Sunday, November 13, 2011

18 Months

"We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." -T.S. Eliot

Have you ever noticed that you can never, ever, no matter how hard you try, stop learning things? Honestly! Even when you *think* you've mastered a skill, or memorized a fact, or become comfortable with an area of knowledge, it's at that exact moment when The Universe chass├ęs in and says, "Great job, sucker. Now! Here are the assembly instructions for your life... in Portuguese." 

Oh, and then there is the universe's partner in crime: Time. Ohhhh, hoho! Time. Time is the worst.  It works in beautiful and fluid unison with The Universe to ensure that we all learn exactly how inept we are at our most vulnerable moments. And my second grievance against time? It's rarely kind enough to be the right amount in any situation. 

But, my sparkly fellows, I assure you that this is not a post based on grumbling. Oh, no. There is a point, I promise. But first, you need to go with me on a small but necessary journey of the past 18 months of my life. Because you see, Time and The Universe have been teaching me things I can only share with you through shared experience. And for those of you that have shared in most of this experience, then perhaps, you may just learn something about either my life or yours that you did not already know. And if that's the case, well, perfect.

So 18 months ago I was just starting grad school and I thought I knew it ALL. Yes. I was *that* girl. I had it all planned out. Career goals? Check. Great friends? Check. Supportive Family? Check. Long-distance relationship? Check. Healthy body and mind? Pretty much check. Well wasn't I just the luckiest? I was out to save the world, and I was going to do it my way. What did any stupid schools have to teach me that I didn't already know? I figured I would just use some common sense humor and pirouette my way through grad school. That's what I've always done, easy peasy. 

Boy, was I clueless. 

Not only did I have a lot to learn academically, but thanks to  the lovechild of the hero (Universe) and our heroine (Time) of our story, I was brought to my knees with a kind of humility that could have only come from the one thing we can never "easy-peasy" our way through: Change. I did not even begin to understand what kinds of changes my life could have over 18 months. 

To begin with, I started living by myself for the first time. This was extremely liberating and also very lonely at first. All my great friends started scattering this way and that, off to new adventures. Here I was, still in the same place, but grasping desperately for familiarity. My supportive family was still there, but even my relationships with each of them could not be unchanged. Career goals switched quickly, and I wobbled my way down a haphazard road of choices until I finally chose an internship site. E
ventually it became pretty clear that all these changes would even break-up my long distance relationship.  Health stayed with me for the most part, but my body and mind couldn't manage to soak up all the stress of these changes without changing a bit themselves. 

\Oh, but my friends. This is not all. Not even close. There was so much good that came from these changes. Although my great friends *did* have to scatter, the precious ones, the ones who matter, well you're all still here. I am so thankful for you. I am so lucky to be able to keep in touch with you as much as we do, and even more lucky that several of you have been able to come and visit me. Those weekends and overnights are my absolute most favorite times. And guess what! In the past 18 months I even got some *new* great friends. Social Work Frands, Mair, and so many other lovely more. I couldn't have made it without you, in all honesty.  Change brought me you, and for that, I am forever grateful. And then there came the not-so-long-ago day that Time and The Universe marched one of the more remarkable people I have ever met right into my life. It just so happens that just as I had settled into being content with being a single gal, I met a guy who completely knocked my proverbial socks off. Along those same lines, I walked into the HR office at my internship to get a new lanyard a couple weeks ago and I walked out with a job offer. You just never know when great things will happen. The Universe is funny that way, but in this particular case, I'm diggin' its sense of humor. 

Family:  I feel a little more grown up than I did a year and a half ago. Thanks for raising me and loving me, and putting up with me all this time. Ten points for you. I love you each so much.

So, ladies and gentlemen of sparkle nation, let us bring back our attention to the beginning quote.

 "We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." -T.S. Eliot

What does it all mean? To me, these wise words mean a couple of things. 
  1. We never stop learning because we are constantly in a state of exploration and realization. We may know a part of the answer, but the whole answer, the truest answer, is that we are always changing. We are always growing so that which we know is only so temporarily. 
  2. Because we are constantly exploring and realizing, we are always getting to know ourselves and our surroundings a little bit better. Things change so quickly, but in the end we come back to the same few and important things. Friends, your inner self, family and home are all people and places we can see differently, and often more beautifully over time. You get to know these things better and better with each passing day. It's like watching a great movie over and over. You notice things you didn't see the first million times. It's always so exciting when that happens. 
And that's it. That's all she wrote. Time and The Universe are certainly two things I always want on my side. I do my best to appreciate each of them on a daily basis. I know that without them, there would be no Change, and without any change, well, I'd still be 6-year-old me wearing monochromatic sweatsuits and bows to school everyday. (Not to mention I wouldn't know many of you wonderful folks who make my life so darn sparkly.)

I am really so thankful for you all. Can't wait for the next 18... everything. 

Peace, Love and Soul,

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