I remember the day very clearly. I was sitting in my home office one evening after work when suddenly it felt like I’d opened my eyes after an incredibly long slumber. I looked around the room and felt like I had no idea where I was. Slightly panicked, I didn’t recognize myself, my life, or even how I’d even gotten to this point.

That was the moment I realized I’d lost myself somewhere along the way.

I was 21 years old and had everything I thought I ever wanted. Having just graduated from college at the top of my class, I had an amazing job at a local graphic design firm, a brand new townhouse, a boyfriend of almost seven years and a shiny little car in my own name.

On the outside it appeared that I was doing everything right for my age, and honestly, a lot better than my peers. People were really proud of me and impressed by the life I’d created. But despite outward appearances and distracting myself for years, I was realizing how absolutely miserable I was.

I knew the guy I shared a home with wasn’t “the one.” I discovered the great job, despite the excellent pay and awesome projects, wasn’t making me happy. I felt trapped financially by the house, the car, and the “perfect little life” I had created. I basically felt that nothing in my life was right, deeply unfulfilled, isolated, and with absolutely no clue what to do about any of it.

I attempted to resolve the growing discomfort with several new jobs, all ridiculously fabulous and with increased salary and clout. I ended my relationship, jumped into a new one and threw myself into a whirlwind of painful changes and serious stress.

No matter what I did, something deep inside me just wasn’t having any of it.

Two years after this intense period in my life began, I awoke on my birthday more miserable and depressed than I’d started out. I had gained weight, lost all remaining sense of myself and had zero passion for anything in my life.

But what I did on that day marked the start of a life changing process for me.

That birthday I finally got still and connected with myself for the first time in nearly a decade. I took pause, asked myself what I really wanted and needed to be happy, and actually began exploring what it would look like to be living a life I love. To be fully and completely rooted in my truth. To be fulfilled and living my passion.

I set out with the intention to “change my life” by my next birthday with a list of things I believed I needed to do/be/have/release in hand. I became devoted to finding myself and building a new life that was true to who I was. Unfortunately, because I was so lost and so deeply ingrained in a life and way of living that wasn’t serving me, it took far longer than a year.

Over the next several years, throughout many highs, lows, relationships, businesses, moves, and challenges, I found myself again. It was the most beautiful and challenging time of my life.

Uncovering my truth layer by layer, finding my passions, and beginning to rebuild my life in a way that felt right for me was truly amazing, humbling and soul stretching.

Ever since that birthday, I’ve continually taken pause to check in with myself to see where I’m living out of alignment with my truth so I can step more deeply into this new life, this new way of being and showing up in the world.

While I’ve experienced many losses in my life, the greatest one of all has been losing myself. 

I can never get those years back, but honestly, I wouldn’t trade this journey in for anything in the world. Losing myself once has given me the gift of seeing how detrimental it can be, which keeps me in a space of always doing what I need to do to stay connected to myself and my truth.

Loss, in all forms, is certainly one of our greatest teachers. @StephenieZ (Click to Tweet!)

StephenieZStephenie Zamora merges the worlds of personal development, branding, and online marketing to help men and women rediscover themselves, uncover what truly lights them up, and build passion-based lives and businesses through her signature program, My Awesome Life Mastery™. Connect with Stephenie at her website, or on Facebook and Twitter.

*A Note from Christina:
I’m so excited to debut the Life Starter’s Blog Series. I have had the greatest honor and fortune of hearing your powerful stories of personal transformation and I wanted to share them all. Because I know that together we can help support, inspire and lift one another. Every Tuesday, we will proudly feature your stories. If you’d like to submit a post, please go here for guidelines and more info. Happy reading!

Image courtesy of Paula Borowska via Unsplash.com

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Christina Rasmussen is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur who believes that grief is an evolutionary experience required for launching a life of adventure and creative accomplishment.

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