My vacation to Colorado a couple weeks ago was the perfect change of scenery. It was really more than I could have hoped for. It was a full circle journey that gave me the recharge I needed to welcome 2013 with open arms and a fresh perspective.
I'll start off with some background information on my Colorado connection: After going to high school (in Upstate New York), I went immediately out to college in Colorado. I only looked at schools out there, and after visiting my grandparents there every summer, it seemed like the logical choice. I knew I loved Colorado, but wasn't prepared for the side effects of a swift move across the country from my family, and across the state from my grandparents.
To put it bluntly: it was really isolating, and I was painfully shy, which is not the best combination. I had a hard time meeting people, was trying to maintain a doomed long-distance relationship with my high school boyfriend, and was dealing with a major case of depression. I was not a partier and felt really uncomfortable at typical rowdy college parties, which seemed to be the only thing anyone wanted to do. I felt out of place everywhere I tried to be social, and got my first taste of what it's like to have an awful roommate. At the first sign of the weekend I was off, driving 6 hours to see my boyfriend who was so busy establishing his new life as a ski bum/lift op, that he became increasingly disinterested in spending his time with me. I was too blinded by my situation and low self-esteem to realize how he/we had changed. At least I had enough self-respect to give him an ultimatum as to whether he wanted to be with me or not. So, that was that. I went through my first break-up, and after a couple weeks into my second semester, decided to call it quits at Fort Lewis and move back home. I was at a low point in my life. I felt like a failure, and I never considered myself done with Colorado. I still loved it, and even after I left, I had convinced myself I would return in the Fall. Of course I didn't, but I never felt like I had closed the door that I rushed through four years ago.
Returning to this beautiful state, that I think of as home, really allowed me to finally feel a sense of closure and self-improvement. I've realized that I've made huge strides from the clueless, shy, naive 18 year old girl that I was when I lived there. It all hit me when I went to visit a friend, that I made when I was fifteen, who recently moved out there. I took a drive down from the mountains to Silverthorne, and realize as soon as I got off I-70, that this was the town that I frequented often when I would drive away for the weekend. I immediately recognized where I was and found my way to the Natural Grocers store where I had my first kombucha. This may sound strange, but once I parked I was overcome with emotion and nearly cried, right there, in the Natural Grocers parking lot. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I had always associated bad memories with my few short months in Colorful Colorado. Yet I knew where I was going without looking it up, which confirmed that this beautiful state is my home, and here I was recalling a nice memory from an extremely rough time in my life, and in that moment I started to realize my growth since I moved away.
After getting a kombucha, I met my sweet friend Mark for coffee drinks and a walk along a frozen lake, accompanied by a beautiful sunset.
We talked about happiness and our growth as people, and how far we've come since our low points, and it was really nice. It's refreshing to be able to have a candid, heartfelt conversation with someone who is open-minded and willing to listen. Someone you don't feel at all silly/self-concious around when speaking your inner truth. Having this conversation really made me see my personal development with clear eyes. In these situations we can't help but recognize the progress we've made as people. I have improved in countless ways since I last visited this place, that even I can hardly recognize myself.
I am now aware of what makes me tick.
I know what I love. I know what I want to sink all of my free time into. I know that I still don't like rowdy college parties, but rather more intimate get togethers with close friends and good conversation. I know what kind of people I want to surround myself with. I know what kind of partner I deserve. I know how to open up to my friends and family. I am more self-confident. I am more positive. I am more happy. I know how to recognize when I'm not, and I know what I can do to come out of it. I am working on becoming less closed off from people. Blogging honestly and writing music have been a means to being a more open person, and more willing to share the things that are important to me. I am no longer running from struggle. Instead I am facing it head on and growing in spite of it. This has been the thing that has saved me and set me free. This new mindset and perspective has helped me feel at peace, not only at this moment, but about the past, and looking toward the future.
I am changing. I am learning. I am growing.
And most importantly:
My excitement for endeavors and exploration has become so loud, I can hardly hear my fears.