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I was an angsty child.
Even now, as I type that sentence, I can envision my father reading this; he’s in his home-office, laughing his deep belly laugh as he takes his glasses off, and thinks, “That’s an understatement.”
I always had angsty teenage dreams and always wanted to be somewhere other than exactly where I was. The teen movies geared toward my age-group at the time made me want to move to a big city.
I wanted to be free and independent—far away from my family (which I have discovered is not that amazing). And even further away from my “boring life” on Alaska’s mountain.
Oh my gosh, if I could go back and talk to my 14-year-old self.
I look back now and see signs of my budding alcoholic behaviors, even at a young age. But I also believe you are born an addict. I have always run from my issues or felt that moving or changing my surroundings would make things easier or better. (Hint: it’s not true.)
I was a daily drinker by the time I was 18 and constantly moving into my early 30s; I was hoping the change would change my circumstances. It didn’t.
Deep down, I knew I couldn’t run from my addiction or my problems, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized I had to stop running. I had a complete nervous breakdown while exiting an abusive relationship, which included a 30-day in-patient stay at a treatment center.
Do you want proof of my changed self? I just signed a lease for my second year at the same apartment! I don’t even know the last time I lived in the same apartment for two years—big changes for sure.
With the current setting of 2020—the pandemic, working from home, and spending so much time alone—I spend my fair share of time overthinking, looking for new jobs, and looking at new apartments thinking, “Maybe a move to California is what I need.” The list goes on and on.
But, now, I catch myself and realize I am uncomfortable and moving won’t change that. Being in the early throws of sobriety (18 months), learning to be alone, and unbreaking decades of bad habits is hard work in a pandemic. And I want to run!
Yesterday, as I was walking my mini Goldendoodle, Milo, coming down a hill toward my apartment, I had the most amazing moment of clarity. I looked at my cute, brick apartment building, sitting on top of a hair salon, and thought to myself: I have made all my 14-year-old dreams come true.
I live in a cute building in the bustling city of Seattle, with a grown-up job, away from my family (again, not the coolest thing), and have the freedom to live my dreams. I can do whatever I want to do; I can be whoever I want to be. Fourteen-year-old, Coyote-Ugly-loving me would be ecstatic!
But I had forgotten all about that girl—the one who dreamed those dreams up on the mountain—because she had been buried by the 20 years of mistakes it took me to get here.
The point of all of this is:
Even on the hardest days, weeks, or months—no matter how I feel I’m falling short by not being or doing enough, or when I’m struggling with anxiety, or whatever the issue might be—I have to remember that I’ve finally achieved what that angsty pre-teen dreamed of so many years ago before life got hard and complicated.
I will find the gratitude in that and try not to take myself so seriously moving forward. In our current world climate, I will take all the wins I can get. You never know, I might make my 25-year-old dreams come true too.