I find that as I get older, time passes faster than it did in my younger years. It was once the case where a year would drag, where one year would feel endless, but these days it seems like nothing at all and passes in the blink of an eye.
It seems like just yesterday I walked off the plane into the oppressive heat and humidity of New Orleans, just yesterday where I thought–this is such a mistake, I can’t live in this weather. But at the same time, I know it couldn’t have been yesterday because the me then is vastly different from the me I am now.
So here are 10 things I learned in my year in New Orleans as a VISTA at Eden House:
- The NOLA heat and humidity eventually becomes bearable and then it turns into frigid cold, but eventually you get to the springtime and spring is a beautiful season here.
- Food lovers need to move here. Period. As a lover of food, the city is your playground.
- How to be an introvert in an extroverted city. Especially during festival season. P.S. this is super easy in the summer where basically no one in the city wants to leave their house. But also: how to make friends as an introvert in an extroverted city.
- What it is like to miss home. Despite being away from my mountain home for nearly 6 years now, I’ve never really missed it until this year. Maybe it’s the oppressive humidity making me long for my 70 degrees and breezy West Coast weather….
- How to live in my own skin. In the last few years I have figured out how to be comfortable in my own skin, but this was the first year where I truly was able to live in it. The difference is subtle, but it is an important difference for me.
- Self-care: Practice it. Live it. Love it. Because you need it. Also, you never really realize how much you abuse your body until you give yourself time to take care of it. (You see a lot of this especially for people who have experienced trauma).
- There is a point in your life where you have to let go and realize that the world will take care of you if you let it. (Addendum: Yes, shit happens–sometimes to good people–but that’s not an excuse to stop trusting). Trust goes a long way.
- If you want to see change within yourself, you have to be willing to put in the work and get dirty.
- In this line of work, sometimes you have more faith in the clients you work with than they have in themselves. Sometimes, you care more about their recovery and success than they do. Sometimes this is really hard; but you do it anyway. Because slowly…eventually…you will see the change.
- Love heals; empowering others to love themselves can change lives.
Photo (c) Thistle Farms