Reflections on another trip around the sun

When I turned 30, I was sad, because I was sad all the time, then. My marriage had just ended in a web of lies I was only beginning to unravel, and my beloved sister was dying of breast cancer, slowly, heartbreakingly, and way too young. On Facebook I posted,

“29, I can’t act like I’m sorry to see you go. You were mostly crap. But hey there, 30! I’ve got a good feeling about you. Let’s be awesome together.”

It was hard to envision how things would ever be okay again, but I wanted to try.

I remember talking to my closest people almost every night and telling them I wanted desperately to “do this part right” — to let my life experience move through me and teach me what it could. To change and let myself be changed. To walk bravely toward the unknowns of my future. To be humble, but to never again allow someone’s denigration of my self-worth to convince me that I am less-than. It was wisdom I had never asked for, but I had earned it, and I would claim it.

Five years later I can’t begin to count how many things in my life have changed since then or the people who mean the world to me now: some the steadfast friends and family who never gave up on me. Some the new people I now can’t imagine life without. Some who were a mixture of both — relationships that have grown and expanded in untold ways.

I am staggered by my gratitude.

I am staggered by my gratitude. I am reaching back in time and hugging my broken past self, leaning back and holding her chin in my hands and saying, “Look up. Look at me. It will be hard, but you are stronger than you know. Don’t believe staggering fools who tell you you should fear. Don’t believe any love but true. Hope is staring right at you.”

I am sitting here now, in my life that is currently not as sad but just as full of unknowns. I know that there are waters rising and troubles coming and that my heart, by opening itself up to new love and new lives, has also opened itself to countless new ways of breaking. I try to feel my future, wiser self holding my chin in her hands. “Look at me,” she says. I do not know her wisdom yet, but I think I can feel her arms around me.

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