I’ve been kind of lost for the last six months.
My life went through a drastic change and as I tried to find where I belonged in this new phase, I feel like I lost who I have always been.
When things end, they say it gives way to new beginnings. I thought my new beginning would feel free. Like I could do anything without ever having to worry about how it affects another person. But the thing was, there wasn’t much left to be done with that freedom because the things that controlled me remained. Money, exhaustion and just life, in general.
So I began to cling on to anything that felt new. Maybe a new person, maybe a new role, maybe a new dress or a new passion. Maybe I should focus on myself finally. Or my job. Or maybe I should look for a partner. Maybe not. Maybe I look for the old me. The teenage-me. The care-about-nothing and just-have-fun me. Something had to give because my life had to change drastically. It had to.
But it didn’t. And I couldn’t accept that. I turned frantic in my search for something that replaced what I had lost, not realizing that as I tried to walk towards something else, I was walking away from myself.
So I started to add pressure – to me and to the people around me. I watched others’ lives change and began envying them because mine wasn’t. But it had. It didn’t feel that way because my routine hadn’t necessarily changed. Nothing I did every day changed. It was only an emotional disruption and I didn’t know how to process that. I didn’t know how to point and say, “This is why it’s different. Even if nothing changed around me, my emotions are in disarray. So that’s what I need to focus on.”
I searched for a solution to my emotions in the physical world and failed, consistently. I tried to throw myself into work, but it didn’t feel enough. I tried to balance work with life so I could focus on myself but when the day drew to an end, I was left feeling unsettled again.
Maybe this was my way of grieving. This frantic search for something, anything, that made me feel like my life had gotten better. Maybe this was my way of going through the emotions that come with separating yourself and your life from someone. Maybe this is how we all feel at 27 and it’s nothing but a mid-life crisis.
The problem was, until three days ago, I didn’t understand any of this. In my frustrations with the world around me, I never realized that perhaps the reason I couldn’t find what I was looking for was because it wasn’t in the real world.
I haven’t painted for over a year. I’ve given myself a lot of excuses as to why I don’t have the time – to be creative, to draw, to imagine, to clean up after. And on a very busy Sunday, I was just done with the excuses. I always imagined painting a lighthouse, Van Gogh style. There was something about it, standing next to the ocean, alone but surrounded by the beauty of the world that made lighthouses seem so fascinating. They reminded me of the wind against my face, sand between my toes and the sound of the ocean. Far above the land, almost touching the sky, just a little bit shy. Lighthouses reminded me of home.
It’s amazing how art cures the most complex of your problems. As I slowly began painting something I’ve been wanting to for so long, I found what I had been missing. Why I had felt so out of place. What I had been searching for since July.
I smiled for the first time in a while. From my heart. It was like standing in the rain, every drop taking you closer to yourself. I painted my happy place, finding it within myself along the way.
Maybe this blog isn’t the right thing to post at this point in my life. Someone recently told me that if I were to get married, blogs with so much honesty cannot exist when they google me. Maybe they’re right.
Maybe you’re not supposed to know how I’m trying to find my place in this world. Maybe we’re all just supposed to pretend we’re put-together and perfectly fine with lives that go through nothing at all. But I’m not going to take this away.
We all go through changes. Some are obvious. Some aren’t. You know they happened, you experience the difference even when you can’t see it. Those may be the most difficult ones to process.
In the process of readjusting my life to a new reality, I lost myself.
It took me six months of searching and one painting to find. And I know this could happen again. Another change I don’t know how to handle could make me lose sense of who I am.
But when it does, I’ll know better. I’ll know the patterns and the emotions.
I’ll know to breathe deep and close my eyes for just a few seconds.
I’ll know to look for my lighthouse.
If you’re out there reading this and you’re not sure where you’re headed, what you’re doing or why you’re acting a certain way – this is your reminder.
Breathe. Imagine your lighthouse. What does it feel like?