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I called my brother to tell him about something new I’d tried. Just updating him on my adventures. He laughed and told me he was so happy that I was enjoying my life. He reminded me (as he always does) that that’s what it’s all about. “Live your life, little sister. It’s yours,” he loves to say.

And then I say (through burning eyes):

“I’m having such an amazing time. I’m learning a lot about myself and experiencing life in a way I never really knew I would.

I’m scared to lose this. I’m scared that if I get into another relationship, I’ll lose all that I’ve gained. I’ll lose my balance. I’ll choose wrong. And then have to forfeit all that I’ve gained in order to make the relationship work. I’ll lose myself. I won’t feel this way anymore.

I don’t know if I can be this me and the other me at the same time. I’m scared.”

To which he responds:

“There’s nothing wrong with being in another relationship. There was nothing wrong with being in your past relationships. It's just life. You’ll have all kinds of moments. You’ll have all sorts of experiences. Nothing is wrong with any of them.

And you can have both. In the right person you can find a partner who sees life just the way you do. Just continue to get solid on what you want, and who you want to be.”

And at that thought, my tears dry and I’m feeling unstoppable again.

The truth is: I just want to continue to live fully. To thrive the way I am now. I don’t want to come down from this high. I wake up on the weekends, and my life is a blank canvas waiting to be made colorful with rich experiences, adventure, and newness. I have no set rules or times. I’m free as a bird. There are no expectations. That’s the best part.

And currently (in my self written and forever unpublished Life 101 Book), relationship is synonymous with expectations. And I can’t do expectations at this point in my life. I just can’t.

For example, this past Saturday, I enjoyed the weather with Jerry, whom I’ve known for years and randomly ran into at a bike shop in Rice Village the other week. We took our bikes through some trail along the bayou that lead to an abandoned railroad beneath some underpass just outside of downtown. It was so dope! We took pics.

Then, we followed the streets to an amazing this amazing outdoor venue. We sat outside and people watched, Jerry ate crawfish, we shared ideas, and laughs. It was a good time. Then, there was this couple that passed by holding hands all close and stuff. I brought them to Jerry’s attention and said, “See that? I’m so grateful to be removed from that for a moment. I’ve been that close to someone since forever, and I need this break. I’m enjoying being unattached. And belonging to myself.”

He understood, and we laughed at how against relationships I sounded.

Here’s the thing: I’m very clear that underneath it all, I’m just jaded. Relationships have done a number on me, so I’m currently NOT the friend to talk to about salvaging a 'going south' situation. LOL. I’m like, “Bail. Now! Don’t waste a minute!”

I’m not bitter. I’m healing still. The important thing is to know where you are in your journey, and to learn along the way. To pay attention to the lessons, right? And I’m doing that. I can't see it now, but I’m sure there will come a day when I want to be close in that way again.

But like my brother advised, in the meantime, I’ll get solid on me. Continue living, learning, enjoying. Gaining experience. Trying new things. Meeting new friends, who are giving me all kinds of new perspectives on life. I probably meet a new friend on average (at least) once/twice a month. My circle is ever expanding. The other week I went to a heavy metal concert with my neighbor (who I initially met at a café near my house –she had on the most adorable vintage dress, which I complimented her on, and the rest is bike riding, conversation, concert going, eating out, and city living history). Anyway yes, heavy metal. The set we saw was mellow and instruments only, and I actually enjoyed the guitars and eclectic rhythms.

The point is: I love where I am in life, and I don’t want to lose this version of myself, ever. I want to find the formula. How did I get here, and how do I stay?

That formula would be worth so much, because it’s what we all seek. To be free within whatever boundaries life has for us. I mean, there are always boundaries… But we are also always free.

But how to find and keep our balance? And know what it is that makes us feel most alive...

Yeah, that's it. You know? Finding that thing that makes your life feel like it's worth the living. That's the secret I'm discovering.

And I can honestly say that even in the best times in my relationships I didn't feel this wonderful. So, I'm sure it's a self thing. It's something you've gotta do for yourself. In or out of relationship, you've gotta find out what makes you feel alive. Outside of your children, spouse, job, and tangible worldly things.

Otherwise, you're living beneath your privilege. You're missing out on the gift of life that God has graciously offered.

My brother is right, and I know it. I can have both. I can have it all. As long as I tap into it. Believe in it. Trust my own process. Know that I'm getting where I'm going, and that there is meaning for and in everything. There's always meaning. Always purpose. Always something good waiting to be discovered.

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