Reflecting on 2019 – Four empowering take-aways that came about for me this year.

Can you believe that the year 2019 is in its final moments? It blows me away how fast this year went. I think that we can all agree that there were many highs and lows intertwined throughout the last 365 days that we just endured. However, I must say that mixed into the tapestry that was 2019, there were also some of the best memories of my life.

So, in my opinion, I will happily chalk up this year to one that was well-lived.

Here are a few take-aways that came about for me this year.

1: Friends will come and friends will go.

This time last year I had embarked on a New Year’s trip to Baja, Mexico with a group of offroading friends. We had done many trips together over the years and were looking forward to heading South across our Nations’ border. It was an enjoyable time, complete with coveted beaches and authentic tacos, sometimes at the same time.

Fast forward a month or so and the once unshakeable group dynamic felt different and no longer felt “at home”. People were distant and exclusive; opinions and egos got in the way, and the woven fibers of friendship began breaking. Then drama erupted within the confines of Facebook walls and group pages . It was the catalyst that revealed true colors. People who I once cared deeply for were traveling down a road I had no desire to follow. I couldn’t stay, therefore I didn’t.

And just like that, four years of friendship and commodore swiftly extinguished. On the one hand, it was a bit of a bummer that the rough times were what crumbled the unity. But on the other, it was the first time in a long time that I felt that I could breath again.

As one chapter ends, another begins.

Just as I was looking forward to the year ahead without an offroad crew at my back, in step a few new offroad friends. The timing was serendipitous. We meshed well and our wild spirits for adventure took us to some incredibly gorgeous locations throughout Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Colorado. We shared in many crackling campfires and clinking whiskey glasses over the next several months. My heart felt completely at home in the company of three incredible humans with their four dogs.

Friend will come and friends will go. They ebb and flow like the tides of the ocean. Sometimes they have a strong presence and leading role in the play that is your life. Other times they hide in the background, only coming into view from time to time. Sometimes they exit the stage entirely, ceasing to have a role at all in your story. This is all part of the production.

Rather than mourning and resenting what once was, be grateful for the time shared and cherish the moments that made you smile. People exist in your world for a purpose. Perhaps it is to teach you something. Maybe it is to show you parts of yourself you never knew existed. Maybe it’s to learn how to love again. Whatever it may be, every person that enters your life is in perfect orchestration, meaning that they are, and were, always meant to be.

2: We accept the love we think we deserve.

One of my closely guarded secrets throughout 2019 was that I fell in love again. It was something that I kept private and only let a few individuals know at the time. The funny thing was, it was found in a place that I least expected, and it came about so organically and effortlessly that it seemed unreal at times.

I suppose that’s the stuff of dreams, isn’t it?

There were many moments of, “How are you even real?” – continuous realizations that something, and someone, special was in the others’ midst. I never took a moment for granted and my heart continued to feel right at home, held tightly in the arms of a barrel-chested freedom fighter.

Some of the best moments of 2019 were spent with him. Even though a considerable distance kept us apart, we still held onto a hope and dream that we could remedy that some day. Planning for the future took on a brand new light because now I suddenly wanted another human being to be a part of it – something I had literal not felt in several years. Many late nights with talk of the exhausting work it is to find a worthy post-apocalypse teammate, talk of our own dreams and ambitions, even so far as the subtle talk of merging our existence and tackling this wild ride of life together. I thought we had it, you know?

However, in the final weeks of 2019, there was another lesson to be learned.

3: If you do not let the past die,
the past will not let you live.

The past can and will defeat the present if allowed to.
This was were the aforementioned romance came to an end – a hard pill to swallow when I’m not one to give up so easily. The time spent together in a light greater than friendship taught me many lessons about my own self and towards another human being. It’s hard to remain bitter and down when you look back fondly with a glow of gratitude in your heart. I would never trade those adventurous months together; I would never trade those warm whiskey nights; I would never trade the time or emotional energy spent attempting something new. Everything happens for a reason.

4: Our culture Obsesses too damn much with social media.

We are on the frontline of a very fascinating and tragic time in human history. We are more connected than we have EVER been. And yet we are more disconnected as human beings than we have ever been. This paradox baffles me to no end. We can connect, communicate, and interact with literally anyone on the face of the Earth in real time. You can be on opposite sides of the globe and have a conversation through writing, spoken verbally, or digitally as a video “face-to-face”. It is truly incredible how far the technological race has come in just a decade or two. We are pioneering history and paving the way for one hell of an exciting future.

But as one arena thrives, another one inevitably suffers. We may be connected on the most extraordinary level of all time, but our society and social skills have never suffered more. Suicide rates, mental illnesses, and prescription drug consumptions are the highest they have ever been. We are more sick and unstable than ever before. We severely struggle talking face-to-face or interacting in-person with another human being. We are progressively loosing those precious skills and therefore damaging our most prehistoric nature that banded us together as a tribe.

We are progressively shifting towards an “every man for themselves” mentality, versus the “we are all in this together” mentality. It is a mentality of selfish desire and gain; it is one built on a broken foundation of Likes and Followers – always this never ending drive to have more. This leaves us in a constant state of comparison. We interpret happiness based entirely on what appears on our feeds, yearning for validation and approval for from our peers. We desire nothing more than to be accepted by society, often times becoming something that we are not entirely. We are swiftly loosing touch with WHO WE ARE; we are loosing our self identity. We turn more to our phones and the outside world then we do to those around us and to the world within us. Now, more than ever, there exists a wedge that is driving us further and further apart.

In the last two weeks of 2019, and for an undetermined amount of time in 2020, I have sworn off social media for a while. It was high time to take a break and get back in touch with my goals for the upcoming year, non-distracted or discouraged.

And guess what? I have not felt more at peace, more present, or more free! I am no longer concerning myself over the muddled noise and relentless waves of information and useless nonsense that just do not serve me. It has been fantastic!

However, even still, I habitually find myself reaching for my phone to check up on Instagram or Facebook, usually when I want to appear busy or distracted in public places. But instead, I’m admiring the world outside the window a little more often. I’m tuning into my thoughts and emotions more. I’m sending more personal text messages, having a greater number of phone calls, and even meeting up with people, IN PERSON, more often. Sure, I miss seeing what is happening with people and their lives, but what drives me to continue refusing to open a social media app is the desire to return back to refocus again. If someone genuinely NEEDS to get ahold of me, there are ways to do so. The most important people have my direct number and are free to use it any time.

So let’s face it… 2019 was a fantastic year. There was an incredible amount of personal growth and some of the greatest adventures had yet. There were days I soared on cloud nine and there were days I wept on my bedroom floor. It was a beautiful choreography of events that brought me, and YOU, precisely where we need to be.

2020 is going to be epic, my friends.

You ready??

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