Updated: Mar 1
As the year draws to a close, I can't help but think of this past year. There were ups and downs as there are in every year. If COVID taught me nothing else, it taught me that there is no time like the present. Don't put off seeing people and going places because you never know what might happen.
This year I lost an aunt. She was someone really special. It is so hard to even describe her. My aunt was someone I greatly admired from the time I was little. She was intelligent, confident and did not let fear get in the way of her dreams. She dressed how she wanted, and said what she believed. There was no way you could meet her and not get drawn in. Sometimes she may have even said the opposite of what she believed just to have a good discussion. She didn't argue or get angry she just truly wanted to see what others believed and their point of view. She was a traveler. She went where ever she thought sounded interesting. She traveled reasonably. She didn't stay at expensive hotels. She stayed with friends or family.
She pursued her dreams...all of them. Sometimes they were in totally different areas. If something intrigued her, she learned as much as she could about it. She was who she wanted to be and did not let others' opinions of her affect her. To me she was magical. When she passed away this year, I promised myself that I would be more like her. All the things I admired about her I would have the courage to try myself.
This has been a gift, a wonderful gift my aunt gave me. I, like my aunt, have always loved to travel. When I was diagnosed with Celiac nine years ago that became more difficult. Where would I eat, what if I got sick? So I began traveling less and worrying more.
I have friends and family in Ireland and hadn't been there in, well, too long. I decided that would be first on my list. I needed to get back to Ireland. I went this summer and spent time with my friends. We all met as teenagers, I had the most wonderful time catching up with all of them. I embraced that fact that the entire trip didn't need to be planned out. Which made the trip all that much more wonderful. I didn't let my worry about eating gluten-free ruin my trip. I went to the grocery store and ate places that I felt were safe. It was amazing!
Shortly after my aunt passed away, I started my social media accounts and website. I had been thinking about it but kept waiting for the perfect time. What if I had typo's and various other what ifs. She inspired me to jump in. So, in May, I began my new endeavor. I couldn't be happier. I have met some wonderful people in the gluten-free community. I thoroughly enjoy Gluten Free Life & Travels. All of this joy from my dear Aunt Enda. Living like this is so liberating. So, thank you Aunt Enda for teaching me to embrace who I am not allow fear to slow me down.
My hope for all of you in 2023....go out and try something new that you have been thinking about. Don't be afraid. Be like my Aunt Enda, embrace life and live it to the fullest. Have no regrets!