It was a beautiful day, sunny, very few clouds, a good breeze bustling through the trees, and I was all alone. So I sat on my back porch, smoked a cigarette, and took in the mountains. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to just be in a long while and I thought I should savor this opportunity. I started staring at a freckle on my left hand- it’s very small and light- and I couldn’t remember the last time I had noticed it. I couldn’t remember the last time I noticed something so small and insignificant about myself. Then I stared at the scars on my right hand- I obtained one when I was six when, after disobeying my mother, I tried to put the leash on our new dog while he was eating and he bit me. That was 27 years ago. And then I began to think about how long it’s been since I’ve had the chance to be still and contemplative and all the things that I’ve been through to take me away from that.
I graduated college with my BA when I was 21. At 22, I started graduate school, dropped out of grad school, and lost my mother. At 23, I left college for good. At 24, I moved across the country to California. At 25, I met and became engaged to Jess. At 26, Jess and I married and moved to Texas. At 27, I had my first child. At 28, I had my second child. At 29, we faced our first bout of joblessness. At 30, we faced a second bout of unemployment. At 31, we were faced with foreclosure on our house and had a really rocky year of trying to stay afloat. At 32, we moved to Colorado. Now at 33….
At 33, I left my stable writing job because I want more. At 33, I was asked to contribute to a book. At 33, my kids are both in school all day for the first time. At 33, I’m reaching out of myself more than I have before. I’m giving more of myself and my time than I have before. At 33, I’m sitting on my back porch, smoking a Camel No. 9, and contemplating the mountains and the breeze and dreaming of the ocean and palm trees. At 33, I’m discovering who I am, what I want, what I can do, and where I want to be. Turns out, I don’t want to escape as much as I thought I did; I like right where I am. At 33, I can finally breathe again.
It has been a long, full, painful, messy, glorious twelve years and I am glad to be stable.
Perhaps this is the calm before the storm. But perhaps I am the storm.