One Year & 51 Posts Later: Turning 26 + What I've Learned While Living!

I have always been fascinated with numbers, dates, and the little everyday coincidences that make me think. Think about what you ask? Well, I guess that depends on the coincidence that occurs, but I have always been intrigued with the idea of there always being a deeper meaning. I pay close attention to the days that certain events seem to fall on, or have fallen on, and I am hyperaware of the days that I know will be emotionally tough for me to make it through, but you know what I have learned? I can survive them.

There are certain dates that stick out in my life, and I do not think I am alone in being able to remember when certain things or events occurred. I have been alive for 9,496 days, and although a good amount of those were darker than others and harder to survive, there have been many days when I am reminded that life is always worth living. Below are just a handful of days that will always be remembered by me. Some good; some bad; ALL important.

3,550 days ago, I finished second in state for Track & Field.

3,544 days ago, I decided to quit Track & Field.

3,200 days ago, I had to say goodbye to four friends.

2,901 days ago, I commit and signed to play soccer at the University of Tampa.

1,748 days ago, I was forced to retire from my collegiate career as a Soccer player.

1,728 days ago, I was arrested.

1,729 days ago, I quit my addiction to amphetamines.

1,252 days ago, I lost two of my role models: Robin Williams, & My Grandfather. 

1,246 days ago, I graduated from college.

908 days ago, I got a job using my Accounting Degree.

887 days ago, I put myself in the hospital.

886 days ago, I started my Recovery Journey.

447 days ago, I had to bury my past with the past.

364 days ago, I started Healing Hopefuls.

281 days ago, I moved away from home.

101 days ago, I started writing for a Recovery Blog, The Recovery Village.

87 days ago, I finally decided to ask for professional help.

18 days ago, I adopted a dog.

3 days ago, I sent in my first draft for a large opportunity.

And today? I am not sure what today will bring, but I am hopeful, and looking forward to finding out!

This past year has been all about learning to love myself, live with myself, and accept all that I am, and all that I am not. This all started back in April of 2017 when I made the choice to move away from home. I had finally come to a point in my recovery where I felt ready to go off on my own without fear of falling back into my toxic ways. Do not get me wrong, there are still days where I feel very triggered and weak, but it was because of this acceptance that I was able to admit that other help was needed. I was ready and willing to talk to a professional about the thoughts I was still fearful of, and emotions I may feel shameful about.

I have come to learn a lot about myself in such a short amount of time. More often than not, I feel overwhelmed with what my recovery has allowed me to see about myself. Through this process of letting go of what was suppressed for so long, I am able to see the faults in my past ways. By doing this I am also able to forgive myself for causing any pain done unto myself and to others. By bringing up what I tried so hard to keep locked away, I am able to set myself free from the things that once caused me shame, pain, and guilt. By owning up to my secrets and shedding a light on the darker parts of me, I no longer have to fight so hard to keep it all contained. When I gave myself the permission to just be who I am, I slowly began to turn into the person I was always meant to become. By continuing to share my truth, and slowly break down the various parts of me, I have been able to learn how to love myself in the process and find people along the way who like who I am becoming as well.

In what feels like much longer than 26 years, I have always had a different way of ‘living’, or at least, defining exactly what that meant to me (or sometimes, how to even do it in the first place). Within the two years and five months of my recovery, I have been able to redefine what it means to live, and why it has become important for me to do my best to survive. Now that I am no longer living in denial of my pain, my reality, and my flaws, I have enjoyed the time I have spent thus far learning about the best parts of myself. When we can speak openly about our weaknesses, our illnesses, and our struggles, we can finally begin to stop shaming ourselves for what makes us human. Remember earlier when I said that 887 days ago I put myself in the hospital? Why is it that it wasn’t until that moment that I realized the importance of living, or in that case, the importance of surviving? I have spent every day since that one trying my best to cope with what got me to that point by removing anything toxic in the process, including, drugs, alcohol, people, and any other temporary voids I would use to fill a need, want, or craving.

Throughout this past year, I have traveled to destinations on my own, with friends, and with family. I have collected new memories that I will bring with me into the years to come, and I will be leaving behind certain connections, acquaintances, and habits; the ones that do not provide a positive addition that is. I have been promoted within the company I work for, and I have found great value in the work I provide. I have formed new relationships with people that make me want to better myself. I have been able to repair some of the damage I once caused to those that I love. I have been able to ask for help when I need it, which was something I was never any good at doing before recovery, and up until most recently if I am being honest. I have had to come to terms with certain labels, but I have also learned that we do not have to live our lives based on them. I may be a recovering addict, but I am also so much more than the negative connotation that comes with that. I may struggle with mental illness, but I am still just a human being who can achieve many things if I so choose. I may be many things, but I do not have to allow any of them to hold any weight if they are just going to hold me back. It has been a long time coming, but I am finally getting to a point where I love who I am, and I accept what I am not. In the first quarter of my life, despite some of the things that were harder to survive, I have been able to reach a point where I am more concerned with how to live.    

I am not sure what the age of 26 will bring, but I am looking forward to what will be uncovered, shared, and experienced. We never know what life will throw us next but I am no longer afraid of that as much as I once was. Our thoughts, our feelings, and our passions… they are important. If there is one thing I know that will occur while I am 26, it’s that I will live with the belief that all of this was for something, and my truth can set me free if I choose to not be afraid of it.

Here is to another year of living, surviving, and loving exactly who we are, and what we become.  

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

Megan Lawrence