a milestone, 1 year tribute
looked at the calendar and was dumbfounded by the reality that is the world working in funny, mysterious, and magical ways. exactly a year ago I had the worst meltdown of my life. this isn’t to play jokes on chalking that meltdown up to some quarter-century identity crisis, but this meltdown turned out to be the starting line to a downhill spiral that I am only now finding light at the end of said tunnel. too many analogies? oops. point is, a year ago I found myself starting to discuss the term “balance”, as a result of finding myself recognizing all the imbalances in my life. recognition of imbalance was step 1 on a long list of unknown steps to achieve balance, that I am definitely still working on. what I want to commend myself on is accepting that not everything was okay and in fact, that nothing was okay.
I WAS NOT OKAY. accepting that fact in real time and not just in hindsight, has allowed me to progress to where I am today. am I okay now? I think so. do I still have work to do; absolutely. the days and months following that initial meltdown, which was literally a cry-fest, were a complete haze. I was drowning and I’m not sure how I got through that alive. I surprised myself by being honest with myself; I knew I had to make changes. what those changes were to be, I had no idea, but I distinctly remember sitting at the airport in Guatemala City headed to DC, on the phone, verbalizing my need for addressing my emotions and figuring out what changes were required of me to then make those needed changes. it was so simple and yet so complex. something out there made me realize the gravity to which I had to be honest. it’s safe to say my professional career choices propelled and instigated this meltdown and also the changes that came to be. I could have chosen anger and for some time, I did, but I walked away a more balanced and content human in the process, so overall I chose gratefulness.
anger: a punishment we give to ourself, for someone else’s mistake- unknown
balance and resilient (merriam webster definitions below) are two powerful words, defined by powerful words themselves. when I used to laugh and give the example “I’m either really happy or really angry, but don’t feel anything in between”, I thought it was funny to be extremely left or right, or extremely right or wrong, or extremely hot or cold. then the meltdown happened and all of a sudden, I realized that the extremes were casting a curtain on a whole range of emotions I was neglecting. that imbalance led to me diving head first into my work and neglecting everything else. that imbalance led me to realizing without my work, I seemingly had nothing. how could that be when just moments ago I was so happy? because I was neglecting that whole range of emotions and responsibilities, by only experiencing the extremes.
resilient: capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture
balance: equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements > mental and emotional steadiness
we all have moments of self-tribulation and self-triumph. what we do following those moments, is how we grow. what I care to share here is neither the details to my story nor a step-by-step guide to finding balance in your life, but rather some anecdotal to-do’s I found scattered on my to-do list, below in no specific order. a list that I informally built on the fly.
I wish you to be content, not complacent. honest, but not brutal. balanced, but not perfect. -me
Neon Soul: A Collection of Poetry and Prose by Alexandra Elle
the great outdoors: mountains are calling
a list of all current projects being worked on
a list of projects wanting to be worked on
repeat: “I am not okay. that is okay.” until you believe it
a list of the imbalances
a list of actions to achieve balance (then perform those actions)
a seemingly far-fetched physical goal, i.e. run a marathon and/or summit a volcano and/or bike across the country (then train to perform that goal)
the courage to be honest with yourself
the acceptance of a helping hand- in the form of a friend, a cousin, a sibling, a stranger, a parent, anyone…anyone who extends their hand and embraces you as you cry
today was my day of realizing “I am okay” again. today not because I am one year removed from meltdown, but today because the metrics by which I am measuring balance for myself, presented themselves as balanced. balance requires continual effort and striving for balance is what I owe myself; I deserve to feel balanced. you do too.
STL has been good to me, relish in the pictures!
much love & cheers!