#NeverDull2016 Year in Review

At the beginning of the year I was asked by several people, and challenged by several more to come up with a word or theme for 2016. I am not really a goal setter. I do not have enough organization as a personality to plan things out well…Nor do I enjoy it. I more often than not fake being organized, and typically use all of my organizational capacity for my job.

However, this year I decided to try to pick a word or theme. So, I picked “Never Dull”. It felt like a way of focusing on all the big and little things, noticing how interesting and worth while life can be. After having a few hard years, I needed a year not focused on healing or regrowing, but instead a year focused on the life I have, the good, bad, interesting, growing, and adventures that can be found every day!

Thus, #neverdull2016 became my social media hashtag.

You can read my 2015 year in review posts here.

So, what a year 2016 was!

January

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We had a record-breaking snowstorm in DC, with over 30 inches of snow in 24 hours.
My sister came to visit, and I surprised her with a whirlwind trip to NYC.

February

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Uganda team meetings started! #Ugandaexcited
I studied Romans with a group of other leaders.
I got to tour the Capitol building for the first time.

March

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Threw a bachelorette weekend for one of my best friends.
We continued our Easter tradition and several college best friends came and stayed. – We failed again at going to the top of the Washington Monument lol
I started my big side tattoo!

April

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One of my girls from MI came to visit for her Spring Break.
I went to Philly and got to hang out with some of my favorites.
Threw a super fun fundraising house party for clean water wells in Uganda.
I also started having much more regular meetings with other churches to talk about First Impressions things.

May

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One of my best friends got married! #Howboutthemappels
Our Uganda meetings started happening twice a month!
People continued to join us at the gym haha

June

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We had the 2nd Annual Race for H2Ope Run/Walk fundraising event for our Uganda mission.
I went to Nashville, did a whirlwind visit, and helped her drive back to DC for the summer.
I continued my tattoo process.
I got to help teach dance classes throughout the summer with a super fun group of ladies!

July

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I finished my tattoo just in time for it to heal before going to Uganda!
Our team went to Uganda and dug 2 clean water wells! You can read more about it here.
Our house shifted as one roommate left and a new one began living with us.

August

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I spent the first 8 days of the month in Uganda.
I went on my first date in a year – Had a great time, but it didn’t go anywhere.
We did a presentation at the Fairfax JDC about our work in Uganda.

September

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I went to Disney World for the first time! – With a ton of my family! It was awesome!
Family Dinner Mondays started up again for the fall. – It has been such an amazing weekly time!
College friends had a free weekend, so they came to visit and we all headed to the beach!
A group of us undertook project get Amy’s iron up.. which meant a more strict diet than normal; it sucked and was great all at the same time.
I put all of my roommates on a traveling ban because we travel SO much…. it failed miserably. lol

October

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I went to visit 6 churches to learn from them and deemed it my #tourdechurches – It was amazing!
Our church celebrated its 20th anniversary.
My little brother’s wife had their first baby! – She’s so cute!

November

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I was able to go to Puerto Rico for free cause I have lucky friends haha
I had to say goodbye to friends who followed a God-given dream across the country.
My roommates and I are now fluent in food as a love language.
I finally finished my “corner office” for my consulting work!

December

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This is always one of my favorite months in DC. There’s so much happening, fun parties and sweet time with friends.
I got to spend a lot of time with my family for Christmas, it was amazing.
I got to snuggle my new niece.

Overall

I feel like this year was full of adventures, big, small, and everything in between.

How did this year compare to what I thought it would be? – You can see some of my goals and predictions here.

In some ways I feel like it was pretty spot on… In others it was close, and obviously in some ways it was totally different.

In general, my sentiments are: What a beautiful year it has been.

I find myself grateful. Incredibly grateful that I was able to experience such amazing things this year with so many wonderful and amazing people. I feel rich with friendships and people I love. I am grateful for the adventures and the laughter. What an incredible year full of ups and downs and everything in between.

#Neverdull2016

Looking Ahead: 2015

So, I do a year in review every year, and it is my favorite blog post to do annually because it forces me to pause and reflect on where I have been, what I have done, and the people and things that have changed me. I also have found that taking time to remember tends to cause and overwhelming feeling of gratitude to God for all the things He has done and ways that He has once again proven his faithfulness. You can read about the 2014 review here, 2013 here, and 2012 here.. Beyond that, if you’re still interested you can look in my December archives for each year ūüôā

My second favorite post of the year is the one where I look ahead, make goals, resolutions, plans, and share the things I can see (or not see) coming, as well as any thoughts or insights into what it feels like God is up to in my life.

This year I turn 30!

I am stoked.

It may seem odd that I am so excited, but for some reason I am.
I am looking forward to starting a new decade of my life.
I am looking forward to feeling like there is less pressure at 30 to prove yourself.
I am looking forward to enjoying life in a new way.

  1. The year I was 29 was incredibly difficult, but it has only caused me to resolve to create healthy habits across every aspect of my life.
  2. This year I am excited about starting a new job and continuing my consulting work, learning, growing, experiencing, helping others, and leading well.
  3. I want to read like crazy this year. I want to learn from other people’s experiences and then figure out how to apply them to what I am doing.
  4. I need to get new running shoes (my other one’s are broken), but, as soon as I do I want to get back to running and weight lifting.
  5. I want to eat healthy and properly hydrate myself. I feel like I made significant progress over the last six months, but I still need make better choices moving forward, so I plan on it.
  6. I am looking forward to walking. I am within walking distance of work, have a dog who needs exercise, and live in a highly active city.. I want to experience and take full advantage.
  7. I want to dance often. I miss Salsa dancing (or latin dancing in general) immensely whenever I do not get to do it regularly… So, now that I have returned to a city that has a great dancing scene, I plan on jumping back in regularly!
  8. I want to be better at mailing letters and cards. I plan on making it a weekly habit to mail at least one letter or card, whether long or short… (That being said.. send me your address if you would like to get added to my list!)
  9. I need to get back in the habit of praying regularly and for extended periods of time for friends, family, and situations of others… So, my mirror 3×5 cards are going back up!
  10. I took a significant break from blogging many times throughout last year. I just felt like I had nothing of value to share, so I said nothing at all. But, I missed it, a lot. So, regularly weekly blogs are getting put back into the rotation of schedule.
  11. I want so badly to travel internationally this year!
  12. I have 5 years to pay off a stupid ridiculous amount of debt, but I am determined to keep my focus there. Even if I do not attain my goal (which, at this stage, I’m not sure how I would) focusing on it will ensure that I am being diligent and making wise choices.
  13. I want to put money in savings!
  14. I want to add to and cross things off my before I die bucket list year!
  15. I need to carve out space in my schedule to read and actually study scripture.
  16. I am going to keep a jar full of daily things that were blessings, positives, good moments, things I was thankful for that day. — I did this for about 5 months of last year, this year I aim for the whole year.

I think this year is going to be jam-packed and I am so excited about it. I cannot wait to look back at the year and marvel at how many things I crammed into each week.
I feel as though this year I am going to be trying to drink out of a firehose all year. I am looking forward to the laughter and ridiculousness of things that are surely going to happen in the process of trying to absorb it all.
I have a feeling that I will get really good this year at owning up to mistakes and apologizing for the things I dropped the ball on.

As I start 2015, I am at a place of marvel and wonder. I am totally amazed at where I find myself after having moments of wondering if the difficult and painful things would ever end.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the marvel and wonder won’t go away for a while, and I’m totally ok with that.

 

Love of Traveling…

I love traveling.

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Seriously, short or far, driving, the train, or flying, I love traveling. Even the obnoxiousness of delays, weather, unforeseen obstacles, I love the unknown adventure that comes with traveling.

I think my love for traveling is why I miss Europe so terribly every day. Seriously, I think about my two-week trip to Europe every single day.

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I replay conversations had with one of my best friends…
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I remember amazing food… and some.. not so fabulous food.
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I laugh to myself about funny conversations, signs, experiences, reactions etc…

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I miss exploring, and walking until I have cankles, and getting to just play and experience something entirely new that I had no idea existed, or had on my bucket list to cross off.
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I love seeing things that take my breath away.
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I miss having nothing to do but talk about anything that comes to mind whether serious, silly, ridiculous, precious, touching, memories, heartaches.. all of it.
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I even miss the crazy adventures that were inadvertently created trying to lug everything around from city to amazing city.
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Every single day I miss it.

But, mostly, right now I think I miss how my heart felt traipsing around Europe. I felt full, excited, loved, like God and I were connected, and as though my partner in crime understood me perfectly. For the very first time in my adult life, I had the chance to take a real vacation and just relax and let my mind not think about work or school for an extended period of time. I was able to just focus on the things in front of me, not the things I had to do tomorrow or checking things off my to-do list… I was able to use the time to process through hurts and bounce thoughts off of someone repeatedly as I worked through them over the course of the couple of weeks. I had the chance to look through my camera lens and be creative and see beauty.

Taking Pictures

Barcelona sunrise

Life just looks different when you purposefully look for beauty.
I want to do better at purposefully looking every daily.

Classic Paris

And, we laughed. All the time, every day.

I will often find my heart suddenly transported back to the feelings I had when I see pictures of (any of) my trips… Such as, I will once again find my heart full of thankfulness to God for allowing us to see the sunrise on a completely cloud covered morning.

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While I realize, that sometimes it may just be that it is easier to miss something purely because it was fun and great, and I am in full on hatred mode of winter right now… (since the snow pile in the driveway is taller than me…) But, in reality most of my sentiments are not really a new feeling, every single day since getting back, I have thought about my trip to Europe. I will find myself going about normal activities, and things I learned will bubble to the top of my mind to be mulled over again, conversations we had will replay in my head, people we talked to will spring to mind, and all of the time we were able to just be together and be friends; it was exactly perfect.

I think that the beauty I see in traveling, the experiences that follow me for the rest of my life, and all of the things that I find myself learning and going back to for such a long time add to my love of it all.

I could talk endlessly about all of the things I have learned and the ways that traveling has changed me, but it would be better conveyed over a cup of coffee in person.

Although, in reality, sometimes the learning takes place while you travel will show up in the form of just fun trivia… Like seeing a scene in a movie (Now You See Me) and knowing that the place does NOT actually look like it is depicted on the movie.. therefore it is a set.Lock.KiraLock.MeLock.Both

And, like the one time I was thumbing through a¬†“100 things you must see before you die” book and seven¬†of them I saw on my¬†trip ONE trip to Europe, and three others I had seen on other trips… (And, I even think that some of my pictures were better than in the book!)

I have now experienced two types of travels: Travels to help others, and travel for the sake of fun. Either one is great and honestly life changing in different ways, but both serve a wonderful and unique purpose. I love each type of trip.

All of these things, and so many more are what continue to grow my love of traveling, and why it will always hold a special place in my heart unlike anything else.

29 Things While Being 29…

Venice Lunch.2I do a year-end review each December, which is probably my favorite post annually, but, my second is a looking ahead to the coming year.

This year’s post however, is a different version of my typical looking ahead/New Years post.

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about this upcoming year, and I have realized a few things:
First, I have no idea what this year holds. Sometimes, I have a sense, an idea of what to expect, a feeling that God is going to head in a particular direction… this year, nothing. No idea.

Second thing, this year, I will have my “golden birthday” I will be turning 29 on the 29th of January. I do not really think a “golden” birthday holds any particular luck or added blessings, but, since I love birthdays, this gives me a reason to focus on fun things instead of just talking about the year to come.

So, I wanted to share my 29 things to do while being 29 bucket list (in place of a New Years Resolution). And, I would like to highlight real quickly that, most “30 before 30” lists or “29 while I’m 29” lists are fairly lame.

(Trust, I did a lot of google searches for ideas) The lists I looked at for ideas were mostly along the lines of:
fall in love (because we can decide these things),
get married (rude),
learn to cook a meal (who doesn’t know how to at 30?!),
have a kid (are you crazy?),
forgive (ok, a good idea, but why does it need to be on a list of things to do before you’re 30?)…
Mine are much more active and intentional…

Please join me by either making your own 2014 list, participating with me on any of my items, or checking up on and praying for me throughout this year to accomplish these goals!

(I would love for them all to be numbered 29.. but that’s just not realistic so only a few of them are aptly numbered)

So, 29 things that I would like to do or accomplish while being 29 (in no particular order):

  1. Travel out of the country at least once in 2014.
  2. Visit 5 places in-country this year that are not where I live (will live or have lived also do not count).
  3. Take a road trip. – A legit “get in the car and go” trip with a few friends.
  4. Pay an additional $2,900 this year above my regular student loans payment.
  5. Build a solid savings.
  6. Go to the beach (any beach) 29 times. – What can I say, I’m a water and sun baby!
  7. See the sun rise or set at each beach I go to (weather permitting).
  8. Re-adjust 20lbs of my body from fat (yes it is there) to muscle¬†– Although probably clich√©,¬†I’m not saying I want to lose 20lbs, just re-adjust/build it.
  9. Run a half marathon.
  10. Finish the first draft of the book with my dad.
  11. Revise and add to my Life Goals bucket list.
  12. Check 29 things off my Life Goals bucket list.
  13. Read 12 new books this year (at least).
  14. Do at least one thing (spontaneously) that¬†I’m a little (or a lot) afraid of.¬†– This will remain open-ended cause I feel like pre-planning it would defeat the purpose.
  15. Be open to dating. – This one sounds odd I suppose, but I want to be intentional about being open to dating… instead of killing it in my head before it even starts.
  16. Learn West Coast Swing. РThis one was added for me by a friend haha
  17. Go Salsa dancing regularly. – Unlike learning a new type of dance, this one is more just going and dancing frequently since I love it.
  18. Create a list of 29 things to pray for, and then¬†pray for them regularly all year-long. – Feel free to send me things you would like me to add (this is on top of my 3×5 cards).
  19. Memorize 29 new scriptures. – I just feel like this is something I tend to neglect, and I do not think that is an ok thing to let continue.
  20. Finish reading the entire Bible. РI started last year and have only gotten half way through.
  21. Take 29 days this year and fast. РLikely a fruits and veggie fast since my body does well with those.
  22. Snail-Mail 29 hand written letters/cards this year.¬†– Who doesn’t love getting notes in the mail?!
  23. Send 6 care packages. РI just really feel like I need to focus on being intentional about loving others better in ways such as this one.
  24. Draw or Paint a large piece of art to hang in my place. – I have neglected painting and drawing for years and miss it terribly.
  25. Go camping or backpack for a weekend with friends. – I don’t think my friends realize how many things they’re gonna have to do this year with me!
  26. Throw a themed house party. – I have always loved the Murder Mystery parties… So, maybe something similar to that.. or just a fun themed party!
  27. Pay for a stranger’s order 29 times throughout the year. – This will probably get difficult to keep track of, but I like the idea of having to consciously think of this type of stuff repeatedly.
  28. Make my t-shirt quilt. – I have been intending to do this for more than 5 years!
  29. Collect a daily note of something I’m thankful for/memorable moment and collect them in a jar all year. – I got this idea from my sister-in-law and loved the idea.

I am excited to do all 29 of these things on this list in 2014! Please join me in any (or all) of these items. At the very least, I hope that you get inspired to make your own list of things to do in 2013.

Let the fun commence for the year I’m 29!

2013 Year in Review…

My favorite post is my annual year in review. I approach them differently depending on the year and how I am feeling about the year.

I love going through and being reminded of the year. Sometimes the year is full of challenges, other years is an abundance of blessings, most years are a mixture of both, and sometimes the year is just full of a crazy amount of things.

I started doing year-end reviews five years ago, even though I have been blogging on one platform or another for more than a decade! Every year, the review blog post is one of my favorites because it reminds me of where I have been, what I have done, and ultimately how blessed I truly am.

Here are previous year-end reviews:
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012

So, onto the review!

Oh man, 2013 has been an interesting year….¬†

I¬†Turned 28¬†in January…

Had lots of different hair colors:

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I raised a Great Dane puppy, that at times I thought was either going to kill me or I was going to kill him. I have spent so many hours training, cleaning up his poop or pee, training, snuggling, training, walking, training… And without realizing it, I have grown to love his companionship, and realized he has ultimately turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made:

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Slobber.

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Vormund at 9 weeks old (technically in 2012)

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“Indestructible” bed.

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At 1 year old and 130lbs.

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I traveled. A lot, for a slew of reasons and loved every single moment of each trip:

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I saw some of the most breathtaking skies:
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I ate new foods.. Some I loved, others…. not so much:

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My baby brother got married, and my older brother had a new baby!

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I got to spend so. much. time. with my family:

Rach and I

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As I truly sit back and look at 2013, it was such a great year… and such a terrible year all rolled into one.

On one hand…
I got to see and meet so many absolutely amazing and inspiring people.
I got to hug some of my best friends in the world (a few multiple times).
I was able to dance quite a bit more than I thought I would be able to.
I completed TWO masters degrees!

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My longest friend in the world and several other dear friends got married, and many others got engaged!
I had so many wonderful people I love dearly have babies this year!
I got to know and love so many fantastic and amazing teens and people at my church.

And then, there was the crappy things mixed in with such good things..

I loved my job, felt like I was exactly where God placed me, and yet, I struggled with being lonely and stressed constantly.
At one point, I felt God told me to allow someone to stay in my apartment, and while I was gone, $9,000 worth of stuff was stolen, my car was impounded, and a slew of other issues happened.
Just over halfway through the year, I was let go from my job for essentially the reason I was hired in the first place because my job was causing more issues than anticipated initially.
I lost my church and church family.
I had to move out of my home and in with family (although they’re fabulous, it is never the first option you want when moving).
I got into a car accident that was not my fault, and then figured out due to the “no-fault” laws, I literally could not afford to fix my car.
I had to deal with TWO insurance claims in a two month period… Neither of which were pleasant experiences.
I was unemployed for several months at the end of 2013.

While applying for the monotonous more than 200 jobs (around the world), I had fun changes of pace to the applications including this question:
“If our team were stranded on a deserted island, why would we want you with us?”

My answer:
“You want me on the island with you because unlike Tom Hanks, I will open the packages to see if there’s anything useful for us to use.
I also have a good sense of humor, enjoy challenges; which oftentimes expresses itself as being adventurous.
I have been camping every summer of my childhood, know how to build a fire, shelter, and I have watched every episode of LOST.
And, in the rare possibility of a zombie apocalypse on the deserted island, I have been in the martial arts for more than 20 years and have been trained on how to survive.”

In just God’s timing, right when I finally admitted I was angry, not thankful or joyful due to the crap that had been a constant throughout my entire year; and as only God can do, He swooped in and brought people around me (some I know, and others I have never met) to support me, give me a place to stay, a car to use, money, prayers, encouraging letters/notes/e-mails/scripture, and many times just laughter to give me a moment to forget the stress. And then,¬†He sent me a temporary job the day I found out I was not eligible for unemployment. So, off I went on another adventure to a temporary job with one of my absolute best friends in the world, in a city I love and near the church that feels like home.

To say this year has been emotional in ever aspect of the word would be an understatement.

I loved, cherished, had joy, sorrow, hated, and was just plain dealing with a hurting heart… and every emotion in between this year.

2013 has been a year of bait and switch. So much good followed by so much heartache, only to be once again followed by healing and growth in only the way that God can do things.

I love 2013, and I am so glad to see it over.

Thank you to every single one of you for your love, support, prayers, notes, hugs, food, time, money, shoulders to try on, and ears to listen. I can confidently say that you made this year possible to survive, learn, and laugh through. As difficult as this year has felt, I can honestly say that every low note is met with someone there to support me.

God is so good. In the good, in the bad, in the joy, in the pain, in our good times, and our ugly. This year has taught me so much about who God is, and just how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many amazing people, no matter what happens in my life.

Experiencing Culture…

Recently I spent two weeks in Europe. I went to Barcelona, Spain, Paris, France, and Venice and Rome, Italy. It was my first real vacation as an adult.. No, really, usually I take extended weekends, but never two weeks to give myself a break from life. This particular trip was to celebrate completing and graduating from a double masters degree program!

Soon, I will post on the different aspects of the trip, but really, right now, I just wanted to take some time to highlight culture.

I love culture, regardless of the type, it fascinate me. Gender, regions, countries, familial, schools, work, etc.. all have specific cultures that are associated with them. Sometimes they are so subtle you never really feel as though you encounter a cultural difference, and then other times, it feels like hitting a brick wall at 350mph… Then, there are a few times when hitting culture shock is much more like clipping your shoulder when trying to cut around a corner too sharply, not particularly painful, but it causes a certain degree of bounce-back, and sometimes bruises.

What was interesting about my recent travels is that the culture I encountered was for the most part what I expected, there were small instances here and there that were unexpected, and even intriguing, but what shocked me the most is (and actually has always been) the return home.

I think the biggest reason I am always stunned by feeling as though I end up getting culture shock when I return home is that it is just unexpected. I expect to experience culture shock when I travel, but I am somehow always lulled into forgetting that I will likely experience it coming home.

This time, I was literally overstimulated and overwhelmed when we landed in Atlanta for our couple hour layover. I suddenly could understand everything being said around me, and then to compound it, there were hundreds upon hundreds of people talking everywhere we went! I found myself actually trying to listen to all of them because I could understand everything being said.  I felt like a child who was overwhelmed and just wanted to cover my ears and squeeze my eyes shut.

It took my brain a solid four days before I stopped feeling odd that I could understand everyone around me. I think this time, while not the longest trip I have taken to a place where I could not understand those around me, it was mentally an entirely different trip. I allowed myself and my brain to wind down and relax, so as we walked around for hours upon hours every day, I did not need to communicate or understand most of what was being said around me. So, instead my mind wandered, and prayed, and rested, and was entirely present. Whereas normally, I am planning, thinking, strategizing, praying, rehearsing, replaying, planning, and basically anything that needs to be paid attention to, I work to pay attention.

What feels odd is that, there are times that I feel like my mind has not kicked back into full gear yet, despite the fact that I have been home for almost a month already. I end up feeling more than a little frustrated that I have not found my normal stride once more. Then, there are other times that, I am so beyond thankful that my mind figured out how to create space to just be present, pray, think, and relax.

I have no idea if I am the only one who experiences this type of culture shock, but it has happened enough times now that I think I have to admit soundly that returning home is always the bigger culture shock to me. Each time I come home the culture shock is different, sometimes it is the noise level, other times it is being able to understand the people, and once it was the sheer amount of visual stimulation and amount of luxury. Each time I come home, I realize how blessed I am, but how much I actually enjoy gaining perspective on the world and myself.

Cultural differences in and of themselves are not bad things, and in fact, I actually think they are good things because they force us to often look at what we see as normal and determine if our normal is actually good or right itself.

Reboot…

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This last weekend I took Easter off (yes, I work at a church and decided I needed a break and took vacation) and headed down to Tennessee and the Smokey Mountains to seclude myself in a cabin with several of my best friends. We spent our days hiking trails, crossing rivers, exploring waterfalls, and eating. While our adventures caused all of us to be a little sore and tired by the end of the weekend, it never stops amazing me how much being out in nature and hearing water rushing touches and refreshes my soul.

One of my favorite things about this weekend is that it was the continuation of the annual vacation with two of my favorite people in the whole world, and included new people in our tradition this year!… I can easily say I cherish this vacation every year. There is just something about being purposeful year after year about carving out time to be around people who know you, know your heart, and love you despite the shortcomings.

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There were several times throughout this trip where I felt as though I could literally feel the stress peeling off. Even the stressful¬†points of the weekend (thank you stupid amounts of traffic adding an hour in a half to the trip down) were not nearly as bad because I knew I didn’t have to react or respond any particular way. Nothing was expected of me except to just be me.

 

Even down to the simplest of things, such as crossing a river. Over and over again we crossed rivers.. Some of the rivers required¬†us to jump, others to balance on logs, and then a few meant getting from rock to rock. Many times I mentally processed through, “I think I can make this alone…” or “I’m not sure I’ll make it across dry, but I have to try..” and then, the guys would somehow always be there extending their hand to help us across. It was such an interesting thing to me that in the midst of figuring out if I could make the trek across dry, deciding if I needed the hand, and then realizing I appreciated knowing that I didn’t have to prove anything and I had the help there to make sure I got across dry.

I did not have to be capable of crossing on my own.

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Instead, I could accept the help and know it didn’t make me anything other than exactly who I am.

As simple as it sounds, I realized this weekend that so many times I am naturally focused on accomplishing things, which means, I have to be seen as capable. In order to be seen as able, I often intentionally portray confidence, certainty, and assuredness (is that even a word?). I mean, do not get me wrong, most of the time those are accurate portrayals of how I feel, but in many situations I amp them up for the benefit of those around me because they need to feed off of the confidence of someone else.

What a dramatically different feeling to do something as simple as accept a hand over and over, not because I was seen as incapable of getting across the rivers, but because they knew I would simply feel better with help. The entire thing was entirely simple. But, even more impactful was the fact that I knew they did not view me or going out of their way to help as annoying, frustrating or ridiculous.

I was safe.

In every sense of the word I was safe. The entire weekend I was safe. I could talk, remain silent, laugh, joke, ask questions, walk, sit, sleep, explore, and in all moments I was safe. I did not have to guard emotions or actions, I did not have to decide if it was a good idea to say something; I was simply safe in the midst of some of my best friends. What a profoundly simple reboot… Mixed all of that with the outdoors, being active, and the sound of water, it was pretty much the most perfect thing ever at exactly the right time.

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