations built around who I was supposed to be. I had been living out of a suitcase for years, always moving between cities and countries across North America and Asia. I felt like a phoney 30 year old cuz I didn’t own a car, a house or have a stable relationship. I felt like all my accomplishments I worked so hard for, didn’t meet the mark of who I thought I was supposed to be. So I added a few of those elements to the mix and bought a small apartment, finally bought my first car and now had to pay for it. Enter adulthood and responsibility. Great, just what I asked for, but was this what would fulfil me?
I couldn’t let my ego take me to places my soul no longer wanted to go.
3. Everything you want isn’t what you want at all.
As I started to rebuild my life with the “things” I’ve always coveted, slowly everything started to crumble one by one. When I started to feel comfortable in a relationship, when work started to grow in a different direction and when the idea of feeling settled turned my life upside down, I had to go back to the core of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to feel. It was so easy to blame everything around me and didn’t realise that if I continued to give power to others, I would feel completely powerless in my own ability. So what did I do? I escaped to Paris (thanks to a good friend of mine) to find myself and to open a chapter of new beginnings. Then I faced the music, the pain, the heartache, the truth of who I was and who I no longer wanted to be. I couldn’t let my ego take me to places my soul no longer wanted to go.
4. Listen to your heart.
What started off as a small escape with friends and then with my company, turned into a twist of fate that would give me a huge sense of purpose and meaning again. I’ve been running my talent management company Suppagood for almost 8 years now and the essence of it was to help chart careers with a trajectory that spelled longevity. By exploring their talents and gifts, I was able to share them with others. Through a few events and experiences I encouraged these women to create. Now, seeing the impact of their work has now birthed a community in Supparetreat. “Success” now has a completely different meaning to me, and it’s not about trying to achieve anymore but how much I can share.
5. The feeling of surrender.
I honestly don’t know if it is finding a purpose that has transformed me or the idea that I don’t need to acquire and achieve, perhaps it’s both. But the biggest difference from my 20s and 30s is that I’ve given up chasing for what I think I need to make me happy, I see others around me with all the money and things in the world but are deeply unhappy. I am content with what I have and having more “things” has moved from my NEED column to my WOULD BE NICE column. I refuse to be driven by what others have and what others achieve, but to be driven by what is important to me. In church we always talk about surrendering to the higher power of God’s plan, in society it’s about acknowledging your own journey despite the curveballs life throws at you. Feeling surrender is being grateful for the little things and not asking for more. I’m not 100% there yet, but I’m starting to see how not being in control can give me freedom, to just be.
I’m trying to be more compassionate, to be more comfortable with uncomfortable things and to really listen to my gut. When my ego leads, there’s a sense of entitlement, specialness, and reputation that need to be defended at all costs. I’m trying to meet my worth with other people’s expectations and I’ll always come up short. Whereas on the other hand being in this state of surrender means that there is only connectedness, appreciation, gratitude, and love. None of these qualities need protecting and they are all meant to be shared. I’ve had a couple of years evolving into this revelation and each experience opens up truths about myself that I have avoided. As I’m starting to notice my patterns and to connect the dots, I’ve shifted my expectations to gratitude. I’m still learning and I hope by sharing my personal story it’ll help someone out there going through their own journey.
What painful experiences have become your greatest lessons?