It’s that time of year again.
The new year quickly approaches and Facebook begins to so graciously remind us of all the prettiest parts of the past 365 days; slide-showing photo after photo of happy-hour laughter, beachside sunsets, and majestic clifftop viewpoints. And although 2017 has been nothing but generous to me, I can’t help but giggle at the idea that mine (and everyone else on my timeline’s) annual collage seems to conveniently omit pictures of the real-life moments before the cheesy smiles and exotic vacations. It’s the perfect illusion and something I fall victim to myself; an overly glamorous representation of an imperfectly ordinary life.
Likely not so different from anyone else on the planet, 2017 has been for me a wave of both highs and lows. Every moment of adventure, every blissful new experience, and every feeling of purpose was met – at one time or another – with a period of uncertainty, a stage of struggle, or a flash of unimaginable self-doubt. And should my December Facebook collage have depicted the more transparent view of my existence this year, it would have mimicked that of an adventurous (and somewhat-dramatic) romantic comedy screenplay.
One in which audiences would have witnessed the lead character:
- ugly crying alongside her best friend in the back of dirty camper van hours prior to their first ever European yoga retreat launch
- tirelessly battle yet another crippling stomach parasite in Asia
- spend far too many sleepless nights in a bed bug-ridden hostel filled with damaged dolls
- pick herself up after a more-terrifying-than-painful motorbike accident
- survive a destination wedding in paradise whilst trapped on a resort with her ex and his new girlfriend
- and, in total cliche Hollywood-style, have her precious heart smashed into a million pieces when the man to whom she’d entrusted the biggest portions of her love professed that he would be having a baby with someone else
It’s a far cry from the impressive waterfall selfies, yoga poses with a view, and candid laughter snaps that adorn my profile, yet the reality of an occasionally blemished lifestyle abroad lies underneath the montage of flawless allure.
I suppose I’m living evidence that yoga teachers still have their own shit to work through.
Proof that struggle won’t stop just because you end your marriage, quit your job, and follow your heart to a foreign land thousands of miles away.
A breathing testament to the notion that love will make even the most self-aware of humans completely lose their sense at times.
But the truth is, for as much as I desire to use my social media as a tool to cultivate an existence of openness and vulnerability, I am recently exploring the balance of finding an online presence that serves me best. Defining and sharing what is personal, whilst keeping the most intimate details of my journey just for myself. Disconnecting when I need to, and vowing to live more presently in the only existence that really matters; the one which is ultimately happening offline.
These newfound boundaries towards the approach in which I choose to broadcast my world stem from a freshly-cultured respect for the continuous ebb and flow of life. Recognizing the value that lies within the silence and surrender of first experiencing a situation, surviving it, and then choosing to share from the other side. Sparing my heart the added agony of publicly enduring the challenges that will inevitably come and go with each passing day. And contributing the only opinion I’m encouraged to give from a place of having weathered the storm in order to draft my very own storey.
It’s my whole-hearted opinion that the storey I crafted in 2017 was a transformative one.
And, in using the year-end as an opportunity for self-reflection, I can’t help but feel overwhelming gratitude for the past 365 days of unfathomable milestones that have, without question, shaped me into the woman who sits here right now – more complete than the one who embarked on her last voyage around the sun twelve months ago.
I came, I saw, and ultimately survived to tell about it.
And it’s from this place that I can honestly share . . .
My full appreciation for every instance of failure that was bestowed upon me in 2017. Be it professionally, romantically, emotionally, or culturally; I am grateful for it all.
For, although at times things may not have worked out the way I thought they were going to, they ultimately worked out the way they were supposed to.
And I now understand that there is no such thing as rejection, only advantageous redirection.
My gratitude to all the teachers – in the shape of lovers, friends, business partners, family members, and acquaintances – who so admirably entered my life this year.
The ones who gave without expectation.
The ones who took without asking.
The ones who taught me the most painful lessons.
I am, no doubt, stronger and more capable because of every one of you.
For you have highlighted and resolved broken pieces of me that I had been tirelessly working to mend for years.
My thankfulness for the people in my world who tirelessly believed in me, and the ones who didn’t.
Every human who continually stood beside me, and every one who left when the going got tough.
Every person who unintentionally tested my tolerance and my patience.
Your contribution to my growth was inevitably the same.
For, I now stand here having been challenged and unknowingly willed to develop the resilient qualities I’ve always admired in others.
And above all else, my infinite grace to every significant and insignificant moment that contributed to the unveiling of a fresh, new perspective.
One that cannot be taken from me.
For, I now know that that there will never (ever) be a good enough reason to allow the passing of another year to hold me back, stop me from trying, make me thoughtlessly rush into something, compromise what I value most, or settle in fear that time is slipping away.
It’s just the beginning, and it’s only getting better. ❤