We all have a story. My story doesn’t begin at the beginning. I begin in the middle, smack in my mid-thirties, married, with kids, with a good business and a good house, seemingly with all the boxes checked off for a good life. My story begins the day I woke up.
The day I realized that my life had to change was not a bad day at all. In fact, it started off on a beach, a beautiful beach, in a tropical location. We were on vacation. It was New Year’s Day. My kids were playing on the beach. I could see them and was keeping an eye on their play. My husband was surfing with his friend. I had nothing to do but sit on my beach towel, look at the white sand and sparkling blue ocean, and think how lucky I was and how happy I should have been. Yet I felt miserable.
Every January I liked to follow the annual tradition of writing down my new year’s resolutions. But this year I only had one goal: To figure out why I was miserable and get happy.
I didn’t say those words out loud to anybody because it sounded so shameful and ungrateful. I mean, how could I complain about unhappiness when outside I had everything I had set out to get? I married a nice guy I met in college and he would do anything for me and the kids. We had three beautiful, healthy kids. It was the large family I’d always dreamed of. We had built a thriving business together and it too was how I’d always envisaged it. Lastly, we had just bought our dream home in San Francisco and I loved living in California.
So why was I so miserable? Sometimes I would think in guilt “Maybe I don’t love my husband or kids or I’m just a spiteful person.” Of course that made me feel even worse. At night I had insomnia. I would lay awake thinking. Sometimes I would pace around the house. My thoughts were racing. I knew something was off but I didn’t know what and I certainly didn’t know how to fix it. My husband noticed and thought I had depression. I considered he might be right but deep down I felt it wasn’t that. Because I had this burning desire to live! I just sensed this wasn’t all, that my life was missing something. My soul wanted nothing more than JOY. In fact, on the outside I had everything but on the inside, I was starving for pure, unfiltered, deep-felt joy. I closed my eyes and imagined the lightness of JOY, like floating, and the feeling of freedom from the weight I was carrying daily. Instead, I found GUILT. Guilt became my permanent companion. I was NOT GOOD ENOUGH in any area. There was always someone younger, prettier, smarter, and overall better than me. I felt like a bad mother, a bad wife, a bad worker, a bad friend…..you name it, I was BAD. If we ran out of milk at home, it was my fault for not stopping on the way home. If the kids got sick, again it was my fault for not dressing them warmly or feeding them cold foods. If a client left or an employee had problems, it was my fault too for not taking better care of things. I would wake up in the morning and immediately the list would start of reasons how I FAILED today. I felt an incredible weight and pressure on me.
My life had only four main topics: work, kids, household, and money. Everything else was unimportant. I missed the earlier days pre-kids and career when I could just laugh and enjoy life. My life was very routine-driven and structured from early morning until late at night: morning routine, school drop-offs, appointments, work meetings, groceries and errands, pickups, after-school activities, homework, cooking, meal time, bath time, and bed. Then the second evening shift would start: cleanup, pack lunches, prepare for the following day, and then sit on my computer working until 1am. Both my husband and I were overworked, overwhelmed, and sleep deprived. We also had no family nearby to help so it was just the two of us doing everything 7 days per week. Any human would struggle.
Besides the GUILT and the LONLINESS, I also always felt RUSHED. Daily I’d be hurrying by default from the moment the alarm would go off. It seemed like no matter how well we prepared the night before or how early we’d wake up, the mornings were always a mad dash to leave on-time. The kids would always take forever to do every part of their morning routine. I’ve always been a bit slow too and had to make extra efforts to remain punctual so it was a daily battle for me too. By the time I got to work I’d feel exhausted….and it was only 9am.
I had no time for friendships. My single friends didn’t seem to want to hang out with me now that I was married with kids. I suppose they were right that I wouldn’t be the fun one to go out to bars with them anymore as I wasn’t available to double date. My married friends were divided into two types: those who worked and those who didn’t. The non-working moms did all the fun get-togethers but unfortunately, most of it was planned during work hours so I couldn’t attend. Also, whenever I did show up to something, they would treat me like they pitied me for working and as if my poor children must be neglected. I could relate much better to the working moms but they seemed to never have any time and would flake on me whenever I tried to meet up.
Something had to change. I just knew I couldn’t continue like that.
The day on the beach when I ‘awoke’ to realize my life needed some drastic changes, it was only the beginning and I had no idea that I’d have an almost ten-year journey ahead of me to come full circle. It would have happened in half the time had I not been so afraid and in denial. I was terrified to discover the truth. Because the truth was that I’d be lying to myself for so long and been so misguided in my views of my perfect life that admitting I’d been wrong would rattle my very core. I wasn’t ready that day or even that year. In fact, for the following three or four years, I tried to pretend that feeling wasn’t there. I kept telling myself everything was fine. I numbed it with material distractions like designing and furnishing our house, shopping, and filling my head with books I’d read daily, especially fantasy books to take me far away into different worlds. I worked hard in my business too but sadly not so much ‘on’ the business because my partners and I had different visions for the company’s future. This was another source of anxiety that I tried to ignore because I didn’t know how to address it. I had so much unspoken frustration that it came out in the ugliest ways. My insomnia worsened. I started drinking too much wine. I bought things online I didn’t need. I would stay up writing poetry, journaling, and reading. In fact, without knowing it, I was already writing content that would turn into my book, SASSY METHOD. When I wasn’t working, I gave most of my free time to the kids and got them tutors, multiple activities, and spent time volunteering in their schools. Anything to take my mind off of my unfulfillment and in an attempt to find purpose.
I had no idea how to change it then but once I woke up and realized everything I’d been brought up to strive for wasn’t the way I wanted to live, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I knew I needed to find a better way. Little did I know that I would and that would turn into a program I’d develop and call The SASSY Method™.