If I could define 2018 in one word, it would be tumultuous. While 2017 was all about travel and adventure and discovering who I was, this year felt a little less so. But just because it wasn’t as shiny doesn’t mean it held less adventure. Now that I reflect, it wasn’t until this year that I started becoming who I want to be… which in my opinion is far more important than any passport stamp or Insta pic.
During the first part of the year, I battled with that sinking depression people often get when they return from an out-of-this-world experience and try to settle back into reality. I moved to Charleston, a city I’ve always dreamed of living, yet somehow found it hard to be present. My mind was constantly shuffling between thoughts of “How can I get back to Europe soon?” and “Wow, stability is overrated.”
And then I found this book: At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider. If you haven’t read this comedic memoir, I suggest you go out and buy yourself a copy TODAY. Tsh reflects on the same internal battle of seeking chaos when she’s calm, and seeking calm amidst chaos. And boy, could I relate. When I’m in Europe, I crave the conveniences of America and hate living out of a suitcase. Yet when I’m home and comfortable, surrounded by all my things, I’m bored. Because those are just things, not experiences.
Charleston has been tough for me if we’re being 100% honest. While I’m obsessed with the city, it’s gruelingly difficult to make friends when you work from home and live by yourself. I go out to brunch and walk along King Street and go to the parks and do all the things, but we live in an age that’s so technology-focused and busy that people rarely take the time to notice. And for the first time since college, I haven’t been in a situation where friends were conveniently placed in my life. Who knew that a social life (or just human contact in general) was so important? I sure do now.
So I took trips to visit friends in the US, I decorated a home from the bottom up, I poured my heart and soul into starting my new event design business, Willow & Oak and I tried to just keep myself busy. Because it was those moments of quiet and peace where I felt loneliness the most. I have become an introvert with a need for an extroverted lifestyle.
Towards the end of the year, I started seeing things through a new light. A good friend of mine consoled me with words about seasons of life. Maybe this was a season where I needed to rest and focus on myself because if I had things to do and places to go all the time, I wouldn’t be as committed to my entrepreneurial dreams. Maybe I would find distractions easy and excuses comfortable. And she was so right!
I started to be thankful for this season and use it for what it was… challenging, but fruitful. In November, I traveled back to the UK for 6 wonderful weeks to celebrate the holidays with my best friends. I saw the God-breathed volcanoes, waterfalls and glaciers of Iceland, crossed Alsacian Christmas markets off my bucket list and finally made my pilgrimage to the coast of England for 3 days of total rest. And in this time, I really honed in on the importance of slow living (great book on the subject here, thanks to my good pal Alexis). I started feeling the effects overworking. I started seeing the dangers of comparisitis. I started understanding how quickly life can pass you by if you’re not around to notice it (or if you’re just sitting in the backseat waiting for things to change).
And in 2019, I’m going to be different. My goals and resolutions won’t be things to accomplish. This year I’m focusing on personal growth. I’m taking time for my well-being and fostering the relationships that matter. I’m going to stop giving my heart to people who are indifferent towards me. I’m going to meditate daily, eat fresher, shop locally. (Is it just me or does this sound like an ad for Goop?) But seriously, I’m going to love myself better. Because if I’m not becoming stronger and happier and simply content with each passing day, I’m doing myself a disservice. I have no idea where I’ll land on the map this new year, but I do know that I’ll be going into it with better headspace and greater peace.
Here’s to hoping that you + yours have the most fabulous year ahead! Let’s all support each other in 2019!