A lot has changed in the past few years. Since 2018, I’ve moved out of my parents’ house. I got sick. I quit my corporate job in the city. I started working for a startup while pursuing creative writing. I ended a long-term relationship. I lost myself. I grieved. I lived alone through a pandemic. I worked on myself. I found my way back to old, cherished friends. I found my way back to myself. I healed. I went on dates. I fell in love. I published my first book. I moved to a different state.
My life is not at all what I expected it to be at this age. A few years ago, I was ready to get engaged and be married by the age of 27, to start a family and buy a home and continue commuting to Manhattan as a journalist, until I realized that wasn’t my dream anymore. In fact, I don’t think it ever really was.
But it was comfortable. It was secure. It was certain. And I love certainty.
However, despite my pull toward the light of stability, I have always wanted more out of life. More passion. More purpose. More insight. And I knew, underneath my extreme desire for comfort and security, there was a scared little girl who just wanted to play it safe.
But there was also a fed-up little girl who was tired of letting fear and judgement hold her back.
So, she made a change. One major decision. Then another. And another. Until soon, she could barely recognize the woman looking back at her in the mirror. The woman who fought her way to this place in life. The woman who had no idea what was next.
But that snowball effect eventually led to new opportunities. A new career. A new perspective. A new lifestyle. A new partner. A new home. Healing can be a wonderful catalyst, opening doors you only ever dreamed of stepping through.
You see, my whole life, I thought something was wrong with me. I thought success meant money, health was only physical, and love translated to comfort. I thought, in order to be truly happy, I had to change something about myself — my expectations, my needs, my desires. But it’s only when you begin to embrace these things that you find what is truly meant for you.
I am still learning these lessons, and I am still healing, sometimes slower than I’d like. I am harder on myself than anyone, and I tend to project or make assumptions based on the self-limiting beliefs instilled in me. I am far from perfect, but I am open to learning and becoming better, both for myself, those I love, and society as a whole.
Yet, as I write this, I am sitting in a cafe near my new home in New York (a place I never imagined living). I am listening to new music, outside of my old emo playlists that once served their purpose (and sometimes still do). I am planning my walk to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for my favorite meal (one I woud have been too afraid to fuck up in the past). I am people-watching out the window, finding inspiration in the charm of this little village (rather than being intimidated by the newness of it all). I am feeling butterflies thinking about going home to my boyfriend of a year and spending the night reading my new book in bed (I’ve always felt most content with life’s simplest pleasures.)
I also have no idea what comes next. What town I’d like to explore, the type of apartment I’ll rent, where my writing career might take me, how my relationship will progress, the people I’ll meet and new family members who will be born. And I’m a bit anxious about that. But I’m also excited as hell.
Today, I choose to embrace the happier narratives and understand that “anxiety” is synonymous with both “worry” and “eagerness,” and those two can be felt at once.
This is not how I expected my life to be at the age of 26 — it’s better. Because I am finding my purpose, and I am living for myself — for that little girl within me. It’s a beautiful adventure, and I’m lucky to be along for the ride.