It is December 26th and I’m sitting outside on a large porch in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is brilliantly sunny and breezy, but mild. I’m in the best of company (thanks to Mavis, my four-legged friend) and the best of spirits. Somehow even the fact that I’m unemployed can’t get me down right now. I am too fortunate. Too terribly blessed.
It has been a bizarre and incredible year. Had someone told me ten months ago that I would be sitting here, at this moment, looking back on such experiences, I likely would have shaken my head. It was an array of factors that led me to leave this place that I have, for years, called home and it was a whole different set that brought me back here, for this brief moment, to yet again redefine my existence as I wait to take off on yet another adventure (this time with a bit of company).
I have never worked so hard as I did this past year and it’s likely I have never learned so much. I learned about plants and what it takes to feed communities. I learned about healing, distance and love. I learned about friendships and what it truly takes to maintain them. About practice, intention, and limitations. I also learned that The Universe will give and give, but that it also sometimes has to take away.
I struggle with change, even as I bring it upon myself in these necessary periods of transition. I shapeshift, moving from place to place, pick myself up and sometimes slap myself across the face- just a reminder to wake up and notice what is right in front of me. I am a fortunate one and I try to remind myself of that, even though I sometimes find myself failing to find gratitude.
This path that I’m following moves all about. It’s nonsensical in a way, taking me this way and that. I run into barriers, dig myself into holes. I sometimes find myself back in a place that is familiar, only something subtle has shifted. If I’m lucky, I’ll take note. I don’t know why I pursued graduate work in clinical psychology, only to leave the field only to work, well, in a field. But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how strange it may seem that I am knowingly, willingly, leaving an exceptional community and a family I adore for an unknown place. I am ready to gamble this. I have to.
An old friend of mine, in Chicago, once reminded me that no matter who I leave or what place I choose to move from, I can always go back. Surely, some of the faces will be different, the landscape will likely change. One cannot leave a place and expect to find it the same upon return, but I know this. Even as it pains me to leave the ones I love and to start again from scratch, it always seems worth it. After all, to never leave is to never know.