Anytime I sit down to reflect on my life, it never happens gracefully. It takes a great effort for me to do the things that I know deep down I should be doing. This post is a perfect example of that. You can find this pattern of procrastination/perfectionism interwoven within the fabric of my existence. Here are a few more ways I do this: Meditation? I love the concept of it, but I am lucky if I can get a two-day streak going before I find an excuse to not have time TO BE. Community? I am doing my best to build what I consider to be a community, but there is also a part of me that likes to isolate a bit too much. It can be tough trying to balance my need for connection and my craving for solitude. Health? I like to think that I have done my best to tame certain demons but there are nights where I find myself needing to fill some empty void inside of me. When will I learn that food has no permanent fixes, only temporary satisfaction?
Why am I telling you this? Well, because I want to first stress the fact that there is so much more room for me to improve upon. Despite the positive changes I have made throughout my recovery, there are still areas I struggle with, and some I am having to become consciously aware of in the first place. That is kind of what the age of twenty-six was for me: Constantly having to confront parts of myself I did not know existed. Or, maybe I did, and I was just in denial of them, or unable to see the power that they were still holding over me.
For the most part, I have very much enjoyed getting older. Holidays have taken on a whole new meaning for me, conversations are much more fun to be a part of, and it has been awesome to watch my friends start their own families. I have been finding great pleasure in discovering my own independence, knowing what I want out of life, and going after it. As I age, I find the beauty in gratitude and the importance of learning how to live presently (something I have always struggled with doing). For me, growing up has simply been a process of bettering myself, and owning up to the faults in my ways. Self-awareness, although a great skill one should strive to attain, can present you with another set of challenges. It forces you to begin seeing certain situations and relationships for what they are, and what they have been in the past. It can be a strange thing to come to the realization of where some of your core fears stem from, and what that means for you moving forward. Self-awareness has been able to set me free in so many ways, but again, it forces me to confront certain truths I spent a lot of time not acknowledging.
The past year of my life has been filled with many lessons, but there are a few that seem to stick out the most when I consider my twenty-sixth year of life.
Let’s start with Attachment; to things, people, identities, you name it, I have been attached to it. But why? A sense of security? Safety? Normalcy? I have been making an effort to detach myself from anything that can be taken away from me by starting to integrate a minimalistic approach to my lifestyle. This simply means that I want to own less stuff, not because I have too much, but because I find there to be a value in living with this mindset. When it comes to people, I am having to reevaluate the pressure or expectations I put on others to fulfill a certain role in my life and vice versa. This oncekept me feeling safe, and in control. I now see that those who want to be in your life will remain if both parties are giving more than taking. The relationships in our life should be filled with Love, compassion, and understanding; not control, possession, and obligation. Detaching from identitieshas proven to be the biggest challenge for me. Accepting myself as I am, and without labeling what makes me, ME, has given me more areas to work on, but it is work that I now enjoy doing. I am good enough as I am. Every single one of us is. I know now that I do not have to achieve my way into being valued. I just have to be.
Next up? Vulnerability/Honesty. This one will forever be a lesson I am trying to get better at. This one has allowed me to see what my strongest relationships are, who will remain through the good and the bad, and which ones I need to rid from my life. I am finding how important it is for me to surround myself with people who allow me the space to be myself; who are not afraid to call me out on my blind spots; who are also doing the necessary work on themselves to get better. Through sharing my truth, and setting free anything I have kept deep inside, I have been able to find others who see me for who I am. When we are vulnerable, we give ourselves an opportunity to connect with the world and those around us. It is a beautiful process if we can learn to trust it.
Last but not least, Forgiveness and boy is this one important. It was one thing for me to realize the reality of certain truths, but to forgive the other party or situation? That was an entirely new lesson I had to learn. There were many things brought up in therapy where I had to recognize how much resentment I was holding onto. This had to be dealt with because going through life holding onto anger towards someone or something else will manifest in many unhealthy ways; some of which I didn’t even know were the root cause to my pain. Forgiveness does not happen overnight, and if I am being honest, there are still areas that need to be forgiven. This just happens to be one of those lessons that continue to show up in my growth. There is only so much healing one can do if unwilling to forgive themselves or others.
So, what is in store for my twenty-seventh year of life? A whole lotta Love, intention, being present, connection, learning, and (hopefully) more travel. In a couple weeks, I am off to Peru for a completely new experience. I will be going down into the jungle for deep healing, understanding of self, and my place in this world. It has been a trip that I have been wanting to embark on ever since my recovery journey started over three years ago. I am not sure what the future holds, but I am a lot more excited about it than I am anxious -- Which is saying a lot because anxious has been a very popular mode my brain tends to slip into if I am not staying true to my mindful practices.
Twenty-Six provided me with so many valuable lessons. Some of which were felt with deep pain, while others allowed me to experience Love and Joy. This is what getting older is teaching me. We are never done with the lessons; nor are we ever exempt from experiencing hardship. Growth allows us to better deal with the curveballs life will throw our way. I am not sure what Twenty-Seven holds for me, but I am looking forward to how much more I am capable of growing.
Thank you for reading and growing alongside me. I look forward to connecting with you more.
With Love & Appreciation,