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“Oh Denise, when are you going to settle down?”
This is what an elderly family member asked me when I made the decision to live abroad in Bali for a while.
My response could have been so many things.
An old, outdated, angry version of me would have taken that question personally: “Mind your business. I didn’t ask for your opinion.”
Another outdated version would have felt shame for being 43, unmarried, unattached to children, a husband, or a mortgage.
And yet another version would have smiled and tried to explain herself and her choices.
But this version…simply said, “Well, that depends on what your definition of settled down means to you.”
You see, it is not that I don’t want those things: a loving and devoted partner, the possibility of having children, responsibility of owning a home.
My decision to uproot my life wasn’t easy, but it was simple. The last three years have tested every part of me.
COVID-19 times for me meant healing my body from chronic mold illness, making bold moves in my career as a SelfLove expert, awarding winning transformational coach, and RTT hypnotherapist turned author and international speaker.
These times also meant I would hit a new low receiving lessons in grief after losing five family members in a span of 12 months, including my mother to Covid.
I showed up through it all to serve, to help others to inspire and empower people.
I gave people courage and hope through my experiences and pain.
But where was I in my life regardless of what it seemed? I was feeling deeply unfulfilled.
I would sit in my beautiful dream home, in my office day after day, looking at my wall of achievements and awards wondering, “Is this it? Is this all I have to look forward to? More awards, more recognitions, more certifications for my work and presence in the world?”
Truth is: it wasn’t enough.
I learned there are two things needed for a truly happy life:
1. The science of achievement
2. The art of fulfillment
Construction at my next door neighbor’s would be the catalyst to catapult me into action. The noise of it all gave me a full on panic attack. But that panic attack, in retrospect, wasn’t just about the compounding noise that I was living with for months. It came from the compounding effect of questioning everything in my life.
I was questioning my life so much that not even my best friend at the time knew how unfulfilled and unsettled I was—in my home, in my relationships, in my everyday conversations and activities. I wasn’t inspired, and I began shutting down to the people around me wishing I were somewhere else.
But where the hell do I go? I would think.
I wanted more out of life and I wasn’t sure how to get it.
I had one simple question that kept coming back to me: where do I belong?
I had this idea to come to Bali for my birthday and stay for a few weeks on vacation. Little did I know there would be an inherent calling to explore my inner world to create new results in my outer world. Things started falling away and it felt like the universe was telling me to make a bold move.
I had to break free but not by bypassing what was in my path.
I kept going back and forth on timing: when was I meant to leave? Who, if anyone was supposed to come with me? What am I not facing? What is the universe trying to tell me?
I was staying with a friend in Santa Barbara while I was working to figure all of this out.
I took foundational steps on things I had been avoiding (anyone relate?) until I received a clear signal that it was time to make my move.
My friend looked at me that day and asked if I was okay. I told her, I think it’s time, and she smiled, reflected a validation I knew was true and said, “I think so too.” And with her sitting by my side silently, I opened my laptop and looked at tickets, and I did it. I bought my one-way plane ticket on a Friday.
When it was done, I looked at her, and I said, “I leave tomorrow.”
On the plane ride, my heart froze realizing what I had just done. There was no going back, only forward.
When I made my decision to come to Bali for a couple of months, I went with the intention that I would step all the way into the unknown.
I did just that, and the more I stepped in and faced every f*cking fear that arose, things began to become more clear.
My life back in Los Angeles no longer felt like my life, and no matter how hard I tried to hold on, I was being guided to let go. After a healing session, I realized I was holding on to my home because it was the last place I had seen my mother and dog alive. And I cut the cord.
As soon as I did, something shifted, and I felt complete.
My decision was made, and I was to begin a new volume of life.
So, this loops back to the question that began this thought, “When are you going to settle down?”
Settling down isn’t about having the job, the mortgage, the marriage, the family in the suburbs…unless that is truly what a person wants.
That was never supposed to be my life.
Settling down is defined by how we choose to create our life in a way that not only makes sense to us but feels fulfilling to us.
So where am I today?
Well if you know me, you know I gave up my dream home in the Santa Monica mountains, sealed up 24 years of my life in three weeks and made my way back to Bali. I rented a villa, reunited with my pet chicken, Hazel, learned to drive a motorbike, curious at how each day would unfold.
Today, I am not only deeply fulfilled, inspired, at my most creative, my most healthy in mind, body, and spirit, but I am also truly happy to finally be living the life I have dreamed of.
The partner? Yes, I want him in my life, but I don’t need him, and I welcome the day I align with him and we fulfill our souls’ missions together. Totally looking forward to co-creating a relationship with him, full of adventure, deep devotion, and not to mention, an insatiable sex life.
Children? Honestly, I don’t know if I am meant to have human babies; for now, I have Hazel, my pet chicken, and I’m totally content with being her mom.
A mortgage? I consider everything I do and have to be an investment in my happiness and what feeds my heart and soul.
So what’s next? Let’s see, shall we? I’m serving people educating on SelfLove Mastery, helping people heal their emotional and mental wounds while they step deeper into their purpose, so together we can bring more kindness and compassion into the world.
I’m here to love—choosing to stay in my heart no matter what situation, circumstance, or condition comes my way. I appreciate and find gratitude, even when things don’t seem to go how I envisioned, remembering to have unwavering faith.
I’m here to grow—growth doesn’t happen in the comfort zone. I face my fears every day.
I’m here to explore—new land, new people, new culture, new energies, new adventures.
I’m here to break through the limitations that were programmed into me—no matter where we go, we cannot run away from internal issues; geography changes nothing. We must feel to heal. With healing comes freedom. With freedom comes authentic living.
I’m here to keep designing my life the way that makes sense to me—living authentically and unapologetically on my terms without the chatter of what other people think is best for me.
I’m here to show up for it all because to me there’s no other way.
So here I am heart open, naked soul baring—settled in a way I’ve never been before, feeling so f*cking fulfilled.
So to answer the question, “Aren’t you ever going to settle down?”
Now that you have a better understanding of my vision of life through SelfLove:
Yes, I am, without a doubt, settled down and it feels f*cking amazing.