One year can seem like a millenial ago

Today is a rather special day for me. Today I celebrate being single for an entire year. This probably seems like a silly thing to celebrate. But- here’s the catch. I have not been single for this long since I was about 14. I was what some people would call a serial monogamist. I was always in a relationship of some sort throughout high school and college. I’ve had 3 serious relationships in that time-2 of which were long term and 1 semi engagement. It’s funny when I use the term serial monogamist though because usually I’m the exact opposite of what people think of. I’m probably overly independent, not clingy, hate cuddling, dislike dating, and seriously enjoy my alone time.

My last relationship was pretty rough and ended brutally. Afterwards I really had to take a look in the mirror. And to be honest- I had no clue who was looking back at me. I have always been an advocate of not changing who you are for a person. Growing as a person- yes; but not drastically changing to a version of a person your significant other wants. But somehow in the midst of 5 years- that’s exactly what had happened. I lost myself and had become this totally different being. After a two week trip to Israel to clear my head, get back to my roots, and re-introduce myself to…well…myself. I knew I needed to spend some time on ME. I promised myself that I would spend a year doing all the “RE’s”. Rediscovering, relearning, renewing, reviewing, removing, reaffirm, reviving, rejuvenating, realize, rekindling, reawaken, rethink, and so many more.

It’s led to some pretty drastic changes in my life. I left a “safe” job that made me nothing but anxious and depressed. I stopped focusing on impressing and pleasing everyone else and started meditating more. I started listening to the raw and emotional side of me as well as that lovely stubborn headed practical Capricorn side. I began to go inward and spent much more time on me and what I needed and wanted. Many people questioned me, a few were angry, but most were encouraging and supportive.

Exactly 365 days from when this journey started I can look in the mirror and don’t cringe at what I see or at how I feel. I’m still rediscovering myself but I’m realizing that this is a lifelong process. Now that I’ve spent time on me I think I’m finally to a point where I understand that I am worthwhile and now I can truly start to open up to others and re-open my heart to new possibilities.

~A

 

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Dear Me

Earlier today one of my best friends and I went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The movie was absolutely amazing- however if you’re like me it hits home and tugs on your adventure strings. After the movies  my friend and I went out for dinner and discussion. As we were discussing how bored I’ve felt with life lately she asked me some pretty tough questions.

These questions are just one of the reasons on why I value my friendship with this particular person. She always pushes me to look outside of my tiny little box and forces me to look at questions I don’t even realize exsist. She asked me why I wasn’t doing what I love to do and I wasn’t pushing and working towards those goals. Then she asked me what my 12 year old self and my 8 year old self would think about who I am today.

Honestly, I’m pretty sure both of them would be fairly disappointed in what they become. I’m not saying I’m this horrible person or that I haven’t accomplished some things. However, my expectations were quite high at those ages and I definitely thought I was pretty invincible. But, somewhere along the way I forgot these things.

My 8 year old self wanted to be a dancer on broadway part time, an actress part time, and then an Egyptologist as well (as I stated…I had high expectations). She was the version of me that was fearless (most of the time). My 8 year old self was the one who jumped onto the rope swing from the highest points and jumped off mid air. She ran through woods and biked without a helmet. And she never listened when someone said “You can’t do it”. She was still creative and loved to play with clay and act…in fact she was a bit of a drama queen.

My 12 year old self ,however, had been through quite a bit of life and had to grow up and act much older due to previous events. She looked before she leaped and she kept quiet most of the time. However, she was still creative. She liked to sing, act, and write. At this stage of the game I knew I was made for bigger cities and people with open minds. I wasn’t quite as fearless, although I had my daring moments.  I still wanted to be an actress, but I was also toying with the idea of writing. I was dying to work for National Geographic and was ridiculously interested in Science and Nature.

If both of these girls were here today it might be hard to see some of these qualities as a few have faded so you can barely see them  while others have disappeared completely. I’m obviously not an actress or working for a magazine. But, most of all, I think they’d be disappointed in how much I second guess myself. I’ve learned to not do it so frequently and am getting a lot better at getting back to my fearless self. Unfortunately- life happens and it teaches us to be concerned and afraid. It teaches us to look both ways before crossing and to watch where we step. But, it also teaches us that life goes on. Every moment connects to a new one and our thread line keeps spinning and spinning. Sometimes it’s ok to take a leap of faith- we just have to know how to judge the moment. But, most of all- Life teaches us that it’s a journey and the clearest path may not always be so easy and the right path may not always be clear. 

I think these past two selves would be disappointed as I did not become what they thought and wanted. However, as they are past selves they haven’t learned the lessons I’ve learned,  taken the paths I’ve taken, built and burned certain bridges, or seen what I’ve seen. Given this knowledge I’d say I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

It may not be perfect and it may not be Broadway, but for now it’s real and solid. Just because right now is now doesn’t mean it’s forever and that’s what I’ll keep telling myself. Because the more I push myself and the harder I work at getting back the positive traits I’ve lost the more I’m learning about who I truly am and what I really enjoy. I’ve taken many risks over the last year and had many adventures. Sure, life right now seems a bit slow and boring- but if we didn’t have those days nothing would ever be exciting.

If I was to write a letter to myself at these ages it would simply state:

Dear Me,

I’m sorry I’m not what you wanted. But that’s ok, because I’m who I need to be right now.

Love,

You

What would your letter say? 

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Rewinding Time and Lessons Learned

It’s a question that everyone is always asked. If you could rewind time would you? Many people say yes and just as many say no. There’s always the advantages and the disadvantages. But when you truly think about it would you rewind time? I used to answer yes to this question without hesitation. I knew exactly which moments I’d go back to and what I’d change. But, that was after I’d learned my lessons or my fate or what each event or time led to.

If I went back to each time would I have the knowledge I already had? And if so- even if I stopped that particular event or changed it- wouldn’t the lesson just show up later in a different form. Wouldn’t I be losing that knowledge gained?

You’re not only playing with that particular moment, but the way it threads to every other decision you make leading to your present self. For instance, if I go back and stop myself from screwing up a dive that led to a pretty nasty injury it would change everything. It could change what college I went to, what I focused on in college, who I made friends with, etc. Or I could get injured in some other way, but still end up at a different school or not at a school at all. I’d be a completely different person. I would have loved to go back and stop myself from being injured- but after thinking long and hard about it- I wouldn’t love changing who I am. Sure, I wouldn’t know that I was different than I was originally, but there’d be some slight feeling that something was off.

We learn from each mistake, injury, event, and etc that happens to us. They help mold who we are, even if they do not define us. Yes- someone who has had something horrible happen to them may want to go back to that day. They may think they could have done something differently to get out of the situation or avoid it all together. But hindsight really is 20/20. And instead of wishing to change the past we should work to change our future. That hasn’t been written yet and that’s not set in stone or permanently etched in our minds. For some of us learning to say that an event or injury doesn’t make us who we are is a bigger fight. While for others they can easily get passed the idea of something owning them or making them who they are, some need an extra push. To those the idea of rewinding time sounds ideal- this way they can stop whatever it is.

So, I’m here to say that doing this won’t help. Something else would just come along- it may not be identical-but it could cause the same reaction. We all have lessons to learn and in some way we will learn them. Instead of wishing it away and yearning to rewind time we have to accept this. Some lessons may be given in hard and difficult circumstances. Others may be provided through horrible acts, but this is what grows us and helps us define who we are. These events don’t happen to us so that we can curl up in a corner and give up on life- they happen so that we can learn to fight and prove that nothing is going to destroy us.