May the 26th and 27th. In all honesty I’ve been dreading this week. Today, one year ago was my last day, living and working in the South African bush and I have to say thinking back of the days, weeks and months that followed, I feel quite sad, but also very proud. I remember the feeling of not knowing how I would ever get through the heartbreak, to even make it through the next hour (or minute)… but I did. There were moments when I didn’t think the pain would ever subside, that I would be hurting forever, but things did get better and one step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other I made it, 365 days later.
A year ago I felt like I had nothing. I had left behind the person I loved so very much. I had no career, no house, no car, no money and I would often lie in bed, curtains closed, and cry, feeling depressed and alone. Simple things such as getting out of bed cost me so much energy, that the idea of getting a job and moving on completely paralyzed me.
I felt ashamed to ask for help. I didn’t want to be seen as weak. In my eyes I had to be strong and get through this on my own. I put up a façade and told myself I was ok, but it didn’t last long before I realized that asking for help is alright and that being vulnerable is not a weakness but a sign of strength.
Although it took a long time to get to a point where I felt like I was able to slowly let go of the past and move forward, I did get there and along the way I discovered the importance of self-respect and that loving yourself is crucial in order to be loved. I learned that it’s better to be honest from the start, instead of waiting, hoping things will change in order not to hurt the other person, because unintentionally you are doing just that: hurting someone and giving them false hope.
The truth is, it’s been a tough year for me, but I am also very thankful. A lot of people have made an impact on my life and if it wasn’t for the support I received I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have come to a stage in my life where I feel worthy of focusing on me and doing what makes me happy instead of solely doing what makes others happy. I guess it’s all about finding that balance of give and take.
365 days ago I ended a chapter and started a new one. I left behind a person who will forever hold a special place in my heart and a country that showed me the raw beauty of nature and the fight between life and death. I left a job that was far from what I was truly passionate about, but over time I have managed to turn that around. Today I am working as a youth worker and am so very grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to make a difference in young people’s lives. Although the days can be long and the situations intense I love going to work and knowing that I’m following my dreams. And for the first time in a long time I can say that I am happy with everything that is happening and don’t feel the need to move on to bigger, better and more meaningful things, because I am already there, content and living life to the fullest.