Friday, January 1, 2016

The End of an Era

Well guys, 2015 is dying, and no amount of resolutions is going to halt the passing of time, or the crazy unknowns that come with it. 

This has been a year of chasms for me. Chasms I felt that I had to learn how to cross...but the more I agonized over these troubles, the wider the chasm got. But if I walk beside it for a moment, enjoying the terrifying vertigo of one arm dangling over the edge as I stroll, I start to notice something. The chasms become other things. Rivers. Forests. Mountains. Things I can deal with one step at a time - things that hold blessings, too.

Nearly three years ago, God drew me to Colorado against my will.
...and it became the best thing that ever happened to me. 

I've noticed that my dreams are coming true. 

1. At my job, I get to act goofy, and yet still have an office and dress business-casual and be in charge. People call me Nugget. I get to be around kids all day. Maybe I see the worst sides of them (and believe me, I do!). But it's like I'm all grown up without ever having to grow up. 

2. Remember those silly ambitions you had when you were a kid? Well, one of mine was to eat doughnuts all the time. Yep. Full-fledged career choice right there. And guess what? My second job right now is doughnut-making. Past Me would be so proud. 

3. Living in Colorado, I'm almost guaranteed to have a white Christmas every year. 

4. I have adventure. Life here is never boring - sometimes in fun, other times scary, ways. 

It's not how I imagined my dreams coming true at all. But that's because God's been planning my life, not me. I honestly forgot that these were even some of my dreams. He doesn't really forget any details, does He?

The biggest thing I've learned this year is what it means to love. I've been forced to realize that I can't love someone until I know something about them that I don't want to love. That's where it begins. And at that point, it no longer has anything to do with whether or not it's worth it for me, personally; it's whether or not I believe it's the right thing to do.

Here's some flashbacks to some of my happiest moments from 2015. 

From surfing to hiking to snowshoeing to learning to drive in the snow. Fighting my fear of heights by rock climbing. Learning what it means to be a leader and actually take responsibility. Don't be afraid to go where you'd rather not and learn things you didn't choose to learn. 

The enchanting forests and rocky beaches of Oregon.

Friends in all shapes and sizes. 

A new tattoo.

So many tiny humans.

An incredible boyfriend that I couldn't ask more of. 

And the two people who made all of this possible: my parents. 

"When I lose my way,

And I forget my name,

Remind me who I am.

In the mirror all I see,

Is who I don't wanna be,

Remind me who I am.

In the loneliest places,

When I can't remember what grace is.

Tell me once again who I am to You:

I'm the one You love. 

And that will be enough."

~Jason Gray

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Goodbyes

Almost every year I can remember, I've stopped on New Year's Eve and made a list of resolutions. Or revelations or determinations or dreams or whatever I happen to call them that year. I love it. Not because it makes me successful or any cooler of a person. But because it's a time I can spend looking at what I have and imagining where I want to go and maybe, just maybe, learning again to love all the amazing pieces of my life.

This year I haven't given it the slightest thought. I've got thirty-four minutes left of two-thousand fourteen...I wonder how many times I've smiled this year. How many times I spilled something down my shirt and managed to laugh instead of cry. I remember reading something once that went a bit like this: "Sometimes there are only two options left - to laugh, or to cry. And laughing just seems better right now." It doesn't mean you can handle what's been dished onto your plate. It doesn't mean that you even want to try.

What it means is that you have decided to be alive. When it hurts. When it's dark outside. When your heart just shattered against the wall. When every dream you held close was torn out of your hands in a tornado-like wind.

Every morning I hear my alarm and I turn into Scrooge, bah humbug-ing the day and trying to pretend that I have hours more to sleep. Something strange happens, though, when I prepare for the day ahead. Tentatively at first, and then boisterously, I find that people exist in such an uncommon way, that I can't help but laugh at their personalities, smile at their small conquests, roll my eyes at their drama, wince at their sorrows. Life (the part where we're breathing while at the same time thinking and probably focusing on some secret agenda, too) is not a cursory item.

If life isn't cursory, than everything we do (while, you know, being alive) happens to be important. I know that this is all stemming from the crazy love that God has for me, but right now I can't dig that deep. All I know is that I am here, facing another year of the unknown, and I can barely walk straight. It's quite hilarious to watch from above, I'm sure.

I don't have any resolutions this time around. The New Year is coming to get me, not the other way around. All I have is this precious second to exist in every way possible. What will you do as you breathe?

Monday, April 14, 2014

This is Home

I've missed this.

Drinking well-water straight from a faucet. Having my own quiet attic room to myself. Calling up friends and seeing their faces fifteen minutes after I hang up the phone. Driving down country roads, windows down, music just as loud as I want it to be.

Yeah, I've missed being home.

Home is where I feel the most comfortable...and yet I don't actually feel like I fit. There's faces and places that I'll not soon forget, but I'm a wanderer now, and that feeling won't soon disappear. Being a wanderer puts you on edge and sets you free; you're always waiting to dive into what's next, your thoughts always pulsing towards something else.

Being home should be stable and warm is. Mostly.

But it's also a reminder. A reminder that the people I left here aren't quite the same anymore. A reminder that reality does exist and "America, land of the free" happens to be adding more rules to the list.

It's a horrible thought that what I felt was a temporary, glorious lifestyle as a gypsy, can't stay that way. Either it has to be a permanent situation (living out of my suitcase, never really having a home), or my life has to start changing, and I need to "grow up" and get some real knowledge and a real job so I can pay for taxes. Obviously, none of that is very attractive to me. I've been doing quite well with my life, I thought. Spending 3-6 months in different places is not a bad deal.

Do I have to focus bills and taxes? Those things are exactly why I never went to the university I wanted to go to - money, debt, taxes. I get that everyone else on this planet is struggling for survival. I understand that the world operates on money that no one really has. I don't want that to tear me down, though. I don't want to focus on that. When I look around me, I don't see freedom. I see bondage.

And that's why I'm trying to create my own sort of freedom. I've chosen jobs and situations that don't put me in debt and that don't create bills for me. Honestly, the only thing I consistently pay for is my cell phone. Sure, I'm not at the top of the food chain, and it hasn't gotten me far. But look where I'm standing. I've gotten to travel. I've made so many friends. I am happy.

College isn't bad. Neither is a "normal" life. But I am so incredibly glad that my life has been anything but normal. That God has led me in all sorts of random ways to all sorts of places.

I suppose it comes down to that, doesn't it? That He hasn't led me to go back to school. He hasn't led me to seek out a successful life. And I'm okay with that.

Ah, home. Where raindrops are plentiful and snow in April isn't shocking. Where the people are mostly friendly and all of them want to leave the state. Where fast food restaurants thrive and everything else struggles to get by. Ohio holds the people I most care about.

I've missed this. I've only got two weeks to enjoy it.