Photo: Costel Parcalab

Hello people,

6 days ago I turned 30. Yep, that’s right! I’m an adult now hah!

It seems like many have issues with this big 30, but I personally don’t. Maybe many people feel overwhelmed to be 30 because it’s a typical age for an existential crisis. I’ll tell you why I don’t have one:

30 feels like the best time of my life!

At 30 years old, I feel happy and grateful for the life I’ve been given and worked so hard to build.

My existential crisis happened in 2011 when working for this HSBC corporation who was sucking the soul out of me. When saying “Good morning” to some of my co-workers and asking them how they are doing and getting answers like “I’m waiting for 4 pm to get the hell out of here.”

It was in the lifeless faces of many of my co-workers, in the long routine hours in from of my desk that I started to see I want to live my life in a different way. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living as long as you are all in it. And in order to feel fulfilled and in peace with yourself, you will need to give your 100%.

I could not fit in there. And therefore I knew I need to give my 100% somewhere else. 4 years later Unfold Your Mat was starting to take its first breath.

I could say, my process of waking up and finally start living my life was initiated by the best question I have ever been asked: “What do you want?”. I am grateful to S. for the strong emotions and deep reflections this question has triggered. I’ve been turning this question upside down many times in trying to find an answer. And I got frustrated thousands of times for being unable to respond. Then the same man told me something else: “Greatness is within, my dear.” And how right he was! In the end, after lots of work, frustration and struggles I found out that I’m not going to find the answers at those around me. I turned to my inner wisdom and little by little started to see things more clearly. I stopped asking for validation and expect other people to know what I should do with my life. Nobody knows more about your life, than you know. And nobody can teach you how to live. You need to discover it inside your own heart.

I stopped letting fear and emotional irritability to control my decisions, mood and behavior. I stopped asking myself to be the best all the time. And instead started to allow   vulnerability to teach me about inner wisdom and the beauty of life, letting go and moving forward.

I started putting in the work into becoming nothing else than…myself. Not what others think or want me to be.

I don’t miss being 20 nor 18 nor 15 or another age. I like myself as I am right now, the good and the bad. I know how hard I worked for it. And I keep putting the effort into becoming a good person and the best version of myself.

10 years ago I was this little girl who was about to make the huge mistake of living some other people’s stories. I was lost, with no direction on how to sail this journey towards myself, but I was also this girl with big dreams.

I would not trust myself. And I would doubt what I think, do or believe. I would compare myself with other people whom I thought they have a clue or are smarter than me. I would not know that nobody has a f**king clue what they are doing, nor saying. We are all weird. Nobody is normal nor has a clue of what life really is. We are all trying one way or another to live and find answers…

What I had deep inside me was something called “FAITH” and the courage to keep on going no matter how much I would doubt myself and be told that I am useless and will never manage to be more than what some thought I am.

I was this naive girl with no self-confidence, but I also had a vision to strive for the best. I would never settle for little. I would not give up no matter how hard it would be. I would fight till the end. Even when I did not know exactly what I am fighting for and parts of my mind would want to give up.

Somehow along the way, with patience and different experiences, things got better, my mind got clearer and I learned that I am stronger that I ever thought I am. You know that saying, “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice  you have.” (Bob Marley)

So how do these last 10 years look like in retrospective? Few milestones:  

10 years ago, in this shady student dorm in Timisoara, Romania, I met this 20 years old young man with the most beautiful shiny eyes (when he would look at me). He would become my husband, my partner in life, the man who would never try to put a label on me, nor tell me I am not good enough, but instead give me my freedom and always encourage me to do my best. He would teach me about respect, unconditional support, kindness, non-judgement, courage, ability to be selfless, mental strength, all in one LOVE.

8 years ago I learned that not all women have the same rights like any other human being, nor receive the same respect. I learned it the hard way when being harassed (not only once) because I dared to walk on a Tunis city center street alone (as a woman) after 7 pm. This and many other similar experiences, like being treated as a cheap woman just because I was friendly to a friend of a friend, triggered many strong emotions inside me. The revolutionary child inside me wanted to change the world… again. But years later I started to see that people will never change unless they first become aware of their own bulls*it. I don’t believe it is true that people never change. People can change, but first you need to be aware and that’s a tough job! Not an impossible one though…

7 years ago, for the first time ever went shopping for clothes in order to make myself feel better after a horrible day at work. This is how I learned that you cannot buy happiness. Even if you hold a beautiful object in your hands, this will not take the pain away. Lifeless objects will never replace love.  I felt empty inside and understood that’s not who I am. I am not the type of person who sweeps under the rug. I go through the pain and let it teach me even if it has to break me into thousands of pieces thousands of time, I go through hell and then I come back.

Never repeated that again. Learned my lesson.

5  years ago I learned what real friendship is about: non-judgement, and accepting the other person just the way she is. Giving support even when you don’t fully agree with everything. And not being afraid to be honest, straight-forward about your opinions (even if they are wrong), still while being kind and always be there no matter what. I learned that with a real friend you can both be yourselves 🙂 You can fight and then hug like nothing happened. Claudia taught me that it is never a good idea to compromise yourself by being a people pleaser. It is better to stay truthful to yourself and be honest, with the risk that not many are going to be supportive nor like you. Not everyone is going to like you anyway. And that’s FINE! Not everyone has to like you. She showed me that I am not a people pleaser even before I had that figured it out.

3 years ago I learned that parents do not live forever. And we are all going to die sooner or later… The most important thing is how you choose to live your life between your first and your last breath. Always be grateful to those that supported and loved you unconditionally. Be there for people. And be there for you. Don’t waste precious time on useless things. Live your life! Smile more, be kind, create harmony around you and share joy!

2 years ago I learned that dreams do come true if you believe in them. I remember teaching my first yoga class. My heart in my throat. My hands shaking. The doubts arising. It hasn’t been an easy journey and it will never be. And that’s the beauty of it. With time and lots of practice everything gets better and we learn (if we want to). Teaching has taught me to remain an eternal student. It taught me to stop those little voices inside my mind, not to be afraid of judgement and just do my best. The ones that appreciate a pure intention and something offered from the heart will stay, the ones that don’t and search for a quick fix will leave. And that’s fine too!

Throughout this 10 years journey, I learned that I can be broken into pieces thousands of times, but it doesn’t mean I should stay there forever. Remaining in that dark place is giving up on life and I do not wish to do that.

I learned that nobody has the right to take your smile. (Thank you Rakesh!)

I learned that nobody knows anyways. We are all just trying to figure it out.

I learned that we are hurting each other because somehow we are all in pain. But this can be changed if we open our heart and see the other person in front of us  with our heart, not just with our eyes.

These last couple of years have been a struggle to accept the impermanence of life (started with the loss of my dad who passed away in 2014). I think I finally start to understand that everything we think we know it’s just an illusion. Perception, memories and society influence our mind in ways in which we are not aware of. In the end, kindness remains the universal language.

I no longer wish to let the mind get twisted, but instead let the pain of discipline to guide me towards becoming a more stable, happier and stronger person.

I no longer wish to judge things I don’t understand, but instead open my heart and be understanding towards those that are not aware how much harm they are creating around them.

I am not happy every single moment of my life, as I believe nobody is, but I do feel extremely grateful for everything life has given me.  I feel in peace knowing that I do my best every day and I’m not afraid of hard work. I am grateful for all the pain and obstacles along my way, because they opened my heart and helped me understand I want to live a life of virtue, a life where I do my best, work hard and at the end of the day be happy with who I am. I do not wish to be someone else.

Life just gets better and better.

I am grateful I got the chance to live this day. Life is a gift, we should live it properly and take care of it, not complain about it.

I feel I was blind and now I finally start to see. Dear 30s I’m ready!

Many thanks to all of you who made and keep making this  an incredible journey.

Drop the labels, be yourself!

From my heart to yours,

Lavinia

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