image taken from my Greece travel diary <3
There's a new life update I've been meaning to share with you - I recently left my job. Phew, *breathes down*
The thought of sharing this update on here has been quite daunting, because I am partly still coming to terms with all the major life changes happening simultaneously. I thought I'd sort of share a summary of how it all happened, why I decided to leave, and what I'll be doing next. My hope is it's somewhat helpful to anyone going through something similar. <3
I was formerly a program manager at Microsoft, and I had been with the company for 7 years (intern 3, full time 4). Because I started working at quite a young age (18), it feels like I partly grew up in the company. Some of my closest friends and relationships I've had, were made during my time living and working in Seattle, and with most things in life, I had some of the most beautiful memories made there, as well as some of the most painful experiences.
I remember crying for what felt like hours, while trying to drown my sorrows with red wine, which happened quite often then. I felt hopeless. I wanted things to be different, but I didn't have enough courage to give myself a different life. I have so much love for the team I had at Microsoft. We had our ups and downs, but above all, I feel blessed to have had such a supportive team. However, I knew something was off. I didn't feel connected to the work I was doing, and the skills I was learning. I was also going through a lot of pain and heartbreak in my personal life. I was in a dark place. I felt lost, alone, deeply afraid, anxious, wounded, and broken. I tried to stay productive, but it internally felt like I was fading away. I felt absent from living, like life had lost colour.
The silence of being in this space, made me hear my heart clearer. It made me a lot more aware about the things that brought me joy, even in the littlest of ways. Joy felt like tasting a drop of water after a very long draught, so I paid attention to its sources.
I like to use an analogy of being physically wounded. When you have a physical wound, you're all of sudden more sensitive to what soothes the wound, and what makes it worse. In that sense, I became more aware of joy what felt like, and the different flavours it came in. The flavour of joy I felt when I woke up to the smell of coffee in the morning, and another kind while watching a documentary about Space and Time (shout out to Neil DeGrasse!). These moments had more meaning to me, and as I continued riding the wave of good and bad days, I started doing less to please others, or out of a fear of missing out, or because "it's something you're supposed to do".
I decided to go to therapy again, spent more time with close friends, moved closer to family, reconnected with my spirituality, etc.. (it's a long list, maybe I'll do another post on this, plus it's still a work in progress :D). Feeling surrounded with love, slowly started shifting the fog and I became curious again about the dreams I had before the fog was formed to begin with.
I have always wanted to live in France. When I was a freshman in college minoring in French, I got an amazing opportunity to study abroad, but gave it up to do my first internship. Which was honestly the better decision at the time. I tried again right after graduating college. This time, I found a host family and was ready to go, but I couldn't due to unforeseeable circumstances (aka, immigration policies in the US, lol). So, when I started garnering some courage again in this dark space, moving to France was one of the first things that came to mind.
As far back as I can remember (perhaps when I was 11/12), I wanted to study Design, at the time - Industrial Design. And this desire has persisted through the years, with my interest in the field evolving over time. So, I made a list of all these things I wanted to do - possibly move to Europe, study design, picking up pottery, etc... Last year, I decided to apply to HCID (Human Computer Interaction and Design) graduate school programs both in the States and in Europe, and after hearing back from the schools and spending several weeks contemplating, I decided to go with France!
Deciding to make this change was easily one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make. A dream seems so ideal until one has to take the actual leap of faith, and it was difficult getting there. I felt like I was going off the "right" course. It made me question my motives, which made me more intentional about my reasons for moving. But after several hours speaking to mentors, friends, and family members who all had mixed feelings about me wanting to move, I realised that at the end of the day, there was no way for me to certainly know what lies ahead. No way to know that moving and slightly switching up my career path a little, would definitely be the best decision I coud have made. However, I also knew that if I didn't take the plunge, I would always wonder "What If?..", and deep down, choosing to move felt right.
So, here I am now - taking life a day at a time, and trying not to worry about a future that presently seems ambiguous. Trusting that God/the Universe/the Source/the Divine/Allah, (whatever you call it :) ) is for me, and wants the best for me as it does for us all. I feel optimistic, excited, and nervous about this new chapter, but going through the process of making this decision has given me the sense of feeling like I can trust myself more, and that my needs, feelings and dreams are worth honouring. I am beyond thankful for this gift.
This is not to say that all is perfect and dandy in my life now. But then again, life isn't supposed to be perfect. I like to think that life happens in waves, and I'm learning to be grateful and accepting of the different waves it brings, whether joy, or sadness, and try to grow from all experiences without judgement on myself and on others, but rather with love, compassion and empathy. It's easier said than done, and it's a tough series of lessons to learn, but we're all in this together (go, WildCats! Lol. High school musical joke? Get it? Okay, nvm).
Please always remember, your feelings and your dreams are worth honouring. Whatever brings you true joy, is worth honouring. Regardless of the mistakes you feel you've made, or whatever situation you find yourself in right now, or how much better you think other people's lives are, you deserve to live a life that brings you joy. I know it is isn't always practical to achieve certain dreams right away, but you owe it to yourself to pursue the little ones you can (perhaps on a smaller scale, like learning a new skill you've always wanted to, or learning a new language, or trying out a new hobby, etc..), while planning ahead if it's one that will be more feasible to accomplish in the future. And as you pursue what brings you joy, be kind to yourself in moments where you feel afraid, or lose momentum. It will all be well, and these are lessons I'm still learning to live by more fully myself. We're truly all in this together <3
So, here's to embracing a new chapter, with an open heart, and I'm excited about bringing you all on this journey with me.
As always, thank you so much for reading! If you have any questions about the process of moving, please feel free to contact me or shoot me an email. I'm always happy to chat. If you live in Paris currently (or Berlin, I'll be there for the second year), please do reach out! I'd love to connect.
And... If you've recently gone through a big move, please write to me. I'd love to hear about your experience! <3
Stay Kind; Stay True; Stay Beautiful,