Here is what I've learned: growing up is all about the people. Things happen, life happens, good stuff, bad stuff, funny stuff, ridiculous stuff, but still, it's all about the people. I went into the list, and this project as a whole, with blinders on that focused all my energy toward the events and accomplishments I believed to be valuable. Now, one month and really three decades later, I understand my own misunderstanding. The graduations, moving days, cross-country trips, celebrations, scholarships, and presentations were all amazing, life changing experiences, but they're more than the sum of their parts - more than a tally of hours, miles, gifts, or papers. The best and worst moments in life are about the people - the ones who teach you, support you, love you, chastise you, surprise you, forgive you, understand you, trust you, and when you need it, remind you to be the person both of you know you can be.
In the last month I thought I was setting out to get to know myself better, to make peace with where I am and where I've come from, but something different happened. The more I tried to know and remember myself, the more I learned of those around me, the people I am so lucky to have in my life, whether they be new friends, old friends, or family. I learned that even when I stubbornly declare my own independence, I only have the luxury of doing so because of the team of people I am surrounded by everyday, in person and in spirit, that structures an incredible support system - a scaffold of sorts - invisible to the naked eye. I am who I am because I have a mother and a sister who love me enough to take me as I am, but expect more, because I had a father who gave me the best and worst of him, friends who let me ramble and over-analyze, and know when to bring me back down to reality, who have been with me since my moody and at times unfortunate teenage years, who let me love and hold their babies, who know just the right words to give and hold back; I am who I am because I have a husband that looks at me each morning and each night as if I am the best person he's ever met, even though I fall short of that each day, because of the new family I've gained through him, because of co-workers that most likely stayed up all night to make me a giant cake shaped like a carrier pigeon even when the choice seemed odd, who surprise me with gifts that reveal they are not only thoughtful, but that they know me so well. I am who I am because of all the people who read these posts and took this trip with me.
So, I guess, what I'm trying to say, though I believe I've fumbled it already, is thank you. Such humble words for such a large emotion, but I'm not sure gratitude ever really has an adequate lexical response. Regardless, I hope you understand that when I say thank you, I mean it, and not just for reading, but for the comments, and "hellos," and shares, for indulging me when I needed it, and for celebrating with me at the end.
It was good to write again, to carve out a space and force myself to slow down and pay attention, and maybe most of all, to share. I've been keeping blogs for many years now, closing each one as a new chapter opens, and beginning again. I hope you'll stick with me as I do that now: http://choosingconstellations.blogspot.com/ . I'm hoping to begin posts next week, and though they won't be daily, I'm excited to keep going, in any direction they lead.