finding peace

finding peace

( my old year’s resolution )

On December 31st of 2014, while I was at a little shop in the little town I lived in Massachusetts a wonderful person gave me some wonderful advice. She told me that every year, rather than making a formal New Year's resolution that she knows she will never keep, she gives herself a short phrase to live by for that year. I decided to do the same. My phrase became "find peace" and at the time, I had no idea how much those two words would impact my life.

In 2014, I lost myself for a while. I’m not sure when or how it happened, or if I have yet to find myself again, but I do know that it was a rough year. I went through months of anxiety ridden days and depression filled nights that led me to make some major, spontaneous life decisions. Somewhere along the line I made the decision to up and move from my longtime home of Oklahoma to a startlingly new place, Boston. And although this turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made, it tore me from a place I loved (although I hadn't quite realized it at the time) and people I loved.

So, 2014 was a little rocky, and this led me to believe that 2015 may very well be the same way. But when I was toe-ring shopping with my wonderful friend, and the lady who worked at the little shop called Firefly told me to make a short resolution phrase, my entire outlook shifted. The moment she said the words that made up her own phrase, my own words formed and my phrase startlingly appeared in my head. "Find Peace." That was it.

Later this night, I fell awfully ill, forced to remain home and forgo my previous plans of a city-lights filled New Year's Eve with my then current boyfriend. I was immediately furious and confused, until it hit me that what better time to practice my resolution phrase than now. I sat down on the couch curled up in a hundred or so blankets, turned off all the lights, made some vegan food and turned on the live broadcast of the New York City ball drop. My night turned out far from what I had been expected, but I don't think I'd ever been happier.

Okay, so that was one night, and this is not to say that the rest of the year was a breeze. It was quite far from that actually. I went through my fair share (plus a few) of trials throughout 2015, but the difference is in how I dealt with them. So I'd like to take this time and space to share my trials, tribulations, joys, and everything else.

Shortly after New Year's eve, a person who I loved quite dearly and deeply moved across the country, just like I had. But it was away from me.  It was karma in the most absurdly cruel way. Coming up on his big move, the plans changed and changed hundreds of times, and each time I thought it was over, it changed again. In February I was a walking mess of tears and emotional baggage. Each time his plans changed, it hurt so much that the pain felt physically real. And when he left, I thought I was going to die. And when distance proved to be an obstacle impossible to overcome, I had no idea how I could ever live.

But I found a way, one day at a time. And in March, I could live again. I picked myself up out of bed; and I found peace with my first major trial of the new year. And damn was it hard. Through slowly melting snowy drives to Saturday morning yoga and nights spent wandering Central Square, I found my peace. And you know what? It felt damn good. The good outweighed whatever bad I had ever felt and I was okay again, at least for a while.

But people kept moving, and I did too. I had met someone new who broke all of my preconceived standards about my ideal person. We were absolutely and completely different in every way, except for the fact that we both had feelings for each other. And so somehow, I had a lot of hope for this new long distance relationship. But one day I woke up, and it all just felt a little off. How can you possibly do long distance forever? I was scared in a time where fear tended to make my decisions for me. One of the hardest things I have ever done is break up with someone out of necessity, rather than incompatibility. Because sure enough, after all is said and done, the feelings don't go away. So after another hopeful, yet failed long distance relationship, my positive outlook on people in other places was rapidly diminishing.  My family was spread out between two states, I had friends in every part of the country, and yet from where I was standing, I felt absolutely alone. I thought that these distances, these people in different places, failed relationships and lost friendships, were going to define my year. But they didn’t.

April, May, and June passed by with one planned yet failed trip to Europe. In 2014, I would have given up, but in 2015 I had a new way of doing things. I went to prom and graduated from high school and by July I was on an Air France flight to Mumbai, India. In India, I found my bliss and I found some peace. I went from Mumbai to Mayapur. I went from bustling city streets filled with auto rickshaws and motorcycles to beautiful tropical roads lined with palm trees, filled with bicycles,

people, elephants and lots of cows. I also went from being confused and a little bit cynical to being content and entirely full of joy. I liked that as time passed, I felt less of an urge to reach for my phone. I felt like myself, more than ever actually. I found my peace sitting on a swing outside, and eating a guava. I found some peace in sitting under a tree, drinking water from a coconut. I hoped only that I could find this peace again back home.

But things happen and things change, and for me that thing was my best friend, or rather my feelings for him. I learned that spending six weeks with someone you already love dearly, makes you love them in an entirely new way. I caught myself smiling every time I saw his face. Each time I saw him for the first time in the morning, my grumpiness was swallowed by the pure joy I felt from his mere presence. I fell in love, and as much as it broke my heart, and disturbed my so carefully thought out and preconceived idea of finding peace I couldn’t stop loving him.

August came and before I knew it I was saying goodbye to my best friend in the Paris airport. As he boarded his flight back to Boston, I stepped into the historical, iconic floors of the Louvre. Through my tear stained eyes,  I took a deep breath in and smiled. I was in the city of love, alone, but I had found my peace.

The rest of the year has come and (nearly) gone. It’s been a bit of a blur, but I’ve learned a lot about trials. Whether it’s been adjusting to reverse culture shock or coming to terms with moving away from my home in Boston; whether it was my car breaking down and my air conditioning failing me in Flagstaff, Arizona; whether it was adjusting to California, college, and unfortunately some close-minded people or realizing that I don’t really have a physical “home” anymore, I now know a lot more about myself, and life.

I have now found peace with the craziness that defines my life. I’m happy that I am fortunate enough to have had experiences that made saying goodbye so difficult. I’m lucky that I have a mom who was willing to drive nineteen hours through the desert with me. I am glad that I go to a college where people challenge my beliefs because it only makes them stronger. And I am incredibly blessed that I don’t find home in a physical place, but rather find it in everybody I love, and everybody who loves me.

So this year, 2016, while I continue to “Find Peace,” I look forward to my new phrase: “Be More Present,” and I challenge all of you to create your own resolution phrase; because mine sure did save me.