Well, here we are. One year. A year ago today I arrived at my apartment in Colorado Springs after a cross-country road trip. I was all big eyed and bushy tailed. Half terrified and half excited. The decision to move 2,000 miles across the country from a good job, great friends, my awesome family and everything I knew had been a relatively easy decision to make in all honesty. Yes, there was the anxiety and fear of the unknown hiding in the pit of my stomach and of course I felt heartbroken about leaving everyone behind but all those feelings of doubt and uncertainty were overshadowed by the light of hope and peace with my choice. I worried about who I would lose, who I would lose touch with. I worried about being forgotten and being left out of fun activities with friends but at the same time I knew in my heart the real friends would stick by me and the door was open to make more great memories out here and to add even more wonderful friendships to my life. Make new friends but the keep the old… I knew it would be tough that I would get homesick at times and I would feel stress probably like never before. I knew I was going to face trials and tribulations, it’s inevitable, but I have always resonated better out here than back East so I just had this inner knowing that whatever happened I’d get through it and that I had made the right choice. I had the opportunity to start over and build a whole new life for myself and also, I hoped, discover the real me and grow in ways I never expected. I learned a whole lot about myself and then some.
By March, well, we all know what happened. There’s no need for me to go on and on about things we already know about. But thankfully through the whole ordeal, my loved ones have been safe and healthy. For that I am truly grateful. Like many, though, I was laid off from my job due to the pandemic crisis. Like too many, I was up against the wall financially. I hid it pretty well from people. A lot of people didn’t know what exactly I was going through because I didn’t want others to worry about me. It was a lot, more than I led on. The financial strain, concern for the health of others, the effects of the widespread negativity and fear in the world, the disconnection and the homesickness, the total uncertainty and confusion. It was a lot. I slipped back into a depression I had hoped I’d never have to revisit. But the last thing I wanted was for anyone to worry about me and I had no desire to go back. I wanted to stay here and I worried if I told people the stress I was dealing with they’d try to convince me to come back or they’d get all worried about me. I do not like pity, it makes me wildly uncomfortable. I’m the type if I hurt myself I hate when people fuss over me. But this year I learned to be more vulnerable and not be afraid to express my anxieties to people, realizing I’m not being a burden by reaching out as I had always thought before.
I learned a LOT about the power of open expression, communication and speaking my truth this year. I am 100% the type of person who doesn’t like to rock the boat or make waves too much so I often keep things to myself. In true Libra fashion, I like to maintain harmony and balance in my life, in relationships, in jobs and in all things. I don’t like arguments, I retreat inwardly when around one. I tend to cocoon and breakdown around aggressive people or behavior; I absolutely detest aggression, violence, fights, conflict and everything related to all that. I tend to avoid conflict in all honesty. I’m the type who has just taught myself to suck it up and deal with it rather than confront someone for their behavior or how they treat me. Not always the best way to deal with things, though. You gotta pick your battles, but some battles ARE worth having. I don’t like to upset people, hurt their feelings or confront them but sometimes you just gotta be willing to do so in order to speak your truth. I’m not comfortable with anger, angry people and angry situations but I’m also not comfortable with being angry myself, I don’t like to be angry at anyone or anything even if it is warranted. But sometimes you just gotta scream and punch a pillow and admit you’re frustrated. Sometimes you gotta tell Universe, “$&%^ you!” She understands! I had to be honest, I was angry at the whole situation. Yes, for the most part I was hopeful and optimistic but there were times of total emotional breakdown and I was pissed. And that’s ok. As long as anger and resentment isn’t the dominant emotion or feeling, it’s allowed here and there. You just cannot dwell in anger or sadness, you cannot let it take over. I got honest with myself about my anxieties and frustrations and learned to express them to myself and others in healthy ways. I started REALLY getting more into meditation and different metaphysical practices such as spiritual hypnosis, intention practices, reiki and chakra healing, affirmations, crystal therapy, etc. All things I had dabbled in before but never took as seriously or was as committed to before. I became committed to my spiritual growth and self-healing this first year. I really opened up more and more and grew more and more spiritually this year. I did it initially to help myself cope with the anxiety but in the end it served an even greater purpose, I found more of myself through this spiritual growth. I became more “me”. I became more aligned with my highest self and purpose. And THAT is a great blessing. And what better place to work on spiritual growth than Colorado, they are almost synonymous with each other in my opinion. Spirituality+ peace+ love+ happiness+ awakening+ inspiration= Colorado in my view! The energy here is just ideal for spiritual practices and growth and finding fulfillment. The anxiety and frustration WAS worth it in the end because it was the catalyst for me to spiritually, emotionally and mentally grow and come into my true self more. From the “bad” often grows the good. And that was true for me, absolutely. I like who I am more now than I did before, who I became because of this growth. I even became more assertive and am breaking the toxic, self-harming habit of avoiding conflict by not sticking up for myself and speaking my truth boldly to others. I learned what I deserved and to not settle for less than that, affirm what I deserve! I got better with telling people, “Hey, I don’t like the way you treat me!” And with that honesty I had to also get comfortable with people either responding with anger or not responding at all, with indifference. Yeah, I lost some friends this year. Yeah, I learned that some relationships I had thought would be concrete were situational and based on convenience for the other person. Yeah, I learned some friendships were one-sided. I learned a LOT about having to let go in more ways than one to continue the process of growth and self-healing.
I have abandonment issues and this year I had to confront them face on. It stems from events that happened in my youth. For the record, I had a wonderful childhood. I have two very supportive parents and come from a loving home with parents who love each other and were never shy about letting me and my sister know how important we were to them. So, no, these issues do not at all stem from my family. When I was a teen, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder and I would have 2 panic attacks a day sometimes. It was bizarre and strange to me. It was a nightmare in all honesty. During this time I had a very close-knit group of girlfriends. When I was diagnosed I was no longer “fun” and I was dealing with a lot of heavy baggage. I still tried to be the best friend I could be, but of course I couldn’t be the joy to be to be around I once was. Looking back, I do not blame them for walking away because they were young and didn’t know how to respond. I also for years didn’t handle my depression the best way. I felt betrayed and put up a lot of walls, I wouldn’t allow myself to have close friends because of the fear of being abandoned. To this day, I’m still dealing with that. And my first year in Colorado, I had to take a lot of introspective time to heal from the past. Because of the fear of abandonment, when I feel someone pulling away I tend to panic. What do I do? What many in my position do, I chase or start begging. Begging for a text back. Chasing someone to want to spend time with me. Looking back, it’s ridiculous! I wasn’t valuing myself or showing genuine love to myself by doing this. What does this teach me, all this chasing and begging? That I’m not good enough. That’s not a lesson I want to teach myself. Just because I genuinely love and value them doesn’t mean I need to put up with indifference or lack of consideration, it doesn’t mean putting myself in a situation where my heart is constantly aching. So I learned to stop. Stop and let them keep walking away, for them and for me. If they care and are meant to be in my life, they’ll turn back around. But it’s like the saying goes, if your absence doesn’t affect them then your presence never really did either. Sometimes you gotta face the truth no matter how long you’ve known someone, no matter how connected you felt to them, no matter how many amazing memories you share that they just don’t care as much as you do and for your own sake you gotta let them go. Let them go with love and gratitude in your heart for all the beautiful memories but let go nonetheless. Sometimes you lose friendships you thought would be forever. One friendship I lost I still have a frame of us together where we wrote things like “Soulmates” and “Friends for Life” on the frame 10 years ago. It happens. Sometimes our lives just naturally part and its Universe’s way of saying, the purpose of this connection has been fulfilled and it’s time to part ways with love and grace. We all have our own life paths to follow and sometimes they have to separate. Some people are meant to stay and others are not and it’s not always someone’s fault. There were some things said and done that deeply hurt me and wounded me, there are some things I can forgive but cannot forget. Because anyone who truly knows me knows the biggest trigger for me is being ignored, silence. This is why communication is key as well as honesty. Some people think they’re doing you a favor sparing your feelings by just ignoring you, by no longer responding because they don’t want to hurt you with the truth. But the TRUTH is, this hurts me even more. Silence= indifference to me. Indifference is worse than being kindly let down. Communication is key, it spares peoples’ feelings more than silence ever could. Without that closure, I was forced to find closure for myself. My, did I GROW so much when it comes to working through my abandonment issues and learning to handle them in a healthy why. No longer chasing or begging. No longer willing to give out more than I get. I do not say this with resentment or anger, not at all, I say it with a sense of peace in my heart. I had to learn to let go and move on from people I still loved and valued, realizing those sentiments were not matched. But the silver lining? I have found an even stronger connection with so many of my beautiful friends and I am so truly grateful for them. There may be a physical distance, but there is not a smidge of emotional distance. I learned who my true friends are and who belongs in this chapter of my life and that lesson may be hard but it is in the end such a blessing to learn.
When I look back at my first year I can honestly remember more beautiful moments than bad. There were lots and lots of tears and stressors, absolutely. But the good outweighed the bad. Looking back, so many beautiful things happened. Financially, I have rebounded and still made my financial goal for the year! And I found a new, more stable job so those concerns have been resolved. I’ve made some new friends out here and started creating memories with them. All the travels and adventures… it’s been amazing! I’ve done so much hiking and just fallen head over heels for the natural wonders here. From the Paint Mines in Calhan with the whimsical swirls of pastel colors, the awe-inspiring formations at Garden of the Gods, the breathtaking views of the entire city from Cheyenne Mountain, and more! So much at my fingers tips and literally down the road to explore and enjoy. It’s been fantastic. I even reached my goal of completing the Incline in record time! I also found some new favorite places I frequent. Denver Botanic Gardens is one of my favorite places I’ve frequented as well as the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Manitou Springs, and Old Colorado City. A lot of my exploring was hindered, of course, by travel restrictions but I’ve still done a lot. I absolutely love being close to Downtown and I enjoy all the day trips to Denver walking around places like Larimer Square. And my to-do list just keeps growing of places to explore not only in the Springs, but in Colorado and the extended Southwest region. We’ve still been able to create a lot of incredible memories despite the obstacles. I’ve fallen in love with several wineries, eateries, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
I’ve fallen in love with living in Colorado completely and hopelessly. I can honestly say this is where I belong. Will I stay in the Springs specifically? Don’t know. I’m letting the adventure unfold for me as it comes and I’m learning not to force anything. When we try to force good things we hinder them from actually happening but when we let go and allow, they come into our lives often better than we had pictured along with other amazing surprises. I’m grateful for this journey and first year. The moments of joy, love, laughter and amazement have greatly outweighed the stress, anger and sadness (even though there have been many moments like this). I have felt my vibration rising through it all. I have become a better version of myself. I often think that many people who knew me back East if they met me now might not recognize me. A few friends have marveled how much I’ve grown and changed for the better. They’ve commented how I am much more relaxed than I once was, wiser even. And I feel more relaxed. This year showed me that peace is the pathway to true happiness for me. Peace within equates to peace in my life. I’ve learned the value of simplicity, that we often overcomplicate things or over-romanticize things when the truth is, true happiness and love resides in simplicity. The joy of simple togetherness, the joy of a quiet night, the joy of a warm, good cup of coffee on a cold day, the joy of being alone but happy in your own company, the joy of a view from a mountain, the joy of walking a street that looks like the set of a Hallmark movie, the joy of recognizing every little blessing. What is a wonderful life exactly? What defines it as such? We do! Our life is wonderful the moment we realize it is wonderful. It doesn’t require a mansion, wealth, tons of friends and followers of social media, it doesn’t require a perfect partner or a fancy job. Your life is wonderful simply when you choose to see it that way. My life is not perfect, but I do consider it wonderful. My life was wonderful before but I think my life out here just fits better with who I really am and what matters to me. Gorgeous views, incredible nature, good, peaceful vibes, kind and down-to-earth people, a celebration of art and living the good life that people out here truly embrace, lots of fun things to try and do, living at a slower pace, simplicity. I feel like I can breathe better (especially now since I’ve acclimated to the elevation!). I feel I am where I am meant to be mind, body and spirit. I feel my heart and soul are happy here and at peace here. And I truly believe that my life will unfold in amazing and beautiful ways out here. This new chapter is going to be a good one. We’ll see what Year 2 brings and whatever comes I know I’ll be able to get through it. Year 1 proved I am resilient and strong. In a nutshell… I love Colorado and I love living here, I love who I am here and I am here to stay!