“Strength shows not only in the ability to
Over the holiday season, I stumbled across this quote from one of my favorite authors, and it immediately inspired me to reflect on the past 365 days of my life. This year brought with it colossal changes. I would dare to say they are the biggest changes I have experienced thus far. But those changes have brought me into this beautiful space — physically, mentally and emotionally — that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
The year began with my decision to leave New York, something I had dreamed of but feared to actualize for longer than I’d care to admit. It meant risking a job that I loved, critically assessing what relationships would successfully make this transition with me and entirely owning my set of values for myself and myself only. I spent hours upon hours visualizing what my life could become with this change and how it would feel to occupy that new space. And then I made it happen.
A few months before leaving the only home I’ve really known as an adult, I said goodbye to the parts of my life that weren’t serving me, nurtured my close friendships as much as possible, lucked out immensely in receiving approval to work remotely in my new city and turned all of the logistics into my reality.
In those last moments standing in my studio apartment, I wept. The 300-square-foot space that I called home for four years, my sanctuary from the insanity that is city living and so much more, was no longer mine. And, if I’m being honest, it hadn’t felt like mine for quite some time. It was simply this little corner of the world that was ready to take care of someone else. As I left my set of keys on that kitchen counter that morning, I heard the walls whisper, “You’re finally free.” And as I drove 650 miles south, I could breathe so easily.
Creating a home for myself in Asheville has proven to be exactly like what I imagined. For every moment of loneliness, there is a soothing sense of peace that follows. When I crave that sense of grounding I’ve lacked for so long, an afternoon spent among the mountains roots me down where I want to be. The unconditional love of my family is no longer a flight away, but rather a two-hour drive we can make whenever the mood strikes. And when I choose to put myself out there, be it to make new friends or expose myself to new experiences, the universe returns that positive energy tenfold.
Of course, other changes occurred along the way that no one could predict. I never thought I’d face the mortality of a parent in such a perplexing, unexplainable and infuriating way before I reached the age of 30. I didn’t anticipate coming to terms with what duty and responsibility mean, owning your choices not just yourself but for those you care about most in this world. I didn’t expect to grow up in this way at this point in time. But I can’t always envision what’s in store for me before it happens. And I know that when I look back on this time of my life, I won’t regret how I spent a second of my time. There was no escaping or pretending or dancing around reality — I tackled every obstacle, sometimes with a smile, sometimes with hot and angry tears, always with people I love by my side.
I have realized my own strength in starting over. I thought I knew the power I held before, but it was only a glimpse, a shadow of my potential. I’m sure more will materialize over the course of my life, but I love that when I close my eyes today, I no longer have to dream about what I want because I decided to go create it. I get to live it right now.
I leave 2018 knowing that I gave it my all and that 2018 gave me back that much more because of it — new friends, new love, new memories