Writing has been a struggle for me this past week, but I find it funny how the words you need find their way to you.
On March 28th it’ll be 365 days since I packed my Florida apartment and hopped on a plane to New York City. I felt so intentional about my reasons for moving, but no amount of good intention can hold things together that just aren’t meant to be. Sometimes we see it as misfortune, but usually it’s our saving grace. Intentionality is great, but why not put it towards what sets our soul on fire? Probably the hardest lesson that I still struggle with.
New York City shook my world. The hustle is infectious and overwhelming, but it shows you that it’s okay to jump into your life with both feet. There’s nothing to be scared of. Being here is what finally pushed me to follow my inner voice. That tiny one we tend to push aside. Sometimes I still ignore her, but I work on making a conscious effort to really listen because I know she’s real and genuine.
So, in an attempt to listen to that voice, I finally made the choice to get up and live my life. It started with one trip and somewhere along the line it morphed into this growing thing. The project feels alive, as though it has legs of its own that guide me in ways I never imagined for myself. The 25th Year became this intentional, but also flexible, yearlong project, which is hard for an active believer and practitioner of organized chaos (aka I like to plan, but I’m messy about it). I’m only on the fourth month of this crazy adventure and I can tell you with certainty that it has been the best decision of my life.
I set out to see the world, but the world had a little more in mind. It has a lot to teach me, apparently. I knew that I was growing in New York, but I had no idea that the world was professor and the city just a teaching assistant.
I’ve learned that a lot of people in our generation treat love as conditional and not just when it comes to loving other people, but when it comes to loving ourselves. “Maybe I could love them if they’re more this or maybe I’ll love myself more if I’m more that.” People are fiery souls that should be loved fiercely – yourself included.
I’ve learned how to start letting go of baggage. Slowly, but surely, I drop the bags of guilt, regret, hurt, and hate that have weighed so heavily on my shoulders. I don’t have time for it and neither do you. All that weight starts to drown the goodness welled up inside of you looking for a way out.
And lastly, I’ve learned that happiness makes people more beautiful than makeup or surgery ever could. It makes them beautiful because you can feel it when you’re with them. True happiness can’t be bottled up or sold on a shelf. It passes through people, places, and words. Go find it – trust me, it’s waiting for you.
The truth is that I could never begin to explain all of the things I’ve learned in these months of traveling. But I can tell you that I’m never short of amazed at the newness in which I see the world because of what the world has to show me.
Those two words, “be encouraged”, are exactly what I needed in the moment, but also what carried me through almost 365 days in a whirlwind of a city. Be encouraged because the moment may seem hard, but there are good things coming. Be encouraged because you are capable. And lastly, I encourage you to go out and seek your own forms of happiness because it’s worth it. You may not be fearless, but you can be relentless in your pursuit of incredible moments that make you happy. You’ll get more than you ever could have bargained for – of this I can assure you.
This article was originally featured on Harness Magazine.