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Looking Back

I’ve begun working on a memoir. I say begun, but I already have much too much to include – pages of stories about my life, research, photographs, etc. Random anecdotes that don’t exactly fit the puzzle and centrally important stories that I wish I could leave out, but can’t because they’re important to the narrative. It feels strange to be looking back over my life, realizing just how different things are than they once were.

As I think about how small the circumference of my life used to be, I am flooded by waves of gratitude. There was a time when I was either homebound, isolated and self-destructive, or locked away in a treatment facility. Today, my life is so abundant that I’m often overwhelmed by all of the activities and people. I regularly find myself having to choose between one fun option and another.

Last night, my friend Susan asked me what I’m doing this week and I looked at my calendar and thought Holy shit, that’s a lot. I rattled off a whole list of fun activities (acting, improv, dates, plans with friends, martial arts class, and more) culminating in a trip to Connecticut for my fifteen-year high school reunion. In the midst of all this, I’ve got incredible, soul-enriching writing to do, friendships to nourish, food to prepare (or buy. Let’s be honest, I eat a lot of take-out), nature to explore, and connections (some romantic, some platonic) to foster.

So why am I sharing all this with you? Not because I think you care about the minutia of my life, but because I want to affirm that the universe offers us second (and third and fourth and hundredths) chances.

A little over six years ago, I spent nine consecutive months in inpatient treatment facilities and was told I might have to be institutionalized for the rest of my life due to my inability to function in the world. Today, I am joyful and productive. So, if you don’t like where you are, change it. Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking about all you have to do. Small, micro shifts create lasting, sustainable results, so begin where you are and just do one thing differently. Even if you don’t believe in your own capacity for transformation, I believe in your capacity to tap into your unique potential and live a life without limits.

I can’t wait for you to embark on your journey and I am thankful every day for my own unique and circuitous path and eager to get back to writing this memoir because it is a whole lot of fun to see how different my life is today than it used to be.

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