Monday, June 21, 2010

One Year Later. My Final Blog Post.

A year ago I pulled out of Atlanta on Father’s Day to start a new life for myself. I was excited, nervous, focused, and prepared. Or, so I thought. What I didn’t expect was that I would immediately get lost. It took me an hour and a half to find my way out of a city that I had lived in for more than 14 years. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to make of all this but as I said recently, I believe in signs, symbols, and milestones.  

Eventually, I got on the right road and my journey began. That evening I wrote my first blog post and I made a commitment to blog for one full year. I had no idea what I was getting into but it forced me to discover Portland, as well as myself, so I always had something to write about each week. 

In the course of one year I have experienced more of life than I ever imagined. I have hiked trails from Aspen and Crested Butte to the Columbia River Gorge. I’ve run a half marathon and I’ve mountain biked on muddy single tracks. I’ve gone to farms to pick blueberries and peaches. And, I’ve learned how to knit. I’ve produced for ABC, CBS, and wrote for a startup called MDiTV. I’ve volunteered to walk dogs and I’ve hosted a couch-surfer. In the last year, I have dated more guys in Portland than I did the last four years in Atlanta. And everyday I wake up grateful to live in a nice home and in a great neighborhood smack in between beautiful Mt. Tabor and the hip and happening Hawthorne district.  

In so many ways, my life is vastly different from what it was a year ago. By blogging about it to an audience of friends, family, and strangers, I have shared more of myself than I thought possible. And, in the process, I made myself vulnerable. The result is a stronger, better, wiser Lila.  

This past year my writing improved and my voice grew stronger. I attribute this to two extraordinary friends who are amazing writers. My friends Helyn and Stacy took turns copy editing my blog. They did this on their own time. They were my guides, my gurus, and in many cases, my last minute fairy god-mothers. I’m writing this last blog post on my own, so all the dots and dashes you see is Lila, un-edited.  

Perhaps the biggest change these last twelve months has been internal and how I interact with others. Before, when someone hurt or disappointed me in a big way, I would cut and run. Now, I’m learning to breathe through the pain and to accept things and people as they are. This alone has shown me my own strength and has allowed me to move forward courageously, knowing whatever issues I face I can get through it with integrity and confidence.    

Throughout this year people have asked what inspired me, at age 42, to sell my house, leave my job, and move to a city where I only knew two people. I usually say I was just ready for change.  

The real answer, though, is my father. He was my inspiration.  

My Dad passed away in August 2007. I was able to spend some time with him his last few days where he was confined to bed. It was obvious his time was short. At one point, it was just the two of us in the room. As I held his hand, I asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell me … anything he felt I needed to know. Though he was very weak he managed to raise his hand, touch my face and whisper: “Just be happy.” He died a few days later. 

My dad’s words have always stuck with me. So many people live life searching for happiness but never really find it because they’re so busy looking ahead and forgetting to stay in the moment. To me, the key to happiness is staying in the moment, even when the moment isn’t going so well. As soon as I left Atlanta I got lost. But I stayed in the moment. Eventually I got on the right road and the road I’ve been on ever since has been filled with adventure, laughter, tears, and lots of love. I’m living in the moment and living true to my father’s words. 

I find it fitting that I started and ended my blog on Father’s Day. I will always hold my father’s words close to my heart. Just be happy. Dad, I truly am. 

((please hit play button to watch video))

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