Hello, friends, and happy July to you!
I’ve spent some unplanned time away from this space lately. It’s only been about two weeks, but it feels like much longer than that. My absence here has not been for any particular reason other than just being about the business – and busyness – of life. The last month has been a bit of a blur.
Zilla finished school the first week of June and since then we’ve been enjoying the early days of summer break. We’ve stayed up late – and slept in late – far too often. But that’s part of summer, I suppose. Summer is a time for doing those special things and living free from the restrictions of school bells and bedtimes. So we’ve watched movies and fireworks, chased rainbows and fireflies, and just generally enjoyed the easiness of summer.
We’ve celebrated some birthdays in the last several weeks. This year I celebrate a birthday that is much closer to 50 than it is to 40. And my child is much closer to a double-digit age than she is to birth. This month marks sixteen years since I met my husband and three years since I stepped out of my teaching career and into my life as a writer. Time certainly marches on.
My blog also had a birthday last month. I’ve been putting my words out in front of the world here on this page for five years now. Five years and 666 posts posts later, I’m still here. I got a bit weirded out when I realized this marks my 666th post. But my husband, who is ever my compass in life, reminded me that “it’s just a number.” Yes, true. But numbers do bear significance. Just as quickly as he said that to me, I remembered that six three times is eighteen, a sacred number in Jewish numerology symbolizing life. I like that idea quite a bit here on the first post of my new year.
I love when things are new. There are so many opportunities to in life start over, begin anew, make a change. We can start any time, any day, for any reason. I’ve talked about that before both here on the blog and more recently, over at Open Thought Vortex magazine. I really do believe it’s important to seize the opportunity for a fresh perspective any time we need one. So the start of this next year of my life seems like a great time to revisit my goals and dreams, check my perspective on a few things, and make sure I know where I’m headed.
I’ve been thinking a bit lately about my One Word for the year – balance. Midway through the year seems like a fine time to step back and assess. We seek balance in so many ways – balance between work and home, personal and professional, our roles as parent and spouse, and so many more. We seek balance in our health and fitness efforts. Are we eating enough fruits and vegetables? Getting enough sleep? Am I a more balanced person than I was six months ago? Perhaps in some regards; perhaps not so much in others. But I do know that I can see some progress (another One Word I keep in mind) in myself.
Then there’s perspective – how we see things. This is something else that’s been on my mind lately. When you spend any time thinking about numbers and progress in life and fresh starts, it’s so easy to get stuck in a particular way of seeing things. We get caught up in the numbers of life, sometimes. I’m how old? I thought I’d have more to show for myself by now – more accomplishments to list, more money saved, more pounds lost. We get caught up in how we see ourselves and our lives compared to others. Why does it seem that everyone else is moving ahead in life while we remain stagnant? We perceive “them” as having it all, while we have nothing. But nothing is ever really what it seems. How we see the world is all about our perspective and the perceptions we form from those perspectives. Other lives may seem better, easier, more successful – but are they? And if they are, does it matter? Sometimes our perspective needs to be adjusted and put back into balance. We need to remember that have been blessed so much more than we allow ourselves to see.
That’s where the thankfuls come in.
It is far too easy to lose sight of what we do have and what we have accomplished. And that’s where I’m always glad – even if I’ve been away for a few weeks – to check back in with the Ten Things of Thankful gang and take stock of the things in life for which I am grateful and the blessings I do enjoy: A safe and comfortable home. Enough to eat and wear. A beautiful, intelligent, glorious handful of a daughter. A husband who is a fine and good man, my partner in all things – life, parenting, friendship – and inspires me in ways I never could have imagined. Friends. Family. Cats to keep my feet warm at night. A cup of the best coffee on the planet made by the nicest guy on the planet.
I am thankful for my faith, no matter how tested it feels some days.
I am thankful for the gift of words, no matter how many (or few) make it to this page or are seen by other eyes than mine.
I am thankful for the beauty and grace I see in the world that shines out from behind the pain and sadness that tries to eclipse good. Rain showers and rainbows. Sunshine and cool breezes. All manner of things and people in this world proclaim that there is something good and powerful at work within and around us. Always.
I am thankful for opportunity. For the ability to live life on my own terms, no matter how simple those terms may be at any moment. For the ability to create the life I have imagined for myself, my family, and perhaps some day in some small part, my world.
I have come a long way in the last year. I have come a long way in the last five since I started writing here. Hell, I’ve come a long way in the last week. But that’s the real blessing, I think. That every moment of every day is another offer to begin again, to live, and to become. How blessed are we among all creatures to have such vast opportunity?
I am thankful for life. I am thankful for the life I have led up until this moment, for the life I am living right now, and for the life that still waits before me…
Here’s to the rest of it.
I’m just getting started.