How I Followed My Curiosity

September, 1997. A moving truck carrying all my possessions had just arrived in sunny San Francisco. For the past seven years I had lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. My life there was good, but I had a deep need to stimulate my mind and connect to my passion again. So I landed a job in San Francisco at a budding start-up in the center of the dot-com boom. Passion here I come!

The minute I arrived at work, feeling confident in my red power suit, I dove head first into the job. Best way I thought to find my passion, dive in. Every day my mind was more and more stimulated, expanding in every direction to absorb things at rapid-fire pace. Some days my brain ached so badly I could barely remember my name. But I was around passionate people and thought I was living my passion too. 

Little did I know then I’d made a wrong turn. I was letting my job lead the way, not my natural curiosity. 

But the signs were there. Whenever I met friends out after work, all I could talk about was work. No other interests came to mind. When I came home to my apartment, all I did was pull out my laptop, connect to passionate colleagues and work projects. Since everyone around me was living this way – calling each other Rock Stars as we were changing the world – I didn’t realize I was travelling further away from my own interests and passions, not toward them.

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On especially tiring days, I would come home and flip through a stack of home and garden books. Doing so grounded me in a strange way. Looking at the pretty rooms in the books was somehow refreshing my mind, wondering how the rooms were created. But I didn’t act on this curiosity or give it carefree white space to breathe. The next day, I simply jumped head first back into work, along with everyone else.

Finally, two years later. I left that start-up. While my brain had been stimulated, my heart yearned to find my real passion. 

After a year searching, one Sunday evening a lightbulb moment came. My fiancé David came home from an event he had attended in the city where Christy Turlington (yes, that beautiful model although she is also an author, as you will see) had spoken. He was reading a new autographed copy of her book next to me on the couch while I was flipping through a home decorating magazine.

After commenting to him that the cover was inspiring, he began to say how interesting her story was. Her book, Living Yoga, was all about her new passion for yoga.  As David recited her story, tears rolled down my cheeks. I hoped he didn’t notice, but when I couldn’t control the loud sniffling, he looked over.

“What’s wrong?” he asked with surprise.  Just responding was difficult enough, but I mustered an emotional “I am so happy for her, don’t get me wrong. But she is so passionate about something and I can’t help wanting the same. I am 35 and have no clue what my “thing” is!”

David, surely questioning my sanity, gave his best gentleman response, offering up “Don’t worry, maybe you could take a yoga class.” Immediately I lost it.  Quickly reminding myself it was best not to scare away the fiancé, I tried my calmest version of, “No, it’s not YOGA that I need. I will burst if I don’t find MY special thing! The thing I am passionate about. My message to share with world.” 

Yes, more tears, more blubbering. Feeling the need to pull it together, I politely asked if he could continue reading her nice story and pass me the Kleenex. David, surely relieved I had returned to a semi normal state, kindly added, “Don’t worry, Yasmine, you will find your something.” Yes, at least I had done something right and picked a wise guy to marry.

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That week, while alone at home, I reread Christy’s story of her finding yoga. And do you know what it reminded me of? How alive I felt flipping through those home and garden books! That inspired me to act. I decided to do something I used to do back in Charlotte that I loved, getting up at the crack of dawn and roaming antique markets on my own.   

In a few months, my curiosity around home and garden was in full swing. I was meeting people at the markets and making connections that would soon come in handy. Soon after, I happened to walk by a store in town that caught my eye – it had a For Lease sign. I could stand it no more – I had to act! Before you knew it, I was filling trucks every week with vintage finds.

Within 6 months from that night blubbering next to David, I was opening the doors to my very own home and garden store, Maison Reve (it translates to Dream Home in French). It was the outlet for my new passion, the fruits of my curiosity, and the channel to share MY life message: to inspire people to believe anything in life is possible. I’d share my message with customers every day in little ways.  I had that store for 10 beautiful years until I recently moved it online.

So the point is this. Christy’s story was what it took for a light to go on for me. Perhaps my story can be what will do it for you – is there a yearning inside your heart that needs to be connected to your passions?

If it is speaking to you, trust it.  Then try this YMoment: Follow Your Curiosity.  I can say from personal experience, your curiosity has the power to navigate you right to your passion.