Updated: Sep 3, 2021
I'll never forget this sentence. It was on a sign in the dental office where I went as a kid. I remember thinking long and hard about what this meant. While I never understood what it meant back then, I never stopped thinking about it. Now granted, I was a kid and this was not some special pediatric dental office that has fun sunglasses, televisions on the ceiling where I could pick the channel of cartoon I want to watch during my cleaning, a menu of toothpaste flavors that is akin to the menu at Baskin Robbin's (then known as 31 Flavors), or a treasure chest where I could pick out 3 little trinket toys if I was a good patient (kids have it so great now!). In my own experience, I believe the dental hygienists hated kids and they are definitely the reason why I hate the entire dentist experience to this day. However, like their saltiness, the phrase, "Ignore your teeth and they will go away" stuck with me and I have thought about it often. And one day along the way, I finally got it!
For me, ignorance is not at all bliss. It may feel like it in the moment, but it will come back to haunt you, or at least that's what I believe and know from personal experience. So, I've learned to never embrace the "ignorance is bliss" mentality.
Today marks our 2-month anniversary in Belize. In the past couple of weeks, I had a few very rough simultaneous days where I was on edge, anxious, depressed, unmotivated, etc. etc. etc. Feelings like this can be pretty scary when you are a single mom in a new environment, which made it even more intense and quite frankly, really scary for me. As I was practicing my "ignorance is NOT bliss" philosophy to figure out what was going on with me, my eyes kept landing on this little wall décor sign that came with our apartment that says, "Don't wish for it, Work for it". I don't think it's coincidence that I kept looking at this décor as I was pondering my personal issues, especially since I've moved the décor a million times in our 2 months here. As you may have gathered from my other posts, I don't believe in coincidences. I so appreciate the synchronicity in my life and all the signs from the Universe that I know are guiding my Dani and me on the right path.
Through these dark few days and with my glances to that quote, what I came to realize is that I've been doing a lot of wishing lately. I have way more wishes than the 3 we'd be so lucky to get from that fictional 'genie in a bottle'! Right now, my Daniella and I have at least 6 business ideas that we think are great ones and many are in different phases of development. And, this is outside of my corporate job that I need to support our lives. Oh and there’s the whole single mom job to top it all off. There aren't enough hours in the day or days in the week. And, as someone that will do whatever it takes to make my wishes and dreams become reality (just like the inspirational wall art commands), having too many wishes is definitely going to be a source of angst for me. Upon this realization, I decided to streamline, prioritize, and focus. I'm still working through that plan, but I'm confident that with this plan, we will be better set up for success.
When I'm going through these moments in my life where I have doubts and fear (and there have been many, as I'm human after all!), I like to make a list of my accomplishments--the dreams that I made become a reality, if you will. I journal a lot and so I have my own personal historical record of this.
My 2020 accomplishments were so clear and there were so many big ones. I...
Became a personal trainer with one of the highest accrediting bodies...NASM
Trained and inspired clients and helped them achieve their goals (and met great people and friends along the way)
Got out of NYC, which after 11 years, was sucking the life and soul out of me
Was diagnosed, but got treated for cancer in AZ when NYC refused to treat me due to COVID (this early action likely saved me from chemo and radiation)
Became fully cancer free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Got out of a massive amount of debt created by a combination of my own bad decisions while living in a city that should be made entirely of gold based on the cost of living there
Got my daughter into an in-person school for the entire school year (during the still ongoing COVID madness with kids) when many schools were battling in-person/hybrid/online
Met lifelong friends and lost some too (and yes the losing part is also an accomplishment in my opinion because knowing who is authentically in your corner is important)
Bought my daughter's dream car--our Trooper (Jeep Wrangler Sport)
Stayed employed during the COVID cray (a serious source of anxiety for me)
There may have been more, but it was a good year for me as far as wishes coming true are concerned. But they only came true because I worked so hard to achieve them. I did whatever I could have done in my power and supplemented with prayers.
In my funk in the past week or so, I decided to go through the same exercise now and I realized that I don't have nearly as many bullets as I did in 2020. But, after much thought, I would say the bullets in 2021 are way bigger and way better.
2021 started out as one of the worst years of my life to date, for various reasons. However, despite that, I've still accomplished these things. I...
Got out of America, a country now plagued with so much divisiveness, hatred, and a rapidly-waning freedom (all of which were really taking a toll on me) and experience our own version of freedom and happiness in Belize
MADE IT TO BELIZE (there were many days where I thought some barrier would present itself and not let this happen)
Got my daughter into our 2nd choice private school (which actually became my first choice once I got here and talked to many locals)
(AND THE BIGGEST TO DATE), bought a condo all by myself in a different country!!! It's in escrow now, and we close on Oct 15...God willing. I have anxiety even calling this an accomplishment until we get the keys, but I feel like it's our new home and we are beyond excited. It needs some TLC, but we love it. Daniella and I have lots of design ideas and it will be our biggest project to date. We drive by it daily and discuss our ideas, which is so fun for me.
However, the even bigger one than the BIGGEST TO DATE above has been Daniella’s happiness in our 2 months here. This will be its own post, because I can barely describe it in words, yet I have so much to say about it. What I can say here though, is that I’ve never seen her so happy, and she was already a naturally happy human being. This never fails to help me when I’m in a tough place mentally. (See the video below for pure happiness in action!)
I'm thankfully out of my mental funk. It's not the first episode, and I know it won't be the last. But I am glad I feel equipped with the tools I need to help myself. As the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "If you can't run, then walk; if you can't walk, then crawl--just keep moving forward." And, that's exactly what we are doing...one day at a time and grateful beyond words.
So, no, we will never ignore our teeth, because we don’t want them to go away. Yet at the same time, we will not be ignoring reality, challenges, and our problems, as doing that won’t make them go away, rather it will make them come back with a vengeance. And, this I know for fact.
(I personally love the symbolic nature of this photo, because my wish that I worked so hard for as the quote on the left captures, is actually now reality on the right side of the photo. It’s our daily view from our home in BELIZE!!! Someone pinch me! When you put in the work, your wishes can indeed become reality!)
And, here is my precious Daniella while waiting for our food at this great Garífuna restaurant where we were the only guests that evening. She made that outfit and has hijacked MY cowboy hat and for some reason, loves to wear it sideways! This is her happiness in action! <3<3<3