365 days ago, I woke up in the basement at my moms house having a full on meltdown. I begged my parents at 4am to help me pack my suitcase as I sobbed on the floor. I got to the airport late and while I waited in line for security I prayed I would miss my flight. A five hour flight, a grumpy taxi driver and a new roommate later, I laid down and wondered what the hell I was thinking when I decided to give everything away, say goodbye to my family, and move 2,000 miles away to a tiny island in the Caribbean. One year ago today I made the most terrifying, yet best decision I have ever made.
In my last trip around the sun I have learned more about the world and more about myself than I ever have. I have made more incredible friends than I ever have and I have never been so genuinely happy. It took a little while to get here and I still have a lot to learn, but things are really good. I just started a new job, I moved to a new apartment and I’m living alone for the first time, I’m doing a little better with my finances…all of that is good. I am also going on crazy adventures, getting completely wasted and singing terrible karaoke, not keeping up with my laundry and smoking the occasional cigarette- BUT, I can’t grow up too much because that wouldn’t be any fun.
It is still pretty crazy to think that this is just my life now. Carly and I called this a productive day because we went to the beach instead of staying in bed all day. Laying out on Cinnamon Bay with my best friends is now what I consider to be productivity. It’s great. While we were on the beach, a high family posed in front of us in the water for a picture and they were all so genuinely happy and it was so adorable. All of the sudden I was a bystander to this incredible moment, watching a picture being taken that will hang on someone’s wall and every time they walk by they will think back to how happy they were on St. John. I get to have that feeling every day.
During my first few days here all I could think about was when it would be acceptable to leave. I made a huge deal about moving, posting shit everywhere, starting a blog before I even moved… I was so terrified that I didn’t even care what people would think if I just gave up and failed miserably. I didn’t stay to prove anything to anyone, I stayed because as soon as I calmed down I remembered why I love Saint John and I fell in love all over again. When I was visiting, I didn’t know St. John the way I do now. I didn’t know the ins and outs, the best kept secrets and the people that make this island so great. I didn’t know the drama, the coconut telegraph, and the feeling of seeing the same person every day that’s also breaking your heart, either. I have learned how to have an insane amount of fun while also like, avoiding death, and I have also learned how to be tough and handle situations that I would never experience if I didn’t live on this tiny little rock in the middle of the ocean.
So, raising my glass (of ginger ale because I’m doing Sober January) and toasting to the best year yet. I am eternally grateful to have support from home, and for every person who has crossed my path on St. John and taught me something about this life. Everyone who has been in or out of my life in the past year has done something to make this experience great, memorable, and successful and for that I thank you. And thank you for those people who keep reading these things…you’ve made this year a lot more fun, too.