A year ago today my whole world changed. I carefully packed my entire life into two suitcases, a backpack and a carry on and hoped on a plane to move from Pennsylvania to Denver.
At the time I genuinely had no idea what the future held for me. I knew that I had a place to live and a job but the rest...well the rest I was hoping to figure out as soon as possible.
In the twelve months that I've been in this city I've lived at three different addresses, changed careers, bought a car, cried too many times, laughed till I peed and so much more. This year was unexpected, predictable, terrifying and exciting all at the same time and as I look back on it, it's hard for me to believe that I came out on the other side better than I started.
So right now, in this space, I just want to take a moment to reflect on this past year and how I've been impacted and forever changed by this city.
One of the first things I learned when I moved to Denver is that it's not impossible for things that you're excited about to turn into things that terrify you. My first night here, I laid in my bed on the phone with my best friend and cried for what seemed like hours. Unlike all the other times when I left home, this one felt permanent, less flexible and like I was forever leaving all of my family and friends behind. Very dramatic, I know.
I couldn't understand how I could be so sad about being there when just hours earlier I was beyond excited and ready for the adventure. My friend told me to give it more than 12 hours, to take it one day at a time and to know that I could always go home to my family. That night, as I drifted off to sleep on my tear soaked pillow I was comforted by the truth that sometimes new adventures can be daunting and that's okay.
Another thing that I've learned this year is that in order to build strong, healthy and life giving relationships you have to be willing to abandon your comfort zone. The first few months of living in Denver I was so lonely and disconnected from the city. Besides going to church on the weekend by myself I was not open to saying "yes" to new situations at all. Fear of the new and unknown left me feeling, for the first time in years, like I only had one true friend.
Thankfully, that one friend was someone who really pushed me to meet new people and to step out of my comfort zone and it made all the difference. Now, I not only have a community of diverse, passionate and talented people around me but I'm a more dynamic and well rounded human. It was by making myself uncomfortable and putting myself in awkward situations that I was able to meet people that pour into my life in so many ways and help me to be a better person. You'll never reach your full potential with people and relationships without jumping outside of what feels safe and trusting that the net that's supposed to catch you, will do just that.
Last but not least I learned that with each dark transition comes a sunny and bright horizon. It might seem cliche or corny to say but my darkest moments in Denver can't compare to the joy that I've found here.
Denver's magic far outweighs it's nightmares. It's a city where you'll meet people from all over the country and even the world. People that have made the same decision as you, people who have uprooted their entire lives to chase a dream, a job opportunity and even love. It's a city of music and art, of love and loss, of mountains and deserts. It's a place that's big enough to get lost in but also small enough to be found and it's with ease and excitement that I can say that for me, it's a place I call home.
You don't have to move to a new city or change your entire lifestyle to find yourself but for me, that's exactly how it happened. Whether you're in transition, feeling a little lost or simply searching for purpose in an ever changing world, know that with time all storms are calmed.
So cheers to Denver for embracing me, another east coast transplant, into it's lovely terrain. After one year of being on it's soil, Denver is deeply rooted in me. I'm connected, I'm invested, I'm here.