In my early twenties, right after I graduated college, I was the sickest I’d ever been. A couple years prior, as a sophomore, I’d developed a rare endocrine disorder and after what seemed like lifetimes of analysis by the medical community I underwent a tricky surgery to remove a small tumor from my neck.
The surgery worked, but I felt like my body and my mind no longer did. I slipped into a parallel universe (one that I held very privately) filled with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, migraines, chronic fatigue, and all of the delightful symptoms that come as a package deal with those labels.
While all of my best girlfriends were headed off to NYC to work for big advertising companies and spend late nights partying until sunrise, I headed back to my hometown in Upstate, NY (population 12,000 beautiful people) and reluctantly lived at my father’s house working for his small company.
Initially, I loathed every minute of it. The fact that I was stuck back in this shitty town, living with my father and his girlfriend (who I also unwarrantedly loathed) - sick, depressed, and hopeless.
I reached a point where I gave in.
My prayers turned from begging for better health and more life to surrendering to the idea that it’s all been enough. I’d had one profound deep love, amazing friends both at home and in college, I’d traveled all over Europe and the US, I had a father who welcomed me back into his house, brothers who kept me laughing regularly, and a small town to call home; to find the beauty in. I let that be enough. I really thought if I died right then, at 22 years old, in Endicott, NY it would all have been enough.
That’s when things shifted. I started to improve and eventually felt well enough to move to NYC.
Recently though, I forgot how far I’ve come. I started to fall out of love with myself and instead fell in love with the idea of myself. The one that I’m constructing.
The key is, and always has been, to fall in love with the version of yourself that’s right in front of you, first, so the gap between who you are and who you want to be can close. It’s the tether between both worlds. Sickness and health. Endicott and NYC. Self and future self.
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.