What do you want that you already have? – Danielle Laporte
Last January, like every January, I picked a word for the year. A nice big generic one called LOVE.
That’ll do, I thought!
And then I forgot all about it.
I wasn’t trying to fool the Universe or myself into thinking that if I picked the word “love”, romance would once again show up. I had grown rather exhausted by romantic love, and writing about it too.
I felt quite free from its grips even. 30 had brought with it a wave of “Fuck it!” – or maybe I was just a sucker for the marketing of all those newly published books with “fuck” in the title.
What I mean is that I didn’t pick the word ‘love’ because I wanted to be someone else’s girlfriend.
I meant that I wanted to make decisions, tiny and large, for the love of them. No more obligation, no more wasting time watching or reading something I wasn’t all that into. I wanted to do things because I loved doing them, period.
Once I was satisfied with my intention for 2017, I didn’t think much more about it because I was too busy having fun beside the ocean and falling in all kinds of…love.
January suddenly turned into April and I had to come home to Calgary for a whole lot of logistical reasons. Visas and property ownership and bridesmaid duties and such. What I really wanted was to keep sitting on my favourite cliff in the Australian sun. What made it all so much more heart-wrenching was that to my great surprise, when I really truly wasn’t looking for it, romantic love had sucker punched me in the gut like I hadn’t known before.
I really didn’t want any of it to end. I had never wanted time to stop so badly.
But reality called and I had no choice but to answer.
I sat in a lawyer’s office signing documents to take possession of a condo that had seemed like a good idea at the time, but now felt like a massive weight strapped to my ankle. And my home town wasn’t exactly bursting with job opportunities.
It took me exactly 10 days of feeling sorry for myself in between IKEA trips with my Mom to snap out if it.
I learned something very important in the eight months I spent at home last year.
I learned to love what was in front of me.
This. Counts. Too. I told myself.
No matter what was waiting for me down the road, I wasn’t going to treat that chunk of time like it was a means to an end. Like it was just a little blip in between getting back to loving life. I would never be that ungrateful.
It didn’t mean I couldn’t be sad, because for a little while I was.
But when I flipped my perspective on its head, what happened was that I loved those eight months at home so much more than I thought possible. Way more than I imagined I could sitting in that lawyer’s office last May. And all of the reasons why I loved them so much are recorded messily in a diary dated May 11th, 2017 – April 22nd, 2018 which I’ll cherish, always. Probably even more than the one written in the previous year where it had never been so easy to love where I was.
I learned to love what was in front of me, whether I liked it or not.
What a year ago taught me was really important – When things are harder than I’d like them to be I tell myself again that this counts too.
I read a poem in university and to this day its message still rings little chimes of clarity in me. I have forgotten the poet and the title, but not what it meant to me. It was about how the past has a funny way of orbing into a perfect star. You can’t usually see it while you’re in the thick of it. It’s only after some time has passed that you can look back and see the perfection that was your existence.
Time will pass whether I want it to or not. I try and remember that I don’t want to wait for the future to see all of the gold that was surrounding me. That is surrounding me.
My word for 2018 is grounded. Originally I thought about that word in terms of feeling at home in Sydney again, in a new routine – all the surface level stuff.
I recently found a new yoga studio that I’m obsessed with. The word “grounded” has been uttered in every class I’ve been to, and I get goosebumps every time. Maybe yoga teachers always say this word and I’m just hearing it differently. Maybe I’ve always had this capacity to love what was in front of me and this last year just helped me feel it differently.
I was far from grounded early this year as I went from the snowy forests of Alberta to the hot sands of Mexico to the even hotter sands of Sydney, finally back in the place my soul wanted to be.
Adjusting to life here again has been harder than I thought. But what I do feel grounded in is my decision to love it anyways, even the hard days. I won’t wait for some unpromised future to love what I already have. xo