Before moving in together, the four of us were already close, but it was the shared rental contract that turned us into a real family.
Like a perfect sitcom cast, we were brought together while we were going through similar experiences in life.
Imagine, a group of three racially diverse, single young women sharing a condo in a big city — and one more of the gang living across the hall. We could have been a real-life version of Friends or How I Met Your Mother, but with an all female cast, hence more nights spent on Tinder and exchanging clothes.
Each one of us was also embarking on a deeper journey, one where we began searching for our own inner truth and voice in this world.
From time to time, we were exchanging clothes, but every day we were exchanging wisdom, observing how each one of us uniquely approached her life.
The passions and skill sets in this house could not have been any more diverse, from teaching yoga to learning travel photography to supporting refugee rights to organizing poetry, music, and the spoken word meetups. Sometimes, you don’t even find this many interests after swiping through 10 different Tinder profiles — trust me, I’ve been scrolling.
So I felt lucky to not only share a house with these powerful and passionate women but a life with them (and the occasional midnight snack, of course).
Today, I now see myself no differently from them — I am passionate, driven, and ready to give everything for something I believe in. Yet I also know that I would not see myself this way if it weren’t for having had them in my life.
For a long time, I didn’t always have the confidence to pursue my passions, and when I first moved abroad after college to volunteer, I felt that going alone was only something that lonely, unsuccessful people did. But my bold and fearless housemates quickly taught me that I was wrong. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
One of my girlfriends had previously spent a couple of years in Argentina and brought a pair of dancing shoes with her. After finding a tango social night in the city, every Saturday night she would pack her shoes, call herself a taxi, and leave the house to go to tango alone.
It was her thing, and the sheer love that she had for Tango was enough of a reason for her to go on her own.
Eventually, after seeing familiar faces every week, she would make new friends within the tango community — friends that shared her passion.
It showed me that you don’t need to find the company to pursue your passion. Not going after something because you couldn’t find someone to join you is just an excuse that is robbing you of the chance to do something you love. You must go towards your passions, and with time, you will find like-minded people who are just as passionate as you are.
Eventually, I found salsa. I bought myself a pair of dancing shoes, and once or twice a week I started leaving the house alone. Soon, I found my salsa community.
So she showed me the pathway to a new hobby, but for me, it was more than just that. With time, I saw that following a passion of your own can also come in handy when you are choosing a career path, too.
Around that time, another girlfriend of ours was making a big transition, diving headfirst into the unknown, leaving behind her Chief Marketing role in a tech start-up company and enrolling herself into a month-long raw vegan cooking class in Bali. Don’t think she saw herself as the next greatest raw-vegan chef, she merely felt that she needed something meaningful to do in her career break. At the time, she was only somewhat interested in vegan cuisine, but she decided to go all in.
She completely transformed her diet and began experimenting in the kitchen, getting herself ready for the course. Shortly after the month in Bali had come to a close, a new career path arose for her. She decided to take all that she had learned about vegan cuisine and combine it with her marketing experience to help launch a new vegan ice cream brand.
It showed me that passion doesn’t have to always be rational or lead to the next possible career step, but if you are drawn to something, it is for a reason, and there is no need to justify your actions to anyone else, as crazy as they may seem.
You just need to go for it! Because the path you follow may not make sense to you now, but you may see its value many years into the future. Otherwise, it may have just been something that brought you joy, which in my opinion is all that really matters.
Finally, after seeing my girlfriends starting movements and building communities centered around their passions, it inspired me to take new action in my own life. I felt that despite having amazing friends, I was missing the chance to connect to my creative side, and I was beginning to crave the opportunity to connect with artists, filmmakers, and writers.
Before living with these girls, my attempt at fulfilling my creative life would look like dragging a friend along to some art exhibition and then being too shy to speak to any of the artists.
But not this time.
The new and improved version of myself had learned from her girlfriends that she could pursue any passion of her own.
So I did. I decided to start a creative meetup in the city and invited a new artist to speak every month. Soon, I realized I was not the only one curious about the arts, and many people joined my events every month!
I began to realize that all I ever needed was the bravery to follow my passion — a passion that allowed others to follow theirs, too.
I ran that creative meetup for over a year, and my girlfriends showed their support when they could in between their tango nights, vegan cooking classes, and yoga retreats. I always felt supported, so I didn’t need them to always be there at my events. All I ever needed to see was them thriving in their own ways.