05. All my Love

by outofthesea

“What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?”

A year ago seems like aeons ago. Around this time last summer, I was 20 (it seems awfully young now…), and working in Seattle. I had Craigslisted a sublet and by chance shared a house with a really cool guy from Dartmouth whom I would drink beer with late into the night and talk about computer science and predestination and discuss The Selfish Gene with. I was hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest with my new coworkers, I went to the ER for blacking out from an allergic reaction in a restaurant (I thought that perhaps I was dying), I cooked dinner for myself almost every day after working 7-6 (I went grocery shopping at a Trader Joe’s nearby every other day and was even starting to feel like some sort of “adult”), I made new lifelong friends in a city that I’d previously known just 0 people in…I returned to my junior year of school, refreshed, with a newly regained sense of independence, focus, and self.

In just the following 365 days or even less, I have gone through so much, experienced, learned, changed and grown so much. If last summer, I had been asked where I thought I was going to be in a year, I don’t think I would have expected myself to be where I am at right now.
Although I have grown in so many ways, some of them have come as a result of knowing myself better, but not visibly affecting what I am capable of “doing,” so this is kind of a difficult question to answer. I am just as terribly trusting and open as ever, and just as much or more in love with the world as I have ever been. But, I do feel much older now than I did then, and I suppose that comes with some shape or form of “wisdom” that I garnered through the past year.

I suppose this year, I found out that I am much stronger than I’d thought myself to be, and am now definitely better at standing my ground and doing it all of that and more for myself. I am better at being aware of my own needs, not just those of others, and acting accordingly. I understand my self worth better than I ever have and won’t settle for anything less whereas before, I had let the lines blur. I know where I stand, what is important to me, the things that move me, the things that I don’t need. I’d lost myself in selflessness, so much so that it lost its value and meaning. (I would even go as far as to say that I had lost myself and my own meaning within it as well.)

I was only able to reach where I am now because I was terribly broken and lost not so long ago. There were some pivotal moments in the past year which could have taken me in the complete opposite direction. I could have taken them and let myself spiral downward and become jaded, mistrustful, forever existential and cynical. Instead, I allowed them to teach me the things that I needed to learn then:

That there are moments in which you must cede control because things will simply happen that are not within your means or your place to change. That you cannot take life too seriously as I had the tendency to do, (I sometimes misplaced my earnestness with too much seriousness), and you are happier if you can laugh with life. That yes, it’s super cheesy but I love myself, and I want someone that can share that love with me, that can see why I’m in love with the world and fall in love with everything with me, and those are the only people that are worth my time (friend, lover, family, whoever you are).

Today, I can let go better than I ever could. This comes from being able to laugh with the world. From being in love with the world. From trusting the world. From being able to surrender to the world at times. From being happy with who and where I am. I am lighter than I have ever been and it makes every day to me, much deeper and more meaningful than they used to be a year ago. If at the end of each day, I must be prepared to let go of everything, then each day takes on that much more fullness. As a result of all this, I am so much better at embracing the world as it comes to me, and even better at walking into it without hesitation, and loving every single second and piece of it.

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