I had a friend gently question me the other day about why I haven’t written in a long time like, “Hey I used to read your blog every time you posted… (Insert silence).” Then I had another friend halfway across the world ask if I would want to contribute to her blog two nights ago, and I just thought OMG it has realllllyyyyy been a long time. So here I am, trying to get back into the flow of word vomiting and using this space to share a few snippets about what I’ve been learning and reminded by about life.
A lot happens in a year. Shoot. A lot happens in a month. But in a year, you lose people, plans change, you triumph and you fail (sometimes a lot), and there are both victories and dark days.
WITHOUT A DOUBT, THERE IS ALWAYS A CHANGE OF PLANS.
I’m a planner. I’ve always been. But every time I think about how I used to map my life out to the T, it just makes me roll my eyes and laugh at how silly and naïve I was. With traveling and flying, I can’t even count how many times there have been snags in my super tightly, well thought out itinerary—how many cancellations, how many delays, or the amount of unexpected rough air. I used to get so frustrated. But I’ve learned that the worst thing to do when things don’t go accordingly to plan is feeling negative about it or throwing yourself a pity party. Because regardless, your plans will still not be what you envisioned it to be and the outcome will still be different. That’s life: there will be bumps, there will turbulence, and there will be a whole lot of unforeseen.
It’s funny because every time my plans have been twisted around, it has turned out to be for a very particular reason. Sometimes we don’t see those reasons when we’re in the midst of commotion, but it’s important to choose to believe that there is a bigger picture to those messed up plans. I’m learning to roll with it. Sometimes, it’s actually more fun that way. After all, I’ve come to find that there is a whole lot of beauty and adventure in the unpredicted.
LIFE HAS A FUNNY WAY OF HIDING GOLD IN THE DARKEST PLACES.
If you’ve been following my journey, if we’re friends in real life, or if we’ve had some hours of deep talks and matcha lattes, you know there have been some seriously dark days in my life. The truth is that we only have one journey. I used to think that if I could get some sort of redo and go back in time, I would be able to relive moments, not make the same mistakes, and do or say things differently. But now I’m a strong believer of keeping your eyes forward focused; to embrace the journey up to where you are now but also living in a way that is more about whom you want to become. I think about the challenges, the late nights, the tears, the empty bank accounts, and the heartache. Then I think about the growth and the process. It’s quite humbling, and in hindsight, the hard things you go through don’t seem all that terrible after all. Because I see who I am currently and I couldn’t be more content (still becoming, of course and still a work in progress) but I am so grateful for what has shaped me. There is so much gold to be found in your character, in your circumstances, in your life. But gold isn’t formed over night. It goes through a freaking long process to become the rarity that it is—forged, pressed, and molded through the fire. I repeat: IT IS A PROCESS. We are constantly being refined. Over and over and over.
I’m learning to be patient with this journey, MY JOURNEY.
When you have a patient heart, you’ll find that the rest will fall into place—it allows you to trust the windy, hilly, bewildering road more easily.
IT’S ONLY JUST A BRUISE.
If anyone has every played some tennis: Imagine that you’re volleying up at net and a ball comes rocketing at you. It was engrained in me since youth to not be afraid of the ball. Over and over, my coaches would repeat: Stand your ground. Don’t be afraid. And if you get hit, it’s just a bruise. Now in my spare time sometimes, I’ll volunteer coach high school tennis kiddies and they literally will run from the ball. And then I’ll say something sassy like: Don’t be scared, protect your face but honestly it’s only just a bruise.
I kind of like to see the ball like rejection.
The truth is, I used to be tremendously afraid of rejection. I held back so many words I wanted to tell someone. I didn’t ask questions I wanted answers to. I would question myself over and over again, like, if I say this or ask this person this question then they might think that I’m weird. So I would run. I would keep silent and I would run. Nowadays, I’d like to think that 30-year old Juliann is a little bolder and more unafraid than 15-year old Juliann. That’s how I’m starting to feel about rejection: Just a bruise.
So do it. Say the things. Be affirming. Ask the questions.
If he’s cute, tell him.
If she’s sweet, tell her.
If he’s awesome, tell him.
Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions.
Don’t be afraid to show that you care.
If he thinks anything less of you or feels awkward about it all, or rejects the positive reinforcement or truthful affirmations, know that it’s not you.
Honestly, you might be rejected. He might think you’re too forward or passionate or dare I say “emotional”. And if you do end up feeling rejected, sure, it’ll sting for like ten seconds but remember it’s only a bruise. But trust me when I say that honesty and communication of all kinds will better your relationships in the long run.
LAST THING. IF IT DOESN’T SPARK JOY, GET RID OF IT.
Marie Kondo was onto something when she talked about the art of tidying up. Material things, sure that’s easy. But also, I believe this is humans included. I don’t care who they are. If they’re toxic, if they’re unintentional, if they’re overly negative… GET. RID. OF. IT.
Four years ago, I wrote this super dramatic but necessary letter to this boy (it’s a long story we can talk about in person) but basically in that letter I said something along the lines of how I invested a lot of time and energy into him, and at that point in my life, I needed to create and leave room in my life for someone who could truly appreciate and reciprocate all the care I had given and kind gestures I had shown towards him. Hardest but also best thing I ever did, and I think it is so necessary in all types of relationships.
You must cleanse and create space for good things to come in, and nobody has time to hold on to things or people that weigh them down. If they don’t support, encourage, and cheer you on while you’re running your marathon and building your empire, they’re probably just dead weight and the chances of them making any kind of constructive impact on your life is pretty slim.
I’m not saying these things to sound cold. I’m saying these things because I care. I care about you maximizing your potential. I care about you becoming who you were made to be. I care about you creating a life for yourself that you can be proud of.
Continue pressing into your enough-ness, into your adequacy, into YOUR process.
Journeying with you,