Today marks my one-year anniversary with super-talented megababe John Luxford. That's 365 days of silly jokes, smiles, laughter, and shared experiences.
It's been an incredible ride. Fulls of ups, downs, and more amazing stories than I can count.
But this post isn't about my relationship.
Rather, it's about the first day, 365 days ago, that I took control of my life.
Before May 7th, 2014, I was floundering.
I had been fired from my job at Direct Focus and my career was directionless.
I was in a relationship with someone whom I had outgrown, but I was too insecure to realize it or do anything about it.
I had been partying my weekends away for years and the strain on my health and my wallet was taking its toll.
I had crippling anxiety attacks and routinely broke down, but didn't have the strength to admit that there was a problem.
I was maintaining a destructive and strained relationship with my parents simply because I thought that it was the "right" thing to do.
Things started to fall apart. My life began cracking at the seams.
I couldn't do it anymore.
So on this day last year I took the first step in taking control of my life: I left my boyfriend of nearly five years. With it went most of my "friends" and the party lifestyle that I had become so accustomed to.
Those first few weeks were some of the most difficult I've ever faced. I hadn't realized how much I had relied on my toxic lifestyle to mask much more deep-seated issues in my head and heart, and having to face my mistakes and look critically at my life wasn't easy, to say the least.
It was lonely at first, but removing myself from those influences gave me the space to clear my head and start addressing my issues without the haze of alcohol, partying, and the inevitable Monday-morning low that had clouded my mind for so long.
In the following months I focused on personal reflection and using my new 9-5 as an opportunity to learn some new skills. I picked up my first freelance client that summer and the realization hit me like a ton of bricks: I could do whatever I wanted to do.
I revamped my blog and started sharing the things that were relevant to me. Not just what I'd done that weekend (though sometimes I still share the cool things that I do) but my knowledge, my learning, and most importantly, my struggles. Who I really am.
I've acquired a handful of really great freelance clients while kicking ass at my 9-5. I've made enough money on the side that I've managed to make a serious dent in my student debt - something I could have never done in a year without my freelance work. At this rate I might pay it all off this year, who knows.
I work out regularly and because I don't party like I used to, my body actually responds to the hard work I put into it. I'm in the best shape of my life and I'm only getting stronger.
I stopped putting effort into relationships and friendships that detract from my life. The people I have in my life are smart, driven, kind, sincere individuals whom I know I can turn to in a crisis. This includes addressing issues with my family and standing up for myself.
I've started to address and work on my anxieties. I talk openly about my struggles because I want to help people who experience the same doubts and worries that I do. I work every day to be open and honest with myself and the people in my life about how I feel, and why. It's hard, but it's worth it.
In 365 days I have changed into someone so utterly different from who I used to be that I barely recognize myself sometimes.
I didn't manage all of this because I have a great boyfriend and a new relationship (though that helps), I did it because I started to take ownership of my life and to start making decisions that were in my best interests.
My relationship with John started on May 7th, sure, but I really feel like our anniversary means so much more to me than just the start of my relationship with him: it's the day I finally started taking what I want from life and not being so afraid all the time.
Here's to another 365 days of positive change and amazing new opportunities!
"being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage"
- Lao Tzu