When I think of the term "Five Years", I think of David Bowie and how much I wish I were alive during the peak of his creative career. I think of job interviews and the classic question of "Where do you see yourself in Five Years?". I think of the amount of time I should have spent in school so I could have held off on adulthood for just one more year. This is what many probably think of, but today, it means something else to me.
Five years ago from today I was a completely different person. I was living in a different lifetime, on another planet. I had a different lifestyle, a different mindset, and a different circle of friends. Many of those people don't speak to me anymore. A good percentage of those many probably do not wish me well. And I'm OK with that.
Five years ago I was walking into a future that I knew I didn't want. I was building a white picket fence that was never meant for me. I was throwing a bouquet that I had no right to hold. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I was a child.
I was getting ready to go through one of the most trying experiences of my life. I willingly abandoned all that I knew and moved from small town Ohio to a massive metropolitan area. I lost all of my friends. I embraced a new life - a new job, new acquaintances, a new love - almost immediately after burning the bridges that got me to New York City. Throughout the first year, I was experiencing much of life for the first time. I was truly on my own, I was seeing so many things through a different set of eyes - that first year to this date was the best year of my life. I recall specific moments and feelings from that first year more vividly than any other span of time in my lifetime. One should wish that they felt and experienced the things I did within that year over a lifetime. It really was that good.
From there though, I experienced confusion, selflessness, abandon, anger, emotional abuse, intense loneliness, true freedom, self discovery, self loathing, breakthroughs, breakdowns, resentment, and gratitude. The inevitable happened - I fell flat on my face. It hurt more than anything I've ever experienced. Nobody was there to help me up, to brush the dirt off my knees, the blood off my hands, but myself. It lead to some pretty amazing things. I met the most wonderful people in the entire world. I saw places that I never could have dreamt of seeing. I felt things that I never knew were possible. Once again, I chose to open my mind and my heart to anything and everything. I fully embraced fate, experience, and feelings - I let all of that control my decisions. I let my heart point me in a direction and then let the wind blow me however far I needed to go. I hit reset one more time.
There are many times over the past Five Years where I have felt lost. I have felt unable to meet my goals, unable to meet The One, unable to feel responsible, unable to make others proud. Through the moments of disappointment, I have recently come to the only conclusion that I'll ever need: I just need to be a good person. There is no decision I could possibly make that would be a bad one if I remember that my goal is to be a good person.
I befriend strangers. I've built a wall around my heart higher than one can climb. I buy flowers for strangers and try to hand them out on the subway (I get a lot of weird looks for this). I dislike my body most of the time. I prefer to drown myself in sad music. I allow people to touch my soul. I trust too easily. I eat more fast food than I should. I want things that I can't have. I immediately turn simple thoughts into unrealistic expectations. I'm irresponsible. I'm compassionate. I know how to light up a room. I don't know how to turn off feelings. At the end of the day, I know exactly who I am and I'm always proud of that.
And the one thing have I have not felt over the past Five Years is regret.
*A very special thank you to my best friend Erica Dean. You deserve every ounce of credit for being by my side during the darkest times and the very best times. You know me better than I know myself. You've picked me up when I've been curled up in the corner crying, you've made me walk when I couldn't even stand, and you've believed in me every step of the way. I honestly don't know where I would be without you. I love you so much.