My year last year (2017) was a whirlwind. A beautiful blur of travel, movement and accomplishment. It was also a year of rebuilding and rediscovering. Having broken up with my fiancé and lost the most significant relationship in my life, my personal and professional lives were thrown into the blender. I basically had to start again, re-discover myself as just me (cue sad violin music) at a new point in my life and decide what I wanted my life to look like moving forward.
After my break up everything I knew was called into question. The life I led in California as a professional dancer had been lived only with this one person by my side, as a team and a unit. I met him just weeks after moving from NY and we were inseparable for the entirety of my life in LA until the moment he left me and then I never really saw him again. We built a network of close friends and also business contacts, shared a home- a whole life that disintegrated in an instant.
That kind of adjustment will rock you, make you question if you can trust anyone and make you wonder what you were doing for so long accepting a situation as permanent that would in fact turn out to be temporary.
I took a month and reassessed my whole life. What did I want to do? Who did I want to be? Where did my relationship go so awfully wrong?
I considered giving up dance, I considered moving away from LA, I considered opening an animal sanctuary in the foothills of mount Tibidabo (Friends joke.) I didn’t know if I could live in a place that would always have so many memories of my past life and past love. I didn’t know if I could reinvent myself the way I would need to in a place that was so fully tied to my past relationship and in that way, so full of sadness now. Did I want to move forward on the same path, but alone? Did I want to find a new path?
I thought long and hard and ultimately felt like my time in LA wasn’t up. I felt compelled to stay and to rebuild. I decided that leaving would feel like fleeing and I might always feel “chased out” in some way by my past relationship. I felt I needed to become strong enough to face the reality of my circumstance, accept responsibility and move forward from where I was. So I did.
For the past 5 years I had said no to a lot of opportunities for myself in an effort to preserve the “we” that no longer existed. (One of the many things I discovered about where my relationship went so awfully wrong, but thats neither here nor there). Now there was only a me and it was time to decide who this new me was. I felt that I needed to maximize the amount of experiences I would have in the coming year; jump start this new single life by getting out there alone and trying everything out- and when I say everything, I mean everything.
I decided to sign on to “a year of yes”- which is pretty much exactly how it sounded. I said yes to pretty much everything. I went skydiving, bungee jumping, shark cage driving, taught classes all over the country and traveled to 15 countries abroad. I dated, I moved, I was even on bumble for about 15 minutes (15 horrifying minutes- no thank you.) I did it all, I tried it all and by January of the “year of yes” I was booked solid til’ December. I opened myself to opportunity, I embraced my life full force and it embraced me right back.
What an absolute blessing. Seriously. It confirmed every gut instinct that told me to stay and continue and I was so so beyond grateful.
Every year in December, no matter how well or poorly things turned out for me in the year that’s passed, I take the whole month to reflect- on where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going. It was that reflection in December of 2016 that created my year of yes and jam-packed my 2017.
As absolutely grateful as I was for all the amazing experiences I gathered in 2017 I knew the feverish pace of a year of yes was not sustainable over the long term. I moved so quickly that its hard to believe I accomplished all that in just one year. My mom said I did more in 2017 than she had done in her whole life time.
I didn’t want to get caught in busy-ness. When you’re recovering from heartbreak, or any kind of trauma or stress really, I think staying busy is an awesome idea. Being productive, on the move and in transit is a great way to help time pass and the more time passes between you and the injury the more perspective you can gain for healing. My year of yes had accomplished exactly what I needed. I was restored or more so I was reborn.
Fast forward to now… month 12 of my “year of yes”… time to reassess. So what revelation did December 2017 bring? Well, that I needed to take a breath and not fear the calm. I got so used to being constantly on the move that staying still, even for a moment, felt foreign. I am a firm believer in seeking discomfort in order to move to the next level of your life, so when the idea of not booking 2018 solid by January 1st, as I had done the year before made me feel nervous, I knew that was what I had to do. It was time to open up to the idea of leaving space; I wanted something bigger, something that would challenge me, something that would force me to level up. I knew achieving that would be a function of pumping the brakes and allowing for the universe to bring me something bigger, something that would require me to grow to another version of myself. I knew that would demand two things from me that are far from my strong suit- patience and faith.
I committed to this cause for 2018- the year of hold on and wait for it. My inbox was flooded with emails with invitations to teach master classes, collab, create videos, etc. All opportunities that I love, appreciate and enjoy- but also opportunities that are comfortable to me now after all the work I put in in 2017- opportunities in my element so to speak. I didn’t say no, but I didn’t automatically say yes, as I had done the year before. I just waited.
It took about 6 minutes into January 1st 2018 for me to have a full scale meltdown about this decision. Was I insane? I have rent, bills, why am I passing up opportunities? My calendar for the year was empty. I had agreed to NOTHING. I wanted to be uncomfortable, well I freakin nailed it, I was so ridiculously uncomfortable that I called my mom and cried- like the 31 year old woman that I am. I freaked out about the year ahead and about having to leave my nice apartment to live under a bridge. Luckily my mom has seen me over-react once or twice in our three decade long relationship and she handled it like a pro. She took a deep breath and told me, for lack of better words, to calm the fuck down.
And so I did.
Well, I kind of did. I was less 07 Britney but not quite the Dalai Lama. I took a few deep breaths and re-committed to my goal of being patient, which clearly I suck at. Two agonizing weeks of being relatively patient later I got a call to jump on board as a TV personality for a new dance television show… in India. I would have to move to India and live there to be a judge on a the panel for a brand new reality show. It was by far the biggest, highest paid opportunity I’ve ever had presented to me in my career to that point. The catch? It required a 2 month commitment living abroad. If I had booked out my 2018 like I had done with the previous year, I wouldn’t have been able to take the job. Luckily, I had held out and stayed strong in my conviction to be uncomfortable. I embraced the lesson and I took the job. I think the key in continuing to grow is to learn to stay uncomfortable. When something comes too easy it’s time to switch it up, create space for new opportunities and new ideas to grow. Most importantly it’s key to listen to your instincts and trust your heart to guide you to the right choices that will lead you to your highest path. It’s not always easy but hey, if you want big rewards, ya gotta take big risks… right?