If you had asked me ten years ago if I'd be where I am today I would have laughed and answered smugly, "No." I had goals. I had desires. I had many wishes and ideas. I was going to get a business degree, be a successful financial advisor, make a lot of money and own a home with lots of awesome stuff and bad-ass cars. Kids were optional, if we had the time. Sometimes things change. I'm still changing, but when I think about my plans for my life I now cringe. I thought I was just taking a detour for a while but it turns out I was learning how to follow my heart.
I was inspired by my Grandfather and his investment savvy and my Grandparent's great business sense. They had worked hard their whole life and had owned businesses. The Gowens had own the Gowens General Store and were big dogs in a little town. It was in my blood I thought. I never thought of any consequences other than success, money and stature. Where was the love, enjoyment and care besides the hard work, long hours and ideas of gaining something? That's when I began to think of quality of life and pay attention to the people around me. I've always loved helping people, taking care of their needs and helping them to reach goals. I love "customer service" and took great pride in caring, as one person implied, "Helping too much. (Just do your job)".
Fast forward ten years. I have a philosophy degree (after exploring business, advertising then psychology). I am a stay at home mom of one rad kid with another little love on the way. I have a loving, wonderful, hard working husband (been together over eleven years and married almost seven). He would do anything for his family as I would too. I own a home on 2/3 of an acre and a few cars and a camper. I still help people and take care of them but I've realized it's not about "getting something out of it". As the Beatles say, "All you need is love." I don't care about or want the same stuff I did ten years ago. In fact I wonder how I got so lucky that that my husband and I have evolved together for eleven plus years accepting each other as we are, changes and all. Yes, times have been tough for both of us in a lot of ways, but we've always had the same goal in mind: love and being there for each other through thick and thin.
I used to stress over "me" time and my goals but now I realize it's really about "we" time. I've had some amazing teachers in my life that have inspired me through my thirty years on this planet. Some thousands of years old and some as young as a newborn. Some I've hugged countless of times, some only once and some never. Some that helped me to realize where I want to be and where I don't want to be. But in all reality the most important teacher is always right in front of me and it's up to me to listen and intuit what the next step is (if there is one). I've learned to listen to my heart and realize I've got what it takes through the tough and the easy, the thick and the thin, the glad and the sad, the good and the bad. It may not always seem like I know what I'm doing when I'm in the moment but you know where you are where you need to be and you know what you need to do. It's not always a "detour" or "putting dreams on hold". You are where you need to be right now and you'll always know what the next step is. You know what's important if you pay attention.
Thank you to all my teachers: The Universe, my Grandmothers, my Mom, my son that is here and my son on the way, my husband, my family, my friends, my bosses, my co-workers, Buddha, Karen Maezen Miller, Suzuki Roshi, Maezumi Roshi, Thich Nhat Hahn, Chögyam Trungpa RinpocheJogi Bhagat, Dalai Lama, Jesus, Patanjali, my college professors -especially Robert Solomon, Katherine Higgins, Steven Phillips and Avron Boretz, grade school teachers, countless poets and writers, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and many many others. Just to name a few.