It was one year ago tomorrow that I left for my 8th trip to California. A solo adventure after a big life decision. A chance to spend time with just myself because from that day forward it would be just me. I never thought this day would come. I was literally just trying to survive day by day. Taking a step forward into the unknown…not really knowing what would lie ahead but just knowing I had to trust my gut and my heart and move forward.
I can’t help but spend time this week reflecting on this past year. And being in awe that I actually survived it. I think I knew deep down I had it in me, but I can honestly share with you that there were moments I did not want to get out of bed. Where I have looked at booking the next one way flight out of here. Where going home to my parents seemed like such a wonderful escape from life. But that’s all it would have been. A temporary escape…and then what? No, I needed to face it all head on. Feel every moment, grieve the loss, celebrate the small victories like waking up and smiling, and making & eating a wonderful dinner just for me.
It has not been an easy year. When they say things come in threes…mine came in 5’s sometimes 6’s. Being hit with so many challenges, some completely out of my control really should have knocked me down, but I surprised even myself by getting back up…every time. I kept reminding myself that I have survived so much more and that this too shall pass. And not only pass, but that I would grow and learn so much about myself through it all and if I let it, I could come out even better from it.
It doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen. You start to feel like yourself again….scratch that….you feel like a newer, better version of you. You can’t not come out of it different than you were before. Because it changes and shapes you. It teaches you so much about yourself and just how much you are capable of.
The last 365 days have taught me to love life more than ever. To be free and just live. To not take myself so seriously and truly live life to the fullest. They have taught me to not be so hard on myself…that I can be my harshest critic sometimes and that I need to start being kinder to me. I have had to put myself first this year, which meant saying no to a variety of people and situations that I may have normally said yes to…and be ok with it. To not let how others may think of me control my decisions. To take time for just me. And do all of the above and not feel selfish for it. It’s a work in progress 😉
So this week, I do even more of that. I’m not only taking the time to look back and see the tough moments (there were plenty!!) but I’m choosing to also reflect back and see the beauty in it all as well. Because though it was an incredibly difficult year, it brought out friendships that may never have formed, it pushed me to say yes to adventures I may have never considered, and it made me feel stronger and braver than ever before. This year also comes with life-long memories that I will forever be thankful for and a true appreciation for life. I can honestly say that though this year was one of the more difficult ones for me, I can sit here on day 364, look at myself in the mirror and truly believe when I say that it was all worth it.