Thursday, January 21, 2016

Road Trip Nostalgia

In August of 2012 I decided to do the most brave thing I've ever done in my life, take a solo road trip across the country from Minneapolis to Seattle. My decision to do this was somewhat impulsive but, the trip was exactly what I needed to do at exactly that time. I had just ended a relationship that was definitely not of reciprocal value. I was left feeling drained and questioning almost every area of my life: relationships, career, and my own value.

I decided that I was going to use vacation time that I had been pooling for a year to get some much needed alone time for reflection and decision making without external noise or critical feedback. This picture was taken on the morning of day two somewhere in eastern Montana. This was the first time I was actually enjoying the trip. It had taken me an entire day of pushing down the anxiety of leaving work unattended to quiet my inner voice.

Days two through ten were spent meeting up with friends I had fallen out of contact with who lived along my route. Between each stop I had hours and hours (48 hours of driving total) to just be with myself. I was cruel to myself, I was kind, I was critical, and I was accepting.  I laughed at myself, I cried out of frustration and insecurity. This was the first time I had ever had a chance to spend enough time alone with myself to really get a good idea of who I am.

I realized at the end of the trip that, yes, I do like myself on the whole.  That no, I'm not perfect and no, I don't need to be perfect to meet my goals and to live with integrity and love. This trip and time of reflection changed my approach to life and how I talk to myself.  I learned to be kinder to myself, because that missed exit was not the end of the world, it lead me to a cute microbrewery for a tour and tasty lunch. Little setbacks are stressful but they are part of the dream and achieving your goals. Each mistake you make is a step forward and part of living in a complex world and being a complex person. We need to learn to forgive ourselves and like ourselves before we can be of use or service to anyone else.  

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