How a Drastic Experience Taught Me to Love Making Small Changes

A year after my NYC apartment was taken by a fire, I’m learning that good things can come in small shifts.

I was on business travel to Columbus, OH when I woke up to several missed calls and voicemails from my roommate. As habit would have it, I checked my text messages first: friends across NYC were asking if that was my building.

Dizziness ensued. Turns out, it was my building. My roommate had to escape onto the roof of our six-story walkup to avoid the flames climbing up the fire escape. We were so, so lucky to be safe and sound. Some neighbors weren’t.

It’s hard to believe a year has passed, yet it also seems like it happened to a different person ages ago. Just the month after the fire that I spent hopping from couch to couch of my gracious friends felt like a year in itself.

It was a time of drastic change in my life. Lucky for me, I’m typically the person who enjoys moving at a breakneck speed. While I credit a lot of personal growth to living through the experience that I did last April, I’ve since learned that I can’t rely upon these extreme catalysts in order to make my life’s necessary adjustments.

In a July 2015 #TotalHonestyTuesday Instagram, I owned up to my all-or-nothing addiction:

When life regained a sense of normalcy in summer 2015, my all-or-nothing attitude was more often leaving me with the latter. How can someone who’s used to cliff diving learn to backtrack to baby steps? It was time to learn the virtue I dreaded most: patience.

I’ve been hard at work slowing down, taking life in stride and finding the beauty in making bite-sized changes in order to reach my goals over the past few months.

Just a few of these small changes? I’ve started writing fiction in tidbits just for my own eyes to see, in hopes that I’ll someday be ready to share my work. I’ve stopped dyeing my hair to come closer to my goal of wholly celebrating natural beauty. I’ve even started eating only half of my beloved Chipotle sofritas bowl per sitting (gasp!) in an effort to take better care of my body. (Pro tip: You gotta put it in another bowl. You’ve just gotta. A small bowl. I know that it royally sucks, but it’s worth it when you’re heating it up on day two without having to put pants on in order to enjoy Chipotle.)

The story is that, bit by bit, I’m learning to embrace my status as a “work in progress.” Have any advice? It’s more than welcome.

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