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To Realize One’s Destiny is A Person’s Only Obligation

Have you read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho? If you haven't, it's a must. Coelho writes this beautiful masterpiece in such simple language, in such simple terms, you can't help but to instantly relate to the boy in the story, He is all of us, at whatever point we are in our lives, and what a beautiful gift that is.

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation”

During a Friday break out session with my DBU class, we actually dove into this topic of our own personal legends quite a bit and I really got to express it for the first time and it was a liberating feeling. The first time through the book I thought man, I’m one of those people - the ones that missed their chance, who ignored their personal legend and who has just been living to survive, but not to enjoy. That feeling was palpable and honestly a little depressing. Reading the book through, I wasn’t saddened by it though. I was genuinely happy for the boy, that he was able to live out his personal legend. It made me wish I’d read the book sooner (why wasn’t THIS required reading in HS!!)

As I went back through the book, just skimming, looking back at passages that spoke to me, and as we dove into it during class, my heart began to lighten as I realized no, I hadn’t missed my chance. None of us has, unless we choose to do nothing now. During last Wednesday’s class, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

“There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on Earth”

Traveling and living abroad have been life goals since I was young. Since turning 18, I’ve never lived in the same place for more than a couple years. Sure, I’d be in the same area (ie Orange County) but the same living space, I just couldn’t do it. I’ve never been one to “settle down” . I thought I wanted to for a long time, because that’s what we’re supposed to do right? So I left home right out of high school and spent 4 months on my own in Australia. It was incredible. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so at home somewhere that I’d never even previously been. I felt more alive in those 4 months than I ever had before. Then my first setback happened - I ran out of money. Easy to do when you’re 18, 19 and not working. My options were to come home (the only thing my mom would continue to pay for) or work in the fields picking berries. A lot of the European kids were doing it, but for ancestral reasons, I balked at the idea of working in the fields - like seriously? So, I went home. I had already been accepted to a college in California - the opposite side of the country from my home state of Virginia, and began working to save money to make the move. 4 months later, my best friend and I packed up my car and drove me out West. I thought, ok, it’s out of my system. Now I have to go to school, get married, have kids. It’s what I’m supposed to do, right? But it never felt right. I changed majors 3 times, trying to feel “right” about it. I spent a summer in Costa Rica working on my Spanish, and again I thought, yeah I could live here! But again, school was calling. I traveled several times through college, but eventually got a job at a law firm when I was 23 and it’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

“When you want something, All the universe conspires in helping you achieve it”

When I was 26, I met a colleague based in London. I had friends there and thought I should go visit - and instantly fell in love. I knew it was where I needed to be, and it was the first time that I sat back and looked at my life and thought, this is always what I was supposed to do. Living in the states was never supposed to be permanent for me, hell I wasn’t even born here! My Turkish name means “far from home” and even though I knew my mom chose that name because we’d be moving away from Turkey soon after I was born, I think it was all aligned with my personal legend. I was far from home in America because I was meant to be traveling, but America is also my home, so I’ll be far from home while doing so - I’ve always been meant to be far from home, it’s why I’ve never settled in one place. So at 26, I started preparing. I had already sold my flock, and left the comforts of familiar places. But every time I tried to move, something happened. I couldn’t get a Visa to work in London, because they’d just the previous year tightened restrictions on receiving one.

So I continued in my crystal shop. I started working for a firm that had a London based office - this would be my caravan! I put in a request for transfer, but it was rejected. This time though, instead of staying put,I thought, well if I can’t move there yet, I’ll move closer - and I moved back to DC. I worked at firms that introduced me to new people - my own Englishmen in the caravan. They taught me so many life lessons that I still needed to learn in order to make it to my personal legend, but now I was starting to see that maybe it could happen. I had made it to my oasis, and just needed to find the Alchemist. In September of last year, I felt moved to return back to California. Like it was where I needed to be in that moment. My heart was being drawn back West. This time, when I was rejected for positions, I kept applying and applying and finally landed my current job. I was on my way! I didn’t know how this move further away from Europe would help me get to Europe, but it felt right. And then COVID hit - I was being attacked by the warring clans in the desert - how was I EVER going to live abroad if I couldn’t even leave my own house?

And then I met the Alchemist - I didn’t know he was the Alchemist at the time, I just thought he was this cool cat who was bored and wanted social interaction, like so many of us, so he started Quarantine Karaoke. I thought I’d signed up to sing silly songs and have an outlet for feeling stuck inside. Instead, I’d been brought into a community that was going to push me to think and thrive and do better. So, I took all in stride. I mean here I was in my beautiful San Diego oasis, with my beautiful new online friends, working from home in my beautiful new job. It would last a couple months and we’d all go back to our lives and I could continue to think about how to move. Well, as we know we’re still closed, so I’m still working from home - but now, until the end of the year - my heart started screaming at me excitedly, this might be it, this IS IT! My brain said to just keep waiting. WAIT, you could go back to working onsite any day. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Then the other night, I was speaking with one of the attorneys that I work for, and she let me in on a little secret - there’s a 95% chance our team will be working remote indefinitely. Now my heart and brain were on the same page and I thought “this is my chance” so I brought it up. I told her that if that was so, I wanted to work from Europe - starting next August, to give COVID time to die down - I quickly went through my plan, Prague, Izmir, Madrid, Amsterdam, London - I knew there’d be a time difference, but I would still be available/working at the same as her & our team for 4 hours of the day at least - and then I held my breath. This was the moment - and she looked me straight in the face and said, “oh Well I plan to be in South America, so do you girl!” she went on to say that there’s no reason anyone should need face time with me for more than 4 hours in my day anyway and we discussed the best travel credit cards to get the best benefits and what our trips would be.

“‘You old sorcerer,’ the boy shouted up to the sky. ‘You knew the whole story. You even left a bit of gold at

the monastery so I could get back to this church. The monk laughed when he saw me come back in tatters. Couldn’t you have saved me from that?’ ‘No,’ he heard a voice on the wind say. ‘If i had told you, you wouldn’t have seen the pyramids. They’re beautiful, aren’t they?’”

I have made it to the Monastery! Now, will I face robbers (the team as a whole voting down the idea) yeah, I just might. But that won't change the fact that I have met some of the most beautiful people, learned some REALLY hard lessons, found what I am capable of, built a career and a life, during the last 10 years that I’ve worked to achieve my personal legend. And I don’t know that I would’ve truly recognized that journey had it not been for The Alchemist. The mindset shift has been life-changing. And although I may still have a few hurdles to get through before I reach my treasure, I now know just how beautiful those lessons can be too.


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