My husband came home from work today and after the usual “Hello. How was your day,” chit chat, he asked me curiously “Hey, why do you think we were not born in America? We live here, our kids are American, it is our home. Why were we not born here? What was the purpose of growing up in Ireland?”
At first I dismissed it with an “I dunno” and a shrug of the shoulder and said flippantly, “’cause we needed to meet there, maybe?” and he was, clearly not at all satisfied with this answer… and replied “we would have met anywhere.”
I thought no more about it until later that night, after sitting in the bath tub and meditating a bit, it just came to me… totally uninvited as if by magic… a magical download like files being dropped into dropbox… 1, 2, 3, then 4 reasons why we were not born in America. I guess this business of quieting the mind down really works! Stillness creates the space so answers can come.
So, considering almost everyone I meet in this amazing country seem to come from all over the world, descendants from Europe and everywhere else… Why were we just not born here? Why the trek – What did you or your parents or grandparents have to learn by uprooting and moving across the world?
First thing that came to me was “to learn the skills I would need as a trailblazer” I have always been different than others and never quite fit in, but had I stayed in Ireland, I would never have learned the following:
- Courage – It takes some badass courage to just up and leave your family, your roots, your heritage, everything you have ever known, your comfort zone, and just move somewhere else. I have found time and time again that courage is the secret sauce that is required to living your life authentically.
- “How to think like an immigrant” – I heard my coach talk about this recently and it really hit home. When we arrived here, we would do ANYTHING. The drive to stay and be a part of the American Dream was a pushing, driving force, so sexy and alluring. We had a humble, dedicated and forceful work ethic (which Ireland can take some credit for) and we were prepared to wash windows to contribute to our dreams. It did pay off, as now sitting in our beautiful amazing home overlooking the ocean, I often think of the times we spent in the third floor apartment eating ramen noodles on a floor that was “partially” carpeted with no air conditioning, no plates, no car and certainly no clue about what we were doing most of the time. It certainly was a whole new world and we dove right in! The best part is we still have the same mentality and are not opposed to doing any work needed. I always remember something I learned at my second job in the US “Never ask someone to do something you are not prepared to do yourself” so yes, that means I will wash windows and make coffee when needed.
- “How to accept not fitting in” – now in hindsight I think about my teenage years and my 20’s and about how hard I tried to “fit in”, well this was magnified even further when I reached the US. There was no way in heck I could fit in now…. now what? Now I have to accept I am who I am and it is ok to not fit in. Who am I trying to “fit in” with anyway? I know now exactly why, I have a mission and my mission includes giving people permission to absolutely not fit in. We are all beautiful talented and successful in our own unique and wonderful way… fitting in ruins this, kills dreams, leaves things that need to be said unsaid, leaves people isolated, feeling alone and unworthy. Please never attempt to fit in, we were born to stand out and shine!
- Non- judgement – I don’t even think this needs further explanation, we are all different and in Ireland back in the 80’s and 90’s we had a pretty homogenous race, we did not see too much difference in people and culture. When we moved here and saw all the beautiful possibilities and how different everyone is and how we all have different background cultures and beliefs, judgement became almost impossible… well maybe self judgment but that is a whole different blog!
- “To questions my beliefs” – like it or not, we are all programmed, like a computer with various beliefs and values towards life. A belief is a thought we believe to be true. Many of the Irish people share similar beliefs and many are very disempowering…. some I learned along the way just really became questionable when surrounded with a whole new culture of new beliefs. There was a discord I had to address and in doing so I realized that no one holds “true” beliefs, we are all right or wrong maybe! That beliefs should be questioned and evaluated like a tenant you would bring in to live in or rent a room in your house. You don’t want a dodgy roommate any more than you would or should accept hand me down beliefs that are disempowering to your life.
Living in America is a gift. Being born and raised in Ireland is a gift. My kids growing up here is a gift. It is all a giant gift. If you look for the blessings and you ask yourself great empowering questions, you will find great empowering answers. Yes, there were confusions. Yes there was struggle, but overall there are blessings and learning and growth and Oh so much joy!
As I mentioned earlier, almost every person I have met along the way identifies with being from another country, Irish, Italian, German, Spanish… and no one I have met has ever said they were American. I think part of this is to pay homage to the courage, the mindset and the outrageous strength it took to build a solid foundation for future generations. It is their way of showing respect for the sacrifice, the burning desire to succeed and make a better life for your kids and grandkids and so on. There is a silent reverence for that. I now understand it even though it confused me at first. I get it. I call my kids American; they say they are Irish. It is the silent thank you for creating a platform of inspiration and love for them to leap from.