January and February have never been my favorite months. It’s bitterly cold most of the time, dark, and just generally depressing. (This is a positive post I promise.) But I’ve had the best January this year that I’ve maybe ever had as I’m finally settling in to my new surroundings. During my years in Memphis, I sometimes felt like I seemed to always be searching for something, something I thought was buried deep in Memphis and I had to be there to find it. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it always felt like when I found it I would know who I was. What I was doing. Why I was there. This isn’t surprising to me because Memphis was a bewitching world outside my comfort zone when I first moved there, so much so that everything seemed magical, and full of reason that would someday show itself to me. And maybe it was. But it turns out, I don’t think what I was “looking” for was ever really there at all. I wasn’t going to grow very much if I stayed there. Which is a hard lesson for me to say given how much I’ve missed it since I left. But outside that homesick pulling of the heart-strings, a yearning for all the familiar and fun Memphis holds, I’ve got another feeling too. Happiness. Not that I wasn’t happy in Memphis, I just feel happier, healthier and more normal in the place that I’m in now. Maybe it’s the cold chill of the winter air forcing me awake, but since 2016 began, things have just felt different. I miss Memphis, but I am more aware than ever that life is now. More engaged. In Memphis I constantly felt like I was waiting for it to begin. That something better might have been just around the corner, and at this point, Kansas City was it. It’s not so much the city itself, I’m way less in love with it as a tangible object than I am with Memphis and its grit, but it is the version of myself that living here is allowing me to become. More full of happy, not anxious, wonder, wanderlust, contentment, less pressure, and more creative juices. And when I sit back and try to make sense of this, a lot of this happiness isn’t because I’m in a new city, it stems from being alone. Like really alone at times. But not in a bad way. Not lonely.
I’ve never lived alone like this before. My years in Memphis were some major learning curves about myself, and I miss my friends immensely, but I was always surrounded by things I could easily distract myself with, lean on, dig deep, but not ever dig by myself. Moving to a new city, living alone, you get a lot of QUALITY time with yourself. It took a little while to get into a grove once I moved, but now that I’ve adjusted, I’m so much more careful with my time, and spend so much more of it on myself. I can now cross a fear of loneliness completely off my list. Maybe I sound greedy, but as a social-people-pleaser-always-on-the-go type of person, this new winter’s pace feels awesome and I would gift it to everyone if I could. It’s even inspired me to plan a trip alone this spring that looks like this:
Even if you don’t have the ability to get much (or any) alone time – you’re not moving or don’t want to even be alone anytime soon – I urge you to try to take some time for you while we are still in the quietness of winter. (Especially if that thought scares you.) There is no shame in some quality self-love time. Not to sound like a total whacked out yogi, but doing a few of the following can incorporate a little quiet time into your day, check in with where you are, and maybe find some motivation to reevaluate where you want to be every now and again:
Take a drive in the country.
Journal for 5 minutes before bed.
Go to yoga class. Any yoga class.
Take your dog on a long walk in nature.
Sit quietly at dusk or sunrise.
Plan a trip alone.
Run a bath with a few essential oil drops.
Go outside during the next full moon.
Spend 10 minutes sitting next to a body of water.
Or anything else alone that can draw you closer to yourself.
Cheers to some radical self-care ya’ll! ~ Amanda