A year is only 24 hours experienced 365 times in a row. As we get older it seems like the years come and go faster and faster. Sometimes you wake up, realize that your year has passed, and it feels like you’ve barely blinked it by. While it is happening, though, dragging on day by day, it can feel like a year will never end. This last year, at least for me, has been mighty peculiar compared to the last 20 I’ve experienced.
This year has consisted of two overnight, cross-country road trips that culminated in a move out-of-state. It has seen me take up no less than five new jobs that are all unique but somehow quite the same. It has seen me work hard and move into a beautiful brick house on a lake with the man I love. It has seen changes unlike any others I have yet to encounter.
Beginning with what I knew, I planted a fruitless garden and kept on planting until I found something new that would grow here. I began raising six chicks, buried one, and loved the remaining five all the more for it. I have been exploring how much of their own food that two people can grow and raise on less than 0.1 acres in town. I have made myself stronger from the fruits of my labor.
I have given my collie more room to run and when my cat ran away I gave her a home to which she might return. I’ve seen the unfortunate deaths of two good cars after unbelievable breakdowns, both automotive and emotional, and found out how hard it is to get a new one on my own. I’ve worked for little more than peanuts and prayed for the day that I could afford a shoe-string budget. I have learned exactly what it is like to start over from scratch.
This past year has seen the birth of three new cousins, a handful of weddings, a heartbreaking number of funerals, and one very important high school graduation back home – all of which occurred no less than 850 miles from where I am now. Yes, this year has been pretty lonely for this girl, but I don’t regret it. I have grown up a lot, too, you see. You have to learn to lean on yourself and the community that you build when you strike out on your own – away from your family and everything you’ve ever known to a place where so many before you have only found failure.
Success does not have to be measured in nice things or the infrequency with which the bill collectors call, but the happiness that you find along the way to the life you’ve always dreamed of. It’s hard to remember the misery that accompanied the beginning of this year-long journey and think that I should ever be happy again, but if happiness is not what I’ve found, it is contentment and I can live with that – at least until next year…