Because isn't the best reflection done over a cup of coffee in the cutest pyjamas possible?
I wish I could explain this quiet sense of contentment that has been brewing within me of late, but it feels hard to articulate.
I am no stranger to feeling up and down, so this feeling of peace is curiously new and welcome. I have some idea of it's origins. I'm working a job that I finally feel good at, with a boss that I adore. She inspires me, and encourages me, and under her guidance I am producing some of my best work. I am prioritising self care, and it's really helping. It pops up in different ways: choosing to read in different parks after work, inviting a friend over to watch a movie when I was feeling lonely (I had to summon my courage, but it was the best thing I could have), and leaving a nice note to a new roommate (that I have to share a bedroom with) who I hadn't actually met until two days after she had moved in. Life feels under control, I feel in control, and I feel proud of this feeling.
I have also, after a long hiatus, started dating again, but that's a post for another day. Whilst this has had some bearing on my mood, I don't want to conflate the two. This path toward self belief and self acceptance is of my own doing and that is a very important distinction. As I said about the need to be single, I spent too long thinking I could find this in someone else.
Walks in this city, quiet exploration, and a curious mix between routine and spontaneity are building me back up. It's not as if a magic wand has swept away the usual problems: I type this in Chicago, on a layover between New York and Denver, and anxiety is still sitting on the fringes of my mind and body as it has come to do whenever I fly. But I feel stronger, more capable of tackling them head on. The logistics of airports make me anxious so, knowing this, I made sure to incorporate extra time to minimise the risk of running late and was given a detailed plan of my arrival by the beautiful best friend who will be meeting me at the other end.
This is the essence of self care: accepting and understanding yourself, and building in routines that provide strength to carry you through the harder times. It is not a one off choice, but rather marks the choices you make. What is right for you can even change from day to day: sometimes I crave the company of others and yet often I desire nothing more than being alone. If it seems like self care comes up often on this blog, know it is only because it comes up often in my life and is particularly apt given the work I am doing this summer.
I leave New York this weekend, a fact that I am both excited and sad about: excited to see family, friends and my hometown again, but sad to say goodbye to a city that has captured my heart and marks the end of an incredible summer. But I hope to carry what I have learnt into my next adventure, time ticks forward and so I continue to grow, changing with each country that I travel through. I love it.