Joshua Tree

Reflections On The Old And The New

Can you believe we are already into the second week of 2022? I’m hoping this year takes its time and doesn’t rush through. There are too many adventures to go on.
I know most people have probably already gone through their 2021 reflection posts and are onto the new year, but I wanted to spend the last month of the year really reflecting. I didn’t want the expectations of keeping up with the “blog world” and committing to the trends on social media to distract me. My last new year hadn’t been spent the way I expected to spend it and I think that set the tone for starting the new year.
This time I needed it to be different, I needed to put Nathaly at the forefront and figure things out. And boy am I glad I did because it was the best Christmas and the best solo experiences I’ve had in ages.
So allow me to put a pause on the “happy new year” post and step it back to early December. The holidays were honestly an emotional struggle for me in 2021, but I kept most of it hidden well. It’s tough to go from a year of boyfriend and family meetings to…well a holiday away from everyone you know and love. I had made a promise to myself last year that I would never again spend a holiday doing something I didn’t want to do. So I pushed myself to get started on that promise with Christmas.
This was my way of pushing myself completely out of my comfort zone. My first real solo trip, alone in the desert, in a house by myself. I was both scared and excited for whatever was coming. I needed this time to talk to myself, ask her what she wanted for herself, what we needed to do to make her happy again.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world”

 

-Lucille Ball

Reflecting
Nikki Rowe

“Spend time alone and often, touch base with your soul”

This was the first step to get started on my 2022 journey, why wait for the next month to jump into the messy parts? I found out that while I’ve been working on my healing, I still needed to let go of certain things and fall in love with who I was again. Better yet, find out who I was. The amount of change I went through in 2021 still leaves me in shock and while most of those changes were me finally learning to say no to what I didn’t want; I still had to figure out what it was I wanted.
I think, or at least I hope, that I’m not alone when I say I think a lot of us get to this point. Part of me was scared to figure out what I wanted, society has been asking us what we’ve wanted from the moment we could think. From ‘what do you want to be when you grow up to ‘what will you study in school’ to ‘what career will you get into’ and it continues from there. What happens when we don’t know the answers to these questions? Do you want to know? Here it is…NOTHING.
You wake up the next day exactly as you did the day before, with a blank page and still a world of possibilities. So I learned that during my time of reflection. I had created this fear in myself of the unknown. But in the unknown is where the journey lies. That was one of my moments of reflection, letting go of the fear and embracing the possibilities.

My second moment in reflection was when I learned to get comfortable being alone. Not only be comfortable alone but to love me in the alone time, have fun alone, learn to date myself, go on adventures with myself. Christmas was my first experiment and honestly, I think I’m becoming addicted to being alone.
Here’s the thing, the last couple of years I’ve held myself back from so many desires and dreams, all because I didn’t want to do them alone…or maybe I was just too afraid to. For years, I’d see on social media these amazing people exploring the world alone, hiking alone, having a beach day…ALONE and I thought how brave they must be to do those things. And last month I had my lightbulb moment, I said no more. No more on waiting on others to get started, to book that trip, or go on that hike. I have wasted so much of my time sitting around waiting for friends, family, and significant others to do all these bucket list items I’ve had. And since I’ve started checking them off I can’t believe the complete happiness that came along with it. I’ve gotten to explore parts of California I wanted to, I’ve gone hiking alone, I’ve traveled alone and it’s all been the most incredible adventure.

Girl sitting on stairs

I look back on it now and can’t believe how much I stopped myself from doing, how much of myself I kept locked up because there wasn’t “a partner” to do them with. But I’m learning to forgive myself as well during this process. I’m forgiving myself for holding back, from not keeping myself as the main character in my own story. I’m learning what life looks like when I do put myself first. I’m asking myself if something aligns with my values and if it’s something I want for my life. Along with learning to say no, I’m learning to say yes to what I do want, even if it doesn’t make sense to others. I’m learning to shut out the voices around me of what I “should” be doing with my life and where I should go. It’s my life…why I waited so long to start living it for me I’ll never know. But the point is I finally started.
A friend recently told me our thirties are for us, they’re our time to finally get to know who the heck we are and where we want to end up. My twenties were full of decisions I made based on others’ opinions. My career moves were none I wanted, but all based on “potential” people saw me. Never once did I listen to my gut, listen to the voice inside me to make these decisions. I guess after having ignored her for so long I forgot what the voice even sounded like. I may be a year late (31 years old) but I finally made it to a point where I’m ok where I am, I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made this year (as difficult as each one was). I’m proud of sticking through those decisions because I realized each one got me closer to who I want to be, rather than who everyone expects me to be.
A dear dear friend of mine listened to me through my last big decision and said the most beautiful words “Nathaly, this is who you are and who you’ve always been. You just lost her for a little bit.” I did…I did lose her. I had allowed too many layers to be laid on top of her and it took me a minute to dig her back out, but she’s here. We’re still dusting some things off, still learning about ourselves again. But that’s always been the process of life, hasn’t it?
And as I sit here writing this there are still struggles I’m going through internally. The difference now is I’m not giving anyone else but myself the permission to decide how to deal with those struggles, life decisions, and changes. I’m done looking for approval, in fact, I can’t anymore. I don’t know that I would have survived another year, even a few more months suffocating under all the weight I had accumulated these past years.
It’s been a journey for sure, a journey of getting reacquainted with Nathaly. I have no regrets about the things that got me to where I am today, they each had a purpose in my life and a lesson. They thought me a little bit about myself and how I saw myself.
2021 was an incredible year for me. I can’t count the number of changes I went through, and maybe soon I’ll talk about some of them, but they were each worth it. So take this post as a reminder to push through. Sit with yourself for a moment and see if you like the person you are…if you even recognize yourself when you look in the mirror. If you don’t then take the time to find out who you are. If we’ve learned anything from the last three years it’s that time is fleeting, don’t wait until it’s all gone to think about all the ‘what ifs’ and ‘could have been’. Do it now, love yourself now, take that trip now, do whatever makes your heart happy and do it now, and do it alone…really use it to get to know yourself again. And if you do, come back and tell me all about your own journey. We’re in this together.

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