“Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump.
I don’t know about you but for me, Forrest’s statement perfectly summarises my world. I learned very early on that no matter how much one wants to plan and be in control, the universe has its own design. My journey is a prime example of that – life has always found creative ways to remind me how little I am in control, in case I ever became too complacent!
LIFE HAS ITS OWN PLANS
Born in Iran, my life was meant to be an easy one. I was destined to live in total affluence and comfort. Somehow the universe had different plans in store for me. Very, very different!
In 1979, the Persian monarchy was overthrown and replaced by the Islamic Republic and in 1980 Iran got attacked by Irak. I still have very vivid memories of that time, even as a very young child. Both our streets and sky roared with revolt and noise – scores of people marching the streets of Tehran amidst horrific explosions.
Everyone I knew was trying to find ways to flee, especially young men who otherwise would be sent to war.
In my case, most of my family emigrated to the US, including my older brother, while my mother and I moved to Paris. My father, a prominent doctor, chose to stay and heal the wounded instead. Important note is that while all this chaos was taking place, my parents got divorced!
You may wonder why I ended up in Paris? No other reason than my mom’s love affair with the city of romance. But also because I had gone to French school and would probably adjust easier there than anywhere else.
I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to grow up in a place where emphasis is put on the Art of living (love, poetry, travel, food, beauty). To this day, I consciously try to apply these lessons into my day-to-day life.
Although Paris had been good to me for so many years, life had different ambitions for me and the city of romance was not to be my last stop.
My next move was to Los Angeles, the city of Angels. There I reunited with my family, especially my brother. The first couple of years were an absolute dread. I was older but experiencing the same heartaches as when I was seven!
Thankfully, with time, perseverance and confidence, I grew to love L.A. There I met people who inspired me, challenged me and pushed me to always strive for more. I made giant leaps and became more and more spiritually awakened. There I got introduced to the creative world, a world which made me feel alive. Although I wasn’t creative myself, being around such forces rubbed on me. I began to dabble in everything fashion and beauty related and learned a skill or two.
In 2008, the economy crashed and with it our hopes and dreams. Businesses were closing left and right and people were losing not only their jobs but their homes. Los Angeles, the land of fantasy became the land of nightmare. And there I was again, forced to seek opportunities elsewhere and start anew.
Now was the time to manifest a new intention. Within 2 months my husband and I packed our bags and moved to the Big Apple where my dream job was awaiting me. I could finally put to use some of the creative skills I had attained during my years in LA and acquire new ones! I was surrounded by creative geniuses who encouraged me to pay attention to details, see beauty where no one else sees it, and above all not to be afraid of trying new things no matter how uncomfortable and scary.
Manhattan is truly unique – ideas and creativity flow from every corner and from everyone. And as invigorating and exhilarating as it is, it also is taxing and sapping.
Three years later, after many discussions, we decided to move to my husband’s home, Zurich, where life would be calmer and safer. As an Entrepreneur, he was now longing for stability and security.
Switzerland was sold to me as the land where everyone is taken care of and no one is ever left behind. Basically, paradise on earth in a time where chaos and fear seem commonplace everywhere else!
To be honest, no place can ever fulfil such high expectations but having said that, Zurich offers amazing perks – safety, traveling opportunities, job security, work-life balance, clean air and water, and beautiful nature amongst many other attributes.
From what I have learned along the way, you take yourself wherever you go, so it is up to you to make the most and best out of any given situation. It is always about seeking opportunities and make them work for you and understanding that every step of the way, there are lessons to be learned which get carried to the next phase of life.
EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON
Each move proved to be painful and difficult at first. Different worlds, different cultures and mentalities. Thankfully the daily tears lessen with time and give space to surrender and freedom. My moves however uncomfortable, pushed me out of my comfort zone, empowered me and propelled me to the next chapter of my book of life.
Today, that chapter is called Discover Out Loud in which all the ingredients I collected over the years from the supermarket of Life are put together to create new recipes.
Discover Out Loud was conceived because when new to Zurich, I felt alone and lost. I needed an outlet to help me integrate into my new world, understand the culture better, grow my network, but above all take the opportunity to reinvent myself.
It’s amazing how much one can achieve in time of desperation! I began taking on projects I had no experience with and always dreaded! I built a website, I picked up a camera and started shooting, I edited my movies and I reached out to people I had no business talking to. The list goes on and on!
In my wildest dreams I never imagined how far this venture would take me and the lessons it would teach me. It has helped me conquer my fears, my self-doubts and gain an appreciation for challenge like never before. Too often we get stuck in our comfort zone because we are too afraid to try something new. Not only have I learned new things, but I have been able to experience a life very few are previewed to.
Be open and willing!
Each move, each change, as dreadful as it was at first has taught me lessons that are priceless – lessons that only life can teach you, as long as you are open and willing. All you need is faith, a dash of creativity, resourcefulness and a big dose of perseverance!
And that is what I call Luxury!
Written by Ariane Tavakol