Behind Every Picture There Is A Story
“Behind every picture hides the true story. You just have to be willing to look.” ~ Richard Castle, Heat Wave
It’s been awhile since my last blog post. I’ve had several people recently ask me why I haven’t been writing lately. In all honesty, the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me. The combination of a packed calendar of travel, swirling thoughts and mixed emotions have all contributed to the fact that I have had little time to process my thoughts, let alone put them into words.
Last month, I shared my adventures in Northern California (Truckee to be exact) on the blog (here).
I only had about three days of “normalcy” at home before I was headed out of town again. This time it was to Easton, Maryland for a friend’s wedding festivities. I was honored to have been invited to her intimate wedding affair. While there, I was basking in her happiness and so happy to be a part of their special day! On the flip side, I was simultaneously struggling with some feelings of loneliness in my own personal life. All of this time on the road (alone) coupled with being away from my fur babies left me longing for some company. I keep reminding myself that I am on the right path and to just enjoy the journey. I try my best to get through these hard times by picking up the phone and chatting with my mom or my best friend, and by reminding myself that all great things take time. I made the absolute best of my time alone in Maryland and chose to focus on the beauty in the little things around me- like the Sunday morning market and sightseeing the uncharted territory of a new city.
Upon returning from Maryland, I had just enough time to unpack my bags and repack for my next venture-a kick off retreat for Leadership Austin. Thankfully, this weekend trip was a little closer to home in New Braunfels, Texas. I will be sharing all of the details from the retreat in a future post. But let’s just say, it was a wonderful, eye-opening experience that I will file under the ‘Life Impacting’ Category. Stay tuned.
The following week, I flew out to Denver to attend the annual Tampa Chamber Benchmarking trip. The entire trip was incredible but super busy. The governor of Colorado spoke to our group among other influential leaders where I learned about Denver’s urban development and various urban issues such as public transportation and the legalization of marijuana. More importantly, I had the opportunity to connect with some amazing people, which is what really made the trip. If there is one takeaway from my trip to Denver, it is that I recognize a certain calm that I have about myself lately. Unlike much of my time spent in Tampa where I was go-go-go all the time, I have noticed that recently I am much better at listening. In turn, I am able to really connect with people in a much more intimate and engaging way- which feels really good. Overall the trip was a huge success. I even had the opportunity to catch up with one of my friends and enjoy a little bit of sightseeing before my plane departed. I definitely plan to go back to Colorado sometime in the near future, but with Maggie, Cody and Jack in tow.
So, you’re probably thinking, the trips have to end here. But, I’m not done yet. (You probably understand why I have taken a little hiatus from blogging after reading this!)
From Denver, I had just a few days in Austin before I was yet again, packing my suitcase and headed for the airport. Next stop: NYC. Technically, I stopped in New Jersey first. Since I was so close, I made it a priority to squeeze in a surprise dinner with one of my best friends, Maria. I really wanted to spend time with her and see her new house before I got super busy with client meetings.
While the timing of my NYC trip was not perfect, I made a commitment to attend an M2M (Marketers to Marketers) event and visit with some of my NYC clients. Even though I was exhausted from all my travels, I knew that I had to stay focused and stick to my plan after all that is what I signed up for. In addition to the physical exhaustion that comes from traveling, this trip was also a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I am always beyond inspired when I am in NYC, but at the same time, it often causes me to to question my own performance more than normal. I found myself thinking, “Could I be doing more in sales? Should I hire more employees? Should I be growing this company faster?” While it is great to challenge yourself, this was not the best time for me to be reevaluating my life and putting more pressure on myself to always be doing more.
While in NYC, I had a very important decision to make regarding a sibling’s wedding. My original intentions were to not to attend the wedding. I love my family more than anything in the world and there is nothing that I value more in this world than family. However, I have opened my door to this particular side of the family one too many times only to feel slighted, taken advantage of and hurt by the outcome. About a year or so ago, I reluctantly decided that in order for me to be the absolute best version of myself, I had to set some boundaries and distance myself from a handful of relatives.
With that being said, I decided that I would accept my dad’s plea to get together for dinner while I was in NYC, just a few nights before the wedding. Seeing him upset and disappointed in my decision not to attend the wedding didn’t sit well with me. Since I am a natural people-pleaser and never one to want to intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings, I changed my mind at the very last minute and decided to go to the wedding after-all. The next day, I made the five-hour, traffic-filled trek from New York City to Connecticut. This was not an easy task whatsoever, but I made it. Although I was out cold in my hotel room by 9:00 pm, I woke up the next day with a full heart and I felt happy with my decision to be in the presence of so many people who have helped shape and mold me to become the person that I am today. More importantly, on that day and in that moment in time, I felt truly blessed to have all of my siblings together (from all over the country) for the celebration of my brother’s wedding. Despite all of the disappointments of the past, I was happy to be in the moment making new memories and rebuilding new bonds with those that I love.
As I think back on the last couple of weeks- the nonstop travel, the rollercoaster of emotions, the good times and the bad- I can’t help but to reflect upon life and everything that is represents. Each one of us has a much deeper, more complex story-despite how picture-perfect our lives look on our social media accounts. Every individual has their own personal challenges, heartaches, successes and failures. There are days where I feel like I am on top of the world, and I am doing everything right. But the reality is that there are also days when I feel defeated and like I have far too many responsibilities to bare. However, I have learned through all of this that even during our hardest times and our darkest hours, we have to turn to our faith, trust our journey and continue to give life our ALL. Fortunately, I don’t always have to do this alone and I am blessed to have an incredible support system of family and friends that are always just a phone call away.
As for my upcoming trips, at this time I think I am going to cancel them all: Guilt Free! I want nothing more right now than to enjoy my city of Austin with my three dogs that bring me so much joy. My plan is to continue to work and build relationships in the community while maintaining the utmost customer service to my Ali Specialties clients all over the country. This is exactly what I intend to do for the next couple of months.
Hopefully with returning to my regular schedule, I will have some time to process my thoughts. Of course, I will continue to share the journey with you all.