A loss can come in many forms. A breakup can feel like death, and a faded friendship can break your heart as much as the last boyfriend. The first week of the new year, after one lost love, I decided to say goodbye to two more.
While signing the 30 days notice for my landlord, my heart was shaking. Almost three years ago, after a year stint in Paris healing my broken heart, I came back to LA excited to start a new chapter of my life. I was nowhere ready to get a place on my own and still only freelancing, when I came across an ad for a small studio right by the beach. Thinking it would only inspire me, I stopped by and met the manager. I left with an application filed and two weeks later I got a call that the tiny living box was mine.
It was one block from the Venice boardwalk. I instantly became friends with my downstairs neighbor and we started to take Venice beach by storm like true partners in crime. We made new friends, explored new places and had sometimes not so safe but nonetheless incredible adventures. As the summer turned to autumn, I took hot baths in my claw-foot tub followed by cozy nights reading and drinking wine surrounded by candles. I smiled each time I came home knowing that I was back in my safe place.
I brought the first man I dated after my divorce back to my apartment with hesitation. I didn’t want to share it with anyone, even for the length of a dinner. After wandering the world like a gypsy for a year, I felt like I finally had my sanctuary. Fortunately, I learned how to share it, and had many friends from various corners of the world visit me throughout my years there, all of whom fell in love with it as much as I did.
The apartment was there for me during hard times, too. When my heart was broken once again it cheered me up with good vibes and warmth. When my niece passed away I spent days and nights in bed sobbing, breathing in ocean air through the window and hearing it comfort me with the waves crashing to the shore.
Each chapter must end, and the new year is meant to be a fresh start. The apartment was tiny and expensive and though ideal for that chapter of my life, I knew it was time. The same day I gave my notice, I also decided to sell my car. It didn’t take long—one call to the first Google search result and I had a buyer who wanted to give me cash for my 12-year-old beater that I have had since high school.
But that car had been with me through so much, too. My first rides to class, I felt like a total adult; a beginning to the rest of my very successful life. Look at me, I thought, all independent. I felt so free, like I could go anywhere I wished. In my mind, I could drive to China if I wanted to because, hey, I have my own car and no one can stop me. (Clearly the oceans were just a small little challenge.)
The car was red. Small and feisty, just like me. In a way, it was there for me like no other.. It was with me through college, my failed marriage, my eight moves, my long commutes and long journeys (like when I decided to drive to Lake Tahoe for eight hours by myself to reflect on my next move in life). I’ve laughed and cried for hours in that driver’s seat and made over 100 trips to the airport dropping and picking friends up. That seat was also where I was when I got the call that my dad had died, and where I cried and screamed, parked on the side of a random street.
Some things force us to take the steps we thought we were not strong enough to take. Those moments might be the toughest, but it’s also the love for ourselves and the desire to thrive that helps us push forward. As I sat in my apartment before starting to pack, I spoke aloud to it like an old friend. The last mile I drove in my car, I pressed the gas hard on an open street to give us one last thrill together..
The first week of 2015 has already brought challenges, but has also made me realize how grateful I am for my heart, which is capable of loving so incredibly much, and for my mind, which is strong enough to let go when it’s time.
Vilte S. Holstad is a writer, traveler, stylista and a self proclaimed pro nap taker who grew up in a tiny country of Lithuania. She has worked as an editor, stylist and publicist and currently runs her own PR creative in sunny Los Angeles. To check out her blog and other pretty things visit www.vilteco.com.