Cake and champagne

Journal

happy-divorceAt 50, I am definitely not where I thought I would be.  I had this picture of how my life was supposed to be, but as we all know life has it’s own sense of humor.  She just loves to steer you in a direction that, at the beginning, you might not be so sure of.

After Hurricane Maria I lost my job as a full-time designer, but afterwards the same company hired me back as a freelancer.  What seemed as scary before… today is working out great.  Yesterday I became a member of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and what an experience it was.  As I look at my membership certificate in awe of how great it feels to be an entrepreneur; I remember how scared I was at the beginning of this new venture.  Luckily more clients are coming in and the fear is being replaced with excitement.  I have been waking up and going to sleep thinking about projects (and talking to myself a lot about them which has my children very confused ).  “What a ride” like the surfers say.

So it’s being going pretty exciting and fun professionally, but then…life decided to change courses yet again. This time at a personal level.  Today my now ex-husband and I got divorced. In the same courthouse where we said I do; today we said we are done.

Even after all the fights and talks of divorce, I never thought we would be done. As a Netflix fan, I always thought it would be like in the movies:  if you try hard enough…love  conquers all and we would grow old together and just laugh the hard times off.  Well, that works out very nicely in movies (Netflix is full of them) but reality is…well, quite different.

Boy did I try hard to make things work, but in the end I had to accept that it was time for yet another change.  Honestly, I miss my ex-husband who used to be my best friend as well, and I wish things worked out differently, but they didn’t.  Just like when I felt lost as I lost my job of 20 years…I felt lost again when I realized my marriage of 25 years ended.  It wasn’t a walk in the park, mind you, change is brutal and it took a lot of patience, love and support from my family and friends, and lots of chocolate and Netflix.  But just like before; there was really no choice but to move on.

I once heard that packing your spouse’s belongings was one of the hardest and saddest things during a divorce.  Let me assure you it’s true.  Packing his things was a farewell to a life I was sure would last forever. I had to accept that there was no more our life, no more us, no more we. From today on it’s just meI cried buckets, ate ridiculous amounts of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (and of course more chocolate), but slowly I have started to enjoy the new routine…the peace… just being me again. As I look around, my children are enjoying this change as well and even Mister Taquito, our mischievous sato dog, seems more at peace.

I wish I could say that we remained friends, but that is not the case.  It got very ugly at times although not “Drogon on King’s Landing ugly”.  But weirdly enough after all that has happened; as I walked out of the courtroom all I felt was peace.

I am thankful to him for our children, for loving and protecting me when he did, for teaching me how to cook (I can proudly say I don’t burn rice anymore), for making me laugh so many times, for introducing me to the wonderful world of kettlebells, for binge watching with me so many geeky series (Game of Thrones of course) and for being there for me when he did.  As we both parted ways I wished him health, love and peace while wishing the same for myself.  

A while back, my very wise aunt Olga told me: when you get a divorce, it means you believe in love.  What?  “Divorce is giving up, it’s a failure” I told her. Fast forward a few months and now I fully understand what she was trying to tell me.  Divorce doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in love, that you failed or didn’t try hard enough.  Like my aunt, now I think it means that you believe in love so much that you are not willing to be in a relationship without it.  That you are willing to change directions and let go.  That even when you love somebody; if it doesn’t work out you move on.  It’s true that not all divorces end up the same; some get Drogon ugly even years afterwards, so I am very thankfull that mine did.

In one of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun, the main character celebrated her divorce with a beautiful chocolate cake.  Her best friend told her “You start a marriage with cake and champagne. Finish it that way too“.  Since I get drunk by just smelling alcohol…no champagne for me, but my Mom got me a gorgeous chocolate cake and I celebrated today with my family: Nueva Vida (A New Life).

So, to all the ones that are going thru changes in their lives right now (personal or professional): please embrace and accept them.  Trust me, with a lot of patience things will work out and you will feel even better than before.  It might get scary at times, but there is no sense on being stuck… you just have to move on.

And now I have an Annual Report to get back to…and enjoy another piece of cake.

Yep, I’m thankful

Journal
my-office

My office and new supervisor #MisterTaquito

It’s been seven months or so since I was let go of my job of 20 years.  What a scary thing!  On January 2, 2018 we got the electricity back and for me that is marked in calendar forever as a very special anniversary.  About a week later I started working freelance for my old job, the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, and have been ever since to which I am very grateful. Due to cut backs they couldn’t rehire full time but with the hours that I have been working for them, I have been able to pay my debts and get by.  I don’t like that phrase: “get by”.  It sounds to me like the opposite of stability…peace.  But in the “getting by” I also had time to work on some personal projects that I have been putting on hold for the past 20-25 years or so. Go figure.

So, by “getting by” financially…I was able to do other things besides work.  That gave me some pause.  I realize that I have been in the rat race for so long that I didn’t even notice time passing by.  Things that I wanted to accomplish but just kept staying in the wish list year after year.  Now…I  had the time so let’s do them!  I am not talking about traveling around the world (which is in my list by the way) or jumping from a plane (not on my list).  I am talking about something as simple as exercising, keeping a journal, reading a self help book, learning a new recipe and ta-da…#WingChun.  The  kind of stuff that only would be for my benefit, but I never gave it any priority because I had a full time job, my kids were younger so I put them on hold.

On these past seven months I have learned to pause.  To see the positive out of everything. It hasn’t been easy all the time but it’s a new thing that I can add to my list of things that I have learned and try to do everyday.  A horrible hurricane destroyed my lovely island.  So many people left, so many jobs, properties and lives lost.  Sharing our experiences with friends, family, and even with strangers waiting on line I have come to realize that with perseverance, patience, and a lot of work in every aspect of our lives we are the same people but different at the same time.

Now, every morning before I get up from bed I thank the Goddess, God or my Higher Power for: my health, my family’s health and well being (dogs included of course), that we have a house with working utilities, good weather and the list goes on.  I am not a religious person. I do believe in a higher power, but I just don’t click with religion…at least not yet. I always thought what a sweet thing that the religious people in my life were always thanking God for everything good in their life.   Never gave it much thought until now.

“Getting by” has been a lesson.  Yes, I want to do many thing, yes I want to work more to have financial stability and save for my kids university, travels and so many other wonderful things.  But until I do, I am thankful for this phase in my life. So let’s get back to work #MisterTaquito.  There is lots to do yet.

After Hurricane María

Journal

Hurricane María took a big toll on the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (PRCC). They had to let go of more than half the staff and I was among them. What had been my home, my family, the place where I grew up as a professional and as a team player for over twenty years now belonged in the past.

No electricity, no safe running water, scarce supplies and now being unnemployed felt like swimming against the current. I thought of my favorite fish, the Koi that perserveres and even swims upstream to get where it needs to go so I tackled this new challenge as I tackled every project: I did my research and got to work.

Even though this has been the hardest project for me so far…it has been the most fun. I compiled my work into different categories so you may see what I could do as a designer and what I can bring to your team. View my Work.