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Let me tell you about June

Hello Friend.

Let me tell you about June.


June threw sorrow, pain, discomfort, disgust, anxiety, tears, ugliness, and exhaustion.

June was HOT. June was dry.

June was hell.

There were a few good times sprinkled in there, but most of it was overwhelmingly soul-crushing.

The month started off with two high-profile suicides (R.I.P. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain), and in between those two, my oldest friend (and first crush) took his life.

I had to take a break from social media--suicide was everywhere, and it wasn’t helping me process my friend’s death.

As I was finally able to move forward (about a week later, though it’s taking longer to fully heal), I was blessed with a week-long bout of the stomach flu.

And then I started to feel like a ghost of a human, struggling to process everything happening to the men, women, and children being persecuted for seeking asylum in the United States. I started to compare my struggles with theirs and felt like this blog was pointless because I talk about self-improvement and personal development when there are bigger issues out there. (Ironic, right, since I talked about how detrimental constant comparisons are in a recent post.)

I felt lost and a little guilty. I had a lot on my mind.

Do you know what I did NOT have?

MOTIVATION. I had no motivation to do anything productive.

I also lacked ideas and inspiration. I’d sit down to write and nothing would come out--well, nothing worth sharing. What mostly fell on the page were annoyances and complaints--very real, but also very personal. I wasn’t ready to invite anyone that deeply into my life while the pain was still as real as it was.

We all suffer from time to time. And that’s OKAY. Worrying and stressing about how others might perceive your suffering, I will argue, makes the suffering more excruciating. I know it did for me. I was worried about people seeing me crying over my friend. I felt like I was supposed to be finished with grieving after 48 hours. It was hard for me to let go of those notions and allow myself to still be sad a week later. I wasn’t able to listen to my needs when I was focusing on what others might be thinking of me as they saw me randomly burst into tears.

Toward the end of June, I found a small project to motivate me: planning out my road trip. It was a baby step, but it was also a gigantic leap. I have tried to plan the trip since February when I decided to take my life on the road, but I kept running into obstacles. This time around, I was able to make decisions about the trip that brought me peace. I was no longer trying to force my trip to work the way I wanted it to. I was no longer stressed out about it.

It wasn’t easy, but one of my closest friends helped me figure it all out (without realizing it). She was planning a road trip with her family and wanted to include several different stops in a short amount of time. Though it was doable, we both agreed that she was trying to cram too much into the time period and that it would be mostly driving and not very enjoyable. I reminded her that some of the places she wanted to visit will always be there and that she can do a different road trip the next time her family visits. She said something along the lines of, “You’re totally right, and I forget this all the time. It’s a good reminder.”

Because of this conversation, I decided to eliminate about one-third of my road trip, work my job as an outdoor instructor for the entire autumn season, and leave at the end of October instead of September, going south to north instead of north to south. The decisions flowed smoothly, and I was able to fit everything in with ease. All the friends I’m hoping to see will be in their towns and cities when I will be there. I just happened to be arriving in the Northeast around Christmas and can spend it with family, and I’ll be able to spend my birthday in a fun place and make it to California before February.

Harmony is sweet.

I had to let go of what I thought was the ideal plan. I had to remember that I can take another trip someday. I had to let go of the fear of missing out.

I finalized my road trip plans, was finally able to eat solid food, and was able to talk about my friend without crying. I cruised into July ready for a fresh start.

July hasn’t been a walk in the park yet, either, but I’ve noticed something very significant.

In the past, I’ve fallen deep into a pit of despair, unable to function or move forward from the smallest things. It was a year ago, actually (as briefly mentioned in this post), that I was struggling to function. But this time, despite the hits I have been taking, I am able to move forward. I haven’t felt hopeless, empty, or lost.

Instead, I have found a sense of direction. I have found clarity.

I attribute this to a several things. One is this blog--sharing the steps I’ve taken to overcome obstacles and challenges has helped me analyze situations and recognize my strengths and abilities.

Another is that in December, when I started working with my health coach (and now friend), anytime I’d share a struggle I was facing, I’d end with, “...but I’ll survive. I always do.” I actually believe this has made me stronger. It’s made me realize that no matter how much a situation sucks, how much pain I might be in, or how rough the situation I’m facing might be, I will survive. I have survived everything I’ve faced, and I think acknowledging that regularly has actually made me stronger.

Additionally, though these are in no particular order, I’ve thought a lot about how the way I react to situations and people--the extent I allow them to affect me--is a choice. I’ve been working on choosing to remember that everything will be okay again and that maintaining a positive outlook, no matter the situation I’m in, helps my mental health stay...healthy (or, healthier).

And finally, I really allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel while letting go of what I thought others might think of me if it took me longer than two days to recover. This gave me the space to process everything that was happening and move forward.

I’m still a bit bruised and feeling June’s wrath, but I’m slowly regaining my motivation. (I’m sure you can tell since you’re reading this--my first post in six weeks ;)) I can’t wait to be back in the groove of things.

I want to THANK YOU for your patience and acceptance. I want you to know that I appreciate you, your support, and the fact that you read this blog. I thought a lot about you, my reader, each Wednesday that passed without a new post.

And I promise that November, December, and January will bring lots of travel stories and photos. There will likely be several epiphanies, too. (Who knows, maybe a book will come out of it???) I’m excited to develop another section of my website (the “Travel” section) and share my adventures with you.

With love,