The Day You Realize You Aren’t The Person You Thought You Were


I firmly believe that the universe gives us who and what we need. It determines where it happens along with when and how. It is up to us though to discover the why. We have free will to choose whether or not to follow what has been presented to us and how little or how much we decide to learn from it. Each and every person has a purpose to carry out their life’s plan. We make simple choices of what to cook for dinner to the more difficult ones of finding the courage to stay close to a loved one at the time of their death.

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the minutia, the tiny details. Certainly they have a place in the big picture, but we need to remember they just exist only for that purpose; a small pixel that doesn’t contain more than a fragment of color. But when we take a step back and reflect on our past successes and difficulties, we can begin to understand the why of how we arrived in the present.

Furthermore, we can take steps forward to construct the future that we desire; but with the balance of taking action and letting it unfold as it should.

There are moments when both the heart and mind are calm and clear to see and feel in unison. These are also the moments when we can navigate ourselves, interactions with others, and our current realities with less fear and more objectivity. But when the heart, the mind, or perhaps both are in distress, we tend to fall into the trap of self doubt, insecurity, impossibility, hopelessness, and anxiety. I have come to learn the hard way that I have caused myself years of mental tire and turmoil by hoping to create a life that fits on my timeline.

In my young twenties, I imagined that by 28 years old I would be married, by 30 have my first child, and do my best to manage home life and career while moving to a house on Long Island. But when I think back to the person who I was then, I was scared and lacked self-confidence. I was a workaholic trying to avoid working on myself and wanted to create distance in my long-term relationship with someone that was kind of heart, but we weren’t well suited for each other. We met as teenagers and he was all I knew. I resigned myself to creating a life with someone who didn’t feel right, but I silenced my intuition and feared there wasn’t another option. In fact it was the exact opposite of what I wanted in a partner and in general. That was the “why”; this ten year period from 16-26 years old was given to me to clarify what I truly did desire and to grow into my highest potential.

But all long, the universe was giving me one puzzle piece at a time and I am now living the “why” of the current phase of my life. From a young age, I embraced domestic responsibility and spent a great amount of time with my grandparents. They would relay their life stories and Italian traditions passed on from their parents and relatives. By the age of 12, I made my first trip to Italy and was fortunate to return many times afterwards. With each trip, my heart’s recognition of its rightful home grew stronger, but it seemed like an impossibility. Actually creating a life there wasn’t part of the “plan” I thought up in my mind. During high school, I started my Italian language studies and have continued in intervals since. What started as an interest became a necessity for communication.

A journey that began five and a half years ago has been the universe’s greatest gift but one of the most difficult puzzles of my life thus far. At times the pieces are given with ease and other times, all the pieces that have been constructed get blown away and it’s time to pick them up and start again. My arrival here in Italy has unfolded with much gratitude but with incredible difficulty. This has included financial scarifies, saying goodbye to my family and loved ones, leaving my career, condensing my life into five suitcases, strict immigration laws, and resolving personal matters.

After years of organizing myself by making frequent trips, experiencing some of the most impacting moments of the heart, yet contending with self-doubt and healing emotional fractures, all along the universe knew what it was doing. Everything has proceeded forward whether I kicked and screamed with resistance or embraced it gently. I followed the cues. At the age of 31, I am starting life anew. Certainly there are desires of the heart and future goals, but I’m learning to give up control as it only stifles the process. Although I’m not married yet and haven’t had the opportunity to start a family as I had hoped, I remind myself daily that everything that has happened the way it should and will happen on schedule—just not mine.

It’s making peace with that no matter what or who arrives along with how, where and when, it will all come to fruition. When we are ready to accept our current reality and give ourselves permission to let go of  timetables, judgments, demands, and expectations of how we “think” things should be, we can allow the creation of a life that is authentic and more fulfilling than we could have ever possibly imagined. All we need to do is let it open up and unfold naturally and the “why” will no longer matter.

image – Leanne Surfleet