Although I’ve only lived in Juneau for five years, this place is my home. If a place could understand how much it meant to me, this is what I would tell it:
Thank you. You have demanded more of me in such a short amount of time than any other place I’ve been. The day I dropped my mom and sister off at the airport after they accompanied me on my move down, it finally hit home that this was my chance. I was alone and ready to make my mark on the world. This was the first time I experienced this feeling and it was sweet.
I’ve met some of the best people since that day. People who have shown me how to channel my passion and energy, and people who have taught me not to take myself too seriously and that it’s good to laugh at all of life’s imperfections.
My first year here was hard. I felt out of place, too young, and too ignorant. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that I decided to stay but what I do know is that it had a lot to do with the people that I interacted with every day.
A few months back, I got a tattoo of a Sitka spruce on my arm. Many people have asked me its significance and I usually don’t have the time to explain. I usually say something about how I’ve always loved the forest but that is only a part of its story. That tree represents my growth in this place. It is meant to be a constant reminder to me of the love and passion I have learned to have for life and adventure. To remind me to always follow my heart and to honor my soul.
I am sad to leave you and the people here but I know I’ll be back. You have completely captured my heart and helped to shape me into the person I am today. I hope that all of you reading this can think of your personal Juneau.
I want to encourage all of you to follow your hearts; age be dammed. Honor your dreams and believe in what your soul tells you. Often times it knows better than our mind. This will require you to open yourself up to vulnerability. This is a good thing…
One of the most profound and yet simple things somebody has every spoken to me was at the end of a yoga class as I laid in shavasana:
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.” –Lindsay Bloom