Here I am, at the age of 50, smiling at life and enjoying the small treasures I find along the way.
Too many people are judging my lifestyle but I can finally state that I’m ok with that and happy about my accomplishments.
These days I am part of a team who’s judging 500 candidates for a job in public health care, so I have the opportunity of meeting many different people. It’s inevitable that, each time one of them enters the room, an idea of this person would take form in my mind. We all do have experiences piled up at our backs that make us judge someone at first sight.
Well, guess what? It’s so amazing to discover that every single one of them has a personal story of grief, difficulty or loneliness. There’s always a reason behind that veil of exterior shabbiness, that makes me feel guilty for the idea that I had shaped in my mind.
So, I’m forcing myself to be a as impartial as possible, and just welcome them and listen to what they have to say.
And this made me think over my own life and my own experiences. I’ve always lived my life looking for the approval of the persons I loved most, my parents, my husband, my daughters. There’s nothing wrong with that, life is a balance game. But I also realized that sometimes I was pleasing them without thinking “who am I?”. These last two and a half years my life has changed completely, it went all upside down, all that was taken for granted just disappeared and I’ve been left with empty hands and a devasted heart.
I was left looking at myself in the mirror wondering who was that person staring back at me. What are her passions? What habits does she have? What kind of clothes or hairstyle does she like or what’s her favorite food? I lived some months when I felt absolutely adrift with feelings of pain, fear and loss. After these first terrible moments I just stopped and breathed and said to myself “you are you and you’re not alone”. By magic, I realized that I had some passions, some abilities that I’d never expressed. Little by little, step by step, day by day, the real me was emerging from years of being a connector between people and a peace keeper.
Now, when I look at myself in the mirror, I’m proud of who I am, aware of my many flaws as well as my many values. This is a revelation that passed through grief but I’m so happy now that I almost feel I could fly light and free.
The message I would like to convey through this experience of mine is that we all should stop judging people at first sight instead, we should give everyone the opportunity of showing who they are because, behind a fierce look or a sad face there’s always a story which, often, tells about pain and struggle.