Hello my lovelies!
It has been two years since I started this ol’ repository of rants and raves. While it may seem trite or vapid, I love celebrating milestones and savouring the moment of reflection (this might be why the Passion Planner is one of my favourite things!). I warn you, this may be long-winded, rambling, and haphazard, but I feel like that most accurately represents my current state of mind.
I would like to say “Boy! Have I come a long way!” but then I went back and read my very first blog post (here), and realized that in so many ways, I feel that same way – that I am still starting in the middle, that despite all the clawing and scraping through challenges, I still don’t have it figured out. While I have gone through a few dramatic life-changing transformations – from the super tangible ones like moving overseas, to the more subtle internal changes in how I see myself and my place in the world (thankfully through a lens coloured slightly with self-compassion and gentleness), I still feel frozen in place. I wish I could reassure my two-year-ago self that by this point, as I tiptoe towards 30, I no longer feel stuck – in my head, in my life, in my [often misguided] expectations for how things should be, but that would not be accurate. I have noticed a tiny shift in the way I view this struggle. I have come to understand that I don’t need to wait for someone to come and unfreeze me in this endless game of tag. I don’t need to stay frozen in place and I certainly don’t need to wait for others to give me permission to move. For too long, I have given this power to other people – craving approval or assurance that things will work out – that I have forgotten that this power is mine, and I choose to own it.
Today also marks the second anniversary of two of my favourite people! It has been one of the best things to watch from the sidelines to see their disgustingly mushy relationship grow into a beautiful thing. I feel like seeing this supportive example of partnership provided some much-needed reassurance as I careened through two broken hearts and a seemingly endless tirade of first dates (nearly 40 first dates in the past 2 years! Right?! I feel like I have earned some sort of perverse award!). But just when I am ready to permanently change into my sweats and settle down with a box of wine and a netflix subscription, I see these weirdos making it work, I realize that it might be worth it to put on a splash of mascara and head out on one.more.coffee date. [I know one of these mushy peas will take great exception to my gooey comments, so I will stop now before Pantsless Thunder-Goose comes and throttles me!]
To be honest, it is hard to write frankly about relationships on this medium (partly because I know my parents are reading this! Hi mom! And partly because it will read so much better in an anonymously published dating memoir :P). That said, I also don’t want to shy away from my truth and ignore a big chunk of what I have spent the last two years trying to navigate namely finding CONNECTION and building RELATIONSHIPS. Watching the people around me grow in their lives, taking on new challenges, celebrating milestones (including my parents, who celebrated their 35th anniversary this past year!! Amazing!), it allowed me to accept that this deep desire for connection that has me continuing to talk to stranger in coffee shops is not a weakness (sometimes not a strength), but rather an intrinsic expression of human-ness. I am starting to see that it is OK to crave connection – it is what we are wired for, after all.
In the middle of writing this, my dear friend sent me an article from The Cut “Feeling lonely when you are single doesn’t mean you are weak” which beautifully captured what I had been tiptoeing around, because guys, it can be pretty lonely sometimes to be alone, but I had not put a finger on why it was such a hard thing to admit or talk about.
Solitude demands that an individual body be the holding vessel for all of a day’s pain and uncertainties. Unwelcome solitude manifests as a sickness whose primary symptom is quiet, persistent panic. The lonely are beset with fears that they are unlovable, despite the deep reservoirs of love they have to give. (The Cut)
I think there is such shame embedded in admitting loneliness – shame that you have somehow personally failed to espouse the ideals of independence, self-reliance, and self-esteem.
Feeling loneliest without a partner is as indicative of personal integrity and character as being double-jointed or flat-footed. But we do not attempt to shame the double-jointed person into believing their traits can be exorcised with just a little bit more self love in a world that is designed to make people hate themselves. (The Cut)
Sometimes my emotions do feel “too abundance and unwieldy to remain at rest within my body” and I think this particular experience of being single has caused me to confront these feelings in a way I had not had to previously. Previously, I had crowds of friends and acquaintances to spend time with, to combat that feeling of isolation, and to lavish time and attention. However, over the past year, I had a pretty prolonged season of ‘goodbyes’ and ‘see you laters.’ The goodbye makes my heart ache every time I think about the vibrant friend we lost this year. The host of ‘see you laters’ were tough in a different way, as I continue leaving little pieces of my heart around the world. Thankfully, these heart-bits are held by some of the loveliest of people, and I have no doubt we will be united again. Which brings us to now, where I find myself in a new(ish) place, stumbling around trying to stay open to the possibility of glorious new connections (or alternately something hilariously bad that will give me entertaining party fodder). Being an ocean away from many of my favourite people has caused me to understand this in a very real way. And while I know that physical proximity is important, I am starting to learn to hold on tight to those beautiful souls that belong to my tribe, because no matter where we are in the world, they are the sort of people who will drop what they are doing to vet my tinder matches, talk me out of buying yet another sequined blazer, or navigate the other myriad pressing pickles that regularly come up, and I would do the same for them in a heartbeat.
This past year has been groundbreaking for me in many other ways! I have got to feed my insatiable wanderlust by adding 4 new stamps to my passport and taking on some epic adventures. I have stealth camped, microadventured, netflixed, scooted, ambled, rambled, bumbled, and struggled my way through this year. I made a few strides professionally, continue to take steps towards a more sustainable (read: hippie) life.
Finally, thanks to the marvels of modern technology that allows me to schedule posts in advance, as you are reading this, I am on my bike pedalling furiously towards the British coast, enroute to Holland, so if you want are considering your charitable donations this tax season, consider donating to mental health research (Read more here Pedalling for Mental Health).
I am SO glad you tagged along – in person and online! Thanks especially to the 2 people that got all the way through this long-winded stream-of-consciousness prattle. Regardless of what challenges lie ahead, I am pretty sure this is going to be the start of a marvellous year.