I had a plan. I had a plan but things didn’t go the way I’d expected. I fell in love with one thing and out of love with another. I forgot the reason I loved the second in the first place.

Then I lost my balance.

Last summer, I began to see clear red flags at my job—a job I’d been so happy and proud to get just a few months before.  At the same time, I fell in love with a boy and quickly determined that he held the key to my happiness. And for a little while, I was happy … until I wasn’t. I kept thinking if I could just repair things with my job, and later, my relationship, I would be happy again. My whole life became about fixing those two things.

My boyfriend and I broke up in mid-November, just before all the holidays I’d planned to spend with him, and I lost my job a few weeks later. In a matter of weeks my entire life changed. I wasn’t ready for it, and I didn’t welcome it.

I remember the first time I read the Holstee manifesto. I was overcome by that “Everything will be OK” feeling. Then I read it again. And again.

“Do what you love and do it often.” This made sense but what did I love? I couldn’t remember anymore. I felt displaced, unmotivated, and at times, quite hopeless. I wondered if the person I was at the core had somehow gotten lost. And so I did the only thing I could think to do at the time—I got the hell out of New York.

“Travel often.” I went to Atlanta, Chicago, and then Florida. I explored new cities. I met new people. I visited old friends and asked them what they honestly thought about me. To my surprise, they did not see me as apathetic or sad. I was the girl who proved time and time again how bold and courageous she was. They didn’t see my failures, but they did see my accomplishments—all the brave and outrageous things I’d done over the years. They believed in me, and I started to believe in myself again.

“Start doing the things you love.” I began doing the things that make me happy, like singing and dancing, yoga, grocery shopping, and going to concerts and restaurants with friends.  I called friends to catch up, planned trips, attended seminars, laughed, and smiled.

“Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them so go out and start creating.” I took on creative projects I actually wanted to do, projects that reminded me that I could make a difference in other people’s lives, and then I enrolled others in these projects. And I became a coach to five amazing participants in a program that is all about self-expression, and creating good, and loving ourselves.

“Getting lost will help you find yourself.” For the first time in a very long time, I feel comfortable in my own skin. I now spend my time using my skills and talents rather than wasting hours dwelling on my weaknesses. I surround myself with people who build me up rather than look for opportunities to tear me down. I feel strong, cared for, loved—and happy.