As I sit here and reflect on all that has happened in 2016, it has me thinking about what I want my life to look like in 2017. What do I want to upgrade? What behaviors do I want to see improve? What habits do I want to implement? I’m not one for “New Year’s Resolutions”, but I am the type of person who is constantly assessing her life, and working on self improvement. Since moving to California, I have done a ton of self discovery, which is never easy. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and truly acknowledge who you are, how you are reacting to situations, how you are treating yourself or others. Are you just talking about your dreams or are you living them? When I made the leap over 5 years ago, I never thought I would be where I am now.
Have you ever met someone who challenged you, inspired you, motivated you, and truly made you a better version of yourself? It is life changing. When I first met Topher, we sat for over 6hrs just chatting to each other, long after both our meals were cleared. There was no booze involved, just us and our big glasses of water, hydrating like crazy triathletes. My favorite thing about my relationship with Topher is that we can have deep and meaningfuls, and we both enjoy them. I have never met someone who could talk as much as I can about the deep sh*t that goes on in life.
Okay, so here I am just the other day, after we both have completed a week of cycling camp. I finished the 5 day camp completing 325 miles and climbing 27,000ft. Topher nearly completing 500 miles, and something like 41,000ft of climbing. We are totally mentally fatigued and we find ourself in a conversation that leads me to start thinking about gratitude, as well as forgiveness. Before 2011, I thought I had lived a pretty darn good positive life full of gratitude. I was grateful for my friends, my family, my work, being a triathlete, and just enjoying life. I had dreams and goals that I was going after, and then my life that I thought was ahead of me suddenly was stripped from underneath me. It’s an ordinary story of a girl who had her heart broken by a boy, and had a hard time moving on. We all know it too well, but it never is as easy as it seems. On the outside, we simply think it’s easy to move on, our friend deserves better, etc. All true, but where there once was love, makes it that much harder to move on. Anyway, as a lot of you long time readers know, I packed up my bags and moved out west to follow a dream of simply living somewhere where I can be outside swim, bike, running all year round.
Then life got tough, and it got tougher, but not without some ups. I remember lying on a picnic table at Cardiff State Beach nearly every day the first two weeks I lived here, and just being as happy as a clam. I would listen to the waves crashing, and look up at the bright blue sky, and think “I can’t believe I did it.” “I am here.” It was an indescribable feeling. One, I wish I could relive. But, I was depressed in side, heart broken, so heart broken that some days, all I could do was get myself to that picnic table and lie there. I could barely get myself out of bed for a run. So, I started with walking 10min a day, then 15min, then 20min, and the days started to pass. I was looking for work, and finally after a long wait, I landed my, then, dream job working at The Active Network. I wanted to work for a company that promoted and inspired people to be active. It was the perfect fit. But, after nearly 2yrs, I was laid off, as the company as a whole was in a big transition phase. At first, it was kind of fun, but then, it got kind of boring. I tried to focus on blogging, but truthfully, I felt directionless, and heart broken in a different way. I felt alone.
I was always afraid to share my true feelings, because I always want to exude happiness, love, positivity, but the truth is, we can’t feel those things without the tough feelings. We are human. I am human. And I feel pain, and it’s okay. For some reason, I never wanted anyone to see me cry. I was tough, right? I am tough. Nothing can break down my walls. But, suddenly putting up all those walls, started to create more walls, and more, and more, and more. In a way that made me want to always be perfect, as if it’s not okay to make a mistake, that maybe I will love myself more, if I don’t make mistakes. The walls got even worse, when I landed my next dream job at a digital marketing agency. I was proficient in social media marketing, and an expert in some ways relative to the new field that was just getting underway. But, I had so much to learn, yet I was afraid to let anyone see. I was afraid to ever say “I don’t know.” What a terrible feeling to have. None of us know everything, and life is all about learning.
We can’t walk around thinking we know the “right” way. There are so many ways of doing things, and there is no script to how things can be done. We may be able to find the most efficient, but is it the most enjoyable? It all depends on the goal. I could put all the dishes in the dishwasher to be efficient with time, but what if I enjoy washing the dishes by hand? So, here I am, at my 2nd job in California, and I’m feeling like I need to “know” everything. They hired me because I’m supposed to be an expert, right?! In some ways yes, but in a lot of ways, we all need to keep on learning. Social Media was/is such a big field, that no one is ever going to know everything, and it’s constantly changing and growing.
It wasn’t until just a few days ago, I had a realization. I have been writing down things I’m grateful for every day, but a lot of days, I just say things that are generic. I’m trying to practice this skill that is suggested as a key to happiness, but nothing was coming easily. I was bottled up inside. I was afraid to be strong in who I am. I was afraid to be vulnerable. To truly love myself. I have said that so many times before, I have heard it so many times before, but it’s different. I’m hearing the words differently now. Sometimes we hear a quote, again, and again, and again, and again, but it doesn’t sink in or it hits us differently the next time we hear it, and all those other times seem to fade into the background. That was me a few days ago.
Even when I was feeling depressed, I would go lie on the picnic table, and I appreciated the smell of the salty air, the sound of the waves crashing, and the blue skies, more than I can explain. I was sad and happy and full of gratitude at the same time. Where did it go? Did I become jaded? Did my walls get so big, that I couldn’t actually be grateful for where I am in life? Am I trying that hard to “be” somebody? Like I have it all together? Holy shit! It’s okay to not have it all figured out! It’s okay to admit, that “I don’t know.” It’s okay to be sad, annoyed, angry, upset, depressed. It’s not the first time anyone has felt that way, and it’s not “wrong” to feel that way. It sucks, and I don’t want to stay down that long, but it’s okay to feel. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed. I don’t want to focus on it, or thought chase, or become polarized and reactionary. But, I want to accept those feelings. I want to accept them, because without them, I can’t be thankful. Without the hard times, I can’t appreciate the truly good times. If I always pretend everything is perfect, if I always pretend like even when things are shitty I have it together and I know what I’m doing, I will never truly allow my authentic self to shine. To just be me. It’s exhausting trying to think I can take care of myself and I know exactly what’s best.
Photo from November 2011
I am truly truly grateful for my struggles. For every “bad” memory I have a thousand good. When my time is up on this earth, I want to know that I have spent every day living in gratitude. Living is not something to be taken for granted. We are given a gift. No matter what our reason for being here is, or how we got here, we have feelings, thoughts, passions, that drive us daily. Follow your heart. Listen to your heart. And if you are being pulled, go, do that. This world works in mysterious ways, and I’m so grateful that my path brought me to Topher. Someone who gets me.
And with that, I lead myself into my next blog post coming up which is why I started this blog in the first place, and how I have tried to go in too many directions to find my way, but what truly inspires me to write is my thoughts and connecting with all of you. If I can help anyone who comes to my blog, and I can connect with them in some way, shape, or form, I want to do that. I like sharing products that I’m passionate about, and working with brands that I’m passionate about, but more than anything, I want this to be a place where maybe we can connect on a spiritual level. Maybe, at some point in all of this, me sharing my deep life thoughts may help some of you. <3 We all have strengths, and we need to cherish them, and it is something I have struggled to hone in on on this website. Truly narrowing down, what I want this website to be, but I think I have figured it out. 🙂 Stay tuned!