A year ago today I left what I thought was the adventure of a lifetime– living in NYC. I will always remember peering out the airplane window, watching the statue of liberty stand in the distance as I left what had been my dream for so many years. A part of me felt remorse because although NYC had been so much of what I wanted– connections, once in a lifetime experiences, glamour, inspiration and lifetime lessons– the city of dreams had also shone a harsh light on the reality of the situation–I was young, unprepared and hopelessly insecure.
As I wrote a year ago, “I moved to NYC to find something…For as long as I can remember I have been searching for the greener grass; thinking that my life would be so much better if I had fame, more money, a bigger dream or a hip city to call home.”
After my time in New York, I realized that although these things are nice, they are not the foundation to build a happy, successful life on; so I came back to build that foundation.
Today I am writing this on the back porch of my parents’ home in the small town I grew up in, and I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. I would be lying if I said my move home removed every insecurity I’ve ever had and that my life is now perfect because I built a foundation– this year home has presented me with a new set of lessons, mistakes, heartbreaks and a few crazy nights that can only be responded to with “WTF?”. But what I have gained is so much more important. Through a gradual process of discovering what is real and what is fake I am rediscoving who I am. It’s becoming easier for me to recognize what is superficial hype and what truly matters. Despite my moments of choosing the hype, I am so blessed to have friends and family, new and old, that continually affirm that I am lovable and enough just as I am.
For any young adult in our society, one of the biggest questions we must answer is, “Who am I?”. In a world like ours with so many distractions and opportunities it can be difficult to separate what is real from what is merely an illusion of something that matters. It’s easy to think that the frame of a person (what they wear, where they live, how much money they make, what they do) defines them more than their content (how they make you feel, how they treat people, their integrity and love), but nothing could be further from the truth. I am humbled by the grace I have been given from the people who have the most amazing content I could think of and I am eternally grateful for the role each person and experience has played in bringing me back to myself and back to the real thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a love for the glitz and glamour, but this year in Oklahoma has taught me these things do not define me. Enhance me? Perhaps, but never define me. For so long I have searched after doing and getting whatever it was I could in order to decorate the frame so that everything LOOKED good, despite how I felt. I am now ready to look deeper and focus on my inner content. I have had more moments of contentment this year then I have had in a long time and I think it’s because I’m learning to trust the process. I still have my moments where I freak out and wonder how I can do anything of impact from where I am but then I am reminded that the details have a way of working out. I am able to trust that despite the chaos, there is a plan in place and that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I can’t say for sure when I will move back to NYC, but I now know that when the time is right, I will once again, gaze out the window and see the statue of liberty, standing in the distance, exactly where I left her.
With all my gratitude,