Right now, as I enter 2023—I am the happiest I have been since I was young.
Perhaps since I was very young playing paintball with TJ and the boys. He made me wear a bulletproof vest.
I thought that was so sweet of him, to require his little sister to wear a bulletproof vest.
Don’t get me wrong, I was the main target.
Huddled in the wet fall leaves behind naked oak trees, my heart would pound and pound waiting for the signal to run. He’d signal; I’d run. And get absolutely annihilated.
Pew, pew, pew, paintballs hit me one after another.
All right on target.
Only once did he miss and hit my leg.
Red paint splattered open on my thigh like a real war wound. I grabbed my leg with a Gladiator-like wail. I had been hit. Man. Down.
He knew I was fine but still ran over to check on his fresh kill. He apologized for missing the target, my vest.
Walking into this new year, 2023, I spent some time reflecting on the years prior.
Many times, we miss the target. We hurt others. We hurt others when we know that what we're about to do will hurt others and we still do it. We fail. We set audacious goals and then when a new year comes to a close realize we only accomplished 3 out of 7.
This was true for me in 2022.
I am grateful to move in 2023 with the bulletproof vest knowing that I'll still get hit. The vest, my prayer and meditation practices, will sustain me. It will be the peace that pulls me through when that blood-red paintball bursts open and causes pain.
Never not once has there been a year without pain. And still, never not once, has there been a year without love.
I'm honored to welcome this new year with the loss of love and the loss of loved ones. They are my battle scars. They show that we can do hard things, we can go through the fire, emerge refined, and still find love for ourselves that overflows into love for life and that-- manifests the best kind.
Thank you to everyone who has supported my new book, Start Here: the raw and honest journey of a nomad in her twenties.
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I am still on the course, heart-pounding, running, heavy with anxious sweat, getting pelted by paintballs-- but honored to be here. Breathing.
Cheers to 2023.