gratitude lives within me

It was not that long ago that I was single.  Living alone.  Every night going home, to myself.  No one would come to through my apartment door unless I invited them.  I did things on my own time.  No one to answer to.  No one to look after.  Just me.  My camera, my notebook, my pen, my bicycle, my own little space.

This was the time that followed my last serious relationship and it was some of the best times of my life.   I really did not date anyone but I went off on so many adventures, on my own.  I hiked, rode my bike, and wrote so much.  The library and Starbucks were my stomping ground.  I interacted with strangers, who became friends.  I laughed, danced, and grew closer with myself.  I became confidante in who I was and learned how to strongly stand.  

I took risks, let go, and learned so much.  I learned what I was capable of and how truly strong and brave I am.  I faced fears, climbed mountains, ventured into the city.  I did all of it alone, and soaked it all in.  I knew that these moments were not going to last forever.  Eventually, when the time was right I was going to find someone ~ fall in love ~ and create a life with that individual, so I had to enjoy the opportunity of being with myself.

Of course there were moments when I was lonely and sad.  Wanting someone there to hold hands with, share the moment with, just sit and be together with.  But that feeling would pass and I would realize how lucky I was.  I had many conversations with a friend about what a blessing it was to have this time, and to learn so much about myself.  Not everyone is able to appreciate the beauty that lies in being alone and I fully embraced each moment.

I was proud to be carving out a life for myself.  Finding the things I really loved and just going out and doing them.  I was happy walking to the ice cream store on  a warm summer night and sitting under the stars soaking it all in.  I loved just getting on my bicycle and wandering around never having to worry about being home at a specific time.  I was able to lose myself in the beauty of the world and travel wherever my heart took me.  I got lost and found myself again, many times over.

All of that time alone was one big adventure for me of getting lost and finding myself again.  I always arrived safely at home, happy.  Each day I grew and learned.  Gaining independence from my fears and insecurities.  Standing deeply in who I am and practicing being seen over and over again.

I am so grateful for that beautiful adventure.  So grateful for showing up and taking risks. Succeeding and failing.  I got hurt, that is for sure.  But I also experienced so much joy, laughed deeply, and cultivated beautiful friendships.  I was stitching myself together so that I could safely arrive here.  Had I not seeked out the journey, took risks, and pushed myself  I would not have been open to love.  But I traveled, weathered the storm, marched forth, and I have arrived.

My heart is open and my soul is overflowing with gratitude.  It was beautiful, all of it.  Even the messy parts, the tears, the mice.  It all added something to my life character and helped to build me and open me up.  For this I am incredibly grateful and blown away.  I am deeply amazed that I had the opportunities and chances that I had.

One thing I learned along the way is that I helped to craft those moments.  I cannot just chalk it all up to luck, like I tend to do.  I must give myself credit for taking the risk, being brave, and showing up.  Had I not done that none of this would have unfolded.  But I stood there, deep in all of it.  And because of that I stand here today, heart happy ~ deeply in love ~ strong in who I am ~ fully enjoying this beautiful life.