October 15, 2015
Filed Under: Personal
Writing about experiences after they have passed seems to be the easiest method for me. When something is simply a memory, neatly organized in my mind and tied up with a “this is over” bow, I can describe it fully and clearly. Attempting to create words about an experience as it is occurring somehow feels one-dimensional, like I’m only seeing it from one angle, because it’s all I can handle at the time. But if it’s over, I can grasp it as a complete package in my palms, tipping it from side to side so I can observe the top, bottom, right, left, front, back, each and every corner … and am able to write about it.
Perhaps this is why I always feel compelled to write when I come back from a trip. There is a clear “end”. It’s as if I can effectively look back on a specific time knowing it’s over, giving the next phase of life permission to begin. I’ve read countless quotes about “starting each day fresh!” or “Every morning you have a chance to begin again!”. But I’m realizing how few of us actually live this way. What would it actually look like to live each 24 hours anew? Would letting go of yesterday’s baggage, failures, mistakes also mean letting go of its triumphs and lessons? I think it might. Perhaps rather than starting each day as a blank slate, it would be better to begin with a slate of “good job!” stickers, and a list of things you did the day, week, month prior that you did right. Why not wake up with a mental (or literal) note of the experiences you’ve had with positive outcomes – the ones that made you feel good afterwards? I’m starting to believe that a complete awareness of the effect your actions have on your well-being is the key to establishing a healthy, constructive routine … and routines don’t come from starting over each day. Each day is a necessary building block.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve been traveling the past couple of weeks. I went from New York, to Denver, to my hometown, and now I’m back in my own living room with the happiest pup sitting by my feet. Between the multiple changes in time zone, long nights, and busy days, I feel like I can finally think clearly again. This last adventure had many defining moments for me, but most of all was my time spent in Grand Rapids (somehow all visits to my hometown leave a lasting impression). Since my parents’ move, I had hoped that future visits to Michigan would feel fresh … not like I was jumping back in to where I came from, but constantly journeying forward, making my hometown whatever I want it to be, not jumping back in to the same patterns. That is exactly what this past week looked like. My time spent there was split between my parents, who know me better than anyone, and with a group of influencers from all over the country, who didn’t know me at all… between a new town where I was being shown around, and an old city where I was showing everyone else around. I got to be the tourist in Greenville, eating gooey doughnuts at a cherished local orchard, indulging in buy-one-get-one burritos at a tiny pub where everyone seems to know everyone else, and making two huge pots of salsa out of ingredients purchased from a farm down the street. In Grand Rapids I was a tour guide, showing off the highlights of the thriving area I grew up in, sipping the craft beers from an award-winning brewery, leading the way to a venue showcasing art from all over the world, and proudly discussing the local restaurants, bars, and shops.
Grand Rapids is an inspiring city. Seeing it through the eyes of visitors completely restored my appreciation for how far it has come since my childhood, and documenting the highlights throughout my time spent there was a joy for me. While it may no longer be my home or my family’s home, it will now be a place I look forward to visiting, and I want to thank the team, Middle West and Michigan House, who made that possible. A long weekend spent indulging in all the incredible things Grand Rapids has to offer has made it a destination, rather than an obligation … proving that while it may not be possible to start fresh, it is always possible to start positively.
Stay tuned for a recap of my weekend spent in Grand Rapids, but be sure to eat first. Lots of mouth-watering images coming your way! In the meantime, here’s one my mom took of me in front of the wood pile on their new property.