"Discovering Happiness is a place to shine light on the little things: like the connections we make ... the peace found in nature, the special moments – like my precious memory of George, who inspired my curiosity to explore the world."
I was fascinated with his big eyes, and greenish skin. As a child I would stand by his tank, my nose glued to the pane, watching him move through the water smooth and fast. I was delighted by his curiosity and the way he poked his head out when I spoke.
George was my semi-aquatic turtle. My very first pet. I’d take little George to walk in the garden, I’d feed him, pet him, talk to him. When George passed away, I learned the pain of saying goodbye to a cherished friend. I promised him that when I grew-up I would help endangered turtles.
Keeping my promise to George …
Twenty years after I made my promise to George, I graduated Veterinarian Medicine School, National Autonomous University of Mexico.
To complete my diploma, I won a scholarship with The Park at Xcaret in Quintana Roo, Mexico, where I worked at the project of Flora and Fauna de Mexico A.C. for the preservation of Sea Turtles.
On the first night of the project I walked the beach from midnight until 4 A.M. waiting for the turtles to come to shore and nest. I helped relocate the eggs and then patiently waited for the hatchlings to emerge. Each day I fed the turtles and administered treatments to keep them healthy. Protected by their tank, the turtles had everything they needed to survive … but they didn’t have freedom.
When they were strong enough, we released 30,000 turtles into their natural habitat. I was fascinated by the way they hurried back to the ocean by instinct. I wondered if we, as human beings could instinctively find our way to freedom. As they swam away, I stood still embodying the freedom of the turtles in my own heart and limbs. I felt George close. This time I made a promise to myself, “I want to be free to explore. I want to travel. I want to satisfy my curiosity and discover happiness in the world around me.”
And so, I started travelling solo to discover new places around the world … Mexico, Europe, Bahamas, Republic Dominican, Canada, USA, Peru.
In my journey I gained my Canadian residency and continued my veterinarian work with animals. I also found joy making wonderful friends all over the world. One particular friend caught my special attention. I fell in love for the first time, but for us to be together he wanted me to move to the USA. I gave up my Canadian residence, my friends, my family and my work to move to the USA with him.
Suddenly Trapped in a Tank of my Own
I soon felt like I was living in captivity.
My husband and his family had very clear expectations for me - that was for me to simply stay at home, cook, do all the housework, start a family and devote my life to serving my husband and his family. I continually tried to please my husband, but it was never enough. I was losing myself trying to live by the standards set by society and his family. Life may have looked good from the outside, however I was more alone than ever in my life.
I was once free as a turtle swimming in the ocean, coexisting with the beauty under the sea. But now, I felt like a turtle trapped in a tank. I was living in a huge home where the emptiness was bigger than the home.
To some, it may have appeared like I had the “perfect life”, and I understand that for some women my life may have been great for them. However, this life for me, was devoid of happiness. I remembered George. I remembered the promise I had made to myself. I remembered the turtles and how they swam free towards the ocean. It was hard to move on, but my husband and I agreed to part ways and divorce amicably.
We are here to choose who we want to become; not what society wants for us as women.
Having first tasted freedom, then experiencing a life feeling trapped, then going through a marriage break-up wasn’t easy. But I learned a lot from the experience. I discovered that having all the comforts in life, does not bring true happiness. Happiness is an attitude towards life and how we create ourselves inside it. We are here to choose who we want to become; not what society wants for us as women.
I’ve learned that success and happiness is knowing yourself, understanding your passion and purpose. It’s about gratitude and never losing hope – even if we must start over.
We all have different paths and challenges; we need to be patient to make a difference. One step at a time we go for our dreams, learning from the adversities to become a better version of ourselves, sharing our light with others.
It’s been five years since I started my life over.
I continue to travel, making connections with different cultures and learning new ways of living. I work with volunteer groups and fundraisers like completing the Atlanta Open Water Swim to raise money for cancer research. I’ve volunteered at the Hospital La Raza in Mexico City with Kids with Cancer. I also participated in UNICEF fundraising efforts for the 2017 earthquake in Mexico.
This year I was very excited to start my own passion project – “Discovering Happiness”. Discovering Happiness is a space to remember that happiness is a style of life – something that comes from deep within your heart. Not something you wear on the outside.
Discovering Happiness is a place to shine light on the little things in life: like the connections we make, the learning from different cultures, the peace found in nature, moments that we hold close to our heart – like my precious memory of my George, who inspired my curiosity to explore the world.
I want to share my growing community of discovering happiness around the world. Together we are discovering happiness. I hope you’ll come and join me.
Get To Know Lizette ...
Lizette currently managers two corporate office buildings in Atlanta. She is a Brand Marketing Influencer - Ambassador of brands in Italy, Greece and USA.
She holds a degree of Veterinarian Medicine and Zootechnic, in UNAM Mexico City. Is Certified as a Veterinarian Technician in USA. She is a Medical Interpreter in USA and speaks 3 languages - Spanish, French and English.You can connect with Lizette by reaching out to her through her Discovering Happiness Page or following her on Instagram #museofworld
READ ANOTHER STORY | Determined to fulfill her life-long dream to shine in the spotlight, Mara quits her job and runs away with the circus, where she learns the ultimate lesson in vulnerability
What an inspiring story. You have had an I credible journey and came out stronger because of it. I am glad you have finally found happiness and peace.
I love this story. Happiness is truly within, the earlier in life we learn this concept, the better off we will be. Sometimes it takes a life lesson, and sometimes it just takes living life.
Wow, my students and I would love to speak to you. Each year we do and endangered animal unit and this year we are focusing on turtles because there are 5 endangered sea turtles in our state. I’m so sorry to hear that your marriage turned sour, but happy you two were able to part amicably. I look forward to keeping up with your adventures.
What a captivating story. And the lama pic made me smile.
Loved reading about your happiness journey. I have to agree with you. Happiness comes from knowing one’s self & gratitude is such a HUGE contributor to happiness & feelings of contentment!
-Madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com
Lovely to hear your story! I love turtles! Hoping to track down some wild ones on our trip.
Wow this is very insightful, I am so glad you have come into your own as a professional woman congratulations to you, I hope our paths cross here in Atlanta at some point!
Loved that finally you discovered the real happiness. And now by sharing your story, you are inspiring many other ladies who are also trapped.
I hope this will definitely help them to spread their wings and fly in clear sky or be the turtle in an ocean.
I admire you for all the journey you had to go through , and the person you are today. I’m glad you finally found peace & Happiness. Thanks for sharing your personal experience. We can learn so much from this post!
-The Handy Journal-