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I'm in Europe
It’s been two years and eight months since I last stepped foot outside of the United States. But I finally did it, baby. This double-boosted girlie is in London as we speak. And soon I’ll also travel to Scotland, France, Spain, Switzerland, and, the crown jewel of my Eurotrip, Italy.
My last week at home was a flurry of chores (and a mini-housewarming party I finally threw 10 months after moving in). I maniacally cleaned the house, got my finances in order, prepared Minerva to stay with my dad, and PACKED. I had to carefully pack one (1) carryon bag to hold everything I’ll need for five weeks of activities and climates. And I’m the kind of chaotic-energy person who needs a full week of puttering and pondering and dramatic list-keeping to get a task like that done.
I won’t show you my exact packing list (though I’m sure some of you freaks would love to see it) but know that my minimalist pack job included 95 items. And I need every single one of them, okay!
But one significant item I didn’t pack? My laptop. I am taking five full weeks off of work, a terrifying and thrilling milestone in my freelance life.
I’ve been reflecting about why I’ve been so much more stressed than excited as this trip I took from dream to reality approached. It is really scary to take time off when you are self-employed, and PTO doesn’t exist. It is difficult to unlearn the deeply American scam that you should be working all the time, that your worth is tied to your work, that leisure time is sinful. But a huge part of restructuring my entire damn life over the last couple of years has been teaching myself to deprioritize work and the traditional markers of “success.”
What do I want my life to look and feel like? What do I dream about? What do I most want to experience before I die? Corporate labor is not one of the answers. (But Italian gelato is.)
The life I left behind a couple of years ago has felt heavier to me lately. I spent nine days in New York in June, my former and familiar home, where so many of my close friends still live. But I don’t live there anymore, and my life and identity as a writer in New York City is permanently in my rearview mirror. And that’s hard.
But my new life is one I chose and built, brick by brick. I’ve had a successful year as a freelance writer and editor. I finally opened my LLC! I made a podcast I adore, and am deep in the work for season two. (Coming soon!)
Most importantly, I love Austin and know I’m exactly where I should be right now. When things feel hard, I can lean on the peace of knowing how much I trust myself to steer the ship in the right direction. I didn’t feel that way three years ago, when I started writing this newsletter. I showed myself that real change is possible.
Today, take stock of how far you’ve come. Take the time to reap what you have sowed. Celebrate all that you’ve done rather than stress about how much you have left to do. Live this day lavishly.
That’s what I’ll be doing for the month of August. I get to take time off and go to Europe because I designed it that way. Far, far away from Twitter rants and blue light, I’ll eat gelato under a lemon tree. For at least one day, that will be enough.
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