An Ode to 2018: Growth from Time Alone

This past year, 2018, has brought bountiful travel, change and love. I made some of the biggest decisions of my life which brought me to some of my loneliest moments. However, I have never been happier or more alive. I have learned to radically love myself, be content in my present moment and outwardly appreciate life.

I have found myself in this beautiful emotional state, recognizing this season is typically my saddest. And although I have had a few of those sad moments the past couple of months, I am so thankful and in love with my life and where I am and where I am going. I am grown and growing and that is so beautiful.

Never let your disability or whatever it is that is setting you back in life hinder your experiences.

I remember my high school headmaster always taught us that to be average at a prestigious preparatory grade school was frowned upon. And I always took this quite offensively because my entire existence I have felt so sub-par to the expectations of others. BUT, this year, I finally retaught myself that I am the only one I must satisfy; I set my own expectations and intentions; I define the quality of myself. This was a difficult lesson to learn and something that still rips me apart, but I have become such a content, positive person because of it.

So where have I been? What have I learned?

>> First Solo Backpacking trip to False Cape State Park

>> American Conservation Experience in SoCal

>> Solo car camping in Arizona/Grand Canyon National Park

>> Gifted my first car (2018 Toyota Corolla) from my parents

>> Weekend trips on the AT with my momma

>> Maintenance Park Ranger at my beloved First Landing State Park

>> Transferred to Northland College in Ashland, WI on Lake Superior

>> Volunteered on the Ice Age Trail building new sections of tread

>> Camped in WI and MN almost every weekend in October & November

>> Geological Society of America annual meeting accessibility audit writing team member

Many of these experiences were spent alone, while many were spent with lovely folks. I learned that being alone is not a requirement for growth. I am capable of growing in the presence of others, including myself. I had to learn to be with myself first before others. I also learned that despite how much I want to be included or do fun things with people, I thrive on taking time for myself. I am my own being and must stay connected intuitively in order to thrive and accept love and support from others. I also learned that I cannot be fixed by anyone but myself and that goes in reverse too; I am not here to fix others. I can provide my love and support and shoulder but my intentions are within.

I learned to manifest my most content self by jumping into things I knew I wanted for myself or that would provide learning outcomes I desired to acquire; these opportunities and experiences aligned with my manifesting intuition. To emphasize “experience”: everything I gained this year was non-material. When I chose to “treat myself”, I went out for nutritious, raw vegan meals- something to provide fuel for my body. I used what I had, not focusing on buying the best gear. I was gifted a few new things in order to survive in my present elements (i.e. down jacket, work pants, snow boots); but I did not seek comfort items. This allowed me to never feel tied down; I was always ready to take the next opportunity for experience and adventure and that has made all the difference.

My relationships gained significance this year too. The people that have continued to be  in my life are those who do not detract from my self-growth, do not feel resentful for the time I spend away from home, and allow me to be myself first and always. My relationships engage and involve me rather than hinder or interrupt me and that is a beautiful upgrade. I now crave being with people because I am now happy with the people I am able to and choose to be with. I believe this growth stems from my own personal maturity and gained wisdom which has allowed me to choose more freely and intuitively my life direction and intentions.

As far as my medical growth- I have really learned to trust new technology- the Dexcom G6 and Omnipod insulin pump. These devices have really lifted a weight off of my back. However, with that being said, I have never experienced such a low low moment until my pump failed. I had 3 horrible experiences- during the conservation, during the summer at work, and during the school year. These moments tore me apart more than anything ever has and made me feel so alone and useless. Each experience was better than the last as I learned how to take care of myself; however, that learning never detracted from the feeling of hatred towards this disease (type 1 diabetes).

~~~

I am writing this in a coffee shop (I ordered tea) in downtown Norfolk- a place I used to go to forget everything. But here I am striving to reflect on everything. It is strange every time I come home- it is familiar and I know this place like the back of my hand, however, I still feel like a distanced visitor the more time I spend away. And that is ok! It is ok and I allow myself to grow away from my first home and into the being I am manifesting.

I allow myself to love myself first and others second. And I allow others to love and support me without resentment or embarrassment. I am confident in my abilities and do not seek future opportunities to make me happy or content. The present is where I thrive and flourish.

 

What have you learned in 2018?? Comment down below 🙂

-manders

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