Friday, September 17, 2010

"It is no disgrace to start all over. It is usually an opportunity." -George Matthews Adams

I have no idea who George Matthew Adams is, but its clear to me that he is a smart fella.

I have found (in my short almost 25 years of life) that starting over is both scary and wonderful, inspiring and unsettling.

Whether its a big life-altering starting over or something as simple as starting over on this blog, so often it is invigorating. Again, scary, but invigorating.

This year, I decided to start my career over. Instead of working in social services, I discovered that I wanted to be a teacher. A high school English teacher, to be exact. I made this decision just as I was finishing a sociology degree, so it wasn't exactly the best timing. Just when I thought I was finishing something, I realized I was only at the beginning.

I'm not going to lie; at first, it felt pretty discouraging, even as the hope and novelty and inspiration began coursing through my veins. After so many years of college, I wanted to start over? Am I nuts? I'm sure a number of people have thought so.

I'd say that I'm just dedicated to being happy, no matter how much work I have to put into it.

Now I have two years to go, and then I will be a teacher. Hopefully, I will start my first year of teaching just before I turn 26. Most days I feel like it can't possibly come soon enough.

And in walks the purpose of this blog... With something so big and so great looming on the horizon, it is too easy to get lost in dreams of the future. It is too easy to take the present for granted. Way too easy to forget just how great of a gift today is. And it is a gift, an invaluable gift.

The precursor to this blog was a gratitude journal that I started keeping about a month ago, after my godmother and my grandfather died within two weeks of each other. When something rocks the foundation of your world, its up to you to decide what you're going to hold onto, what stalwart will keep you from drowning in the maelstrom. Or I guess you can choose to drown, which I have no intention of doing, now or ever.

So I chose gratitude. Gratitude is my sanctuary.

Gratitude has always been my sanctuary. I just didn't realize it until after my dad died. There's no healing from a wound that deep; that leaves a hole in the heart that can never hope to close completely. But there can be growth. There are things to be learned from grief, from terror, from emptiness, from misery. And what I've learned is that gratitude is a choice, and it has not only kept me sane, but I have moments of delirious happiness that never goes unnoticed or unappreciated. The smallest things bring so much pleasure when you're mindful of their value. This mindfulness, this gratitude, has stretched the very boundaries of my heart until they can no longer be seen or felt. It is as though I stand in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight; it is just limitless love, limitless thankfulness.

Maybe I'm getting carried away. All I really meant by that particular digression is that I don't want to forget all that I have in these moments, because these moments are all I have. That's why I'm here. To share these wondrous, indescribable, heartful moments with... well, whoever reads this. And if no one reads this, there is no real loss, because the most important thing is just to remind myself.

This is a beautiful world. A beautiful life. And I intend to wring as much joy and love from it as possible while I have the chance. Because this life has all the beauty of a rainbow, but it shares the frailty and the impermanence of a rainbow as well - it is meant to be enjoyed to the utmost during the fleeting moments we are blessed with it.

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