Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Chapters

“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.” ~ Arnold Bennett

It's funny. Three years ago, I was still living at my parents' house. Three years ago, I transitioned from my first full-time job out of college to my next job. That change, like most, facilitated others. Six months later, I moved into my place, a lower level duplex unit I made my own.

Having been away at college at my own apartment for three years prior to that, the move itself wasn't particularly difficult. But I remember where I was in my life then. I remember how I lost I was. I remember the moment I set foot here, I knew this was where I'd begin the next "phase" of my life. I just didn't realize how long that transitional phase would take. Yet, in three years, so much has changed. So much.

It reminds me of the things I'm now reading about and embracing. The preciousness of the present moment. How that IS reality ... and everything else is memory, memories we can fixate on, distort, filter ... illusions in that way. Me sitting here right now, with the warm glow of my living room lamp casting shadows throughout the room, my breath slowly moving in and out of my body, this is real ... this is life. And it only seems to move quickly in the looking back.

Sometimes, at my darker moments, I think, "Wow, I wasted so much time in the last three years," but the truth is, none of it was wasted. Yes, I could have done more with my "present moment" than I was back then. I came to this place a shell ... and my past was continuing to bleed into my present at that time ... I let it bleed in ... I welcomed it at times. What I had wanted to be the first chapter of a more promising future with wiser choices and promises kept, had really become an epilogue to the past. But it was necessary, it was necessary for me to gradually seal off the openings and gather strength in each scar.

The roller coaster of the last 5 years has been quite a humbling ride. The last year ... an empowering one, especially in the recent months. And now, as I look around at my place, half packed up, half still alive ... it makes me both nostalgic, sad, relieved and excited. Whether I like to think of them or not, I've got quite a lot of memories here. Some high points ... some very low points. The essence of them no longer assail me though. They feel like a subtle throbbing in my heart, a living pulse, not good or bad, just alive.

So, this epilogue turned into a prologue in the last year. And in this last year, I've sealed quite a few sapping holes and embraced the forces that help me grow. As a result, a lot of those past loose ends have seemingly tied themselves up. The universe works in strange ways. Things that once devastated me or I thought would devastate me ... for some reason, they aren't anymore. They haven't felt awesome, but whatever it is going on inside me right now, it's creating a sense of peace in the places that once ached. Yes, some corners still ache, but I'm filling them with light a little at a time.

Which brings me to the now. My prologue is almost over. Each piece I pack away, the things I finally throw out or lock away breathes catharsis. And I realize now, it's not about a new "physical" place per se. That is merely symbolic of what's already happening inside me. Sure, it will be nice to be renting my own home, to have a new level of independence and responsibility. To make it my own. But that's all secondary to the new things going on inside of me.

This process has, by no means, been roses. I seem to vacillate each day between different emotions. But I'm observing them instead of judging them more and more. I'm learning what it's like to embrace my entire self. And that seems to make all the difference.

And those sustaining forces in my life, I look at them with new eyes and appreciation these days. They know who they are. I suppose new chapters tend to spur reflection. And as those around me move through their own chapters — some turning to a new page, others feverishly writing their current one — I'm realizing, we may all have different stories, but there are key characters in all of ours.

And I am thankful for the ones in my own.


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