By: Gabriela Yareliz
I know several of you have commented on my long absence, so I thought I would do an update post, and just sort of let you know what has been going on lately. The following is exactly that.
I was hoping this would be witty and short. Now that I sit down to write it, I feel it will be neither.
I started the morning looking at photos of an old farmhouse in Northport, Michigan. I grew nostalgic for the perfect long summers in Michigan before the magical autumn spell begins.
I was sitting at my table across from my new basil plant, Oliver II. My body felt that sweet ache of muscles having been used. Yesterday, my boyfriend and I rode the AirTram to Roosevelt Island. We explored the island on foot, visiting the memorial, the gorgeous small pox hospital ruins (it looks like a gutted castle with nothing but wild plants growing inside), and we walked to the lighthouse. It felt like a cloudy yet bright autumn day (where the sun is hidden, but you still squint). It was a perfect day. Life is calming down and returning to normalcy after traveling.
That said, I read something about life, by Garance Doré, that really resonated with me:
“It’s so great and strange to be able to document your own life. Especially when you try to be authentic and don’t say too much nonsense like ‘everything is amazing, we’re laughing so hard over here with our perfectly thin bodies!’ – and you try to stay true to yourself.
Especially when you go through profound changes and you don’t even recognize yourself.”
The brilliant Leandra Medine from Man Repeller shared this week:
“Nobody else is going to be able to answer your grander life questions for you. I think that’s been the big revelation of marriage for me: I got married at 23. I was incredibly young. There is a ton of formative growing that happens over the course of a person’s twenties, and I’ve spent the last five years depending on my husband to grow for me. At a certain point this past winter, though, I hit a wall and realized that I still needed to grow for myself and by myself. What I needed was to get really comfortable feeling lonely; that was the only way that I’d get through it. Which I’m still working on, of course. Our respective humanities are a work in progress.”
We are all growing and that means changing– whether we are in our 40s like Garance or in our late twenties like Leandra.
Thinking back at the last three years: I graduated from law school, made a huge decision to stick it out in NYC alone (nothing but a job tying me here. Praise God for the job!). I found an apartment (or it found me) in a week with only Jesus helping me (that is a miracle in NYC), I got my attorney license, I transitioned into a busier position, I have grown my bank account and have responsibly ‘adulted’. I started my retirement fund. I was a part of two of my good friends’ weddings. I started dating a man I love very much. I have seen 3 to 4 friends either announce their pregnancy or I have already met their children. I met my dad again after almost a decade of not having seen him. I dealt with two major health scares and came out on the other end, by God’s grace. It has been an action-packed three years.
I won’t lie; some of the things I have gone through have scared the hell out of me. Some have made me think about my life choices and timeline– but my consistent goal has always been to keep growing; keep learning and if it scares me, I will keep pressing forward and do it anyway.
I have learned a lot about myself. I can even say that I am a different person today than who I was in June (last month).
I have learned a lot about how toxic perfectionism and expectations can be. I have been redefining ways to foster peace and satisfaction. I have been trying to learn more about gratitude. Sometimes, we look back and we feel some things were wasted or pointless; maybe they were super important to us because we had a limited vision and thought things would never be altered. We start learning along the way, and realize we have to learn to live more. We have to learn to enjoy more. Not everything in life ends well (and some things come to an end). Not everything in life has to be difficult and unpleasant. This is an important rut for some of us to get out of when it feels like all we have been through in life has been a continual struggle and rock climb to our next destination.
I saw a girl with the words “I regret nothing,” on her waistband, last night. I don’t think that is a healthy attitude. It’s okay to regret, mature or recognize/learn from mistakes. Mistakes will be made and they don’t need to be justified by some cliché. But you shouldn’t be consumed by regret or questions, instead, the only thing that should consume us is gratitude.
At one point, last week, I was reflecting on the past (not going into these details today), and I grew incredibly frustrated and almost bitter about something. I felt like I had wasted my time. I felt almost cheated. But then, I had to refocus and simply think, ‘All of that made me who I am in this minute. I appreciate everything it taught me, and it didn’t make me less of a person.’ I decided to move past it, and drain out the bitterness and frustration, and simply comfort myself in the fact that I would never put myself in that position again or allow myself to be put in that position, and I would do things in a smarter way. I am wiser. The past is exactly that– the past. If we don’t recognize this, we stay stuck (in bad memories, unhealthy relationships, bad family dynamics), and we can also make those around us miserable because we want to bring everyone down to the level where we are. I have learned some important lessons.
In the words of Garance Doré: “We shouldn’t hesitate to let go of the person we used to be to make room for the one we could become.”
As we grow older we learn what makes us feel fulfilled and who we want to be.
Below are some of the things I have been putting into practice, things that are on my mind and things I am learning more about:
I am learning to listen to my body in a holistic way. One piece is connected to another. Gone are the days when I would just live busily and then look at myself and be like, “is this normal for me?” And I honestly didn’t know because I hadn’t taken a minute to just pay attention to myself. Now, I pay attention to everything. My energy levels, trigger foods, my cycle, my mood (connected to hormone levels)– everything. I have learned so much about myself. And that’s the thing: we are all so different. You should be the person who knows yourself best. This has inevitably allowed me to improve the way I feel.
I am always inspired by @EarthyAndy’s recipes. I loved this video she made about her story. I think everyone needs to see it. There is something for each of us.
There are people who pride themselves (and are happy) in having every gadget or keeping everything (maximalism), but I know that is not me. I am more of an experience person. I realized that while I don’t have that much stuff, I know there are still things in my plastic bins that I haven’t touched in years. I have decided that all of that must go. Studies show that people who have less stuff are happier and suffer from less anxiety. I am going to start my pre-autumn cleaning today. A lot of stuff will be thrown out or donated. I can’t wait.
Autumn is coming! I am super excited. Everyone who has been following for a while knows I am in love with autumn.
Weddings and Pregnancies
I have received several pregnancy announcements in the past couple of months. It feels like everyone is either getting married or having children. It’s an exciting time. I am so happy for these friends! Inevitably– maybe because I am a woman, all of this really makes me reflect on my “biological clock,” and my desires and timeline for all of these things in my own life. It makes me reflect on how ready I am for these future events and the ways in which I want to grow and prepare for them. I think when women express this, often times people mistake it for women wanting this for themselves in that very minute. I don’t think that’s the case. Just because I am actively thinking about pregnancy topics and weddings, doesn’t mean I want that tomorrow. It just means I am a person with desires who wants to make sure I am ready and the very best I can be when that phase comes to my life. So much of life is an endurance race. People go into marriage and start families with so little preparation. I like to think that we can prepare ahead of time for some things, by growing in knowledge and character.
This past week’s lesson was about how our actions and behavior are a reflection of our faith. Our motivation and love will be pure and driven out of love if our faith and hearts are in the right place and in relationship with God. I think this has been a theme for the summer for me. I have been learning how important attitude and authenticity is in our lives.
I want to make sure I exemplify the love and joy I have in my heart with my words and actions. It sounds so simple. But so many of us are so harsh and so exacting. So many of us defraud others in the way we communicate or the words we don’t speak. We are hard on someone who makes a genuine mistake yet our judgment and attitude comes with no love and a load of self righteousness. It just doesn’t work that way.
The heart of Jesus was a different kind of heart. I want to have a heart like that.
It’s my therapy and joy. It’s not even work to me anymore. In the words of chef Laila Gohar, “it’s my life.” Having produce in my hands and cooking for those I love has become one of my greatest joys. I am turning into Martha Stewart, you guys…
I am going to be setting some serious goals on getting some stuff out to publishers before 2017 ends. I may be coming to the pages of a magazine near you, in the next year. #goals
So, I am off to cook a yummy lunch. After that, I will continue my deep clean of my apartment. Enjoy your Sunday. And if anyone wants to comment on things he or she has learned lately (or if you want to write me an email… most of you prefer to write to me directly), please share! I want to know what everyone has been up to. Thanks for missing me! I am baaaaackkkk. Stay inspired, friends. And always expect miracles.