One mom's journey home.
I woke up and drove to work. Waited in line at the trendy coffee shop a block from the internet start-up I'd been working at for the past two years since I moved to San Francisco. Ordered my first double shot caffè latte to get through the day. I'd be back for two more before the day ended.
Glanced at my calendar overloaded with back-to-back meetings. Rushed to barely make the first one. No time to stop as hot liquid slowly dripped down my arm onto my brand new red shoes. The rest of the day was a blur and like always just pushed to get through it.
6:22pm. Grabbed my laptop and arrived at an artsy warehouse space we had rented for our start up's big launch party tonight. Saw a sea of cocktails and trapeze artist circling above me. Mingled and smiled as people talked about finally "making it".
Was handed a microphone and asked to give a killer speech. Praising my sales and marketing team for being "rock stars". Thanked them for helping to secure over seventy million dollars in sponsorship deals to help our start up could go public.
Heard loud cheers and slaps from hands high-fiving in the air. People saying this must be the best day of my life. Finally we had done it. Achieved the impossible.
Drove home. Walked my two dogs, Aspen and Frisbee. Returned to my small apartment decorated with unpacked moving boxes now turned into coffee tables where I'd plop my laptop on each night to get through the flood of emails.
Removed my dog leashes. Confused and exhausted, I flopped onto my couch and cried. Uncontrollably.......
I had done everything possible to reach the top of my mountain. A place I'd been racing to for decades. The start up was just the last stage to the top.
Ever since our family immigrated to America from Montreal when I was seven, I could feel the energy around me move faster. People seemed to be racing to the top of some mountain. It felt strange at first, but soon I went faster too. It felt like being in a herd, that if you slowed down, you'd be left behind.
Not only was I afraid of not keeping up, I was determined to get to my mountaintop where I could finally sit and enjoy life. I wanted that "ahh" feeling. Knowing I could finally relax and deep breathe life in.
But when I got there, holding up my impressive work titles, big paychecks and accolades, all I saw was fog in front of me.
Where was happiness?
A few months later, I left my career behind at the start up. I had to return "home to me". I had no idea what that meant but needed to find out.
My first decision was to book a trip to Australia. Why not go as far as possible to find my adventurous spirit again, I figured! So, I boarded my dogs, packed a backpack I could barely lift without falling over, and jumped on a plane. Sitting in my seat drinking a glass of red wine, I felt relaxed for the first time in a while as the pilot announced the route to Sydney.
Three months later I returned home. Why was that yearning inside still there? After a trip filled with incredible experiences, I still had this deep longing to reconnect to me. A few weeks later, the stock market crashed. All the stock from the years at the start up company were worthless. One million dollars. Poof.
Rather than sink to the floor and never get up, I surprisingly felt relieved. Rock bottom. I was free to rise up with lighter wings.
I rang my mother the next morning. You see, she was raised in an orphanage in Switzerland during WWII. Without toys, her and your orphan friends would make little paper doll by hand and search for discarded matchboxes on the walk home from school to use as beds for their dolls to sleep in. A life filled with simple pleasures came natural to my mother.
We grew up in Montreal, Canada where simple living was ingrained into the culture. My mother modeled it each day for me and my older sister and brother. I loved watching her hum French songs throughout her day while experiencing the most simple tasks like cooking or ironing. She turned chores into pleasure.
So I wasn't surprised when her advice when I called was to start with simple, pleasurable moments. "Take a walk, Yasmine, and notice the leaves changing colors" she said. "Make a cup of tea just for the sheer pleasure of enjoying it." Then her staple to every tidbit of advice, "You deserve it."
The following Sunday I woke up to raindrops falling on my windowpane. My mother always broke out the coloring pencils and craft supplies on rainy days, so rain sparks my energy. This day I would stay in and rearrange a room to create what I now call "white space" (learn how). This single act shifted the energy in my home and soon in my life.
The next weekend, I walked around a local antique market alone...something that always brought me joy but I hadn't done in years while overworking. While exploring the market, with no set purpose or time constraints, a little vintage treasure spoke to me.
Bringing home my new sea glass bottle gave me a spring in my step. Every week, I would put a single bloom I found on my walks around town in this bottle. It became my inspiration piece, reminding me to blossom my own creativity (find your inspiration piece).
Soon, moment by moment, I got to a place where happiness lived. It wasn't at the top of any mountain. It wasn't down under in any far off land. It had always been waiting patiently for me to notice it inside.
My hope is to inspire you (and me) to slow down in this fast paced world and do more of what we love. If more of us are doing that, I believe our world would be a more joyful and compassionate place to pass on to our children. Start by signing up for YMoments.
Yasmine lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her Australian husband David and two young children, Finnegan and Delphine. She is a published writer and has been featured in national publications. She is currently writing her first memoir, her journey back home.
Their 1893 Victorian farmhouse is filled with soulful vintage pieces. She has curated a collection of her favorites "inspiration pieces" to help ignite your creativity. Visit the Maison Rêve shop to get inspired!