Follow Your Own Star

Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

~ Carl Sandburg

She did the opposite for many years… she allowed others to spend her coin for a long time.  Don’t get me wrong, she has done things that she loved, and earned and learned a lot.  She made mistakes, and she still learned.

Her parents were born in a different generation and a different country than her own.  She knew deep down that when they came to this Country all they wanted for the children they would have is to provide them with the opportunity to have everything they didn’t, from a material perspective.  They gave their children the most important things in life and that is FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE and the greatest of these 3 was LOVE.  Our greatest power in life is contained in this word, our task is to unfold the purpose behind it, in order to connect to it.

Like her siblings she followed suit, she went to school, graduated, started working, got married, bought a house and had a beautiful child.  She did what everyone else did and bought into this identity.  She convinced herself that she was happy and that this is what life was all about.

After much sufferance through the trials and tribulations of everyday life but also a moment in time where she was swallowed whole – as a result of the death of her child, she realized she was done with cocooning herself.   She found the strength in herself to move on from a marriage that wasn’t healthy or meant for her to begin with.  She found strength in herself when she was finally honest and true to herself.  When she was able to look at herself in the mirror and face the truth about herself and say this is who I am, mistakes and all.

“Letting go is hard, but being free is beautiful”


She was tired of feeling chained by the conforming forces of modern-day-life – Push, Push, Push, Produce, Produce, Produce, Create more, Buy more, Spend more, all for the love of money and not people and she thought this is not for her.

“The reason people awaken is because they have finally stopped agreeing to things that insult their soul.”

~ Anonymous

Her time with her partner in life filled her with raw, honest and real conversations.  Moments that left her heart full and her mind open.  There were many things she learned from him as a mentor and as a friend, but the one that stood out the most was “to accept life how it is and change it where you can.”   And change it she did.

In her own way she went away and found her real self.   She found Love for herself and love for everything else, including an extraordinary man.

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.  Love one another but not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls”

~Khalil Gibran”

Those who know who she is, know that the country she loved has always been a home away from home for her.  She always felt that pull since her 1st visit at the age of 7 and she returned more times than she can remember.  The country is the birthplace of her parents, it spoke to her from an inner place in her soul.  It stirred up many memories of time spent with her grandmother and family; the crystal-clear blue-green sea, the mountains and village’s where her father and mother were born.  Donkey rides, sheep grazing, picking olives and learning the olive oil-making process.  Eating lots of prosciutto and cheese and best of all meeting-making new friends inside the country and out.  She loves the European culture, the people, the way they live, appreciate and value time.

“Travel is more than seeing the sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

~Miriam Beard

We all set out on a journey of our own making – we may hear a voice or feel a nudge and we start the work.  Only then do we realize that the destination is determined by the journey itself.

“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” 

~Lillian Smith

She was lucky to have had the opportunity to travel and be on the road – whether for work or leisure.  She not only loved meeting people but was passionate about what she did and how she did it.  It was something she really enjoyed and excelled at…. but she got tired of the bs leadership, to put it bluntly.   It wasn’t enough for her to do things the way someone else wanted when she knew it wasn’t right.  She wasn’t willing to condone toxic corporate behavior or to ruin the reputation that she had built for herself.  She started to see the changes in herself and became vocal.    She wanted more from life than just money and material objects.

Life tried again to take a bite out of her, it did from a health perspective, and an inner perspective, she realized her limits.  She was and still is a fighter, she believes in living her life with her eyes wide-open, to meet people from all walks of life, to live, to learn, to breathe in the colors of life, to rub her hands all over it and to take in every detail so that she can jump when she gets to the edge.

She continues to fight for individual rights and justice whether it be for herself or others and she will continue to move forward in her journey.  She came to terms with the fact that it will be what it will be, she will do her best to make it better.  She will make mistakes and she will learn.  She will give it her best on her terms, not that imposed by others.

In a little over 3 weeks she is moving to another continent and applying for residency after the necessary time it takes to do so.  She will start over because she has the confidence in herself to do so and she has the confidence to create something that is worth living for, for herself and others.

“In oneself lies the whole world, and if you know how to look and learn, then the door is there, and the key is in your hand.  Nobody on earth can give you either that key or the door to open, except yourself.”


What makes people spread their wings outside their own country? 

  • A desire to unwind and relax
  • Explore new and fascinating places
  • Eagerness for adventure
  • Meeting new people and experiencing different cultures
  • Deepen knowledge about themselves and others
  • Monotony

What makes people stay at home? 

  • Fear of leaving comfort/safety zone/change
  • Liking to just stay put

There is no right or wrong answer in the above examples, but one could say that trying something outside normality can benefit one in many ways:  Here are a few examples:

  • Travel connects families and is a gift. One day your children will grow up, have their own lives and remember time spent together.  Memories are something that no one can steal from their heart.
  • Travel can broaden our perspective of poverty and wealth in countries where many live without electricity or water. They have nothing to offer but their smiles and their treasure is in the simplicity of their lives.  Ours is in witnessing it and changing direction when needed.
  • Travel, live and learn about other countries and cultures. Countries that believe in the freedom of men and women at 360 degrees, not only in words but also in deeds.
  • Travel to enjoy the little things in life: sleeping beneath the sky, eating food from different cultures and presented in different ways, drinking spring water, swimming in clean seawater and breathing clean air. Living a simpler life away from technology and pollution….and yes there is a real-life out there in the world when you unplug.
  • Travel can be the window to opportunity that you seek.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

~Marcel Proust

  • Travel can teach you what is important in life……which many in my view have lost sight of because we have become too preoccupied with unimportant things.

We live in a bubble, one constituted by an oppressive range of restrictions, from an inner-feelings point of view and from a public point of view.

The imposition of a set of approved rules and uniform standards of behavior, in public and private life, as if things must be done.  As if things are imposed in friendships, social relations, marriages, in work activities, in man-women relationships and even in our own homes, let alone the bureaucracy.

You feel it on your skin that the controls are tight and stifling like a festively decorated concentration camp, even in the smallest things which really are nothing other than petty things.  And this way of thinking and living ends up by controlling everything and everyone.

Just look around you…. more than ever before, many people regardless of class can’t seem to afford the necessities of life – air, water, food, shelter.

When people get used to a way of living, they think that they do what they do of their own free will, that they are living in the best of all possible worlds…. but this is simply not true in my view.

Will it be any better in Europe?  The difference is in the way they take life.  The concept of freedom of choice is a philosophy of life not something that is controlled by the state nor is there any kind of conformity.

I read a powerful yet meaningful American Indian saying that goes like this: “Before you judge a person, walk in his moccasins for 3 moons.” 

Understanding comes from humility not the pride of knowledge or money.

This country for me is not a grudge, it is the place of my birth.  Italy gave my parents their freedom and Canada gave them the opportunity that their country was not able to give them.  I know without a doubt that if things had turned out different, they never would have left their country, and neither would I.

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.”

~John Lubbock

  • And last, but not least: Travel is good for your health – going with our flow is not only good for our bodies but also for our brain.  As the body needs exercise so does our brain.  Facing and resolving problems stimulates our brain as does engaging with people in meaningful ways.  It is a wonderful exercise in staying young and one never knows, it may trigger a life-changing event – which can only be good for your mind, body, and soul.

“Do not get attached to things as they can be taken away at any time.”

Do you know what the one mistake is that we make?  Believing that life is immutable, believing that once you get on a track you must follow it to the end.  It appears that fate has more imagination than we do and just when we think we are in a situation we can’t escape from, everything changes as fast as a gust of wind, everything’s overturned; from one second to the next you find you’re living a new life.

Life has many surprises and sometimes they are unimaginable.  For me personally, my journey has taken me to beautiful places, and I have met some wonderful people along the way.

Travelling to different parts of Europe made me realize that there is more to these beautiful countries than just beautiful scenery:  They love their food.  They enjoy and savor the moments.  They love bringing family and friends together and are extremely friendly and welcoming. Siesta time is important.  They start early, take time away for siesta and return later in the day to finish off the workday.    They display a higher degree of tolerance, empathy, and sympathy for others than what I have seen in North America.

I remember one of my former bosses telling me when he visited Europe that all they do is sit around drinking coffee and that no one works.  This is simply not true, they simply value life and the time they have and rather than living to work, they work to live.

And best of all:

  • Their life is filled with things worth doing and not just things.

“There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely – or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.  You have this moment now.  Choose!”

~Oscar Wilde

No matter what life experiences we confront, whether corporate, cultural or anything in between, we are not here to be invisible or inaudible, we always have the inner freedom and our voice to decide.  Whether it be our attitude, to remain true to our character and duty in this world or to change, be it the environment, our job, our life, our country, it requires you to take those steps to make it happen.  What happens afterwards is the effort you put into it.  Believe in yourself and in the small contribution you have to offer this world.

Are you worth the change?   I know I am and I’m going for it, mistakes and all.  I hope you do too because I believe we are all worth it.

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.  The gift is yours-it is an amazing journey and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  This is the day your life really begins”


There have been many who have moved me so deeply by sharing their own trials, tribulations, and experiences along the way, thank you for nourishing me, healing me and for your guiding hand.

“Take only memories, leave only footprints”

~Chief Seattle


Suzana Matkovic
Suzana Matkovic
SUZANA has a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks. With the guidance of a loving family, she aspired to the best job of Life: Motherhood. People that know her journey will understand how this beautiful and tragic chapter forged her resilience and tenacity to bring her passions to life by being part of the change. Upon graduation in 84, she moved into an extremely successful 30-year career. Nonetheless, she walked away from it in 2014, in order to pursue something more personally meaningful. A School of Life that enabled her to meet people of different nationalities, cultures, races, languages and outlooks, is what she sought. She is an avid advocate and volunteer motivated to help others reach their full potential by raising awareness of numerous social issues affecting many and establishing a legacy for change. Suzana’s training and experience have provided her with a unique foundation from which to produce communication that is Significant, Relevant and Actionable. Her knowledge in sales/business development and marketing started in the early 90’s where she received numerous awards for innovation, customer satisfaction and quality management. She has worked in all business categories: Local Government, Manufacturing and Distribution, Logistics and Lumber Export. Some of the more notable products and services were sold into the Environmental Energy Sector and building products that represented Structural, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Architectural Engineering. In addition to Marketing initiatives for various NGOs and causes near and dear to her heart. All this was accomplished by a high school graduate with determination, vision and passion. She attributes her success to many wonderful mentors throughout her personal and professional life and the inner strength God blessed her with.

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  1. Suzana, I would like to add another thought. When you quoted: “The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.  The gift is yours-it is an amazing journey and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  This is the day your life really begins” – You are absolutely right Suzana, you are right in spades, because that’s precisely the moment in which you are taking back control of your own life. It’s something that is not so easy to achieve because the easiest thing in the world to do when you don’t want to look inside yourself is to find excuses and ways out. You can always find a way to blame someone else, it takes a lot of courage to admit that the fault — or rather the responsibility – is yours alone.

    As for the difference between North-America and Europe … well … the things that happen in North-America, happens in Europe, too, but there is a fundamental difference in the way of taking what happens. Let’s get back a little to History. The Pilgrim fathers established their first colony in America in 1620. As for Canada, starting in the late 15th century, French and British expeditions colonized various places within what constitutes present-day Canada.

    Europe is a completely different story.

    Europe has got a thousand years old history and went through all sorts … the first takeovers in Rome date back to more than 3,000 years ago. Rome, the organized Rome, was founded more than 2,800 years ago.

    It’s, somewhat like the parents … they are often wiser than their kids … because they have seen it all in life … beauties and ugliness. I’m not here to explain european history … but just think of the so-called May 68′ revolution in France. The famous May 68′ didn’t affect just the French society … it affected the whole Europe for decades afterward, and continues to do so, and not only in Europe, although to a lesser extent. It is considered to this day as a cultural, social and moral turning point in the history of France and Europe. It was a social revolution, not a political one. It changed social dynamics. Its slogan speaks volumes, it was: “banning is banned”. So … It doesn’t take much imagination … in Europe (especially central Europe) people are more flexible, they have a more understanding attitude and they invented ways to defeat oppressive regimentation and live life for what it is, without pursuing perfection. Everyone takes their own responsibility. There is no conformity or standard of behavior. Europe is mostly secular but not atheistic. In Europe, they fought strenuously to defend the liberty of the individual, in private and public life. Not only with words, but also with deeds. Especially after the second world war. That’s the reason why I think I can safely say that life, particularly in central Europe, with all the legitimate differences, and with all the ups and downs of every nation, is more like a lifestyle forged through the millenia, than a nationality in itself.

    Europe and North-America … one is not better than the other. There’re pros and cons for each. It’s just a different way of interpreting and taking life. That’s all. Thank you.

    PS: I’ll never get tired of saying what a marvelous piece you wrote Suzana! Thank you.

    • Thank you Massimo for the history lesson ?

      I realize that both have their good and their bad. The biggest difference for me is that in Europe people are real at their core and there isn’t judgments like you see here. You were here and you know exactly what I’m talking about.

      People are not defined by a class in Europe….everyone is equal. Everyone is given equal access to health, education and opportunities.

      I’m not here to lecture anyone, but I like to say how things really are……and history is a great lesson.

      Thank you, thank you very much Massimo, enough said.

  2. An encouraging leap to happiness and living ones,best life. There are #NoDoOvers so there should be #NoRegrets. Life is for living. Life is loving how you live. Life is being exactly who you are in your soul. A freed spirit! Soar!

  3. This is a masterpiece Suzana! An unforgettable masterpiece. Thank you for your words! With your words you really reminded people that the one worthwhile journey in life is to the center of yourself, in search of that original voice we all guard deep inside. The voice that never betrays you. Thank you so much Suzana!