When a season comes to a close, there’s usually a period of reflection afterward. And I had a lot to reflect on this summer. There were new adventures, friendships, and clients. But there was also loss, sadness, and grief. At times, wrestling with the highs and lows of life felt exhausting and had me wanting to hide away until the difficult emotions passed. Sadly, life doesn’t allow for such time, and one thing is certain, you have to keep moving forward despite how you feel.
In many ways, this was the hardest summer I have endured, as I said goodbye to my beloved grandmother and had to adjust to my new reality without her. Despite spending the last two years with her in a nursing home, I still miss waking up and calling her before I start my day, I miss suiting up to see her for dinner in her long-term care facility. And I refuse to trade in my iPhone 11 Pro because it’s now a treasured memory of our time singing songs together.
Moving on is hard, no matter how it looks on Instagram. For me, moving into this next chapter meant keeping myself busy—very busy. At times the scheduled chaos was a blessing, and at other times, I was resentful of myself for not allowing time to process my emotions. There was also a layer of guilt added in there for good measure, as I felt like it was somehow wrong to be experiencing joy after enduring a loss.
One of the things I’m most grateful for this summer (aside from all the time I got to spend at the barn and in the saddle), was getting introduced to Forward__Space and working out with their incredible community of instructors and other devoted fans. On many weekend mornings, the energy at The Barn was what started me off on the right foot, helped me see the positive side of things, and carried me through my day. There is something about dancing that felt both cathartic and spiritual for me. As I wrestled with so many emotions I couldn’t or wouldn’t talk about, dance had the power to shake me free of them. I felt physically lighter after each class I took.
Yet, when the Forward__Space residency in Bridgehampton came to a close at the end of August, it felt like another loss. The support group I had come to love and depend on was gone. It was the same feeling I had when summer camp used to end as a kid. You never quite knew if you would see any of the friends you made again despite promising to stay in touch.
This summer is one I will always remember. The sense of loss will live on in me for as long as I live. Yet this summer also taught me how to move through pain and not let time pass me by. It encouraged me to try new things, make new friends, and be open to new experiences without letting my emotions get the best of me. It showed me that grief and joy can coexist peacefully and that no one feeling should be mutually exclusive. It allowed me to see that change doesn’t need to be scary and something to fear; that it can happen gradually and at your own pace. It helped me learn that grief doesn’t have an expiration date and that your emotions will appear as they wish. Most importantly, it permitted me to move on, expand my horizons, enter this next chapter, and be open to whatever it holds for me without fear of the unknown, failure, or any other limiting belief I have held in the past.
In a word, what I’m grateful for this summer is: community.