Waiting to Exhale

Hello.

So, life the last couple of months has been…a lot, to say the least. So much change has been happening in my life–a lot of it has been great while other parts have been equally very bad. In one of my last posts, I wrote about wanting to get my life back and living for me, however, I have done the complete opposite of that. I haven’t been living for other people, but self-care and self-love plummeted to the bottom of the totem pole. I stopped working out, maintaining a skincare regimen, keeping up with my book club, and let anxiety take over my life. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was getting stomach cramps from stress, I was drinking more, and every inconvenience would reduce me to tears. I needed help. It really wouldn’t be until a little over a week ago where I decided I now feel in a position to get back to my goals, no matter what that looks like or how long it takes.

After what felt like the universe’s biggest test, my boyfriend and I started trying to center our energy toward our long-awaited trip to Colombia. As luck would have it, four days before our trip, a citywide lockdown was announced for Cartagena during the days we would be there. This meant no access to food, no real chance of leaving our Airbnb, and no ability to obtain a COVID test which is required to travel within the country and to get back into the U.S. Instead of freaking out, I paused and decided to take it in stride by re-routing our trip to Mexico City instead. We wrote an email to Airbnb regarding our two stays in Colombia and I changed our flights; somehow, someway, we got full refunds on both Airbnbs, I got a partial refund on our Cartagena to Medellín flight, and our flight to Mexico City came out to $30 less than our Cartagena trip giving us a tiny travel voucher for future use. I made a choice that day that freaking out and becoming anxious would solve nothing and I needed to actively work toward changing that as my gut-reaction. When we arrived in Mexico City amid the worst turbulence I have ever experienced that I could have easily interpreted as an omen, I walked in with a clean slate.

My trip to Mexico City was absolutely incredible. It was the reset button I had been needing for over two months. I chose not to vlog and not to set aside anything to write an in-depth blog post because, if it hasn’t already been obvious, I have been at a crossroads with my creative pursuits for a minute now. More on that another time, but I mostly wanted to write today because as I started to write an Instagram caption about what last week did for me, it got so longwinded that I knew I needed to put it where it belonged: here. I wrote previously about travel withdrawals, and being able to travel internationally for the first time since 2019 absolutely checked all those boxes. But to be in a country where pride in one’s culture radiates from the community, I felt so privileged to experience it at the heart. I cried about something every day because I felt so blessed to be able to travel, to share these memories with the person I love, to eat good food and meet nice people, to be in a place where love, community, and quality of life are revered. I saw there was more to life than what I’d chosen to be miserable about the past few months. I finally felt like I could exhale.

During that trip, I made a conscious effort every day to live in the present and check my anxiety at the door. I, of course, still had anxious nights worrying if our COVID tests would be approved by the airline, about getting places on time, and sometimes not having a strong enough connection for wifi, but then I reminded myself that I cannot control any of these things. Worrying about them only wastes time and energy. Since arriving back in the States, I have tried to maintain this with the remaining days off from work I had. It hasn’t been easy as there are different daily stressors that I can’t fly away from, but I have been trying. Just the last few days have shown me that there is a lottttt of work to be done. This is going to be a long, challenging road, but it’s the road I need to be on right now. Despite my efforts and newfound motivation, I cannot say when or if I will ever get back to posting regularly. What I do hope is that whomever (whoever?) reads this sees this as their reminder to breathe and book a flight if you can. 🙂

xx, AE

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