Last night I saw the movie Wild. Based on a true story, it is a girl who basically becomes self-destructive after her mother’s death. She faced inexplicable pain, losing the person closest to her, and it drove her to do things she had never done before, like use heroin and have sex with anybody who asked. However, losing her mom, then losing herself served as a catalyst to her deciding to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, seeking to become the woman her Mother always saw her to be. The walk changed her. She overcame challenges that she didn’t see possible. To say she found herself wouldn’t quite encompass it. She lived passionately and acted drastically in order to create herself. There was a line in the movie that was repeated throughout, “You can put yourself in the way of beauty.” What a beautiful goal – live life and intentionally put yourself in the way of beauty.
Another true story that has been made into a book and movie is Eat, Pray, Love. This story has had a huge impact on my own personal life as much of the personality, perspective and circumstances resonate with who I am and my own journey. Elizabeth Gilbert divorced from a dead marriage. Soon after, she threw herself into another relationship, losing her individual sense of identity. In a search to rediscover (or re-create) herself, she took a year to travel. Four months in Italy to discover happiness – the love of food and language, four months in India to discover spirituality – seeking to master the art of meditation, and four months in Bali, to balance out the discipline of spirituality and meditation with the love of life and happiness.
Both of these women faced difficult circumstances, and perhaps did things to drown their pain and find a sense of happiness, before allowing these painful experiences to serve as a catalyst to an amazing adventure. Once embarked, it changed the core essence of their lives forever, and gave them a new and healthier perspective on life. When I look back on the past year of my own life, I understand why these stories resonate so deeply. In the truest sense, this past year has been both the best and the worst of my life, a continual oxymoron of life, passion and circumstance. Outwardly, I have faced so many obstacles, setbacks and difficulties. I feel like one day I will look back and laugh “How the heck did all of THAT happen in ONE year?!” ” Simultaneously, it has been the best year of my life. I am genuinely happy and pursuing my goals, following my interests, discovering and creating myself. I have made mistakes but I don’t regret any of them, as I have learned more about life, about myself, and who I want to be. A strength, fortitude, drive and confidence has been emerging through times of laughter, wonderful moments, amazing friends, and circumstances that have seemed impossible but haven’t stopped me. It is amazing how the most difficult and potentially devastating circumstances can push us to become more than we thought possible, when we strive to become our best selves and live life on purpose.