One Year Ago this week,
I moved across the country.
I moved with my then boyfriend, now fiancé, future husband. I moved with my then purpose, now career, future calling. I moved with no expectations, some trepidations, and an enormity of determinations.
One Year Ago this week I fulfilled the choice to choose my life. I could have said no, I could have said wait. But it’s easy to say no when you should say yes, just like it’s easy to say yes when you really should say no.
One Year Ago this week my heart started beating a little faster, and my mind started to go a little slower. The pace around me started to move quicker but the pace inside me started to calm.
One Year has brought so much to the forefront and sunken so much into the background noise. The things I thought mattered some matter less, and the things I thought mattered most matter way more than I thought they did.
It’s crazy to look back a photos and feel the shift One Year has brought. Was it because of my age? Was it because I was ready? No, I don’t think that was it. I think I wrung all the lessons, all the love, all the heartache and heart-aid out of my surroundings – and the only way to grow was to shift my perspective. Through a turn of the kaleidoscope, it’s amazing how the same-old can become completely foreign all over again. Through a different lense, it’s amazing how many things become dimmer than you knew them to be.
Or maybe both at once.
I don’t think we need to change our physical surroundings to see a shift in our lives, but man oh man did it help me. To think our opinions are ultimate or our perceptions final is to be naive and stubborn. Here, I realize that while your word is your truth, it’s also his, and hers, and theirs, and it’s how we all come together that breeds true enlightenment.
Marianne Williamson says, “It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” And that’s true. But it’s also what ILLUMINATES us. The light and the dark together. And what’s more, how we all move in tandem. It’s not just our light or our darkness, but the way our beams bounce off one another.
In my dream, I always lived in New York City. A thriving Broadway career, an apartment in I Don’t Even Know Where. In my dreams I didn’t know how anything fit together, I just knew the One Thing of my success led the way.
In my reality, I am here. I rarely visit a Broadway stage (something I DO want to change in Year Two) but I’ve found the stages that suit me best. In my reality I cannot quite believe how seamlessly it’s all flowed, how I managed to fight for a sense of community and actually achieve it, how I managed to fight for a career and actually own it, how I managed to fight for a lifestyle of river runs and sweet potato fries and Adventure Sundays and yes – I’m actually in the adventure every day.
And I am in it, I think, because I’ve always been fighting for it, not against it. I’ve learned how to be malleable but true to my heart. I’ve learned how to bend but not break.
And most of all, I’ve learned that challenge begets change, but also begets truth. In my life thus far, I’ve asked for truth and learned how to see it as my ally. Even the truths I would rather not see. Even the truths that hurt. I ask more questions instead of fighting against the answers that pain me. I have fought for a life that rings true each day, and in One Year I now see it before me. It’s not something I take lightly or take for granted.
Spoiler: Relationships are not supposed to be easy. With cities, with people, it’s all the same. You’re supposed to push each other, but in the best way. You’re supposed to help each other see the best in themselves but also the misalignments. Ultimately, you’re here to help one another not only recognize your values but live them out loud. In what you say, in what you do. You’re here to be the bridge between seeing and believing. Between dreaming and doing. And that is not easy work.
And, ANOTHER SPOILER, the work isn’t work to MAKE it easy. It’s work to beget more intricate and nuanced work.
It’s trust work. It’s truth work. It’s the best work ever.
And so here I am, One Year After packing the boxes and shipping the bins. One Year After that feeling of readiness and maturity but also of complete surrender. It has not been easy, and it hasn’t always been fun. But it’s been soul-stirring, and it’s been soul-lifting, and it’s brought me in touch with a deeper layer of myself I didn’t even know was there. And anyway, I don’t want easy. I want right.
To grow, we must stay aware. And to stay aware, we must stay awake. And to stay awake, we must challenge ourselves to displace our gaze. If you always ride the same waves, you’ll never truly see the spectrum.
Once you learn the thing, once you get the stuff, once you master the immediate, where do you go from there?
One Year Later, I’m living the answer:
You exhale fully, slowly, and calmly, and you shift the kalediscope.
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