Sho enough, sometimes you just have to get away and clear your own fuckin' head. People aren't designed to be "on" all the time. Whether from our jobs, our families, our close relationships, our monotonous lifestyles, or our creative endeavors; life can feel demanding.
Story time. I have lived in 6 states over the last 4 years. I feel incredibly grateful for the experiences I've had during this time, but there is a part of me that could never really see a "finish line". As I ventured further into the unknown, what I saw ahead of me was an infinite amount of unknown places, spaces, and faces waiting to be discovered and an unclear map with no real "right" way to go. I was always "on". Ready for the next place, the next adventure, the next step, the next chapter. But really it was just one loooong chapter that I am finally nearing the end of.
After these few years of soul searching, learning, and lots of new experiences, I have become quite content. Of course there is always more to be had. More fun, more work, more money, more trips, more knowledge, more more more! But this focus on obtaining more makes time fly by (& "more" refers to more (lol) than just material goods). Life becomes a blur sliding past and you can only really see it when you look back, but the memory is tainted by your own perception. And I don't want that. I want to slow down and see it all, as it happens. I want moooore time. More time to experience, love, and enjoy what's right in front of me. Which means it's tiiiime to appreciate; and just be.
So yeah, eventually I realized how much I was missing deeper connections with people who valued me as I valued them and who I could trust. That being said, over the last few years I have been blessed to meet some truly amazing people who have connected with me, opened my eyes wider, and opened my heart further than I could have ever imagined. I have forged lifelong friendships on this journey, but there's still something different about the relationship between myself and people who I've met while on this journey vs. the relationship between myself and people who knew me before I left. I think it's the integrity of the bond we share. The more you can accept someone, the stronger the bond will be. And boy does family see each other at all of our absolute worsts and bests. Yet we still love, we still accept. We may need boundaries and space from time to time, but the love always comes back around.
My family and friends from back home have accepted me for years, even my whole life. They truly loved and cared about me before I even really knew myself. I used to think my family were the last people who could understand me, but it turns out it doesn't matter because they accept me whether they understand me or not. What a fucking gift.
Looking back on the last 4 years I see that I needed this time and space away from my home town in order to learn about the people I love from a less bias perspective and appreciate them for who they truly are. I had to grow into myself and become strong in my own way, so I could come back to them and simply be. Be with them. Be myself. Be supportive. Be full of love. Up until recently the desire in my heart to adventure, travel, learn and grow as an individual person outweighed the desire to be near my family and long-term friends again. But something has begun to shift.
I want to be near my family AND make time for myself to adventure, learn, travel, and grow. I have deeply enjoyed seeing new parts of the world, but I think it's time to move my home base back to the OG stomping grounds. When I do I will bring what I have learned and who I have become to start a home of my own.
Taking the time for personal growth, introspection, and adventure simply brought me back to square one with more love, understanding, and appreciation in my heart for my family, friends, and where/how I was raised. I know that my future is to bring the life experience I've gained back to my home to be who I am now with those who have had my back since day one.
I often think about advice I've read from elderly people or even received from my own grandmother while she was still thinking straight, and many of them feel very similarly.
"Love deeply, forgive easily, and appreciate the time you have with those who truly care about you. Life will fly by and you will realize that the money, status, and achievements never really mattered, but the time spent with loved ones and truly enjoying yourself mattered most. Don't be afraid to love and be loved, it's the greatest gift we will ever know. There is no time for wasted regret or worry, so appreciate every moment you have. Let go of the past. If you have someone to love and who loves you, hold them close. Someday you will wish you had more time with them. Be creative. Be yourself. Get to know yourself. Take care of yourself. Care for others. Give generously, be kind, and be honest. Have faith. It will all come back around."
With the zest of a 25 year old and the wisdom of the elderly, I am learning to trust more, question less, and cultivate more gratitude in my life every day. I strive to remain open-minded, open-hearted, and open to connection. I am full of space and love.