30 at 30: Closure is a Zipper, Not a Seam

I’ve felt a bit like Greek dressing lately.

I had all my little parts together at the beginning of 2015. I had my career and I was good at it. I had my house and it was cozy and in order. I had my family, a constant comfort. I had my friends, my creativity, and my ambitions all neatly in line. My parts were calm. My parts were settled.

And then somebody or something shook the hell out of my little life.

I lost a loved one to the next world.

I had to move unexpectedly on a tight timeline.

I lost other loved ones to incompatibility and, possibly, an unwillingness to adapt.

I had an unforeseen illness that took a small, temporary toll.

I saw friends’ experience sadness and, in turn, experienced the terrible feeling of helplessness.

I cried for myself and for others, whether they knew it or not.

Shining brighter than the darkness, though, is an aura of something better, something wonderful.

What I’ll remember when I look back at 2015 is this:

I experienced the magic – and there’s no more appropriate word – of falling in love again.

I defied the laws of gravity and saw something that I’d wanted to see since I was a child.

I witnessed the legal creation of a family (thanks to adoption) after having witnessed the real creation of that family over the last three years.

I reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years and was both shocked and comforted to see how little we had actually changed in that time.

I took an impromptu trip to a new coastline and happened upon a tortoise hanging out at a gas station.

I discovered that some people were always much better friends than I had understood previously.

I woke up smiling, happy to experience another day of ordinary.

I felt connected to something new, a terrifying prospect, heavy with potential.

I got the opportunity to make a new home out of four new walls.

I spent Christmas Eve in another’s arms, feeling loved.

I got to experience the pride of having my work appreciated in a large way.

I connected people that otherwise may never have bonded.

I felt warm and fuzzy because friends offered – unprodded – to spend a measurable portion of their time just helping me.

So, in short, it was a beautiful year. And the parts are settling again, for a time.

I turned 31 this year. Thirty-one. Old enough to know better and too old to get away with thinking the world owes me anything, anything at all.

As far as 30 at 30, there were ten outsets that I did not complete. They were:

– Buy a house.
– Partake of all the Asheville breweries.
– Finish the canvas I started 3 and a half years ago.
– Complete 6 different Pinterest projects.
– Make conversation every month this year with a person outside of my normal experience.
– Create and actually use an original greeting card.
– Use a new word in conversation every month.
– Create a new recipe each month.
– Write and deliver a comedy routine.
– Make cherry jam with my mom.

One reason I had not previously ‘closed’ this project was the simple fact that life does not follow a black and white calendar. In my line of work, it quickly becomes obvious that deadlines are important. However, it also quickly becomes clear that creative work – and life is nothing if not creative – is never really put to bed. It has a way of getting up each time you put it to bed and saying, “I need a glass of water” or “I’m not sleepy.” This project was no different. I haven’t put these goals out to pasture yet, but it’s time to acknowledge that it’s likely that other projects and ambitions will take their place in the new year.

The point of this project was to be more conscious of my place in this world. It succeeded.

I’m still going to make cherry jam with my mom. Because she does it the absolute best. And hopefully I’ll make this jam with my mom in my new house, the house I’m going to buy sooner rather that later.

So, as 2016 knocks on your door, my friend, my wish for you is this:

Find the people and the closure you need.
Find the love and the adventures you want.
Be the person and the new beginning that somebody else needs.
Be the love and the adventure for somebody else every day.

Love to you and yours,