Reinventing myself

What do you want to be when you grow up? I used to say a doctor or a soccer player when I was 5 or 8 years old, but when I was about to graduate from high school, I didn’t know.

How well can we answer that question?

We need more information and experiences in life because our path to success is built day in and day out. I would pose different questions. What would make you happy in life? What would make you comfortable during your professional career? Have we gained enough experience to see what we really want in life? In order to increase our perception of life, we have to travel the journey of personal transformation.

I graduated from high school and I was not sure what I wanted to do because I was not prepared to grow up. I secured a job at a supermarket and it gave me a sense of responsibility; it made me feel useful. Year one, and I was feeling very content with my life. Year two, and I had many things in my mind because I knew that it was time for me to grow up.

Time does not wait for anyone to make decisions, it was time for me to evaluate my options and decide. Based on my national test score and a few words with my chemistry teacher, I decided to pursue my studies in chemical engineering as my dad gave me the green light as he would be supporting me during this period through college.

The path after graduating from college is very clear: get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids and get a furry pet. Under ideal conditions, this equation works perfectly. However, college is not an option for everyone and it does not guarantee or immediately translate into the accomplishment of our chosen career.

Even though I struggled with classes during my first two years of college, I successfully completed my program and I was ready for what life is all about. Life is about finding opportunities and taking our chances. Life is accepting the risks and resigning ourselves to uncertainty. Life is scary, but if we don’t try, we will have no idea whether this scheme will work or not. When an opportunity presents itself, you just have to take it.

I left my hometown in December 2002 to travel to the United States without knowing that my life was about to be redefined. This was an opportunity with many question marks. 17 hours later after navigating 2629 miles, 2 feet of snow waited for me in Vermont. I understood for the very first time that I would be alone, with a new language to learn, counting on my roommates to be allies. It was the beginning of a new transformation, one that would make me more independent.

Years passed and I forgot about chemical engineering. Life had given me a reason to enjoy traveling (Connecticut, Montreal, Chicago, Atlanta, and Akron) and see the world. Why would I settle when I knew I could just continue playing the game of uncertainty? My loved ones believed that graduate school was the best choice to get back in my field, and they were correct.

I had the best time of my life while attending school at The University of Akron. I found a new purpose. I was surrounded by many friends in Akron and I wrote this note for my graduation: “Our experiences in life shape who we are and prepare us for our next challenge. I’m very proud of what we have seen, done and what we are leaving for others to follow in our steps. We went through marathons, concerts, cities, celebrations, movies, museums, festivals, performances and many other activities that brought us together. This journey does not belong to me; it belongs to those traveling by my side”.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I want to be the person that enjoys life by taking chances, by filling my life with experiences, by traveling the path of life, by learning from incredible individuals, by meeting beautiful human beings, by making mistakes because nobody is perfect, and by finding my passions because I tried.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself.

I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone’s perspective seen from the lens of a camera.

I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.

Have you seen the sky tonight?

Have you ever looked up to the immense sky late at night after arriving home?
Have you ever wondered about the perspective of astronauts looking down from Earth’s orbit?
Have you ever contemplated the moon when is hiding behind the clouds?

As the sun sinks over the horizon and the sky transitions to dusk, the night quickly uncovers shining bright stars. When I arrive home late at night, the sky is putting a show and I can’t ignore it. It is a composition of the moon, the planets, the stars, and the clouds competing to guide my path.

The sky is more than I can see with the naked eye. It is a universe stretching for billions of light years; and our generation has seen a tiny fraction thanks to the space race between the Soviet Union and United States. On February 14, 1990 from a distance of 4 billion miles, the spacecraft Voyager 1 turned around and took a photograph of Earth, a pale blue dot.

Inspired by this image Carl Sagan wrote:

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was lived out their lives…”

“Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark…”

“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life…”

“Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand…”

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits that this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

If we can beat the barriers of sound and reach the frontiers outside Earth’s atmosphere, we can reach unity by understanding our differences.

So I ask again: Have you seen the sky tonight? Because no matter where you are, we share the same roof and our distant moon shines and illuminates our path in moments of darkness. In its absence, I see a star, a star shining bright through the clouds, a star looking down, a star questioning why I don’t visit, a star looking for company, a lonely little star.

When I look at the sky, I think about every human being on Earth, we represent each star in the sky, with some forming families, and others always by our side as good friends do, no matter the circumstances. Surrounded by many stars, some are visible and others are distant. Distant stars are looking to get noticed and it takes a brilliant mind to recognize the brightness in it. Even though I have found distant starts that I guard inside my heart, they are all now chasing their dreams and we may cross paths again in life.

Someone once said to me: there are many fish in the sea. Yes, as many stars I can see in the sky. They may look similar but never the same. Every time I look at the sky, I see the beauty of the stars, and I pay close attention because one of them belongs to me.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself.

I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone’s perspective seen from the lens of a camera.

I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.

Hello there! You look like a bad decision

Destiny is shaped after the winner of the battle between indecisions and our inner voice overcomes the feeling of mixed signals.

Can we peek into the future and avoid regretting the outcome of making bad decisions? Can we follow a standard to address our decision-making process? Legacy is written everyday based on our wisdom, based on our acquired knowledge of life. The voice inside us has learned from our experiences to encourage us to take chances and risks. We need to be willing to be afraid and be aware of the beauty of making mistakes.

Our journey is the running path through time. The past is our training during our morning runs. The present is our current feeling of body and mind, the stage that is preparing us to our scheduled race. If we have done our homework and trained properly, we will be winners at making difficult decisions and we would deserve a medal for our courage of running thousand miles of pain.

Trying our hardest in life is the balance of facing decisions that feed our soul and living without apologies after closing doors leading to nowhere. We are always one decision away from submerging into the waters of fear, waters leading us to a future of uncertainty. Life-change decisions dictate the outcome of career choices and relationships. Our very optimistic brain recognizes bad situations by running scenarios, analyzing them and thinking about the positive outcomes. In the other hand, we listen and trust the decisions from our heart because very deep inside, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s embrace our opportunities because we may only have one shot at experiencing the best partners in life and the best jobs in life.

Life-change decisions come and go, and there are moments when we will never be ready for. We need to walk through dark alleys and scary places in our mind because right conditions are never aligned. Finding love is a good example of perfect alignment. I placed all the pieces together, I made the right moves, I followed my heart, I changed directions, and I gambled my hopes because there is no order for reaching a fixed destination.

Playing with fire may get us burnt. I wish I knew then what I know now. Can I just reset all my actions, undo the consequences and avoid the impact? Heart lessons hurt, forgetting hurts, but not knowing is the worst. If we are not willing to move on and walk away with victory and our heart at peace, we repeat and try harder.

Someday, everything will make perfect sense. For now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and remember that everything happens for a reason and the universe conspires, so bad decisions are very appealing to our eyes.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself.

I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone’s perspective seen from the lens of a camera.

I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.

Walking the path of beautiful imperfections

Are you one of those expecting the unexpected in life? Are you making any plans to see the next solar eclipse on August 21st knowing that you would be very sad if you don’t get to see it? Are we asking too much from life? I personally tend to over analyze my surroundings and be cautious as I walk the path of life. However, I learned that I had to embrace vulnerability because sharing my feelings will help me project my sense of love, belonging, joy and empathy.

At the end of my school year during 5th grade, I was at home when my Mom fell very sick. I was the only person around and we decided to ask for help so I could bring my Mom to the doctor. I remember very clearly waiting outside the doctor’s office without knowing what was happening. I was crying and trying to find an answer because it hurt very much to see her that way. When we were back home, she didn’t mention anything to me. I was left in the edge of an abyss. Later that night, my Dad arrived from work with a doctor to see her, and again, I was not allowed to enter the room along with my siblings. What was the outcome of that visit? She left that night to be hospitalized. A big hug and a kiss from her, that’s everything I remember… Painful days of incertitude invaded my soul while I patiently believed on her return, but she was gone. I think about her every day.

How does grief feel? It feels like being submerged into the waters of pain, solace, absence, sadness, physical and emotional exhaustion accumulated in the back of the brain. Difficult to respire and waiting for a wave of relief. Overwhelming feeling carrying tears with a mental breakdown. It feels like the love I embraced and I thought I could keep forever.

Grief taught me to be stronger because the love of my Mom lives in me. The end of relationships dragged me to these waters reminding me how vulnerable I was after taking my risks and my chances with love, but time and practice at swimming makes me navigate safely to the next shore. I cope with grief by surviving love, by surviving through my losses because this process made me see the light. I am grateful and very lucky to walk the paths of beautiful imperfections. Thank you for the gift of incredible human beings.

Compassion, joy and happiness will shine through the peace of our souls.
Be patient, be kind, be present.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself.

I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone’s perspective seen from the lens of a camera.

I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.

What is the recipe for transitioning in life?

Are we aware of the roads we take in our daily commute? Are we willing to take a different route? Are we afraid to explore and get lost to the unfamiliar? Can we live outside of our comfort zone?

We all have sailed to foreign waters. Waters of incertitude, anxiety, excitement, loneliness, lack of control, confidence, or just new waters so we can experience unknown flavors by ourselves.

I see life as a book, where pages continue to be filled with stories highlighting new characters, places, and scenes. Our perception of life changes with every feat we encounter. Experiences in life shape who we are and prepare us for our next challenge. I have been very lucky in life, but it takes more than that to achieve our goals and milestones. The characters in our stories have made this process and transition easier; because they help us decipher the next step in our path so we can continue writing a new chapter in our lives.

Life gives us the chance to transform ourselves.

A metamorphosis

An evolution

A new skin

Les rites de passage described my trip to Oregon, a 7-day trip, an analogy.

Separation

Driving away from home was bittersweet; I was leaving behind many, many of my friends. Anytime I move, I always look back to the streets, roads, houses, buildings, landmarks, and signs. It is a vivid memory of my last interaction with a place. Unattached, going through my first stage of transformation and dressing up my sadness with high expectations and the unknown.

Liminality

Concentrating on the road, I teleport to the near future thinking that this will be over soon. I know it is a temporary stage. Images of plains, trees, animals, leaves and far in the horizon, a mirage, a highway holding the skies and the clouds passing by. I am perplexed of the path opening in front of me.

Incorporation

Mountains, rivers and winding roads are a common denominator, and finally Oregon. Driving on I-84 on November 13, 2016 along the Columbia River was a magical and remarkable experience. As an enthusiast of photography, the scenery was almost perfect: a dam, the river, the mountains, the rocks, the waterfalls, the peaks, and of course cloudy skies with a dense fog covering some of the treasures to be explored.

Here is a note I wrote for my friends in Akron after the graduation ceremony: Our experiences in life shape who we are and prepare us for our next challenge. I’m very proud of what we have seen, done and what we are leaving for others to follow our steps. We experienced marathons, concerts, cities, celebrations, movies, museums, festivals, performances and many other activities that brought us together.

This journey does not belong to me; it belongs to those traveling by my side.

How much more is left to be seen? The road ahead of me stretches, and I have only seen a part of it. I prepare myself every day, step by step, mile after mile looking to reach my next big accomplishment.

My next destination is still there to be discovered.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself.

I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone’s perspective seen from the lens of a camera.

I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.