‘The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday.’-Jenny Lawson
The end of the year is always a time for reflection and 2019, I can honestly say, was the greatest year of my life. I began the year in Iceland and concluded it in Oregon. There was a quote by an abolitionist regarding Lincoln in the Civil War, so completely unrelated, but the gist was the course of an entire life transpired in year (well, four in the original context, but you get the idea). And that is what this year has given me. That I can drop into conversation, oh when I was in Sydney…is still something I am getting used to.
New Years Iceland was remarkable and I had no idea that it would kick off a crazy ride. I wrote about the trip in great length (feel free to explore the archives!) but I had no idea it would be a precursor for the most adventurous year of my life. That I walked through a massive lava tunnel, saw a humpback whale, and viewed the Northern Lights still seems like it was a dream. It had a profound effect on me. I have said this a lot but I did become braver, which would bode well for the coming year!
I will say the hardest thing about moving to the West coast (other than leaving my core friend group) has been leaving New York City and my Saturdays on Broadway. The withdrawal has been unreal. Thank god that I usually got a mug from shows, so they are still a part of me every morning. While this year did not include meeting Bruce Springsteen or Paul McCartney, I was able to see some amazing shows (including Hamilton). I was able to meet Adam Driver, tell Michael Shannon how much I loved Take Shelter (he was so impressed with my deep cut), and gushed to Keri Russell about how much she and the Mickey Mouse Club meant to me and that I grew up wishing she was my best friend (she was even cooler than I could have hoped). My final show in New York was Moulin Rouge, which when I got the ticket I had no idea it would be the final one but it was…I left about two weeks later. I cannot wait to visit and see all the shows over the course of a few days. It has been a valuable learning experience because I don’t have access in Bend like I did in Philadelphia. I cannot get to a major city in an hour and a half. I realized that I am a city girl or, at least, city adjacent. I need to be able to see any concert or touring production and get home the same day. I don’t have that here and my anxiety has been worse. I don’t have my regular coping mechanisms. Life is a giant learning experience and that, it turns out, is the real lesson Broadway has taught me!
The summer was spent bringing my philosophy of living furiously into massive overdrive…although that was not my intention, ha! When I planned my trip to New Zealand and Australia I had no idea that two months after I returned I would be moving across the country but there you go…just ride the wave. I wrote a lot that this trip changed my life on a deep level. My wallpaper is the above image and I still cannot believe it is real. I also cannot fathom that I snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, traveled the Great Ocean Road, pet and fed kangaroos and koalas, and climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is still something I’m in awe that I did and it has been six months. Almost like it was a dream but it wasn’t. I know this because I have the photos all over my fridge!
While Iceland, New Zealand, and Australia were life changing, the biggest thing to happen this year was to move back to the West Coast. I am still getting settled in Bend, Oregon. It has been a really hard transition, made harder by my being brave and telling someone I care deeply for the truth about how I felt and it was really hard. While I did not get the same honesty and things kind of fell a part, I don’t regret it. I have some amazing friends who called and texted daily to make sure I was still doing okay. Missing life events, like my best friends having a baby or other friends getting married, has been tough but I have been on some cool adventures since I’ve been here. I saw Hamilton in San Francisco with a friend (again (!) and actually won the lottery on the first go even though I tried for years in NYC) and made several trips to the beach (I will have upcoming posts on Portland and my Christmas on the Pacific in search of gray whales). I have started to make friends here (thank God for my newish hobby of rock climbing/bouldering) and got a job a restaurant that has the most amazing people! You never know what will happen and learning that transitions are ok and don’t have specific timetable is normal. Also, therapy!
As this year comes to a close, I am reminded that life is a journey not a destination. I have no idea what the next year has in store. While I don’t have any international trips planned, I do have friends coming to visit and planned road trips to the California Coast, February in Yosemite, and visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. And who knows what else, but that is the fun bit…not knowing where my next great adventure lies.
Thank you so much for going on this crazy journey with me and stayed tuned! And always live furiously happy!