I made it to the US right before 9/11, a spontaneous, unplanned, and unprepared move. I made a series of decisions that led me
to sleep in my car for a couple of days at some point.
Let me transition forward to the middle of this story; this is not romantic. This was not a:
I decide to save money and live in my van kind of a decision.
I am going to turn this around, and one day will you sell consultancy services as I step out of my helicopter and tell you this very story.
I wasn’t poor or jobless, I just made wrong decisions that formed a pattern that led me to that circumstance in my life. This was way before social media and go-fund-me campaigns. My story
would have been different! It might have included a helicopter though instead of this awful coffee I am drinking.
Back to the week where I slept in my Mitsubishi. A colleague I used to work with at the time, a Mexican living in Texas, heard of my sleeping arrangement offered a space if I want to move in
with him. Let me emphasize something, when he said space, he literally meant space to sleep. I showed up and was given a mattress and a blanket, a moved into my space in the kitchen area. I was the new addition to a family of 5 friends in a 2 bed 1 bathroom apartment.
One day (2 weeks or so after I moved in, as he was getting ready to go to his afternoon job, he noticed I was sitting home, watching TV with a possibility of a nap. Later that night, I was the subject of an intervention, from all of them:
“You are young, you are healthy, you speak English better than the rest of us, and clearly you are more educated than all of us here, combined. You are lazy, you think hard work is circumstantial, and life should be a predictable balance of work and fun. You think because you came from a country where you call each other resilient and able to work under stress, that gives us a head
start everywhere. Why aren’t you taking more shifts? Why are you getting comfortable this quickly? Why aren’t you trying to move out of the kitchen? Take night classes, Do more shifts! Take an extra job! Don’t confuse what we choose to do, with your situation. Know what you want, you are in a position to manoeuvre in any direction. How do you say get over yourself in your language? You clearly need to hear that in your tongue”
They didn’t say those things word by word, they didn’t speak English after all, I didn’t speak Spanish. But I knew, and they knew I got it.
We lived together for 11 months; a journey of
a lifetime. A pivotal year where I managed to get over myself in several languages and continue a journey that led me to this very post.
I don’t recommend your sleep in your car. I do recommend though you find friends that speak to you this way. I do recommend
you listen. I highly recommend you spend enough time getting over yourself, specifically after you achieve something.