Guess what? Today is my 30th birthday! WHOA! Where did the time go? I’ve been thinking recently about life, and my life in particular, what with this momentous milestone. This post is something that I wanted to share with you on my birthday, since I consider birthdays a great occasion to be celebrating life, yourself and all the reasons that make you…well, you!
|My children’s-themed 27th birthday party|
We, as women, often get told that we’re too “emotional”. We think “too much with our hearts and not enough with our heads”. My response? So what?
Everything, and I do mean, EVERYTHING I have ever done in my life was a result of me following my heart and I have absolutely NO regrets in my life! If my heart is the reason behind all this, then I am grateful that I was brave, courageous, and strong enough to listen to what my heart was telling me.
The first time I truly followed my heart was immediately after I turned 21. I was in a three-year relationship with a GREAT guy. My family adored him, his family adored me, and we loved each other. But something just didn’t sit right in my heart. Even to this day, I still can’t explain it. All I know is that my heart was telling me there was more to my life to live. It was practically screaming in my ears and eventually, I broke up with him. It’s pretty safe to say that if I hadn’t listened to what my heart was telling me, I would probably be some years married and with at least two children by now. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just not the life I wanted back then.
Another time listening to my heart paid off was when I went to New York City for the first time. I met another GREAT guy who was studying at NYU. My head told me not to pursue the relationship since I was living in San Diego and he was in New York City, but my heart convinced me otherwise. Emails turned into long late-night calls, which led to a six-month long-distance relationship (and lots of accumulated mileage) before we decided to travel Europe together for six months. Ultimately I moved to New York to be with him. The relationship didn’t work out in the end but by following my heart, I got to live in New York (my heart of hearts), experience all the wonders that that incredible city had to offer, make friends with some of the MOST amazing people in the world, and most importantly, I really came into my own in New York. It was truly the first time I felt like the real me.
|Loving my life in New York City|
Fast forward three years and my heart was once again feeling restless. I was still living in NYC and working for an international consulting company. My social life was filled to the brim, I had incredible friends and I was living a life close to a dream. Yet I felt I had bigger dreams to catch. I wanted to travel more.
I struggled between my heart and my head for a long time. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to do more with my life, that I had been so lucky and I needed to start giving back to the world. My head, on the other hand, sounded like my mother. I was soon to be 28 and needed to settle down, not give up a great job just when the economy was started to crack. In the end, with the love and support of my dear friends, I conquered my fears and decided to follow my heart.
I saved up my money to fund my travels, sold off and/or gave away my possessions, quit my job, gave up my lovely apartment in Manhattan, and packed my bags.
|Oh, I miss my Hell’s Kitchen apartment|
That was in February 2009. Since then, I have lived in Istanbul for six months teaching English, sailed the Mediterranean, belly-danced in the streets of Cairo, scuba dived in the Red Sea, slept under the stars in the mountains of Petra, visited distant relatives in Burma, learned meditation in India, trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal’s Himalayan range, volunteered for three months in Thailand with Burmese migrant workers, watched the sunrise over Angor Wat, rode along the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, and that’s just the beginning!
|Getting down with the locals in Cairo|
If all that I’ve done with my life is a result of me being too emotional and not thinking logically with my head, then I fully embrace my heart and if I could, I’d bow down to it and offer the most gratuitous thanks I could possibly muster! Logic can only get us so far but it’s our hearts that will make us leap and soar to allow us to make our “impossible” dreams a reality. My heart has made me the person I am today and I have absolutely NO shame in that! So maybe I do think too much with my heart. Good for me!
© Connie Hum 2010