It’s really a long story, and I’m not known for my brevity. I’ve told it enough times now to know which parts to highlight, but I am a lover of detail, nuances, and retrospect so it’s difficult to sum it all up on one page of a website. Either way, it all started with a sarcastic and wacky tomboy who grew up in a beautiful New Jersey suburb…
After graduating college in Virginia I followed my heart and sense of adventure and moved to Boulder, Colorado. When I got there I hopped on the conventional track: I got a job, bought a Volvo, and got my shit together. I never really thought about it, I just did it because it’s what you do.
I “grew up” fast, and prided myself for being ahead of the curve. I bought my first home by myself at 24. I was settling down and yet challenging convention by going it alone. After ending yet another serious relationship at 26, I found myself with all the independence I could ever want but didn’t know what to do with it; I wasn't sure what I enjoyed anymore. And for the first time in my life, I began asking myself what I really wanted.
I tried to keep up, to do everything I should, while also excelling in my career and social life. I accumulated friends, acquaintances, and public speaking experience. I went to the gym, I went to happy hour, and I decorated my condo. I stayed busy because busy meant important… and distracted. I organized and organized to feel in control. I bought more stuff, and I organized it.
Despite my early accomplishments and material success, I wasn’t the person I wanted to be. I'd look at others with admiration, but I didn’t think I’d ever be that person – it just wasn’t me. Where I was once ahead of the curve, I had become normal, and was maybe even behind the curve by conventional standards. I found myself growing bitter and resentful, so I plotted my escape. I’d give up everything, travel Europe, and move to a bigger city - surely that would do the trick.
As I released the tight grip on all my things – the job, the condo, the network, the security, the familiarity – I became anxious. I thought I was perfectly in control since I had it all planned out, but in letting go of all that I had worked to accumulate, I felt out of control and began having frequent panic attacks. What the hell? I thought. I’m excited about this, this is an awesome plan! But deep down, I was freaking out.
I spent several months traveling while learning to manage my anxiety. I didn't know exactly what I was searching for out there and had grown tired and frustrated when I came upon a health and wellbeing retreat on the coast of Spain. While there, I finally stopped moving, stopped distracting myself with all the “right things.” Once all that noise was silenced I could hear myself again, and what I found not only surprised me, it scared me: I wanted a totally different life. I didn't want the life I had created for myself in Colorado, or the one I had planned for myself in New York; I wanted a life that didn't seem at all possible. So how do I get that? And who am I to have it? Furthermore, how can I not be who I thought I was all along?
I was terrified, and didn’t immediately implement any big changes upon my return to the US. It didn’t seem practical, logical, or responsible. Get your shit back together, I told myself. I tried but it didn’t work. My old life seemed to reject me; or maybe I was rejecting my old life. I wasn’t that person anymore. But who was I? I was stuck somewhere in the middle, hurtling from one trapeze bar to the next, but not gripping on to anything.
In my travels I had learned to trust, to go with my gut, and so I did. It took me back to Spain, where I completed a yoga teacher training and went on to work at the retreat that had changed my life. Now on the other side of the fence, I found myself sharing stories that inspired and offering answers and support from a place of real knowing, because I had lived these questions and survived to tell the tale.
Upon my second return to New York, I gripped more tightly to my lessons of trust and patience and eventually felt my fingers wrap around that next trapeze bar. I took a deep breath after landing and enjoyed swinging for a while; I settled in and created the lifestyle I really wanted.
As a quickly-told story it may seem simple, but I can tell you that this was the most difficult [yet most rewarding] time of my life. I've faced challenges and doubtful times, and have had to dig so deep inside myself for answers that sometimes I've wanted to go back to not even knowing that a better life is possible. I've had to resist my own tendencies towards comfort zones and detailed plans and trust myself enough to keep moving forward.
While we could all hang out in our comfort zones, we would never find out what we might be capable of if we just pushed ourselves a little further. It's easy to feel stuck and not in control of our circumstances.
For me, it was all about taking responsibility for myself and the life I lead, no longer playing the victim, and no longer playing it small or safe. Because the clock is ticking, and I'd rather try and fail than never try anything at all.