This year, I find myself feeling really sad and lonely.
And more loved and supported than ever.
Which seems to be the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year: both can exist.
Death & Support
This year, my brother died. And I am still alive.
I am grateful to have made it to twenty-eight, only a year less than the number my brother lived. And although this has been the absolute shittiest and most heartbreaking year of my life, it’s also brought great joy, love, and abundance in surprising amounts.
When you lose a core member of your family unit, there is a real need for support.
As I went through this on my own (my parents proved to be unhelpful in my processing), I very quickly saw my life of connections and relationships reflected back to me. I had a network of people, but they were mostly all over the world. I looked around me and saw how few connections I had physically present in my life. I knew I needed both. I needed the best friend in Canada to call and the friend who could pick me up to go on a walk and listen to me exactly where I am.
I have many amazing and wonderful friends but the problem was, most of them existed only through my phone.
Reflecting on this last chapter of my life (that seems to be rapidly closing and without my feelings on the matter) I am realizing just how alone I have been. I’ve spent SO much time alone. I have traveled so frequently (I’m talking every three months for two years at one point) that the friends I did make, end up leaving quickly. Because I leave. Or they do. Many of my soul mate friends are also travelers. And so we know how it goes. Drop in deep, get to know each other quickly, show your heart, connect or don’t. If you do connect, it's for a lifetime. And you both know it… because who knows where the wind will take us and we only have now.
I think I am ready to let go of that lifestyle. It can be easy and gentle. (Unlike the likes of me in my early twenties ripping of layers like a snake shedding it’s skin too soon.) Ouch. Painful. Chaotic. Bridge-burning.
So now I choose ease.
Ease & Flow
My twenty-eighth year will be my easiest year yet, to balance out my hardest year. I have done my due diligence with the tears, the feeling of my heart ripping, and the heaviness of the grief. I have felt it all and while there is plenty more left to feel, I have decided that this next year, I choose to feel the good stuff as much as possible.
I’ve always held this belief that doing things the easy way is somehow cheating in life. Because I was taught that “you have to work hard to get what you want” and really, that’s just not true.
Sure sometimes pushing through obstacles and challenges is a worthy and rewarding effort, but living life with the expectation that anything worth having must be hard to obtain, just isn’t for me anymore.
And the cool thing about life is that we get to choose our beliefs and my criteria for that is simply: “is this belief working for me?” because a lot of times the beliefs we carry around are working against us.
Ease brings about more flow and boy is this my year to flow. I now understand the value of time and cherishing our one precious life. We truly don’t have time to be wasting it on things that aren’t bringing us joy, fulfillment, connection, or whatever else you prioritize. Flow is a priority for me. Flow is the feeling of pure ease, delight, and confidence. When you’re doing something you’re meant to be doing and although it may look cool, difficult, or masterful to others, it feels good and easy to you.
Surfing, painting, writing, playing the drums, singing, dancing, adventures in nature, growing gardens and plants, and healing with others has been some of my best flow times this last year. And I’m ready for a whole lot more.
Love & Growth
At twenty-eight, it may seem like I’m behind in accordance with the “conditioned” way of life. Maybe to society or family standards, I should be in a serious relationship either married or approaching it, living in my own house, and wearing clothes that really say “Wow! She’s got her shit together!” but the truth is: all that stuff really bores me.
I’d rather be diving head first into creative pursuits that light me up, building and creating companies formed around my passions, understanding and learning more about those around me, connecting deeply to friends, giving back to the community in ways that feel good, and healing myself so that I may experience love at its fullest.
I’ve never really wanted to do things the traditional way and for years people thought I was crazy. Now I think they are starting to see why I did what I did. Or maybe just understanding that we are all crazy.
Shaving my head, selling everything I owned, and living like a nomadic hippie in my early to mid twenties was crazy and it was also necessary to get myself to a place of health. And to me, it’s crazier to ignore your heart and keep grinding away in the monotonous hum drum of the life laid out for us. Reclaiming my life through travel was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. And I’m so happy to be exactly where I am right now.
Strength & Grace
My life up until now has allowed me to be the strong, graceful, and open person I am which got me through my brother’s death. I could see so clearly how every experience in my life helped prepare me for such a great loss. And how my journey through my twenties created gratitude, fortitude, and confidence in who I am.
Death knocked me down hard. And I knew that it was up to me and only me to stand back up. No one else could do it for me. And so in those first few months, even though the weight was unbearable and life seemed intolerable, I chose to stand back up. I used every ounce of strength inside my weak and vulnerable body to get off the floor and keep living.
And through that choice came grace. As I opened up my heart to connection even when all it wanted to do was slam shut, old and new friends surrounded me with love, compassion, understanding, and kindness. They held my hand as I took my first step, they watched and listened as I stumbled and fell many times again, and they were always there as I made my way back up again.
This year, I learned what it was like to be human. I felt the pain that only humans feel and understood the importance of community and connection. I let go of my “lone wolf” attitude and leaned into the people that love me. I found comfort in the smallest of things like a breath of fresh air after wailing for days, or a warm box of cookies at my door from someone who knew I was having a rough one, or the check in texts that sometimes took days to respond to, or the invites over for a home cooked meal, or the moments where someone just simply listened.
These moments of kindness, love, and grace will be with me forever and I know I could have never done this alone.
Twenty-eight is going to be epic, because I say so. The perspective I hold is what creates my reality and even through the darkest time of my life, I still knew there was good and beauty on the other side. This year, I’m living on the other side.