two years ago to the day, i arrived in the desert. the place i would call my temporary or permanent home, i wasn’t really sure. i just knew it was a new and uncertain beginning. without a job lined up or a plan in place, i remember packing up my one-bedroom apartment in arkansas with a mind full of fears and worries, but a heart full of wonder and excitement. in that moment of filling up boxes to the brim, i couldn’t have anticipated how the move to arizona would have looked, and i certainly wouldn’t have recognized the girl sitting here writing this now.
i’ve lived here and there throughout my twenty-something years. a couple different cities in sweden. minnesota. iowa. arkansas. but arizona has been a lifetime of lessons jam-packed into two years time. two years that have felt like a century, but also a short nostalgic blur.
two years surrounded by saguaros and sweet little succulents, i feel both older and younger, wiser, more humble, more child-like, more grateful, more optimistic, i feel more. all of these feelings coming and going. i know as humans we are always changing, growing, evolving, but i never really recognized that growth within myself. i couldn’t point to a moment in time and recognize it, not until now.
i’m more proud of myself than i’ve ever been. i am confident. i am sound. i am grounded. and i am here. i discovered self-control and how strong i truly am in my vulnerability. i’ve become braver, more graceful in my writing. i still take things a little too personally, but i’m learning to navigate through it. i have traveled to places that my heart has been forever changed by. i am learning that things are just things, and experiences warm the soul. i have used my words to hurt, and i have used words to heal and rebuild. i’ve learned to forgive myself and forgive others. i have stayed when i should have left. i have learned to let go with love and gratitude.
i have seen what happens when i live with my heart closed, which is how i’m learning to keep my heart open throughout the curveballs of life. i have learned that my heart is truly an energy source that brings me joy, gets me out of creative blocks, and allows me to practice gratitude. i have learned to be more gentle with myself, and others. i am learning what i want and don’t want. i am learning what’s important and what isn’t. i am learning to trust my heart, and allow the universe to guide me once again to where i’m meant to be.
looking back at the girl who spontaneously moved across the country on pure instinct 2 years ago, well i barely recognize her now. she was such a free spirit, fueled by her own optimism. she loved to dance with the unknown, and found both comfort and opportunities in the uncertainty.
the girl writing this in the here and now, well i wouldn’t have recognized her back then either. more adult. stable. rooted. goal oriented. a little too materialistic and stagnant for my liking. but here i am; loving every version of myself. loving the transitions i have gone through and the transformations to come.
i think that’s a beautiful thing, to be able to love every version of yourself, through every phase, positive and negative, shameful or proud. loving the you that felt lost; the you that failed. the you that succeeded. the you that put your faith in second chances. loving the you you are right at this very moment. so if you’re in a new city or in the town you grew up in, i hope you love whatever version of you you are in this moment. i hope you are proud of who you are, because you always should be.
to love every version of myself has left me feeling empowered. and i love knowing that throughout my two years in the desert, i’ve grown closer to becoming the woman i want to be, the lover i want to be, the friend i want to be, the daughter i want to be, the writer i want to be, the human i want to be. so happy 2 year anniversary, arizona. i don’t know how long i’ll stay, but i am and always will be grateful for the lessons, the adventures, the friends, and our time spent together amongst the tumbleweeds.