I’m not sure what started it. Maybe a piece of me knew all along that the breaking point was coming, it just took a few radical life events and a second job at a baby thrift store to bring it all together. When I was 2 years old we moved from my first home, I think that maybe instilled in me a sense of wonder. A nomadic memory that has stayed with me my entire life, itching to be activated again. Moving, it seems, excites me in a deep way. Gearing up to leave a place and experience another. Exploring new ideas and opportunities to one day pack it all up and head into the unknown, starting fresh and open to every new experience that may present itself. I’m a gypsy at heart, but embracing that need inside of me has not been easy.
January of 2016 was a hard year. I lost a close friend of mine in a traumatic way and this experience unraveled me to my very core. I was shaken by the realization of the fragility of life and it was shocking to feel so deeply in that sadness that none of this really mattered. While still important the impermanence of it all was screaming in my face and I had no choice but to listen. I was forced to see life for what it was, ever fleeting and small. While of course, our lives are meaningful, impactful, and important, they will end. Each of us will die, and coming face to face with this startling truth is surprisingly rare. Of course, we all know this to be true, but to sit with this fact and turn it over and examine its belly and see that it too is a part of who I am, at 24, was dark. I isolated myself for weeks in an attempt to make sense of it all and when I emerged from my cave of consciousness I was different. I had faced my fear of the inevitable, in part, and I stood on the other side embracing this part of me, my undeniable end of life, as an ally rather than a foe. Why shouldn’t I use this piece of truth to fuel my passions rather than stifle them? If it is all going to end, most likely randomly and out of the blue, I want to do as much as I can in the time that I have to make it all worth it. So maybe at the end, I won’t be surprised or sad, I’ll be expectant…I will say that I knew he was coming and I’m ready to go. No stone unturned, no road unseen, no person unloved.
So within three months, I had a plan, I was going to move across the country. The gypsy girl inside of me dancing along the way, this piece of me was shining through with a solution to my angst. With the realization of my impending demise in the back seat, I packed up my CRV and I hoped in the car and drove all of my worldly possessions across the United States.
I’m still on that journey. I am realizing now that there will never be a point that we reach where we are suddenly aware that the last decision we made was the answer to it all. It comes in the small moments, like feeling the urge to write, or in the sound of the tea kettle whistling, or the smell of your toast nearly burning but not quite. Each moment is the start of your best day, all we have to do is recognize it. I made some big changes, but I know now that the small ones are what matter most. I’m grateful for my life, for my courage, and for my honesty. I won’t be here forever, and because of that, I will always chase the sunshine reflecting off whatever makes me happy. I won’t hesitate to express love to a stranger or hide excitement over finding a penny in the street. People may think I’m silly, foolish, or reckless. They may call me unrealistic, selfish, or vain. I may be mocked, insulted, or excluded. But I’m realizing slowly that those people are not my people and that’s okay too. I am on a journey, as are they, to find ourselves and our tribe. Every day is the start of a new opportunity to be exactly who we dream of. Finding ourselves is not a destination but a road that we walk along, collecting pebbles as lessons and embracing sun and rain as experience. There is an end, but for now, I’ll take my time on my walk and admire the flowers as they pass me by. Forever grateful that they had the courage to bloom here at all.