I recently completed a breathtaking road trip. It started out with the scenic drive home to Ontario, where my folks live in a rural town near the St. Lawrence River adjacent to Ottawa and Montreal. I have been making this trip for many summers with my family when my sister, who lives in England, also makes the trip home with her family.
This was the first time in 5 years, that we were all together and our reunion consisted of trips to Ottawa and Montreal to visit water parks, attend my brother-in-law’s performances at the Osheaga festival and to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. It was great fun but more importantly, we enjoyed being together. I will never take that for granted.
I got to visit with my childhood friends, who reminded me of how much we have all grown from our formative years. To be able to pick up with these soul mates, as though no time has passed, is a blessing.
My daughter was the first to head back home to London. She has been working there for the past two years and wants nothing more than to continue to live in the UK. Her work Visa recently expired and she was about to leave when, through her gifted networking efforts, she landed a job as an office manager at a fashion magazine who plans to sponsor her to work for them. It speaks volumes that they are jumping through hoops to obtain her immigration allowing her to work for them. I am proud of her for making this happen and to continue her career journey.
My road trip continued to NYC to drop my son off at medical school, his lifelong dream. Now that his next chapter is beginning, I share in his excitement and anticipation for the next 4-8 years. Our drive took us through the breathtaking Adirondacks and Catskills and finally into the breathtaking/terrifying experience of driving in NYC. I had never done this on my own but I felt compelled to be strong, courageous and face my fears to get him settled in.
The drop off and move-in went smoothly. Once we determined what he needed, we went off, braving the traffic, aggressive pedestrians and one-way streets. The planets aligned and we were able to get him set up. The next day I got to explore the neighborhood, found groceries and experienced a New York bagel with great fervor! I will return by airplane in September for his white coat ceremony. So proud!
I felt a tremendous sense of relief as I drove away from the city. I don’t mean this negatively only that I felt like my kids are not only settled, but thriving and happy. I had a lot of time to reflect on my drive home about what I had experienced and why I was feeling this way.
In my life, I experienced great confusion as a first-generation daughter to Southeast Asian parents with strong, deep-rooted, ingrained beliefs. I was often in conflict with their views and the culture in which I was being raised. I had pressure to be honorable, studious and some sort of professional. Failure was not an option even though I failed plenty of times, which compounded my self-doubt even more through those years. I realize now that those so-called failures have made me the resilient and strong person I am today.
When my kids were born, it was the first time in my life that I knew why I was put on this planet. For the first time I had no confusion that what I was intended to do was nurture, protect and uplift these creatures. I was fortunate in the maternal instinct kicking in with such clarity and I knew that no matter what, I wanted my kids to be authentic and happy.
I believe in leading by example, rising to challenges by being strong, brave and fierce in the face of adversity. I have shown my children I can do anything and thrive in the process. Especially in this most recent and challenging journey, I think it is so important for them to see me thriving and how empowering it is when you accomplish challenging things with well-being.
Even though, I felt this sense of relief as I let them go, I realized that it’s because I had done my job well. A measure of success to me, is that they are able to navigate the world fearlessly and safely, with kindness, confidence and rudimentary life skills. The rest is on them. I have faith they will make their dreams happen. I’m here for support when they ask for it. I’m excited to sit back and watch the movie of their lives.
I am still experiencing the rush of adrenaline, albeit, I’m tired. I came home to celebrate graduations and weddings and back to my routine and teach my yoga classes. I really missed my students. It feels incredible to be living my life one day at a time, thriving and being inspired and clear about who I am, loving, nurturing, uplifting, fun and enthusiastic. I hope that shines through in my writing and inspires others to live authentically as well.
Now that my kids are settled, I am able to focus on my projects and to develop and market myself as a consultant. I plan to re-work my bio statement which has evolved significantly since I began my journey from the person who was first let go from a 20 year position with one company, went back to grad school at 50 and did a lot of soul-searching and self-evaluation to realize that this will be the best way for me to thrive and find purpose in this next stage of my authentic life.