And I *really* love every December, when I carefully pick out a fresh new planner. It literally gives me the opportunity to close the book on the previous 12 months and stare into a blank new future all spread out for me.
Anything can happen in 365 days of blank opportunity.
2015, you were one to remember. I turned 28 with the best of intentions. In Italy. I left Google for my current full-time gig. I ran away for a smattering of weekend adventures. I blogged less but not for lack of thoughts or words --they'll find their way out in time. I settled into more of my best self and left more of the unhealthy behind, bits and pieces at a time. I pierced something and tattooed something else. I watched a long-awaited beautiful thing come true. I adventured north to Canada, and sailed south to Mexico. All in all, I left the country three times -- and it'll be four before the new year rings in (stay tuned!) Not too shabby for a girl who only obtained a passport less than two years ago. (But not surprising for a girl who's nigh unto obsessed with stalking travel deals online.)
Girl. Girl.....woman? Woman. I'm sure the term will fully set in at some point. I use it interchangeably here and there. I use it deliberately in work (and often dating) settings because it's important to be taken seriously. Work....work. I mentioned I changed jobs. I've alluded to the fact that I've been working my ass off for several months now. It's been...invigorating? Whatever the word is for something that pushes you forward and gives you bright joys and new friends but also rolls your soul out with a rolling pin and robs you of sleep and peace of mind at the same time. But what is growth if it isn't taxing and stretching and pulling like taffy? What is life if not full of alternate plans? In quieter moments when my head stops racing, I catch glimpses of some end goal down the line and it involves a quiet, steady pace in a quiet, steady place with a quiet, steady shoulder under my resting head. But for now, the burn. The kind of burn that lights me up and cleanses me all at once.
2015 finally set fire to a long-cultivated spark in the back of my mind that always said "grad school, someday." The spark became an idle investigation, which became a certainty somewhere in my belly, which became an application and some essays and, finally, an acceptance letter. And a plan, just three months away now, that means big changes and late nights and pushing myself more, more, more.
And I'm hungry for it. I'm hungry for that MBA in a way I haven't felt in many years when it comes to education. It's that certainty in my belly, that steel resolve that the coming months and years are exactly what I want. It's a calm and fiery resolution that, of course, still comes with a little whisper saying "heaven help me, what am I getting into."
But that's how all my best things start: a hot flame with a cool edge of uncertainty. This is my sweet spot.
This is an arena I know how to navigate and coals I know how to walk on. And a sure knowledge of what it looks like in practice -- alternating turns of exultant highs and tear-ridden lows and white-knuckling through the hard, hard, hard parts to the moments of grace when I can look around and behind and ahead and see the utter beauty in the path under and around and behind and ahead of my practiced feet.
And somewhere ahead, yes, that quiet, steady place and all the little and big and medium dreams that come with it. But right now, the burn. The sparks catching fire. The fresh new flame, all laid out in little white squares on clean white pages.
So here's to you, 2015. For lighting me up when I wasn't necessarily planning on striking any matches. For telling me yes and telling me no, both a dozen times over, even when I didn't want to hear it either way. And here's to you, 2016. We've got some flames to feed.