You know that feeling where everything has changed, but you’re not really sure anything has changed at all? Where 365+ days have passed and although you can point to specific days on the calendar and be like “See! A difference!” you look around your surroundings and you shrug and think same old-same old? Where you can feel yourself getting older (mysterious aches and pains, eating one cookie makes me gain 10 lbs), but are still so stuck in how young you are?
There are concrete things that have changed.
I moved once. From small town America to the capital of Michigan. I upgraded to a place that has a washer and a dryer, a pantry and a walk-in closet. It’s walking distance from really cool things, and a stone’s throw away from the holy place known as Spartan Stadium (Looking at you, Rose Bowl champs!).
I changed jobs twice. From working in academia to working in food safety to working in academia. I left one place because I thought the grass was greener, because of opportunity and more money. That was a mistake. And it was dumb and it caused me a lot of annoyance and grief that I could’ve avoided had I just been patient. But, it also got me to Lansing—and it got me to my next job: working back in academia, where everything feels a lot like home.
Man-in-my-life graduated from college. This was exciting and it made me teary-eyed because I’m sappy like that.
Then there’s everything that hasn’t changed.
In November 2013, I was Queen of the Ants in My Pants, ready for something cool to happen. I like when I can feel forward momentum in my life. Last year, I was revving my engines, thinking about getting a new job and wanting to move and waiting for man-in-my-life to (finally) graduate and all of this wow stuff to happen. It all felt so far away. Facebook showed me how exciting everyone else’s lives were—why couldn’t my life be the same?
And then all those things happened, and I’m sitting on the other side of it a year later wanting to rev my engines again. C’mon, world! Let’s go on an adventure and do something wow again! Let’s get a pet and let’s have man-in-my-life secure a post-grad job and let’s buy a car and let’s… I have a whole list of things I’m waiting to happen. I’m a perpetual think-ahead-er, never quite satisfied with the now. I’m so certain life could be better only if this or that happened.
Sometimes, I wish I could learn how to stop and smell the roses. I’m anxious and ready for new things, but I could also use a little time to sit still. A lot of life happens when you’re not looking, and maybe that’s my problem. I’m so focused on details and specific events that I’m not paying attention to all of the changes and those every-day wow moments. I’m getting stronger every day at the gym. I’m adding more writing projects to my resume. I’m getting really good at curling my hair. I need to cheer those kind of mundane things on too, because those are mini wow moments in their own way, too.
This time of year is often a time of thanks and remembrance. I’m a lot of the same person I was 365-ish days ago. I’m one year older and inching up on a half birthday and two and a half years with man-in-my-life and two years in the “real world.” It’s been quite a ride this past year. Lots of ups. Many downs. And I’m sure as November comes around in 2015, I’ll be sitting back and smiling on all of the wow moments I think are coming, and all of the wow moments—both big and small—that’ll astonish me.