It’s always intriguing hearing someone else’s life story, their chain of events, and how things played out to bring them to where they are right now. My mom is a perfect example of a fascinating life story. She grew up in Moscow in the last three decades of the 20th century, so while I was learning about vague concepts of Communism and the Cold War from Western perspective, my mom would tell me specifics like “Oh yes, I remember perestroika, we had no food on the table!” There was a striking contrast between what I perceived as “normal life” and what was ordinary for my family in Russia less than a decade before I was born. Anyway, my family immigrated to the United States in the late 90s and found their home in California. Shortly after, my mom found a great job in Arizona and I lived there most of my life until I spontaneously decided to move to Canada.

What’s interesting is that most of us don’t find our own life story too special. This did not hit me until after I settled into my new home in Canada and my mom called to tell me (in Russian, so I will paraphrase) that she admired me for following my heart and she wishes that she had the same courage to move to a new place and embark on an adventure in a different country. I was a little puzzled at this statement because my mom has done exactly that! And multiple times! I told her, “You are like me, Ma, you’ve done it too!” and she replied with, “I guess I never thought of it that way because at the time I felt like I didn’t have much choice.”

Whether you feel like you had no control over your life or you realize that each decision you made brought you closer to where you are now, it’s important to embrace your life story, and not blow it off as “no big deal.” A common question I ask during small talk is “what’s new?” More often than not, I hear back “Nothing’s new, my life is boring.” How many of us have heard that or even said it ourselves?

I am not saying that each moment must be filled with outrageous experiences, but realizing that life is an adventure makes it much more fulfilling and exciting. We fail to recognize that our daily stop at the coffee shop is significant until we have children and they ask, “How did Mommy meet Daddy?” And immediately a warm memory floods our brain of the one day we tripped at Starbuck’s and spilled coffee all over the handsome man behind us.

When I moved to Canada many people were curious as to why I left Arizona. I would say things like “I got accepted to university there” or “I needed a change of scenery.” These answers devalued a part of my life that is actually quite significant to me. I now see that my reasons for moving are multi-faceted and I no longer seek to give a simple and reasonable response. I allow myself to portray it as amazing as it is.

After competing in bikini competitions and struggling with an eating disorder for years, I sought help from a naturopathic doctor who told me my environment was not suiting for full recovery. Her story was almost identical to mine and she shared that during her journey she moved to Canada to escape from her image-driven community. I instantly set my intention towards changing the environment around me and being truly healthy and happy. Ironically enough, the love of my life who I met a few weeks later, lived in Canada. After months of traveling to see each other, we knew we were perfect for one another and hated being apart for too long. My brain went into instant “let’s make it happen” mode. Many phone calls and emails later, I got accepted to university past the admission deadline and into the faculty I wanted (Economics).  I took that as a sign from the universe that everything was falling into place perfectly.”

Do not devalue the occurrences that shaped who you are now. They were all purposeful or else they wouldn’t have happened. Embracing our own experiences also gives us a new sense of ownership over our life and everything we do becomes intentional. Every person we meet becomes worthy of a smile or conversation because they may be our next spouse, business partner, or best friend. Every project we undertake at work becomes meaningful to us because even though it may seem like a chore in the moment, we see the greater good in doing everything to the best of our abilities. Every salad eaten and every workout finished becomes thousands of dollars saved in future healthcare costs and many games of tag with our grandchildren (because aging ¹ sickness). Every yoga session complete and every page read becomes a journey to the best version of you possible.

When asked “how is your day?” talk about your day with vivid enthusiasm. When asked “what do you do?” describe your passions, hobbies, and accomplishments with high regard. And when asked “what brought you here?” tell your story without making it seem uninteresting or meaningless; instead, make it as captivating as the best movie you’ve ever seen because you are the director of your own film and the best director at that.

Hi, I’m Mary Jelkovsky and after recovering from an eating disorder and healing my body, mind, and spirit, I started my online platform Mary’s Cup of Tea, to inspire women to find their own inner peace and unconditional self-love. Now, I travel to beautiful places and eat yummy foods while sharing my heart with you through my writings, videos, and online courses. Welcome!

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