Yesterday was all about the reset button. I had a wonderful time in Connecticut, but traveling with the kids had taken a chunk out of me. I was pretty spent, and heading into the final stretch of finals week for school. Honestly, I was counting the hours until Luis’ arrival Tuesday morning. I was so thankful for any kind of a break.

I didn’t know it, but every moment of yesterday and this morning was working, slowly helping me find my balance again. So here is how I get it together when I feel like I’m losing my grip:

I don’t know if I have mentioned this yet, but there is something that I do each week that has a profound effect on my ability to flow with all of the swirling madness of life. This thing helps me shake out my thoughts and feelings, helps keep me centered, and affords me two whole hours of much-needed personal time with a hot cup of coffee. Every Tuesday, after the kids are down for their naps, I go to art therapy in a barn full of art supplies and just create. It is a luxury and a necessity all at once. Would I survive without it? Of course…but it makes things a whole lot easier knowing that no matter what happens, I have a safe space to go and someone like-minded to talk to. I have actually produced some interesting pieces too!

So yesterday, going to the art studio was the first step in 24 hours of regrouping. It also gave me a chance to connect with a like-minded person. I have been feeling incredibly lonely lately- not in the sense that I am on my own or that I don’t have some super friends to talk to, but lonely in the sense that I don’t have many people that I am close to who share my lifestyle choices and passion for wellness. Being vegan in every sense has become a huge part of my life, along with yoga, running, and meditation, but I haven’t yet found a niche of people in my area who share my zest for healthy living. That doesn’t mean that the friends I do have mean any less to me- but it feels good to connect to like-minded people and cultivate all aspects of my best self. I am confident that as I progress through school and branch out farther into the world, I will find the pocket that I am searching for…but in the meantime, I’m playing the role of the Lonely Vegan.

Later that night, I had the great pleasure of spending some much-needed time with a good friend and fellow writer. We caught up with each others lives, chatted about nothing and everything, and eventually found ourselves on the topic of why and how we do what we do- from maintaining our grades to achieving our goals professionally. We came to the conclusion that there is a lack of discipline in people of today. Most people do not achieve the things they set out to do because they don’t have the discipline to keep going even when the thrill wears off or when things become challenging.

For someone who commits themselves to achieving whatever they set out to do, it can be exhausting to interact with people who don’t share that drive and who lack so much self-control. That being said, when you do find those people who are constantly pushing forward and reaching up, it drives you to be better- to dream bigger. In that regard, I am very fortunate. I have plenty of people in my life to fill that role, people that I foresee knowing years from now. Last night I was sitting across the table from one of them, and as we talked I could feel my energy rushing back in.

The final piece fell into place this morning. I was on my way to yoga and saw a dog running back and forth across the road up ahead…and no one was stopping. Swerving, yes. Stopping, no. I pulled onto a side street and got out, noticing immediately that the dog had a collar and tags- a good sign. He was so sweet, and came right over as soon as I crouched down to call him. I dialed the number on his tag, and got in touch with his owner who was out running with his daughter. While I was waiting for them, a neighbor came by on his way out for a run with his dogs. He lent me a leash and offered to wait with me until the dog’s owner showed up. Minutes later, a man came around the corner with a jogging stroller. He and the neighbor both thanked me over and over again for stopping- the dog’s owner even offered me money “for my time.” But my reward was so much more valuable- I connected with two other runners in my area. A good start.

I continued on to yoga, late but feeling like I had accomplished something. It was an invigorating class, and I found that as I stretched and contorted, I felt as though I was slowly working out the last of whatever weight had been hanging on me for who knows how long. For all of my lonely feelings, during that hour and a half it felt so good to be inside of myself. I felt connected, which benefits me a great deal as we work on inverted poses. Something about being upside-down brings an indescribable feeling of peace, and achieving my goals in my yoga practice is bringing me a huge sense of accomplishment. At the end of practice, after savasana, when I sat up and slowly blinked my eyes open, I looked around at a studio full of people who were there for the same reason I was- to practice yoga.

I was feeling so alone at the beginning, and in the course of a day I was greeted with people who shared my values and interests on so many different levels. I stopped feeling sorry for myself long enough to open my eyes and see the great company I was actually in. Just when I thought I was alone…I found myself in the world.


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