Hi there, I’m Ana!
So I guess this is where I talk about me, myself and I…? Let’s see… I’ve been on this planet for 37 years now as a German-Portuguese multilingual raised in Belgium, and trying to condense my life into a few paragraphs seems daunting. But here we go.
Brief highlights include bribing playmates in pre-school (total brat), ballet dancing since the age of 5 (pointe shoes don’t hurt as much as you think), plucking out all my eyebrows (scary times), bathing with ‘Gypsie’ the boxer dog (boundless animal love), dancing off to The Prodigy and RATM at the age of 12 (definite rebel potential), living in France and Italy (good times, especially Italy!), ditching my Snoopy underwear for « real » underwear at the age of 30 (thank God for my patient husband), getting married twice (same man, different countries), nearly losing my fingertips dog sledding at -35°C (interesting experience), teaching and performing swing dance (so much fun), and eventually falling in love with yoga, nutrition, personal growth (and my former swing dance teacher)… leading me to my life today!
But let me rewind a bit so you see where I come from. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a high-achieving straight-A student to make daddy proud (apparently a common thing for little girls in search of love). After graduating with a Masters Cum Laude (you’re welcome, dad) in Corporate Communications at Sciences Po Paris, I embarked on the supposedly « secure » although deadly ‘9 to 5’ (no wait, make that a 9 to 7 or even 8!) at a fancy multinational in Paris.
Fast forward 9 years (at which time I worked in Brussels) and you find me in a pretty dark period in my life just as I turned 30 (as if that weren’t already enough, thank you). I had the title, the paycheck, the perfect resumé, the car, the newly bought apartment and an amazing boyfriend (today hubby). But behind the scenes I was exhausted, stressed, lost, feeling like a braindead zombie and definitely longing for more. I felt I wasn’t nearly living as much as I had the right to. I mean, what are we here for? Definitely not just to pay off a stack of bills!
Since then, and after I was completely burnt out (my body and mind forcing me to a total full stop), I promised myself to start LIVING. Living life on my own terms, the life I envision for myself (not the life everyone else had in mind for me), following MY dreams, MY wants and MY needs. A life that feels right, a life that makes my body light up with joy and excitement, a life of endless possibilities as opposed to those former roads that had become narrower and lonelier with each step I took.
My outlook on life changed. I left the well-paid, seemingly secure and prestigious corporate world to start out on my own. Turns out I learned more about myself in those two years than I had in my previous 30 years! I realized it isn’t all that scary to be your own boss and you don’t need any “superpowers” to make it on your own. I realized how creative I am, how much I love helping others, how much I love writing/sharing/speaking, how empowering it feels to be able to set your own schedule and be 100% responsible for your life (note: that paycheck doesn’t magically show up anymore at the end of the month…!) and above all I (re)discovered all those small but oh so magical things I couldn’t ever live without again: dancing, singing, yoga, nutrition, writing, photography, reading (a lot!), learning something new every single day… and the list goes on.
Let me put this straight: it is an uncomfortable and (yes!) super scary path. It takes courage and guts to leave what you’ve worked so hard for to get. Especially when you don’t know what to turn to next! But there is nothing greater than getting to the bottom of who you really are, redefining success on YOUR terms and opening up to another (more soulful) way of life. Run your own race, regardless of what people say about you. What is important is what you say to YOURSELF, every morning and every night as you go to bed.
Sure, I knew had come a long way – but I still felt something was off. I knew I had to take one more step, dig deeper, dare more… go ALL IN. One morning, my husband and I looked at each other and we knew we were both thinking the same: the time has come to live our biggest dream. Set out on a one-way journey into the world and into our souls. Break our lease, leave everything behind (including our cat and horse), live off a backpack, see the world and live new experiences. Our goal? Light up that inner fire we lost somewhere along the way, listen to our Soul’s longings and (probably) forge ourselves new life paths along the way.
So here I am, on a continent I know nothing about, discovering myself a bit more each day. The change in scenery, the geographical distance I put between myself and some of the people I love most (which at the same time, can be the ones holding us back the most… because we want to meet their expectations so badly) have given me a much bigger outlook on life. I feel more inspired, more creative, more alive, more excited… about everything life has to offer! Why didn’t I see this before? How come I (literally) had to walk away to realize I was wasting my energy on trying to be loved and living an ordinary life instead of seeing what is POSSIBLE and focusing on what makes ME come alive? Even though Andy and I are currently pursuing an outer journey, the ONLY journey is the journey WITHIN, the journey of self-discovery.
So here’s a question for you: what would you pursue if success or failure didn’t matter? What is your purest essence? What does your heart, your sould long for in this world? Think about it. Take a moment. Write down your thoughts. Get them out there, so they can start coming alive. Maybe at first they’ll only manifest at night, in your dreams. But one day, you will start obsessing. And that’s a GOOD thing! Congratulations, you’ve come ALIVE, once again.
I hope you will enjoy reading my learnings, discoveries and thoughts as much as I enjoy sharing them. Here’s to inspiring other beautifully restless, curious, hungry, rebel souls to set out on a journey of our own, past our self-built prison walls and onto those infinite green pastures welcoming us all for who we truly are, and for all we can be – if only we dare treat ourselves to a life of our own design.
You’ve got this!
P.S.: For more regular updates, you can follow me on Instagram @armonyah