A Year Later

“She stared at the stars like they were pillows for her mind and in their light she could rest her heavy mind.”-Christopher Poindexter

It’s crazy how even when you’re not looking, life happens. Here I am today, looking back at where I was a year ago and trying to fathom how I got here from there. It was not a leap of faith–maybe that’s how it started, but that’s definitely not all it took. People talk like you just need to take that first jump and things sort of work out, but that’s not how it works. (At least not for me…) No, the middle is filled with hard, drudging steps, long days and sleepless nights, and silent tears that not even you understand. Sometimes you see that light on the other end, but sometimes its so dark that you’re left grasping for something, anything, to hold onto.

And the thing is, I’m still in the middle. I’m not at the end. (Is anyone ever, really?) But it’s so necessary to stop and take account of all the places I’ve been. My journey is like those maps in rest areas (beautiful comparison, no?) with all the pins marking where the travelers are from. My pins are all spread out, from health to joy to heartbreak to sadness to grief and back across the map again. I picked up something valuable from each stop, no matter how crippling it was. One thing I’ve learned is you’ve got to extract the lesson from each experience–you’ve got to give it meaning. But at the same time, you’ve got to cherish the experience, then let it go. Set the candle on the river and watch it move off into the distance with each ripple and crest. My mind is so heavy with experience; I’ve got to breathe in deep and then let it all out.

And then look at everything I have around me, and be grateful. I am so incredibly blessed to be where I am today–and I was so incredibly blessed a year ago, as well. Blessed to have been given an experience through which I could really start to find myself, to cultivate a sense of self that had since been lacking. I am a work in progress, a timeline of hits and misses that add up to the unique position I am in today. The obstacles in my life remind me that I am moving forward. You can’t hit a road block without first getting out there on the road. 

Throughout my life, I’ve always been searching for purpose. As a little girl, I wanted to know why. I asked questions and pondered things deeply, probably deeper than other kids my age. I was sometimes described as “quiet,” but the thoughts in my head were very loud. I was always a thinker. I still am. And, just like when I was five, I’m still a purpose seeker. It’s hard for me to just be.Well, one thing I’ve realized this year is that if I get anything out of my adolescent life it’s that I’ve basically been straight-up handed a purpose. Something to fight for. Something to be a champion of. Something to make me a warrior. Like Charles Dickens says in Oliver Twist, “I cannot help this weakness, and it makes my purpose stronger.”

Today, the snow is melting and finals are upon us. But I look deep inside and know that if I’ve made it this far, I can darn well make it further. 


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