We Choose When and How Brightly We Burn for Our Own Lives.

{Photo credit: Chelsey Reardon}


I closed my eyes and opened them again. I couldn’t believe that I could see the ocean and the mountains at the same time.

What was even more surprising was the effect it had on me. I could feel my heart beat to a rhythm I recognized only in half-dismissed dreams. It was like my spirit had been resurrected by the stillness of this place. It’s realness. And I could feel it on the back of my neck. I could feel it releasing through the hairs on my arms, running through my finger and toes. A fire for life.

I felt alive. I cried because it was a feeling I wanted to keep always.

Everything goes up and down and back and forth. I know who I am today, and tomorrow my body and my mind will inevitably feel like strangers again. It’s a constant battle between disconnect and complete life-altering connection.

I feel so deeply that sometimes I think I may lose my heart fully to the pit of my stomach. Other times I feel like it’s shut down and needs replacing. Its absence is jarring. The feelings just stop. Maybe both are blessings in their own right.

I’ve been exploring the root of this pulling and tugging because I can’t manage to uncover and hold on to an ounce of peace in the chaos of most days. And when I get just a glimpse of this peace, it’s gone before I’m able to get in close enough proximity to reap its benefits. It’s swept away.

I’m tired. I’m not jumping out of bed to embrace the day. It’s a struggle to move. There’s zero balance in my footing and planning and execution of my life. I can’t get full thoughts out. I can’t wrap my head around who I am and what I want. There’s clutter in the way.

This clutter is the debris that guilt, and fear of a life lived improperly or irresponsibly, creates. I’m torn between shoulds and woulds. And the energy this back and forth takes is removing life from my breath and fire from my gut.

So is this what it’s supposed to be like? Am I supposed to feel so trapped in a world I’ve spent decades creating? So unfulfilled in some areas that something as simple as a mountain view can bring me to tears because I know I’ll have to wait another six months before I can vacation far enough to see it again?

This isn’t right. It can’t be.

We live in a world that’s got its sight set on the weekend. Wishing away minutes and hours to reach a dictated two-day period where we’re allowed to choose what we do with our time freely. A world where we cut the pays of the do-gooders and give raises to the financiers.  A culture that is so deeply afraid of losing what it’s worked so hard to acquire that it tells you to stop dreaming.

It suggests that if you move in a direction other than where the signs point, or if you choose a color outside of black and white, that you’ve screwed up.

Oh my god. Fuck that.

The world isn’t this magnificent so that we can look at it through the glass of our desktop computer or through social media posts of our friends on their 10-day yearly vacation. This dirt is meant to be walked in. It should live under your fingernails. These oceans are meant to be swam and soaked in. These mountains are meant to be lived on top of, not just climbed and left behind.

We choose when and how brightly we burn for our own lives. And when we do choose, we need to make no apologies for those choices. I’ve got years of fear and guilt I’m living under. The clutter is mess that the world fed me. Ideas and attitudes that have dictated my expectations for myself. I’m not necessarily at a place to crawl out from under all the bullshit. I’m still tied to some of it.

But I think I’ll climb more mountains. Let the stillness and the realness of the air up there reset my heartbeat and re-shock my system. There’s only so many times you can die before you’re awakened to the realities of the shortness of life. Time isn’t abundant for us. And thank god it’s not. It is life’s way of reminding us to move — sideways, backwards, forwards — wherever we damn well please.

Becoming unstuck is a process. It’s an undertaking of epic proportions. But once you light the fuse, I have to believe it’s a quick burn to something beautiful and bright. And that it’s not something that only shines on weekend getaways.


ChelseyReardonChelsey Reardon has a heart for truth and women who haven’t met theirs yet. She’s a writer and human connector who wishes we loved more. She tries to speak like she writes — honest and with minimal F-bombs. She gives a shit about Yoga, body image, and self-love. She believes the sky is the limit, you just need to build the ladder. Follow Chelsey on Instagram or her website. She’d love to social-hang.


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