Whether I was chairing a 65-person committee, meeting with ICJ-Judges, speaking at the OPCW in front of State Representatives, having lunches with Ambassadors or their Deputies, or dissolving a serious relationship with someone who promised me the Sun and the Moon but could not deliver, I never once forgot who I am and the values I believe in. I remember asking my career coach earlier this year what my constant is, because it is neither a person nor a place. The suggested answer that was her reply made all the sense to me. The values that guide me, the principles that shape me, and the integrity that keeps me tall. The warmth and affection that shines from within. No pretence. Never made promises I can’t keep. Never agree on anything I cannot live with. Never harm my conscience by harming others. Genuine peace and happiness of mind, body, and soul. Purity of heart.

I don’t care how others choose to live, it is not my place to judge. I accept my friends based on good company, brilliant minds, and honest hearts. Even though the values we share and the styles we adhered to in our life often determined the length of our walks together.

Throughout my journey on this earth, I have had the pleasure of meeting many different people. Some inspired me, others taught me. Different experiences helped me to connect even more increasingly with myself and to discover every time what I truly value in my life.

At the end of my life, I wish I can close my eyes and leave in peace. Knowing I have done everything I want to in this life that I was blessed to experience. I suppose my soul is old enough to know that there shall not be a next one to catch up on the things I’ll leave undone in this lifetime. So I must prioritise my time and figure out what is this purpose that I want to dedicate my life to.

Some insights have helped me so far to be a better person, others made me accept that I am good just the way I am. I know myself well enough to accept that my patience has its limits and that I cannot get used to habits I do not wish to tolerate. I love myself sincere enough not to allow myself to be exposed to toxic atmospheres. Or at least not long enough so I cannot survive or recover from. The right of self-determination and my ability to think reasonably throughout many conflicting sources and situations is the one instrument I trusted without having switched it off for a moment. Even when I have chosen not to trust my instinct – to my own detriment.

I know that many things are a matter of when and not if. I just want to make sure that when that moment arrives, I am ready. And I cannot be afraid anymore. Instead of wasting our time on irrational if’s, we must use this time to prepare for the when. Because very often it shall be the One When we spend our entire life preparing for. But when we are determined, and if we are lucky, it will be just the When we need that gives our life purpose.

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