when you start being able to sit anywhere in a restaurant–even in the middle, where you can’t see much–and not have an anxiety attack. You might still penguin-shuffle race to get the corner chair, but your hangups are gradually fading into quirks.
when you get your own vehicle and sleep in it, twice, within the first week and a half of driving it, and you wake up feeling like a million bucks.
when your mother is starting to walk without crutches after a major surgery.
when you look back over the past year and a half, and you realise that a year and a half ago your depression and anxiety was so bad you were terrified of being alone, but now you look forward to a solo road trip or hillwalking excursion or even a day of simple silence just as much as you look forward to going out with friends or meeting interesting new people.
when you realize you can feel at home anywhere, just as much as you used to feel lonely everywhere.
when you can laugh and roll your eyes at the thoughts that used to petrify you, even though they still sometimes petrify you.
when you look at time away from mountains not as a total curse of Biblical proportions, but as a time to get stronger, eat healthier, get your shit together, love your family, earn money, write a story, and plan. (though it is sometimes a curse of Biblical proportions.)
when you feel safer and stronger and happier in your own skin.
when you know these feelings will come and go, but this world will still be around you: big, beautiful, overwhelming, impassive to your many capitulations but always tender to the touch.
these small victories are all we have; we have no banner but laughter, no weapon but resilience, no strength but the ferocity of unrequited love for people and places, no legacy but their unrequited grace for us.