Growing up is such a funny thing. It feels like just yesterday I was fourteen years old, standing in front of the giant full-length mirror in my dad's bathroom and thinking to myself, '20 is so old. I'll never be 20.'
Yet here I am, two days away from my 21st birthday! I made it, Little Katie, and 20 is not so old. In fact, I feel younger and more inexperienced now than ever before. I almost miss the days when I was 16 and 17 and I was sure I knew everything. Confidence is such a comforting thing.
And self-confidence is something I feel myself lacking - I often feel uncertain, indecisive and nervous, which has been frustrating for me because these past two months have seemed to offer big decisions at every turn. Then again, lately everything has seemed like a major cataclysmic event, demanding life-altering, complex decisions. I feel like a fish stuck on the shore, half my body in the water, nearly to freedom, and my other half gasping for air and firmly stuck on the uncomfortably hot sand.
But I do feel like I have a bit of a foothold now. Many of the decisions I went back and forth about every few minutes for weeks on end, alternating between ecstacy and terror, I have been able to make and feel good about.
Like I've decided to stay on Kaua'i and go back to school at Kaua'i Community College! This was the hardest decision to make, because I also really wanted to go back to Florida and be closer to my family and friends there. Which I still do, very much so... But in my heart I could not feel good about leaving Kaua'i. I love everything about this island, and I can't imagine happily living anywhere else. Kaua'i is my safehaven, and of the many things I have learned about myself these past few months, one of them is how important it is that I am able to be out in nature.
I know that may seem silly to some, but it doesn't to me anymore. Walking in the forest, sitting on the beach at sunrise, hiking to waterfalls and wading through rivers, all without seeing more than one or two people... This is my favorite aspect of Kaua'i, and something that is so important for my sanity and wellbeing. Being able to be alone, outside, in the quiet, soothes my soul in a way that so far only Thoreau has been able to accurately describe. I know completely how Thoreau must have felt writing Walden, living out there in the woods all by himself.
So all of this time outside for me has also resulted in a fair amount of contemplation. One of the things I have been wondering a lot about lately is why I have been finding it particularly difficult to make decisions and feel okay about them. Why do I feel the desire to call up everyone I know to get their opinion so I can feel good about my own? When someone agrees with me and says what I'm doing is good, why do I feel a rush of relief so powerful and complete it nearly brings me to my knees?
I was at Hoopii Falls the other day, sitting on the sun warmed rocks and listening to the roar of the water, when I had a realization. I feel so uncertain because for possibly the first time in my life, I am an adult and I truly am making my own decisions. I financially support myself, I live alone, and I'm no longer around people who I feel like I'm constantly trying to please and who have very strong opinions and that energy of being "right" all the time.
So now I'm discovering what pleases me! Which isn't as simple as it sounds, because often everything pleases me and yet nothing pleases me. (There's that alcoholic black-and-white thing again!) I want to sail, ride horses, write books and poetry and songs, play 'ukulele and guitar, speak every language known to man, travel all over, teach, go to college, be a chef... I could increase the list ad infinitum.
The truth is that what matters the most is my attitude in the present moment, and the best way for me to keep my attitude positive and pointed in the direction of my Higher Power is to stay sober. Everything keeps coming back to me staying sober and working the Steps in my life, which I haven't done perfectly, but I am doing to the best of my ability.
Honestly, I've thought a lot about drinking. I've gone through some huge life changes, so I've been questioning everything. Am I really an alcoholic? Are Ayurveda and Yoga for me? What the heck is my purpose in life? To the first two questions, the answer is yes. I am a (recovering) alcoholic, and Ayurveda and Yoga are undeniably important for me to be healthy. Other than those three, the world is wide open! I have been trying out all kinds of things to create my own unique lifestyle and live my life's purpose.
I know this post has been a bit long and rambling, though I have truly done my best to keep it on one topic. What my mind keeps coming back to is that I need to pray more. It's easy for me to scoff at prayer, and I find myself doing it unconsciously. But as this summer has unraveled my old life, prayer has been the consistent action I can do that keeps me going and feeling hopeful. It's something so simple and small, it's easy for me to run right over it, even when I'm sitting still.
As my new life pieces itself together, prayer keeps me patient, happy and in contact with God. Closing my eyes and deepening my breath, for a few moments I find peace no matter where I am.
It's like swimming into the depths of the ocean every day, and when I reach the darkest, deepest part I start to panic, and I reach my hands toward the surface in desperation, and every time a rope appears between my fingers, leading to the surface.