It’s hard to believe that the last time we spoke was last year.
The year that many superstitious minds thought would end our world altogether. Just between us, I had my own suspicions trapped on a tiny sailboat come the 21st of December…
I am happy to say that I am still here. And you are still here. And the earth that grounds us all is still here.
But I am not who I was last year, and neither are you. Our internal worlds have ended to make way for new ones.
This past year, seeing nine new countries, meeting countless inspiring individuals from across the world, exposing myself to widely different cultural norms, and living a life I never imagined I could live, has been a process in reprogramming.
A process in questioning the path I created for myself.
Questioning the restrictions placed on me by my culture, the restrictions I accepted.
Questioning my own judgements and beliefs woven from past experiences.
Opening myself to the differences that surrounded me.
Letting go of old stories and creating new ones.
I spent the better part of 2011 in therapy, hoping it would transform me into a happier person, outlining and interpreting the story of my life.
I began telling myself that story again and again.
I analyzed my behavior in each moment as a result of that story.
But I wasn’t any happier.
By the time 2012 came, I was ready to write a new one.
I began a chapter that I could not possibly predict the end of.
I began listening to the stories of other travelers. The stories of locals in other countries. The stories of expats from cultures like mine.
And I began to tell them my story.
Again. And Again.
In the process, I began to see which stories were still true, which stories I still wanted to hold onto, and which stories I was ready to let go of.
Now, in 2013, I am happy to begin writing my next story and to free myself from the ones that no longer serve me.
I encourage you to do the same.
Because we all have stories.
Some that we tell others, some that we tell ourselves, and some that we are so afraid to let go of, we pretend don’t even exist.
Do you think that you can’t have a healthy relationship because your parents spent their lives fighting to stay together? Or seemingly made no effort at all? Or because one left, told you you were worthless, or simply didn’t love you the way you wanted to be loved?
Can you let it go and allow yourself to love the way that you want to? The way that you deserve to?
Do you make excuses for staying in the job, the career, the path that doesn’t make you happy because it is the only way you have ever known to support yourself, to support your family?
Can you take a risk and trust that you can have food and shelter by doing something that you love instead? Even if it scares you?
Do you tell yourself that there are things you simply can’t do – start your own business, sell everything you own, work in a foreign country, be happy being alone – because you’re not that type of person?
Can you accept that you can do anything you want to do, if you actually want it?
Are you living your life as the character in the story of your past or as the person you actually want to be in the present?
You can be anyone that you want to be.
If you simply let yourself.
Happy new year. I am so happy to be starting mine with all of you.