There are fundamental questions we sometimes think we have answered once and for good. But let me tell you, the only thing that happens once and for good is death. I’m not being dramatic, that’s the only reality that cannot be undone.
Here is what I know for a fact.
Think about it.
What matters in your life? What makes you happy?
Is it the same things that mattered 30, 10 or 2 years ago? Is it career, money, family, friends, recognition, personal development? Some values are core and probably never change materially as they stem from core needs like the need to belong, to love and be loved. But the things that occupy our thoughts on a daily basis change so much over time. What you want and find meaningful today may actually not be what you thought of being as important a week ago. Our perception of life and what matters changes as we grow – at least it should, I think. Otherwise we don’t grow, really. I started noticing this a few months after I took the leap and decided to change my life. I let life lead me most of the time. I let reality be reality, which does not mean I liked it at all times. And I did resist. I still do. Sometimes I resist because I’m scared of moving forward, sometimes because I am afraid of the unknown, sometimes because I am just stubborn, or other times because I think I know what is the best thing to do.
In a little flashback and taking into account less than half my life so far, during the past 15 years I have been so many different Ioannas, all in one. All being the same person I am today yet so different.
The Ioanna that was a career woman, in her high heels and suits and cufflink shirts. The Ioanna that wanted to be a flight attendant. The Ioanna that wanted to become a lawyer. The Ioanna that wanted to become a coach. The Ioanna that wanted to write a book. The Ioanna wearing nothing but sweatpants every day. The Ioanna that had 35 pairs of shoes. The Ioanna that had 2 pairs of shoes and a pair of flip flops. The Ioanna whose dream was to drive a two-seated convertible sports-car and worked two jobs to manage and pay it off. The Ioanna who dream was to work enough to pay for her bills and food. The Ioanna that worked 7 days a week trying to establish herself professionally, trying to never, ever having to ask for anyone’s help. The Ioanna that was unemployed with no savings. The Ioanna that was looking for forgotten money in the winter coat. The Ioanna that for the same reason preferred to pay a big chunk of her income for (thankfully) unnecessary insurance coverage so that she would not have to cause any financial inconvenience to anyone if anything went wrong.
The Ioanna that believed she could not trust anyone to help her in life, yet the same person trusted her heart so easily to people that maybe didn’t deserve it. The Ioanna that allowed herself to be left in the hands of the people around her only to find that people are mostly by default good and caring.
The Ioanna that was a couch potato, yet on a constant diet trying to live up to the expectations of her peers. The Ioanna that would weigh herself every day for years, struggling with 2 or 5 extra kilos and feeling miserable about it. The Ioanna that hated broccoli. The Ioanna that loved broccoli. The Ioanna who thought that she needed to be perfect in order to be loved and strived for this endlessly. The Ioanna that didn’t step on a scale for an entire year and couldn’t care less about the number it would show. The Ioanna that was a CrossFit junkie only caring about her next deadlift PR. The Ioanna that would judge whoever led a couch potato life without ever considering what may have caused this. The Ioanna that would be eating clean, counting proteins, carbs and fats but also the Ioanna that was eating 3 bagels, 2 chocolate bars, 2 ice creams and a litre of coke before lunch time.
The Ioanna that thought we are all able to control our minds at all times. The Ioanna that thought that no matter what we do, things just happen. The Ioanna that would fall in love and give everything up for the one she loved and did so with all her heart. The Ioanna ‘chameleon’ that would adapt to a guy’s lifestyle just to get one step closer to being accepted and loved, just to have things in common. The Ioanna who, coming out of such relationships, found herself not knowing who she really was, not knowing what type of music SHE liked, what intrigued HER in life, and ended up doing choosing to get into the next relationship with the same mindset. The Ioanna whose only dream in life was to get married to a man that would be financially stable, believing he could and would support her forever in any aspect. The romantic Ioanna who believed in endless love, in the ‘happily forever after’, in the old couple that sits on the bench at the part and holds hands smiling to each other. The same Ioanna came to believe this was all a bunch of bullshit and did not care to seek love anymore. The Ioanna that was convinced she will get old and die alone.
The Ioanna that would not talk to her mother for a year. The Ioanna that would talk to her mother 10 times a day. The Ioanna that believed one-night-stands are perfectly fine and no emotional attachment is necessary in life. The Ioanna that was the party animal, going out every night with friends or alone, enjoying the nightlife, the drinks and smoking; but also the Ioanna that would hide at home for weeks in a row watching movies and not wanting to talk to anyone. The Ioanna that would fight all smokers and complain about the stinking smell of cigarettes. The Ioanna that would wake up at 6am to go running. The Ioanna that would return home at 6am drunk. The Ioanna that would only listen to R&B. The Ioanna that would only listen to Greek music. The Ioanna that would only listen to love songs. The Ioanna that did not value herself and let people abuse her. The Ioanna that believed that if you make a promise you have to die trying to make it happen. The Ioanna that understood that sometimes we cannot keep our promises no matter how much we want to. The Ioanna that found it impossible to live without a washer and dryer at home. The Ioanna that couldn’t care less for having a washer and dryer at home.
Was all this fake? No. This was all me. This is all part of me, of who I chose to be at any given time. Each Ioanna contributed different experiences to the mind’s ‘experience bank’ and, the more diverse the experiences, the closer Ioanna was coming to finding out what really makes her happy. What makes her happy Today, not tomorrow. This is what I have learned and what I strive for today. To be honest to myself, follow my heart, let my emotions lead the way and give a hand to this troubled mind of mine to hang on and not give up on me. To seek and conquer whatever it is that makes me happy today.
For as long as I have hope and I believe it can happen, I will keep trying. Dreams change. Desires change. Priorities change. Ioanna changes. Nothing stays the same. Nothing lasts forever.