and I’m slowing down. I can feel it, the deeper breaths, the moments when I can’t think of anything I have to do, the permission I’m giving myself to take some moments for me. It’s surprised me these past few days, but it’s real. The feeling keeps coming back.
It’s December. Finals are right around the corner, the holidays are creeping up fast, and I feel like life should be moving at a million miles a minute.
But it’s not. And I love it.
All (well, most) of my lab reports are done, most papers are written, all quizzes complete. I just have finals left, and I feel pretty prepared as I’ve studied very well all semester. We’re finally in a house of our very own and we’re not stuck in the hurry-up-and-wait world of foreclosure sales. My niece is healthy and she’s home. I’m not working much and I’m not submerged under the cold-weather coffee rush or office politics. The economy is slow and there isn’t much bike work. I miss my dad, but the grief is more familiar and less debilitating. I miss my grandma, miss knowing she’s there on Lake Al*ice, watching her birds and doing crosswords. But for both of them I’m grateful they aren’t worrying anymore, and I’m thankful I don’t have to worry about them, either. I’d love to have them back and worry about them but since I can’t I’m going to enjoy the lighter load. There has been so much to get through this past year, but I finally feel like I’ve broken through to the other side. It feels so good.
My birthday is next week and I’ll be 28. I don’t feel one way or the other about it, really. I feel 28, a young 28. I feel grounded, yet full of possibility. I love the loftiness of school, the headiness, the dreams, and the assuredness of the young people around me. Sure, the giggling girls and punk-ass boys drive me a little crazy (especially during “group work”) but schools are full of dreamers and expansive ideas and I, with my level-head and logic, need that sometimes.
All the loss of the past year brings the fullness of the present into brilliant relief – The wonderful people around me feel more temporary than ever, but that brings out a gratefulness, a need to enjoy the wonder of my own little life.
In the movie Shadowlands (one of my all-time favorites) the point is made that the loss of the future is part of what makes what we have right now so wonderful. And this year that’s more real to me than ever.
When I think of the bygone days
I think of how evening follows morn;
so many I loved were not yet dead,
so many I love were not yet born.
– Ogden Nash