2017 – the year I stayed a little longer

Everyone and everything that shows up in our life is a reflection of something that is happening inside of us.

~ Alan Cohen

365 days of journey-ing calls for some reflection and recalibration. If I were disciplined enough to keep a daily journal, I might have 365 vignettes of my life to look back on. Instead, I’ll have to rely on the memories of the inflections of emotions from the ups and downs of the year, and the paper trails of my achievements.

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It was a year that called for some effusive celebration.

It started out with a bang when my then-boyfriend proposed to me on a rooftop in Havana as we rang in the new year amidst mojitos and Latin music. We went on to have a beautiful wedding; a grand one with friends and family plucked out from the last three decades of our lives, brought together to celebrate us with unbridled joy.

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Photo by Pixel Story

I got the promotion I had been angling for at work and now find myself at my most challenged and inspired in my decade-long career thus far.

I restarted my travel blog after a 6-year hiatus, a project that has been festering in the folds of my grey matter for far too long and finally found a home on the interweb.

I traveled wide and well…from the cobblestoned, sultry streets of Havana, to the glistening, snow-covered peaks of Mount Lassen, California. From the azure Indian Ocean to the wild Pacific. From the chaotic, adrenaline jolting streets of Bangalore to the tranquil temples of Kyoto. From chasing rainbows in Maui to swirling in the snow-covered Scottish Highlands. I sampled tacos bursting at their seams with tongue-tingling flavor in Mexico City, one too many steaming, comforting bowls of ramen in Tokyo and devoured creamy yet spicy Maldivian coconut curry.  Each place resplendent in its own way, and unfolding treasures that tickled my senses, caressed my thoughts and sang to my soul.

Travel has, and always will, leave me less jaded; a delightful reminder of the unexplored and unimagined.

But the journeying wasn’t all outward; I also reached some internal milestones. Something clicked for me last year, and I wouldn’t have seen it coming from a mile away. I could chalk it up to wisdom from yet another year on this earth, to a serendipitous amalgamation of events or something more purposeful yet unconscious; regardless I find myself grateful for my inner journey.

2017 was the year I stayed with things a little longer; longer than was comfortable, easy or thrilling.

It’s a subtle thing and hard to deconstruct to my satisfaction. Maybe I wouldn’t even recognize the change if I hadn’t struggled so much with this all my life. In my constant millennial drive to see and experience as much of the world as I possibly could, I had forgotten to build my muscle to stay, to revisit, to commit, to see things through. This year I did more of that than I have in as long as I can remember.

This manifested itself in a few ways….

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Photo by Pixel Story

Marriage calls for staying, more and more acutely aware of shortcomings – yours and the other person’s – but not running away from it but toward it, with greater resolve to move forward together. It requires baring yourself and staying to read the reaction, putting the elephants smack dab in the middle of the room and not letting things be unsaid for too long lest they fester and create additional walls in the home you are building together.

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

~Albert Einstein

I wrote a lot more in 2017, and that in itself is a remarkable achievement. It is something I have longed to do since the age of 13 when I last remember writing my heart out. In the last few years, I found myself writing primarily in times of distress: heartbreak, drowning at my job, general dissatisfaction with where I was in my life and perhaps more pertinently, disapproving of who I was in my life. Heartbreak a few more times. These times in my life, after the initial downward spiral usually led to a breakthrough, some sort of epiphany gathered through immense soul searching, usually penned down, as if to attempt to collect all the pieces of the jigsaw in my one place so I might start putting them together.

Those pieces, while raw, unfiltered and creative, never went anywhere. I never revisited them, glad then to be in a better place after and readying myself for the next great adventure in my life.

You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.

~ Sammy Davis, Jr.

But in 2017, I revisited and dusted off those words, wrote some more to try and verbalize the experiences I was having in my life and stuck around long enough to see some of my writing to completion. The first time I put a piece of personal writing out for the world to see was nerve-wracking yet comforting. The revelation in the last year wasn’t that commitment was a necessary part of creative pursuits, but that I had it in me to offer it to myself and those around me. Over the last decade or more, I had been so intent on living, that while, in the periphery, I likely knew commitment was a necessary facet for the evolution of my person, I hadn’t developed the inner faculties for it.

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And that perhaps is the biggest of all accomplishments of 2017: staying a bit longer with the things that didn’t emerge in the first beat and didn’t have immediate gratification. Staying not just because it gave me a rush but because I had created the time, space and energy for it.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Happy journeying…and staying…in 2018!

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