August 6, 2021

We were a Bucket filled with Lost Hope, Defeat, & Broken Will.


View this post on Instagram


Ever since the COVID-19 situation started, I haven’t been able to write.

Not because I didn’t have the time, but because I didn’t know what to say. Or better yet, I didn’t know how to say it. I felt empty, drained, and at a loss for words. A million thoughts per second traveled through my mind, but I wasn’t ready to share them.

I have avoided saying it out loud as it feels like I’m complaining, and I hate complaining as a generic habit. It’s the battle between what I know and how I feel.

I’ve been hiding these feelings under thick layers of smiles all the time. I’ve allowed myself to feel them but not talk about them because, at the end of the day, I really can’t complain. I’m aware of that, and it’s what really keeps me going. It’s focusing on what I do have rather than what I lack. It’s adopting the abundance mindset rather than the scarcity mindset.

Obviously, the concept of abundance and scarcity is subjective all the way, and it has different meanings for different people. As do happy/unhappy, fulfilled/frustrated, and as do many other dichotomies that try to portray human emotions. It’s all about making the decision of seeing the cup half-full or half-empty.

It requires awareness and effort, but at the end of the day, it makes a lot of difference in how you manage your life on a day-to-day basis.

Covid has made me lose my job in Dubai.

With that, I gave up my apartment and rented a room. I started working only on a commission-based scheme, trusting it would go well.

It didn’t.

After six months of not working or working without getting paid, I got another job, which I loved very much, in my favorite place in Dubai. And still, I left Dubai to return to my home country. I was at a point in which—though I could see the good—I couldn’t take the financial pressure and the frustration of not having my own space.

That, alongside family reasons, made me decide to move.

I wasn’t able to cope with what was happening anymore. So, I decided to leave and abandon everything I had built over the past six years, without seeing the possibilities ahead. I was focusing on what I had lost and not on what I could build again. I was tired, drained, lonely, empty, and scared.

I thought this move would help me be more useful to my family and friends back home. I thought I could be of service more here than there. I’ve been in Lisbon since January, and I still regret not having had that extra bit of resilience, of trust and belief in myself to build again. I thought I couldn’t do it again from scratch. I could only see the heartbreak, the failure, the tiredness, the pain, and the loss.

I was a bucket filled with lost hope, defeat, and broken will.

Then, out of the blue, I received a job offer.

It was well-paid, in my field, and it would allow me to grow professionally and personally.

Suddenly, leaving became an opportunity and not a “giving-up” decision. There was a specific reason for me to come home. But I felt like I was leaving home. Dubai was home for me. It was freedom and independence until it all crumbled down.

Once I made up my mind, there was no turning back.

I arrived in Lisbon at the perfect timing…just in time for winter, cold peak wind, and the second quarantine in Portugal. Also, it was in time for major weight gain while stuck at home during the wintertime.

This second quarantine led to the job offer withdrawal. I found myself without a job and back to zero. I drowned in panic and fear. My core was shaken again–financial independence is my highest priority. If I can’t provide for myself, no one else will.

As for another miracle, another job offer came in. It’s not well-paid nor challenging, and I wasn’t going to use my skillset. It was like reverting 20 years. But it’s a job, and it keeps me productive and busy, not to mention the most important one, allowing me some form of self-sufficiency.

From there on, my challenge has been to adjust and understand that my job doesn’t define me (it’s just a job).

My weight doesn’t define me.

My past doesn’t define me.

Who I am is really a mix of all of that.

I absorbed the importance of humbleness, resilience, and patience. I believe things unfolded like this for a reason that is beyond my comprehension. I don’t plan on returning to Dubai, but I won’t say no to the future, wherever it leads me.

Learning to be present in the moment and living one day at a time are now what fuels me to stay calm and centered.

I didn’t want to meet anyone to avoid feeling judged based on my weight or my job. I wanted to avoid being seen as a wreck and a loser. That’s until I decided to start working hard again.

It’s not about the others. It’s about how I see myself. And while I see myself empty, I will be empty. And it’s enough.

I have no reason for feeling like this. This is where I kick myself to come around and remember that I’m privileged to have my own space, a job that provides enough, a family, and friends. And most of all…I’m alive and healthy.

Yes, I miss a ton of things. Especially the beach. How easy and accessible everything was. I miss the travels, the social life, and the quietness when I needed it.

Everything always seems a bit more difficult here. Traffic, bureaucracy, and heavy taxes. I feel like time is running out, and I don’t have the means to ever succeed in this kind of life.

But I’m not running this time.

If I go somewhere else, it will be for the right reasons. Whether it was the right or the wrong decision, whether I regret it or not, it was the end of a cycle and, necessarily, the beginning of a new one, maybe a long one, for the long haul. I’m teaching myself again to enjoy the beauty and the good things my own country has to offer me.

I’m finally starting to settle and appreciate it again. I’m finally building again however I can. I finally see the good.

I’m grateful for the amazing life I had, and I’m extremely grateful for the life I have, and, if God willing, still have ahead with all its world of creation, opportunity, and strength.

Everything changes in a heartbeat, for better or worse.

So, enjoy life. Choose your focus. Breathe. Let go of expectations. Let go of what should be. Let go of the why.

While your heart is beating and your brain is oxygenated, you’re here.

Do what you can.

Innovate however you can.

So you can live with no regrets.

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Sofia Santiago  |  Contribution: 3,280

Image: Sofia Santiago

Image: _minimalista/Instagram

Image: Michelle Al Bitar