It's been seven years since that trip to California. Since I flew too high and crashed into the sun. Since I felt my brain connecting in a million new ways. It's been seven years of rebuilding, rebirth. Seven years of pills and talking about my struggles and my challenges. Seven years to reclaim what I lost in California and start a new life - one I could be proud of and feel I worked hard for.
It's been a long road to get back here - to get back to a place where I could be on hundred percent ready for these experiences - emotionally, financially, mentally. It's important to me now to do things right - do them well and for the right reasons. I came to California this time for much the same reason I came last time - to experience a new world and and new people, new foods and new sights. To spend time with friends of course, as well, but ultimately, to find adventure and on the way, find out a bit more about myself.
What I have found that is dramatically different about the last time I was here is that I am much more confident in myself, my opinions, my needs and in the things that will make me happy. I feel I was much less likely to speak up for myself at twenty-one than I am at twenty-eight. I am much more fully myself, and while I felt a part of things when we came last time, I feel now I am more present, more connected to the people I'm with and the experiences we share.
To embody this spirit of being truly oneself, speaking up for what you want, being who you are and connecting with everything and everyone around you, is to be more fully alive. I find myself remembering a lot of insecurities from when I came here at twenty-one. I wanted people to like me and I wanted to fit in, I wanted to sound intelligent and I wanted to be desirable. Now that I already feel an internal confidence about these aspects of myself, I am no long seeking this approval elsewhere.
I by no means feel finished these days - I do not feel enlightened or necessarily more empowered than I did seven years ago. But I do feel more myself, more grounded in what I believe and who it is I want to be. I think that the longer we live, the more of ourselves comes out of us and the more sure of who we are we become.
But we will never be finished becoming who we are. We will never wake up to discover that, yes, today is the day I am the person I will be, unchanging, for the rest of my life. We will continue to grow, to build upon our lives in ways that change us and make us more ourselves than we've ever been.
Maybe I can come to California again - if not in another seven years, then sometime in the future. Maybe I can come for new experience, to reset my brain and truly think about what it is that I believe in. I don't know who that woman will be, but I think I have an idea that I'll like her very much.