Here I am, sitting at the desk that I’d only seen in pictures a few months prior. My daily chores are completed. I’ve enjoyed my breakfast, morning fika, and lunch. My space is clear of all distractions that could break my concentration.
I listen to the rain as it washes away Saturday’s snowfall. Here I am, in Sweden, just as I said I would be.
Why am I here exactly?
To be honest, moments of panic have resulted from this question. Brief episodes of anxiety when tunnel vision has set in, black fuzzies have danced around my periphery, and I’ve chugged a glass of water to steady myself from the dizziness.
Embracing freedom isn’t easy, at least not for me. I’ve heard countless times from friends and family “I’d give anything to not be on a schedule, accountable to others, meeting demands left and right. The quiet must be amazing.”
Amazing. It’s one way of describing it. Amazing is translating into not having an escape from the incessant chatter in my head and a feast of issues served before me from which to fill my plate. I may be in Sweden, in the quiet, but I’m still celebrating Thanksgiving this year, eating from a cornucopia of past that’s not quite letting go in a deafening present. It’s like holiday dinner with your gregarious family that you avoid the rest of the year.
It’s why I’m here, in Sweden, just as I said I would be. The amazing quiet isn’t allowing me to escape with distractions and excuses and the numbness that comes from drinking too much wine. Sweden’s saving my soul. Sweden’s making me sober.
Growth and comfort never co-exist, remember? Happy Thanksgiving, Bek. You’re getting exactly what you asked for with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Jet lag is a gift. The quiet of the early morning is a playground for my active mind and twirling spirit.
My excitement for my first full day in Astorp, Sweden will quickly overpower my initial everything so I better list before the sun comes up.
1. Lush. It is raining and cool and green. Astorp feels part rural, part suburban. I fully expect to see a chicken cross the road from where I sit in the kitchen, but then my course corrects when a Volvo wagon drives by.
2. Impeccable design everywhere. Clean, organized, practical, yet very cozy. Even the food packaging is obsessive compulsive. Anna’s home is beautiful and comfortable; I love it.
3. I never want to question the purpose of my life again. I promise myself that I will always ask for help when I need light brought to darkness.
4. I have a tremendous appreciation for each person with whom I have discussed this journey – not a single person has been discouraging. Not one. Thank you so much.
5. I am an explorer, a communicator, a seeker. Curiosity is renewed.
6. My faith has never been stronger. My desire to give thanks has never been stronger.
Starting to get sleepy. Perfect.
There’s nothing quite like moving to force the prioritization of four decades of memories and century-old family heirlooms in to the protective embrace of Home Depot boxes. Honestly, I love it. Donating, gifting, and discarding tantalize every iota of my O.C.D.; the less crap, always the better.
“You can’t take it with you” runs through my head as sweat drips down my face; the hotbox that is my garage is great for a detox and distilling things to bare essentials.
Do I really need to keep the pointe shoes I’ve had since grammar school? Yes, they’re a trophy.
Is this blank Modern Family notebook from Comic-Con ever going to be used? Eh, recycle.
Will I wear these strappy sandals in Sweden between the months of November and February? LMFAO.
I’m a compartmentalizer; I want to leave San Diego neat and tidy so that brain space and emotional warehousing are bright and clear of cobwebs. I’m getting there but it’s going to keep on keepin’ on until I pull out of the driveway.
So for now, back to shoveling through my accumulation.
Make yourself a cup of tea (or martini) and take a seat. Light up a Lark if you like. I have some exciting news for you.
I GOT IT. IT TOOK SIX YEARS (ACTUALLY, 40) BUT I GOT IT.
Q.E.D.: YOU SUCCEEDED.
I promised you on this day in 2009 that I’d take the ball and run with it; you could release and find relief. There’s not been one day that’s passed when I haven’t thought about my commitment to you and, at times, it’s the only thing that’s kept me going.
You taught me not to quit by your example. Lord knows I’ve wanted to – I’ve fucked up royally along the way – but I now use a compass that’s authentic, mindful, focused, creative, calibrated. It’s navigated me down a path that’s eradicated toxicity to make room for power.
Real power. The confidence to say yes and no. The desire to love and be loved. The knowledge of my worth. The appreciation for the living. The pure joy of connecting to something bigger.
Thank you, Mom. My me, now, is a result of you, then and now.
I love you. I miss you. I’ve got this.