For me, this year was like coming home.
This was the year where I moved to New York as an adult. Where I picked out the cutest, quirkiest and miraculously most spacious apartment with my boyfriend, and started to call Brooklyn home. I have my own place in the city I love, with the person I love, and for that I feel incredibly lucky.
But coming home this year doesn’t just mean moving into an apartment with the person who feels like home to me – though this was one of the most monumental events that happened this year. Beyond that, coming home this year describes the feeling of finally coming into myself again. This was a year of tremendous personal and professional growth for me. It was a year where I reached a lot of the goals I’d set for myself and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to grow even more. Slowly, I started to find my balance again this year. Slowly, I found myself celebrating the essence of the person I’d always been and leaning into that person to make her stronger.
In this past year, I read 80 books – spanning a number of genres, bestsellers, memoirs, nonfiction and handful of fluffy beach reads. I read and was energized by what I read. I read on my commute, on the 30+ flights I took this year for business and pleasure. I read while waiting for the subway on my way to yoga class. Or at home with my boyfriend after we finished dinner. I allowed myself the pleasure of peeking into different worlds, time periods and perspectives. And I grew from it. Much to my surprise, the activity that so many people throughout the years couldn’t understand or found boring ended up connecting me to a network of people who enjoyed the same things as me. How to make friends as an adult, when you’re no longer surrounded by thousands of college kids going through the same experience as you? Read a book and talk to someone about it, you’ll learn a lot more about them and yourself.
In this past year, I traveled to 11 different cities for work – making it across the country to the West coast for the first, second and third times! I learned what it’s like to travel alone – to spend a week or so in a new place exploring, trying new food and hitting the hot spots by myself. I traveled to a new country – Jamaica! And each month let myself get swallowed up by the beauty of new places and the feeling of peeling back one more mystery layer of the world. Inevitably, I also learned what it’s like to truly be alone in a new place. To head back to a hotel room at the end of a long day and get to check in with just myself and see what I wanted to do next. I credit this time alone throughout the year with giving me the space for self reflection that was long overdue. It gave me the space to heal and to think without a time frame. It gave me the space to do what I wanted without thinking about anyone else.
By celebrating my love of books again, traveling to more of the country, and spending time alone I was able to reflect and give myself permission to do what makes me happy again. I left my old job – though I am grateful for all of the travel opportunities it gave me and a whole bundle of professional growth – and started a new one which is more aligned with my professional goals and gives me the opportunity to run a women’s health focused website and social channels. I left a place where I was comfortable and had friends because I knew it was the right time for me to feel challenged again, in a new environment.
When it comes to dealing with trauma, everyone is different in what they are able to handle and how they are able to handle it. The healing process is even less concrete, because each person needs something different and there is no clear-cut path to salvation. In my case, four years ended up being the painful, magic timeline before I could find the strength to push past the negative memories, and find the courage to start expressing myself the way I’d always thought I was meant to again. It took four years to listen to the voice in the back of my head constantly nagging at me to create, to write, to the voices of my family and friends and at some point in the year to the theme of Where’d You Go Bernadette, the satirical story of an artist who spirals into unhappiness because she stops creating.
This year, I was blessed with a toolbox of experiences that led me to my proudest accomplishment of the year. I wrote creatively again. I pushed past the leftover triggers that came with a trauma associated with what I believe to be my purpose in life, and did what I had not been able to do in years. Not only did I write creatively, but in the span of four months, I planned out and outlined a novel and wrote the first half of the book. I gave myself permission to express myself through words and characters and crafting different settings and plot twists. I gave myself permission to reflect on my own life and watched happily as it poured out of me translated through creativity onto the pages I was writing when I least expected it to. All of my experiences this year have given me so much inspiration that I felt like I was going to burst. So after four years of a creative writing dry spell, I’m back in the game.
2020 will be the year I type the last word of my second novel and the year I focus on editing and navigating the world of agents and publishing houses. It will also be the year where I start promising myself to never stop having the courage to pursue what I’m passionate about. Because I am a different person when I write, when I’m creating. I am a happier, more ambitious, more insightful person when I write. I’m myself when I write.
For me, 2019 was a year of coming home. I’m excited to see what 2020 has in store.
Happy New Year & Stay Classy! xx