I make no apologies for who I am. I have worked quite hard over the years to gain this level of self-awareness and I am fully aware that I have so much farther to go. Throughout that process, I have also learned how to live and simply BE unapologetically me. That’s a lot easier when you are able to live as your true self, to look yourself in the mirror and know exactly who is looking back at you and being completely, nakedly okay with that. Completely.

Now THAT is living. Let me tell you what (to quote my 15 year old).

It really is, though. Yesterday I sat in silence on the couch for over an hour and just watched murder TV. I spoke to no one, not even the animals. The kids were in their rooms, my phone was on DND, and the animals were napping around me on the couch and strewn about the house. It. Was. Bliss.

Everyone assumes that because I know everyone and talk to everyone and that I talk a lot that I am an extrovert, but that’s simply not true. I am quite the opposite. I know what I am good at – and that just happens to be connecting people, and networking, and finding synergies between things interlinking science and math and art to find the true beauty in the world – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But I also need a lot of quiet alone down time to be able to manage and function through those super-high productive times without burning out or self destructing.

I’ve learned that even more so since the death of my father. I am confident he would be proud.

I make a lot of money. I am not rich, nor do I aspire to be. I am more well-off than most people I know, but not nearly as well-off as others. This is not a competition nor a game and I am not looking to outperform anyone other than myself. And I learned a long time ago that even when racing yourself, you still need to be kind and honorable and a good sport in how you treat your own competition. Even when the only competition is you.

One thing my father taught me, no matter what, was value. What to value above all else. Not money, not titles. Not things or objects. Experiences. Family and friends. Loved ones. Time.

You can always make more money. You can never make more time.

Even in the most truly successful people, you’ll find that they understand value beyond money and material goods. They don’t flaunt their wealth, they just simply are. wealthy. I do not care for riches, but I aspire to live in abundance that allows me to share with all of my friends and loved ones. I don’t want to have things for myself, I want to share experiences and create stories for lifetimes to come with my friends. I believe that family is not made by blood or marriage, but rather by souls and those we choose to surround ourselves with life after life. Family is made by the bonds we build with people life after life. Family matters, above all else.

I started writing this blog a few days ago, but just came back to it now when I had a moment to reread and reflect and not surprisingly I have more to add.

Among other things I’ve learned, I’ve also learned that when you outgrow friends, you simply need to move on. I am not talking about friends that grow and change and evolve with you – or even without you but on their own. I am talking about when you have friends that over time you grow apart from to realize that they do not add anything of significance to your life. When life becomes about authentic experiences and true value in the moments in which we live, it becomes easier to see when someone’s main focus in friendship is about what truly benefit themselves. Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes it’s not. But either way it is what it is and it is one of those things that once you see, you cannot unsee.

And, more often than not, when you see something like that, things change. Usually for the better, for you because you cut out the toxic or stagnant but above all, the selfish behavior of others. You hold yourself accountable to a higher standard, and as a result, you start to hold those around you that you care for accountable as well. You start to see selfishness and gaslighting and friendships of convenience for what they are – and you start to move away. And eventually, you do just that.

Isn’t it amazing? How that feels. Letting that go. All of it.  When there are no fucks to give but your own. About your own life. About being authentic. And honest. And real.

You know, if someone asked me the traits I most look for in a boyfriend, how much my answer would have changed over the years. It used to be something like smart, funny, good-looking. Or perhaps witty, independent, and has a good job. But these days I’ve realized what I value most above all else is quite different than what I thought I’d want in my youth. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been single for so long. It just took me this long to figure out what I really truly wanted in a partner.

Security. Honesty. Integrity.

Above all else. Amazing really, when you think about it, that these traits aren’t just par for the course, fact of the matter if you will. Because these days, they’re not, and that’s sad. But it’s what is most important at least to me. I hope to find that some day. Maybe.

For now, I am really happy that how I’ve always seen myself on the inside is starting to be reflected in how I look on the outside. And not just because I lost a lot of weight – though I am not going to lie, that helps. But because I am starting to see myself physically in a similar manner to how I see myself mentally – fit, strong, a force – and that inspires me to continue to work towards being my best self. Not only for me, but to inspire others to find that within themselves, too. We all have that magic. We only have to believe.

One moment at a time.