This morning, an email arrived in my inbox from a good friend of mine from New York City. She knows that this last week or two has felt a little rocky for me. I’m sure it comes from various things: nearing the end of my time here; navigating what lies ahead and making sense of what I’ve experienced; a mini-vacation to a nearby island, which I loved so much I didn’t want to come back (exploring new cultures, hiking, trying new things are all carriers of joy in my life).
Anyway, in this email, she said to me that she could tell that I am emotionally stronger than when I left New York City. She commented that sometimes it’s nice when other people notice and tell you, which it really is. I find it particularly meaningful coming to me when I’m feeling a bit emotionally off-center in the present. It makes me think about that statement that being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid; it means being afraid, but doing it anyway. I find that can be easy to forget. When uncertain or afraid, it becomes easy to let it define you. Those moments don’t define you, though. A life is made up of a lifetime of moments and emotions. It can only be lived forward, and understood in retrospect. It was really helpful to hear her words to remind me that I do have strength, and that I can continue to grow stronger by flexing my emotional muscle.
As I write this, these words somehow feel obvious. “Of course! You try new things, you get stronger!” “It’s not about how you feel in that moment, it’s about how you choose to react to that feeling!” These are all things that I’ve thought before, and I’m sure I’m not the first to think it, but it’s helpful to call those ideas back to the forefront of my mind.
Thanks for the words, friend.