The Sum of Our Choices

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We were on vacation, driving up and down the hills of Illinois. His voice sounded almost like an echo as he asked: Who am I? These three words got me thinking. Who am I? Who are we?

We had a casual conversation but yet its profoundness hit me like a lightning in the middle of a storm. Silently I let my mind rewind past moments of my life in which I asked myself this question.

I believe most of us spend our lives trying to find ourselves and to define who we really are.

Some people settle with being someone’s son or daughter, allowing their parents’ story to define them. At times, our legacy is so strong that it’s almost impossible to break, accompanied with the fear of failure. Imagine that!

If your father was a successful business man, how can you consider becoming a doctor? You need to follow in your father’s footsteps. Or so you may think.

Other people become someone’s husband or wife, being defined by their partners and losing themselves behind that person’s shadow.

Another group allow their professional lives to define them. It’s funny when being asked who they are, their simple responses will be: I’m a doctor, I’m a teacher, or I’m an attorney.

2011 was a decisive year in my life. At that point I myself had become my work. I had no life of my own and all I did was work. I didn’t spend time with my kids because I was always either working or tired from working. I didn’t go out because I had no time for socialization. I loved the weekends so I could sleep as much as possible (when I wasn’t on call).

However, at the same time I started realizing that there was no balance in my life and that I needed more; my kids needed more. I decided to pursue life and become me, the best me I could possibly be.

That was the hardest part, to define who I was away from my work. And then came the real question: Who did I want to be?

This tough question shook something inside of me and helped me make the necessary changes. I realized I wanted to be a combination of a mother, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker and eventually even a spouse. I had to make peace with the fact that I was more than my work and that playing all those roles was important for me in becoming a better person.

After years of helping others to find balance in their lives, I decided it was time to find my own balance. And so I did.

In 2012 I packed my things and moved to another country, basically to start building a whole new life. I had to be careful to have the space I needed to be who I wanted to be.

I made a list of skills I wanted to develop, the good traits I wanted to keep and nurture, and those defects I needed to work on in order to improve myself. Well, I must say that was probably the greatest challenge of all, but I am so happy I did.

In 2013 I met an extraordinary man who later became my husband. My kids have enjoyed having a mother who now respects her working schedule but is aware that life is more than just working and providing. I am fully enjoying life. I am modeling for my children the ability to find balance in their own lives.

It’s never too late to decide who we want to be, because in the end, who we become is the sum of our choices.

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