“First, make yourself happy, then everything else will fall into place,” as my mom used to tell me growing up. When my mom passed away in August 2014 from cancer, I made a vow to do just that, and to always be honest with myself and with others as her death gave me a new perspective on life.
I was in a job I hated and I didn’t want life’s opportunities to pass me by just because I had the security of a salary, a comfortable apartment, and good friends. I needed a change, a challenge, and an adventure. I also needed to grieve in peace, as my intuition told me, away from friends and family, as selfish as that may seem, but that was part of the vow I made.
I quit my job, sold and packed up my mom’s house with my family, and started to plan my trip to Europe for a departure in March 2015. I was right about listening to my intuition and to my mom. The months I spent traveling by myself were life-changing (and in a good way).
I added 11 new countries to my passport, binged on chocolate croissants, had a few too many glasses of rosé, opened my mind to some of the best experiences life has to offer, and even met a new love! The best part was meeting all of the wonderful people, fellow backpackers, locals, and those in between.
That journey I decided to take has led me to even greater opportunities, like the chance to live in Santorini! As I stayed true to my vow, I can only be certain the rest will happen the way it’s supposed to happen.
Grief is a bitch, but sometimes it leads you to adventures you wouldn’t have necessarily taken and a new outlook on life. I miss my mom and dad more than I can put into words and I grieve not just for the loss of their lives, but for the special moments and milestones of my sister and me they won’t get to witness. However, I take comfort in the fact that they are together again somewhere drinking a glass of wine, and smiling down at us. Life is short and is meant to be lived, experienced, and enjoyed. I intend to do just that.