One Year

how far

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.

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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 😉

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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.

Soulful Friendships

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I have been reminded this past week this past year just how grateful I am for the people I have in my life. I couldn’t help but reflect on how some of these wonderful people entered my life at just the right moments. I think of how some new people entered my life just a year ago and have become incredible rocks of support to me months later when some who had been in my life for years had drifted off. 

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So much has happened this past year and through each hurdle there has been someone there to offer support and encouragement. Not every situation calls for the same friend either. It’s quite intriguing to see how different situations bring out different friends. Like the friend who can sit with you and eat vegan ice cream and be a shoulder to cry on, one who can kick your butt out of bed and get you back to the land of the living. And for us ladies, our male friends who are great for helping us understand just how the male mind operates.  And let me tell you, I’m so grateful for the male friends in my life because when it especially comes to dating and understanding how their minds work, your guy friends will tell you exactly how it is, no BS…just straight shooting. You may not appreciate it in the moment and it may be hard to hear, but you will be grateful in the end! 

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As I was chatting with a friend today, we talked about how some of these relationships come into our life for just a season. My friend pool from just 3 years ago is quite different from the one I have today. But I am also in a different place in my life now than I was then. And though it can be sad to think of those friendships not being there anymore, I truly believe they each served a purpose. Each can probably say they learned something about themselves from it. I know I can look back on some of my past ones and see where I was challenged and made to look at myself differently. I can also see how they were just the right people I needed in my life at that time. And even though not all end perfectly and some may just drift off…I can at least look back on them and know they made an impact on my life and can feel grateful for what each relationship taught me.

blog8So for those who may read this who might not be in my life as much as before, know that I am incredibly grateful for the impact your friendship had on me. My hope is that you can look back on it and feel that you grew from it as well.

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And for those in life now, in this crazy topsy turvy season I am in, thank you for being along for the ride and for being that steadfast support and encouragement. I don’t know how I could get through all of life’s challenges that have been thrown my way without you all. Know that you are valued, that you are special, and that you are loved.

My Sunday encouragement to you is to think of those people in your life who have your back, lift you up when you are down, and who make sure you realize just how amazing you are.

Then take a moment and thank them for it.

Because when life hands you lemons, they will come in with the tequila and turn that sh*t into some kick-ass lemonade 🙂