“I am not fully healed, I am not fully wise, I am still on my way. What matters is that I am moving forward.” -Yung Pueblo
It was my 29th birthday this past Saturday. One more year until I’m 30. What? How did that happen?
I love that meme that says “So it turns out that being an adult is mostly just Googling how to do stuff” because that so accurately describes my life. I often feel like a high schooler trapped in an adult’s body. One of my most used questions is “Am I doing this right?”
All joking aside, I know I’ve come a long way in my short time on this Earth, and while I might sometimes (read: every day) feel like I have no idea what’s going on, I’ve also grown and learned so much about myself and the vicissitudes of life.
It’s interesting though. Sometimes I become so focused on what I don’t yet have and where I’m not, I lose sight of how freaking far I’ve actually come. In turning 29, I started reflecting on all that I have accomplished in this past year and I was pretty stunned to see it all laid out before me.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. I got sober.
I started drinking in high school. I carried on with great enthusiasm in college. It became a part of my identity post-college. There were many crazy nights of drinking, some drugs, slowly sipped glasses of wine over dinner, inhaled glasses of wine over dinner, quiet night caps, ten dollar beers at baseball games, mild sessions, boozy brunches that turned into nights out, and everything in between. I’ve wanted to quit drinking for the majority of the time I’ve been drinking, but I never had the courage to do so. It was never the right time. There was always some event coming up that I “needed” to drink for. The fear of a life without alcohol was greater than the fear of continuing to drink. I rationalized my drinking for years. “I’m just having fun!” “Everyone does this!” “I can’t have a problem because I don’t need to drink every day!” The excuses went on forever.
Then, on New Years Eve 2016, I realized I had had enough. There was no epic night out. I shared two bottles of champagne with my boyfriend over the course of the night while watching a movie in our pajamas. No meltdown. No blackout. No embarrassing antics. For some reason, I just knew as I was sipping that champagne that it would be my last drink. I wasn’t enjoying it. I didn’t want it. My curiosity scale had tipped towards a sober life.
Quitting drinking has been a rollercoaster. There have been days where I’m feeling great about it, and others where I feel left out and sorry for myself, but all in all, I am very happy with my decision and excited to continue to develop my new identity as a sober person. I’m still in the process of finding out what works for me, what I need, what I like, and who I am without a drink in my hand, but damn, it feels good to finally have wholeheartedly committed to this journey.
2. I started a blog.
This was something that I have wanted to do since graduating college with a journalism degree. I’ve always loved writing, and I love the idea of sharing my story and connecting with others along the way. However, I lacked the confidence to actually do it. I was so concerned about what people would think of me. I didn’t think I was “good” enough or interesting enough. Through inner work on myself, I eventually reached the point where I stopped caring so much about what other people thought of me. I realized that I don’t have to be perfect to get started. Actually, I never have to be perfect, which is a relief because I never will be. It’s nice to have a personal space to express myself. I have no expectations for my blog. I’m just happy that I had the courage to finally start it.
3. I got some articles published.
This relates to #2, but was an unexpected perk of sharing my story. I got some of my articles published on elephant journal. It’s a pretty cool feeling to see my byline on a popular website and know that hundreds of people are reading my words. I also felt a pretty big release in sharing these personal things with a larger audience. At first I was terrified of sharing some of the things I did, but after the first couple articles, I became more comfortable with the idea, and eventually it helped me to be less self-conscious and more accepting of some of the issues I’ve dealt with in my life. It’s kind of like holding up a big sign saying, “THIS IS ME. TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!” and then just embracing whatever comes from it. A number of people reached out to me regarding the articles I wrote and I really enjoyed hearing from people going through similar things in their lives. It’s incredible that putting my story out there allows me to connect with people I never would have chance to meet in real life.
4. I snagged an awesome boyfriend.
My track record with men has not been the greatest. I now believe that this was in large part due to my relationship with myself. I pushed away good guys because I was afraid to open up, or because I didn’t think I deserved them. I couldn’t even talk to guys without a couple drinks in me, which led to some not-so-great outcomes. I didn’t respect myself a lot of the time, so I was attracting men that didn’t respect me in return. As I started taking an honest look at my patterns and behaviors and started treating myself with more kindness and love, I slowly began to respect and like myself more. Around that time, I met a truly kind man who treats me better than I ever thought possible and accepts me as I am. He’s a good person to his core and we are able to connect with each other on a deep level. We have serious moments and downright goofy ass moments. I have noticed that the more I open up with myself, the more I’m able to open up with him, which validates my theory that everything in life stems from our relationships with ourselves. Work on your relationship with yourself first and the rest will follow.
5. I have started to understand and uncover who I truly am.
It’s an ongoing process, but I’ve done a lot of work in the past year to tear down my walls, throw out old stories, and address fears, anxieties, bad habits, and false beliefs. It’s hard work (I’ve done it with the help of a therapist), but I can now acknowledge just how much I’ve opened up in the past year. It’s as if I’m rediscovering myself, or rather peeling off all the layers of gunk and debris that have accumulated over the years to uncover what has been there all along at my core. This is not something that I can just accomplish in a month. This is the work that makes up life.
La Croix cheers to another trip around the sun!