One day, I decided to quit. One day, I found myself again.
That September morning, the day started just like any other day. I woke up, plugged in the coffee machine, put my mug with “Coffee is always a good idea” at its place, and took my morning shower. I made an omelette, I ate it fast while checking all those work emails…today was the day! In less than an hour, I was about to talk in front of 1000 people about “How to build a successful career?”. While listening to Everything must change by my beloved Nina on Spotify, I stopped for a second and watched the outside world from my kitchen window. What a lovely September day it was! I opened the window, closed my eyes, and let the sun touch my face. The birds were chirping. Gosh, how peaceful it was! In that moment, I realized that I haven’t listened to that song in a very long time…
My phone started vibrating. I was having a message from Anna on WhatsApp. Hey, how are you today? Excited? Terrified? Look what YouTube has just recommended to me. You need to listen to this!!! I clicked on that link. What matters at the end of life, by BJ Miller. Interesting! 19 minutes…In less than an hour, I should have kept the presentation of my life…that was about to boost my career. I worked so much for that moment. Ten years of my life. I woke up at the same hour, drank the same coffee, checked emails since opening my eyes, put on the same business clothes, worked for almost 10h/day. And though, something inside me was telling me to watch that video.
What a great speech!
I locked my phone, took my expensive bag, and on my way to the door, I stopped in front of the big vintage mirror in the hall.
Who are you,Emma?
I watched myself in the mirror. My hair was perfect, my face was looking great, business outfit, and two drops of My Way by Giorgio Armani. I watched myself and for the first time in ten years, those questions were yelling at me…What have you become? Is this what you really want? Are you happy? Is this your dream? Why are you wasting your time?? All those questions that I tried so much to hide in the last decade…they were all there. I remembered that summer night when I was sixteen and Josh asked me What do you want to do with your life? How beautiful was the sky that night! I was wearing his blue hoodie and feeling happy. I want to travel the world, meet great people, listen to their stories, write, and take pictures. I want to be kind of an artist! I guess I just want to be happy and feel alive.
At that moment, I felt the tears on my cheeks. I was crying like a 3-year-old toddler to whom the mom refused the chocolate bar at the supermarket. I have built an (im)perfect successful life and I was so incredibly unhappy. My perfect mask started to leak on my face. What have you become, Emma?
I threw my business clothes in the trash, searched for Josh’s hoodie, the T-shirt I won at the writing competition when I was fifteen, my favorite pair of jeans, I took my bike and rode as fast as I could to the beach.
What a great day it was! Not too cold, not too warm, not too many people. Everyone was working hard to build a successful life in those all the same glass offices.
-Hello! I want some fries, please!
-And a coke! A normal one. Thank you! Have a nice day!
I took off my shoes and for the first time in a while, I was feeling again the sand of my favorite beach between my toes. I head to my secret place…how great that some places stay the same while we all change! I sat down on the warm sand and started to eat my fries. My phone was continously ringing, but I have decided to ignore it. I was staying there, eating those unhealthy fries and listening to the ocean. How impressive was that huge dark blue mass of water, with those waves moving all the time. Up and down, up and down… A lil bit far, a kid was laughing. He was happy. I was happy too!
I searched for my phone and I finally booked my first flight for Latin America. Then I texted Josh: I quit! In one week, I will go to travel the world with my camera for one year. I’ll meet great people, listen to their stories,write, take pictures, be happy and feel alive. Five minutes later, Josh’s name appeared on the screen: Congrats!!! I’m very proud of you! Welcome back, Emma! To who you really are. Enjoy your journey!
I decided to spend the rest of the day there, watching the ocean and people around.
After a very long time, I was feeling truly happy. Again.