The Year I Grew Up

Hi! It’s me, Sim!

If Ken ever retires from his job “beach,” please consider this my formal application to take his place! 🙋🏻‍♀️

We are on our annual family holiday trip to my favorite place in the world, the ocean. There is nowhere I love more than the being by the water. But not just any water… It’s got to be the salty, wavy, turquoise ocean water! It’s my biggest dream to live near the beach and every time I find myself lucky enough to be at the ocean the dream just gets stronger and stronger.

Do you have a dream like that — one you’ve had for most of your life that keeps sticking around? One that won’t stop whispering to you? I’d love to hear what it is!

Each year on this trip, we almost fully unplug. I stay mostly logged out of social media, leave my phone in the room all day long, and even skip TV because after hours of wave-jumping and sand-castle-building, I’m ready to snuggle up with the kids and pass out by 7:30 at night.

Without a doubt, this is always the most quiet week-ish of my year. It’s such a peaceful, present time.

My kids get the best of me and, for me, there’s a spiritual experience about this week. The beach we are at is one I came to with my dad countless times in my life. I have the best memories of playing in these waves with him. He grew up in Serbia (former Yugoslavia) and spent his summers at the seaside. He had so much hardship in his life but when he dove into the ocean it all floated away. The waves brought out the most fun, carefree side of him and as his daughter it was a delight.

Now, six years after he passed away, I get such an unexplainable sense of closeness to him here. It goes beyond me, too. It’s as if my children and him are somehow connected with each seashell collected and every wave they leap into.

Another favorite part of this week? How my mind fills with creative work ideas and inspiration for the year ahead. I can always count on this time to help me find my way! I’m feeling so inspired for what’s to come. Beautiful things ahead for our community, I promise!

It’s amazing how much reading I can do when I don’t spend time on social media or watching TV. I will remind myself of this when I’m home and think, “I have no time to read!” 😜

So far, I’ve plowed through The Plot, a thriller by Jean Hanff Korelitz that was gifted to me by my sister (she is here with us this holiday, too!). It was such a fun read! Now, I’m revisiting Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

I wanted to offer you some words from the introduction of Women Who Run With The Wolves that really spoke to me, where the author describes the wild woman:

“So, the word wild here is not used in its modern pejorative sense, meaning out of control, but in its original sense, which means to live a natural life, one in which the criatura, creature, has innate integrity and healthy boundaries. These words, wild and woman, cause the women to remember who they are and what they are about… it is called the wise or knowing nature… The wild nature has a vast integrity to it.”

I don’t know what 2023 has been like for you, but for me, it’s been about embodying my own wild woman. This was one of the hardest years of my life and it was also the year I feel like I grew up. Who knew you could do that at 37? I would have told you it had happened years ago until it really happened this year.

Have you listened to the newest UnMeasured Podcast episode (episode 6) with my lovely co-host Amy Young? As we discuss mid-life aging, she shares about the beautiful descent from maiden archetype to mother archetype. In this descent, the women shifts from thinking someone is coming to save her (seeing goodness as being something out there) and discovers that the goodness is within.

2023 was the year that took me to my limits over and over again until I finally had to surrender. I’ve never felt surrender like I did this past year. And you know what I found there? Myself. My goodness. My wild woman.

I literally had moments this year where I heard my inner dialogue say, “nobody is coming to save me. I will only move forward when I decide. I have to do this.” Eventually, I got to pick myself up and move forward with a sense of who I am when things don’t go according to plan, when others don’t see my worth, or when life is hard. And, with more inner trust, strength, and wild-woman integrity than I’ve ever experienced before.

I wouldn’t want to go back and re-live this last year, but I am in such a place of gratitude for all it taught me. Not in a “that’s what you’re supposed to say” way, but a deep-down feeling of appreciation that you can’t fake even if you try.

Maybe I’ve been unknowingly living in some weird version of Britney Spears’ lyrics “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” for the last few decades? Either way, this was the year I became a woman.

It’s been a long time since I’ve just free-written to you like this. If you made it this far, thank you so much for listening to my ramblings.

I’d love to hear yours…

What was 2023 like for you? Where’s your heart at right now? What version of yourself do you feel you’ve become this year?

My responses might be a little slow before the new year, but I promise to read & respond to each of your replies.

I can’t wait to hear any/all of it that you’d like to share.

xo, Sim

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