Ever since this covid situation started, I haven’t been able to write.
Not because I don’t have the time, but because I don’t know what to say. Or better yet, I don´t know how to say it. I feel empty, drained, lost for words while a million thoughts per second travel through my mind.
I have avoided saying it out loud as it feels like I’m complaining and I hate complaining as a generic habit. It´s the battle between what I know and how I feel. It’s hiding these feelings under thick layers of smiles all the time. I allow myself to feel them but not talk about them.
Because at the end of the day, I really can’t complain. I’m aware of that and it’s literally what keeps me going. It´s focusing on what I do have rather than what I lack. It´s adopting the abundance mindset rather than the scarcity mindset.
Obviously, the concept itself of abundance and scarcity are subjective all the way, having different meanings for different people. As do happy/unhappy, fulfilled/frustrated as so many other dichotomies that try to portray human emotions. It’s all about making the decision of seeing the cup half full or half empty. It requires awareness and work but at the end of the day it makes so much difference on how you manage your life on a day-to-day basis.
Covid has made me lose my job in Dubai. With that, I gave up my apartment and rented a room. I started working on a commission based only scheme trusting it would go well. It didn´t.
After six months of not working or working without getting paid, I got another job which I loved very much, in my favorite place in Dubai. And still I left Dubai to come back to my home country. I was at a point in which, though I could see the good, I couldn’t take the financial pressure and the frustration of not having my own space. That, alongside family reasons, made make the move. I wasn´t coping anymore and not being able to manage. So, I decided to leave and abandon everything I had built over the past six years not seeing the possibilities ahead. I was focusing on what I had lost and not on what I could build again. I was tired, drained, lonely, empty, and scared. It was my breaking point.
I thought I could be more useful to my family and friends back home. I thought I could be more of a service here than there. I´ve been in Lisbon since January and I still regret not having had that extra bit of resilience, of trust and belief in myself to build again. I thought I couldn’t do it again alone and from scratch. I could only see the heartbreak, the failure, the tiredness, the pain, the loss. I was a bucket full of lost hope, defeat and broken will.
Then, out of the blue, I received a job offer in Lisbon. Well paid, in my field, and it would allow me to grow professionally and personally. Suddenly, leaving was an opportunity and not a “give-up” decision. There was a specific reason for me to come home. But I felt like I was leaving home. Dubai was home for me. It was freedom and independence.
Once I made up my mind, there was no turning back.
I arrived in Lisbon at the perfect timing… just in time for winter, a cold wind peak and a second quarantine in Portugal. Also, in time for major weight gain while stuck at home during wintertime.
This second quarantine led to the job offer withdrawal. I see myself without a job and back to zero. Panic and fear installed. My core was shaken again – financial independence is my highest priority. If I can´t provide for myself, no one else will. It’s how I validate myself – through my job and my financial security.
As for another miracle, another job offer came in. It wasn’t a well paid job, it wasn’t challenging, I was not going to use my skillset… it was like reverting 20 years.
From there on, my challenge has been to adjust and understand my job doesn’t define me, my weight doesn’t define me, my past doesn’t define me. However, who I am is a mix of all of those: flawed, imperfect, not as I idealized them. Life isn’t made of what we wish for, it’s what we get. And it’s what we do with it. I think things unfolded like this for a reason which is beyond my comprehension. I’m not planning to go back to Dubai, however I don´t say NO to the future, wherever it leads me. I take the learning of being in the present moment, living one day at the time is now what fuels me to keep calm and centered. I didn’t want to meet anyone to avoid feeling judged on my weight, on my job… I wanted to avoid being seen as a wreck and a loser. Until I decided to do the work again. It’s not about the others. It’s about how I see myself. And while I see myself empty, I will be empty. And it´s enough. I have no reason for feeling like this. This is where I kick myself to come around and remember I’m privileged to have my own space, a job that provides enough, family and friends. And most of all… I´m alive, healthy and my body moves on its own with no need of artificial aid in any way.
Yes, I miss a ton of things. Especially the beach. How easy and accessible everything was. I miss the travels, the social life, and the quietness when I needed it.
Here, everything always seems a bit more difficult. Traffic, bureaucracy, heavy taxes. I feel like time is running out and I don’t have the means to ever succeed in this reality.
But this time I´m not running. If I go somewhere else, it will be for the right reasons. Whether it was the right or the wrong decision, whether I regret it or not, it was the end of a cycle and, necessarily, the beginning of a new one, maybe a long one, on a long haul. I´m (re)learning to enjoy the beauty and the good things my own country has to offer me. I´m finally starting to settle and appreciate it again. I´m so grateful for the amazing experience I had and I´m so extremely grateful for the life in me and, God willing, still have ahead with all its world of creation, opportunity, and strength. Everything changes in a heartbeat, for better or worse. So, enjoy. Focus. Breath. Let go of expectations. Let go of what should be. Let go of the why. While your heart is beating, and your brain oxygenated, you´re here. Do what you can. Innovate however you can. So you can look back and say you did your best, and gave it your all. With no regrets.