On Summer, Perfectly Beautifully

The universe seems to have a pretty good sense of humor.

It also tends to make up for it with the sort of beautiful things that remind you why it’s good to be alive.

The past few months have brought a significant number of changes to my life, and as I look back on the summer, I’m feeling incredibly at peace with how things have unfolded. I’m looking forward to the future, and I’m optimistic. For the first time in a long time, I have a plan!

Nothing is forever, and I think that this summer has been a nice reminder of that for me. Nearly everything that was at this time last year is no longer – that’s not a bad thing.

My little brother moved to Dallas to be with his wonderful girlfriend; I got a roommate whom I adore. Our energies balance out pretty well, and so far, we’re off to a very compatible start. I worked with her for a year and a half at my last job, so we’ve been through a lot together. It’s nice to have someone who’s seen you at your most stressed agree to live with you.

She even puts up with Carlos, who senses that despite her allergies, she’s a sucker and will feed him. It’s pretty cute, actually. He curls up at her feet when she’s on the couch, and sits with her on the front porch. He’s playing us now, begging for food even if he’s already been fed, pretending he’s a starving animal and really hamming up the pathetic cat vibes. It usually works, unless I’ve been forewarned that he’s already eaten.

I quit my job at the end of May, with the original intention of wandering for a while and then waiting until after Burning Man to find a real job. I had just hit the wall where it didn’t make sense any longer – the high stress, low pay, and general environment was no longer sustainable. I knew that it was going to happen eventually, but after doing the Journey and letting go of some things, I wasn’t afraid to leap into the universe without a solid plan. It sounds silly, but it’s not. Because here I am, three months later, still “funemployed” (ish…I actually work a lot, doing odd jobs – I pulled weeds for a whole day for cash one day this summer!) – babysitting, marketing, the usual) and living the semblance of the dream.

There’s always that straw that breaks your camelback (ha, hiking joke), and for me, it was a phone conversation with the VP of the company where I spent ten minutes explaining a very elementary distinction between two different kinds of decisions. In that moment, I realized that there was no hope that my job would ever be anything but exactly what it was in that moment, and I felt something inside of me snap. The parts of me that wanted to fix everything, to lead, to be there to support my co-workers, to assist my clients, to fight the state the very best I could each day – they all fell away. Suddenly, there wasn’t any excuse that I could give myself for why I needed to go back to work. I felt free, light, and calm.

Alas, the wandering was the very best decision, as I’ve reduced the amount of stress and simplified my life in very wonderful ways. I’ve found myself again, my weird, my radiance.

There was a breakup, the changing of so much of what had become my routines, and in that, I was given exactly what I needed. To wake up and realize how far you’ve gotten off-track down someone else’s path that is not at all your own is indeed a very abrupt transition, but I think it’s best that way. Upon reflection, you have a few of those, “Holy shit,” moments where everything falls into place in a very different way and you’ve reset your context and suddenly it’s all so much more clear. It’s the most necessary, like stinging cold water on your face after a hot shower. You emerge radiant and with smaller pores. From this, I have emerged radiant and capable of making a Manhattan. So at least I’ve got that going for me.

My beloved therapist, nicknamed Tobias, moved out of state for a real job. I was heartbroken, and immediately demanded that in our final two sessions, he preemptively “therapize” me for anything that might ever happen. I told him I expected note cards in alphabetical situational order. Instead, I ended up being accidentally a half an hour late for our final session and tearily telling him how much he means to me. He ended by giving me his recap of our five years and reminding me how wonderful I am. It wasn’t the worst ending by any means, and I am so grateful to have had his sense of humor (and his enthusiastic appreciation of mine) for the last five years.

I learned a lot this year: about what I am and am not willing to tolerate; about what I want; about what I care about; about what I want to do with my life; about how to create meaning in life. I learned about respect, integrity, and staying true to your own inner voice. I have learned so much, been exposed to so many things, and can honestly say that I am content. Also, I’ll pick ribeye every time.

I have a very exciting plan for the future, and I’m eager (actually eager) to get to work on it. I have a feeling that all of the change and cleaning of space and soul that this year has brought will unfurl into a lush, fruitful future. It must.

This plan actually expands on a plan I had a long time ago, the plan that emerged from the darkness, the plan that was going to be both healing and helpful. And it can be all of that, but it’s also going to utilize all of my skills – the talking, and the writing, and the intense love of knowing things. But it’s still early, and I’m not telling you more in case my hopes and dreams are dashed and I’m forced to punt again on another oddly-assembled life plan. So cross your fingers and tell the universe that I’m onto something, and wish me courage to leap into even more of the unknown.

“Your dreams are not what you thought they’d be,” is the truest quote I’ve ever heard, the one I quote the most often, and the one that resonates with me the most (which is probably why I think it’s the truest and it’s my most quoted. Funny how that works). Life is never at all as I have planned it, or even imagined it, and yet, it seems to be the very best thing. From adventure to adventure, I’m very rarely bored.

Highlights from this summer include: Chicago over Memorial Day weekend — the brunch spot we adopted was so delicious we went back twice; driving to Montana for the first time to go to Flathead Lake (I’m so buying a summer house there when I am even slightly wealthier – in money, because banks don’t let you use your unsinkable spirit as collateral for a second home loan); summer evenings spent on the front porch with my roommate; boating; all of the shows I saw at Red Rocks; Pretty Lights at Red Rocks; the babysitting – I’m seriously in love with children; the playdate and the three hours of beautiful connection with a mom that made my soul smile; and the “me” moments that made it all feel like it was unfolding exactly as it needed to.

I know I sound suspiciously happy, like I’ve been secretly sneaking sniffs of nitrous, but that’s not it at all.

It’s not all happy. Not at all. But it’s all perfect.

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