It feels so weird to write that. Like I’m in another world or something. Yet, I’m still the same person. It’s just one more day, but it pushes me into another decade. The decade where you’re supposed to be building your career. Married, with kids. Getting a house. Settling down. This is what society expects. Maybe this is what I expected. Probably not. But I didn’t think I’d be where I’m at now. Almost three years living in LA and feeling like I’ve just moved here. Starting over.
29 was the hardest year of my life. Already worried about where my life was heading into 30, I started making changes. Mini habits. Growing myself, learning about new things, and trying to hold myself accountable. Started feeling like I was starting to make progress.
And then I lost one of the most important people to me in my life. Hit me out of nowhere, and I never expected it. Completely turned my life upside down in one night. Everything I thought I knew about my world was broken. Everything I believed about my future was shattered.
The thing about getting your heart broken is you never know when or if it’s going to heal. When you love someone and it ends, it’s a loss beyond words. The level of pain that you feel running through your entire body is something that you never thought possible. How is it physically possible to feel that much pain and not be dying? You almost wish you were, to not feel anything anymore. You can hardly move, much less think about moving on. Yet, the world around you continues on. People move on. How are they moving on? Everything is moving so fast! And, you...you feel like you’re stuck in quicksand, slowly sinking, screaming for someone to help save you, and no one can hear you. No one can rescue you. You have to save yourself, everyone says. And it’s true. No one is going to save you. But you still hope. You hope that the pain you feel isn’t going to last forever.
You take small steps. You get up in the morning. Maybe one morning you wake up and it’s not the first thing on your mind. Maybe it’s the second. One step. Maybe you don’t cry yourself to sleep another night. One more step. Not to say these things won’t happen again. You never know when it’ll hit you. You’ll be having a good day, finally not having negative and sad thoughts running through your mind 24/7, and then you’ll think of them. You’ll see something that reminds you of them. You’ll remember what it was like. And suddenly the floodgates are open. The thoughts come back. The pain seeps through.
You realize that nothing will change if you continue doing the same things. No matter how slowly you feel like you’re progressing, no matter if you feel that making your bed isn’t doing anything, baby steps totally count. You know the most important changes to make are within your own mind. You hear people say it, you read it in self help books, and articles you scour on Google, feeling pathetic searching for, “How to get over someone.” You read about the five stages of grief and wonder which stage you’re in and when you’ll finally move on to acceptance. You want to tell everyone to just shut up. To just go through exactly what you’re going through and then try to think about rainbow pooping unicorns. But then you realize that everyone has gone through this. Experienced loss. Grief. Disappointment. Change. And some much worse than you. And you feel horrible. Who are you to feel like this? There are people out there dying of hunger, and cancer, and who don’t have homes. You have a good life compared to them.
But then you pause. You breathe. Everyone has their own struggles, and you can’t invalidate your own by comparing them to others. You have every right to feel sad. To feel unworthy. To feel like crap. To not be okay.
They say that you show your strength and who you really are not in the good times in life, but by overcoming adversity. I’ve heard so many stories of people’s challenges, and how they got through them. I’ve wondered what the time period of their pain is. When does it suddenly “end” or when do they “overcome” things? And I’m starting to think that maybe that’s a misconception. Maybe you don’t ever “get over” things. You just take one step at a time, and slowly, hopefully, the ever notorious time starts to work its magic.
You might not ever completely get over what happened to you. And that’s okay. You just let it become a part of who you are and who you’re becoming. Because you aren’t the same person as before. You are stronger. You are more fragile. You are more stoic. You are more empathetic. You are more human.
So yes, I’m 30. I’ve made it this far, falling, stumbling, and getting scarred along the way. And I’m going to embrace it (eventually). Though I sometimes feel broken, incomplete, and that I still have so much to learn, I know that’s just a part of life. That everyone has feelings like mine, and that none of us are alone.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Every one of you knows these people. They are all around you. And I’m so grateful that my life is filled with beautiful people. Take a moment to thank them, to tell them you love them. I hope I live my life never being done appreciating the amazing people around me.
So this is to each and every one of you in my life. Whether we’ve only met for a few minutes, a couple of days, years, or known each other our entire lives - you have affected some part of me and helped formed who I am today.
For being empathetic.
For being a shoulder to cry on.
For telling me how worthy I am, when I’m feeling the complete opposite.
For sharing with me your stories of adversity, and also of happy times.
For making me smile and laugh.
For being a kind, passionate human being.
For opening your hearts and lives to me.
For being uniquely you.
You all inspire me.