Last year, I cried the hardest I’ve ever cried and laughed the loudest I’ve ever laughed. At times, I dwelled on what was going wrong in order to figure out how to fix it. Ultimately, though, I focused on what I wanted and let go of things I didn’t want.
I share that I cried to illustrate how amazing it felt to be able to laugh, and set life stuff aside to completely enjoy those how-did-I-get-so-lucky, life glitter moments.
This moment was captured during my November trip to Mendocino, California. It was the first time I touched the Pacific Ocean.
A year ago, I made a collage using toy ads, a nature calendar and a few old magazines. I picked the word fresh to define my year. It surprised me, since I thrive on scheduling things in advance and following an established routine.
I like predictability, but embracing the freshness of life was more beautiful than I could have dreamed.
Last year was fresh. My boyfriend and I bought a house. He asked me to marry him, and I said yes. We planned a wedding with less than 30 guests and were married two months later. On our honeymoon, I saw and touched the Pacific Ocean for the very first time. We spent our first holidays together as a blended family of five. A career opportunity I’d been hoping for surfaced.
That’s a lot of change. It was very exciting, but at times, very overwhelming.
I spent an entire month before the house purchase was finalized white-knuckled in anticipation. When I returned to my apartment after our one and only showing of five houses, the collage I made last January caught my eye. Covered in goosebumps, I grabbed it off of the kitchen counter and began shrieking with glee that we needed to make an offer immediately on the place we wanted to be our family home together because the staircase was the same one as the staircase pictured in my collage.
When I cut that picture out of a magazine, I never expected to get that exact same staircase. Yet there it was. (Disclaimer: The staircase is not as gigantic as the picture I cut out, but the wall color, the trim and the spindles are almost identical.)
I instantly loved the house and wanted to hold onto it and never lose it. Friends reminded me to focus on what I wanted instead of what I didn’t want. So, I imagined what it would be like to wake up at the new house, the warm, hard floor welcoming my feet as I began each new day. And it does. I pause almost every morning – and I mentally kick myself when I forget to be grateful for it – when I feel that feeling and smile.
Everything in that collage came true. The horseshoe heart, lucky in love. The typewriter was my grandmother’s; our wedding guests typed messages on it instead of signing a book. Fresh vegetables and flowers were established in the new yard. Rays of sunlight streamed through the redwood trees during the honeymoon trip to California.
I’m still getting used to the W word, wife. It’s an honor to partner with this man, my other half, and raise our children together. While going through divorce, I decided to live life on my own terms and be happy. I still am, and I want to continue to grow and learn.
Amidst the heavy moments last year, there was so much light in the form of love to keep me afloat. The more receptive I am, the more I can feel it. I am grateful.
I’m intimidated to make a collage for 2016. I’ll commit to a word. My word for 2016 is peace. I will seek it, I will be it and I will embrace it.