Five Years Distilled Into One Wild Ride

It feels as though the past year could have been five for what a trip it’s been. So on my birthday I wrote about all that as concisely as I could: 

I learned the power of love, the kind that you leave home and cross oceans for years after it starts, and again and again because the way he speaks is so sweet that it is enough for you to change your name and nationality and it doesn’t really matter where or when the love asks you to go. 

I felt the pain that comes with wanting something to work, the shame that comes with saying words you can’t take back, and the quiet bravery needed to walk away when it doesn’t. 

Love can always continue in a different form, it doesn’t necessarily have to die but instead has the ability to transform into friendship or a memory you hold somewhere deep in your heart. Not all love is meant to last. 

I learned the holy tenderness of love without intimacy, and how it can save your soul, and the aridity that is intimacy without love, especially when a betrayal. 

I lived in the collective comfort of community, cooking meals for 8 who sat together to eat each and every meal made of vegetables grown from their own hands and lands. 

I lived autonomously, aware of the independence that is crossing continents alone, of hiking to the top of Kilimanjaro and wanting to share that sunrise with everyone or a special one but instead taking it in all on your own. 

I learned the joy of new friends in new places, the gratitude for find new homes, and the indescribable event of coming home to be greeted by your entire past…except for the one you come to mourn. 

Learning to lose a father is a lesson I would gladly pass on for 10 or 20 years to come, but learning to be responsible, to have grace in the face of tragedy, and the absolute strength of community is what I have to move forward with instead. 

I tested friendships, and gratefully found those most sacred are always built to last.

I played with my body, leaning into the spiritual glow that comes with being vegan, and the indulgent pleasure that’s worth cracking it for over an 8-course tasting meal. I love the obedience of twice a day workouts as much as the more natural flow of unplanned hikes. I practiced yoga every day for a week with Carly and Mom. 

I failed at being a farmer’s wife but found I might be decent at being a writer and I can create. 

I took the idea of a documentary and directed, wrote and produced it into a 10-minute video which I’m hardly proud of except for the proof that I could probably do it again, and better, with a team. I am learning discipline and deadlines and the confidence that come with getting your books in order.

I met creatives, young men and women who were so open with their art and their ambition and their desire to be good that it made my heart break although I never said a word, afraid that to name it might change it. 

I meditated in a Buddhist monastery, watched waves break in Montauk. Climbed to the top of Montserrat and Kilimanjaro and felt the power of the swimming in the seas of my three favorite places. 

I kept meeting with an old love, convinced that this might be the time we really reconnect, only to realize what we had was gone long ago and any time is an okay time to let go. 

Barcelona to New York. Breckenridge to Bordeaux. Oslo to Milan and back to Cataluña again. Kilimanjaro and Cape Town and Kruger National Park. The Serengeti. Ethiopia. New York. Costa Rica.  Today, again in what will always be my first home, New York. 

It wouldn’t be enough to name the places I’ve been, because that wouldn’t tell the stories of the love or the loss and the magic moments whether they be the kisses next to crashing waves or the old school acoustic sessions in empty bars found in between it all. 

It wouldn’t put the sweet words I didn’t know how say into the ears for the one I was too shy to risk them on, and it wouldn’t erase what I said to those vulnerable to my pain. 

It wouldn’t tell you that I once traveled 30 hours, running through airports and continents and driving cars through the middle of the night to get home to a city I only days earlier pledged to trade in for more adventures through the continent of my dreams.

It wouldn’t give me the chance to say goodbye. 

All I really know is what you are seeking is seeking you so keep going and growing and loving and losing it all in pursuit of what is real and honest and magic.