I don’t want your 500-a-night mountain view with panoramic windows and an Instagram geotag. I want the farm you stayed on for a work exchange when you were dirt poor and had earth underneath your fingernails, the 8-hour train ride you took to get there with minimal sleep and a notebook in your hand with scribbled stories. I want the hostel you stayed at with a bunk mate who is 60 and snored louder than anyone you’ve ever heard and is rediscovering life after quitting their 30-year career as a lawyer.
I don’t want your ayahuasca trip in Peru. I want the time you found holy on your living room floor, the time your roommates were asleep and you burned candles and silently prayed to anyone that would listen in the middle of the night. I want the time you let the bedroom sheets swallow you whole and spit you back into the fire. The time you found purpose looking up at the sky on a regular Tuesday, realizing no one else could take your power away anymore.
I don’t want your silent retreat. I want the time you couldn’t stay silent any longer, the time the silence ate away at every part of you and you screamed so loud your lungs turned into the ocean. I want the time you said no for the first time. The time you used your voice even when it quivered so heavily you didn’t think anything would come out.
I don’t want your entrepreneur at 22 success. I want the time you were eating oats and drinking gas station coffee, the time you got on your knees to pray it would all work out with bruises to show. I want the time you did what you loved without making a lot of money and were happy as could be living such a simple life. I want the time you hit a savings goal after months of saving. The time you finally moved into your first apartment by yourself that was yours and only yours and kissed the empty walls after getting approved while crying tears of happiness.
I want the real. The raw. The human. The grit. The times you’ve gotten your hands dirty. The experiences that have humbled you. I want the fires you’ve walked through—the times it’s worked out and the times you’ve burned to ashes and rose anew.