A lot can happen in a year.

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On the 1st of July 2018 we were all giving little (to no) thought about the single use plastic bag in our hand as we left our weekly shop. That bag would be useful for all of 12 minutes, according to Greenpeace- who launched a ‘ban the bag’ campaign in late July 2018 after the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Exactly one year on, Kiwi businesses can now be fined upwards of six-figures if they haven’t complied with the governments recent plastic bag ban.

A lot can happen in a year.

I’m not usually one who struggles with words- we know this by now, but I have been chipping away at this blog post for upwards of 12 months now. It’s one that has always felt unfinished, slightly too vulnerable and almost somewhat pointless to write, let alone share.

Also, while I am at it- Snapchat memories are the fucking worst. I’m not sure what it is about Snapchat, but it always catches small snippets of the (second) happiest moments of my life (- the first never make the phone). Deep eye crinkles and weird little giggles that can only come from a time of pure, ridiculous contentment with where you are. Reminiscing on years passed with people who may or may not still be in your life should be exciting, but instead I genuinely dread checking them for fear that they’ll bring up something to pang at a heart string or two, whether a good pang or a bad.

Dramatic? Yes. Right, on with the post.

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Just over a year ago, my day one girlfriends and I found ourselves in a situation I’d never wish upon anyone, and we learnt the inside of the Intensive Care Unit like the back of our hands. Off the end of what could have been far worse, yet still was a tragic accident to a close friend, we learnt more about ourselves than any of us could have known. We learnt a lot about how we all react when faced with a problem we can’t solve, how each of us turns shock into hope, but most importantly: who we are and why we’re so important to each other.

The months that followed really cemented the value of a friend and why we work so hard to find our people. In the first big happening since we left high school, petty school girl chat was replaced with hugs held for just long enough and conversations centred around resilience. I learnt more about strength, and the different ways its shows itself, than I ever thought I would. I watched a friend face a season full of uncertainty with her head held high, her shoulders pulled back and the ability to see that her life is precious and there’s only one way, and that is forward.

I’ve become incredibly thankful for my friends- I’ve always been one to have my people, but the last 12 months has reminded me how special it is to have someone who calls you just to chat, or makes sure you get home safe. People who tell you the truth and criticise your choices from a place of love. Humans who are just like you, yet so different all the same. People who sit by you in your dark times and toast to you in the light.

A year on, as we sat in celebration (still doesn’t quite feel like the appropriate word) surrounded by each other, and checked back on snapchat memories from a year ago, a lot had changed, yet not much at all.

A lot can happen in a year.

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I am a planner. My entire life has always been planned inside the pages of an A5 notebook. I don’t believe in resolutions (heck New Years is my least favourite time of the year) and I certainly don’t set ‘goals’. But I do plan. My calendar is coded in six different colour-ways and even if my room is a tip, it’s a perfectly organised tip.

So when shit doesn’t quite go to plan, neither do I.

Over the last four months I have found myself, by myself.. I don’t mean that super literally, because I am never really ever by myself with the friends and family I am blessed to have as mine, but you get my drift. I sat at the bottom of my stairs at the beginning of May (eating Mi Goreng, might I add) with equal parts confusion, shock, sadness and gratitude swirling round my head. For the first time, in a very, very long time, I was on my own.

Regardless of how amicable, break ups are break ups and break ups suck. One thing I never expected was the sheer amount I’d teach myself in the short months that have followed so far, with hopefully many more lessons to come. No one tells you how you’ll heal, or that healing isn’t linear. Some days I am fine (and very dandy) and other days it hits with a thud. No one tells you how hard a knock your self-confidence takes. Even in my work life, I am shocked at how self conscious and vulnerable I felt. No one warns you of the people who talk for the sake of talking- and how when you think you’ve finally got it sorted, whispers emerge. No one speaks of the desperation for the moment you’ve moved on and feel less lost. No one speaks of how heart ache actually aches. Like it hurts. And you’ll hurt for the both of you. But the biggest one I have learnt, is that no one but you can guide your growth and healing in the months that follow.

So, I want to tell you that eventually it stops hurting, and you can see the good in it. You can stop cursing and crying and getting wound up over the little things. You can see the fun, the memories, the moments and the growth. I want to tell you that you’re going to learn to fill your own cup, to take yourself out for coffee, to sit in silence with your own thoughts and not feel crowded. I want to tell you that one day it won’t sting when someone asks how they are, or when you come across a fucking Snapchat memory. Eventually, one day the nostalgia will make you smile. And you may not be there yet (as I mentioned, healing is not linear), but…

A lot can happen in a year.

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Change is a process, and in the first instance, the scariest part. Venturing into unknown territories, building trust to have it ripped away and going on with life pleading ignorance to the fact it could be stolen from you at any moment. Change is scary, heavy and somewhat paralysing. In both instances, change was something I didn’t seek out, nor wish would ever happen. 

But change bought me to now, and for now I’m so grateful. I’m grateful for the small moments when I felt bigger than myself and said yes to new opportunities, that have led to bigger ones and a different landscape for 2019. I’m grateful that change bought me new friends, old friends and closer to my family. I’m grateful that change has shaped the view I have, and continue to amend, on who I am and what I want to be. It was all scary- whether I had control or not. But you need fear in your life, it has to have a place. It’s got to take your breath away and keep you up at night so that when you do whatever it is you’re afraid of, you prove just how capable you are.

There’s never been a more important time than right now. Even when you can’t see past the end of a day and the uncertainty has your stomach in knots, know that with change comes growth- and even if you can’t see yourself in this space, you will. Your life is yours to light and whatever season you’re in whether it be alone, with a friend or partner, know there’s something at the end waiting for all you have to give.

— what a gift you give to this world by choosing to remain open.

After all, a lot can happen in a year.

Kas x

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