A New Me Takes On A Journey Of A Lifetime
Happy new year everyone! I have been meaning to write this post all week but after a pretty nasty cold on New Year’s Eve and injuring my knee a few days later, I felt like my creative motivation to sit down and reflect has been stunted. As I sit here writing today, I am caressing a few gemstones in my hand in hopes that they will bring me some creativity and truth while I write. The stones were gifted to me by my dear friend Missy. This is perhaps one of the most thoughtful gift I have ever received. She took the time to pick out nine gemstones, a PCT therapy kit she called it, with each stone having a specific healing factor to help me along my journey. The gift is fitting for the spiritual growth I have been developing throughout the year.
As 2017 comes to an end, I can’t help but look back on this past year and feel so incredibly grateful to be living this life. It is so easy to look back at all the discomfort I experienced and say that 2017 fucking sucked, because at times it really did… but… in reality, 2017 has been a year of healing, change, and growth. I have finally started prioritizing my needs and then addressing the needs of others while letting go of what no longer serves me. Some might call that being selfish, but I see it as some much-needed self-care. I am a firm believer that loving yourself makes loving others more genuine. I haven’t always felt this way and now, I am finally incorporating it into this new year’s balance!
“Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us, they know exactly how it should be done.” -Rudy Francisco
Yoga and meditation are two practices I began in 2017 that have had an enormous effect on my spiritual development. Both practices have helped foster a new sense of self, allowing me for the first time to turn inward and become more in tune with my emotions and needs.
I learned a lot about my heart in 2017. I learned that it is possible for a broken heart to finally heal and that a friendship with a past lover is actually possible. I used to feel shame about my lack of ability to let go of past relationships, this one in particular. I used to tell myself that I was pathetic for feeling this way. It is so easy to be hard on yourself when you are your own worst critic. It wasn’t until I started recognizing and accepting my emotions for their truth without judgment as a positive or a negative that I finally noticed a difference – that and giving myself a little upgrade in self-worth. Embracing feelings and allowing oneself the space to truly feel is just part of the human experience; we all need to do it. I learned that it is OK to feel, it is OK to feel happy, sad, lonely, fulfilled. It is all part of the process, with lessons in each emotion and accepting that everyone’s process is different. There is no right or wrong. This past year I also learned that it was finally possible to fall in love again; a wonderful and romantic summer fling taught me that. While I might not have actually fallen in love with this person, I learned that the feelings are actually possible again. A feeling that has been void in my life since my last relationship and boy am I happy that I can feel that way about someone new again.
2017 was a year of change and adaptability. Life kept throwing me curveballs at a relentlessly fast rate. While sometimes it felt as though I was struggling to keep my head above water, for the most part I feel like I did a pretty kick ass job at just rolling with life’s punches and making the best out of every situation.
My resiliency is something I have developed pride in. Being able to cope with life’s sticky situations and take them as life’s lessons without completely losing myself along the way. My plans for 2017 changed over and over again and being adaptable is the only way I was going to get through it. Originally, I planned on moving back to Portland in the fall to live with my parents for a few months in order to save some money before going on this long and expensive adventure. While preparing to move back to my hometown, telling all my friends that I was moving soon, informing both jobs that I would be quitting by the end of summer, and not even thinking about looking for a new place to live once my lease ended, I flipped a complete 180 and decided to stay in Bend due to some typical “Dey family BS” as I like to call it. So, in a matter of two weeks, I told both jobs that I would be staying in hopes of keeping those jobs, found a new place to live with new roommates (thank God for Ron and Hannah), moved all my belongings, and tried not to lose my cool along the way. While these changes were traumatic at times and extremely chaotic throughout the year, I feel like they were important life lessons to be had. Family drama, moving to a new house, ending a job and finding two new ones, romantic relationships coming and going, a shift in friendships that were supposed to last forever, planning a thru-hike, and everything in between, the changes were never-ending.
Learning to let go and not take on the problems of others as my own is another skill I have been working on. As someone who often puts the needs of others before my own, this is something that was difficult for me. I am a caregiver. I care a whole lot and I love deeply, almost to a fault. So when my friends and family are hurting, I step up to help. I like to make sure that my people are taken care of and when something is wrong I often find myself agonizing over how to fix it, neglecting my own needs along the way. Not anymore! This year, 2018, is about putting my needs first and not taking on the baggage of others if it’s not necessary. 2018 is about healing, self-discovery, mindfulness, and adventure.
2018! Finally! A year I have been talking about for the past two years. The year of my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike! Aliah and I leave in just over three months. Our thru-hiker permits have been approved, a start date has been chosen, I have purchased all of my gear, and we’re basically ready. The only thing to do now is plan out my resupply boxes and get my body in the best physical shape I can before setting foot on trail. When I think about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, I no longer feel doubt, I no longer use the words “if,” and I no longer worry. My “ifs” have turned into “whens” and my stomach fills up with butterflies of excitement. I am more prepared now than I ever have been. I am going into this hike knowing its physical and mental demands with an open heart and a sense of unshakeble confidence. I am going into this hike completely untethered, no romantic relationship for me to miss while I am away, no career to rush back to, and no set plans on where I’m going or what I am doing when I finish. I’m a free bird ready to spread my wings and start my new chapter in life! At the end of March, I will be leaving my job, saying my goodbyes in Bend, then heading to Portland to store my belongings at my parents’ house and saying my goodbyes there as well. Just a few days after that I will head to Southern California to meet up with Aliah before this epic journey. I will be sad to say goodbye to my friends and family, and especially sad to say goodbye to Lyla – the little heartbeat at my feet – but I know that they will all be there waiting for me when I get back. I am ready. I am sure. I can’t freaking wait!
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