This Sunday I decided to roll up my sleeves and attack my storage unit. It was one of those looming projects that I just hadn’t had the time, energy, nor the desire to take on for months. By months I mean almost one year. I had boxes in there that I hadn’t opened since being tucked away almost exactly one year ago when I sub-leased my apartment and left for three months to live in Peru.
One whole year.
The project took on a “full circle” feel in more than one way. Not only did I go through stuff that had been tucked away over the past year – I went through boxes of documents and random stuff from when I first came to the Bay Area as an innocent, naive 18 year old; my time at Menlo College; and the many chapters ever since…
It was surreal to think of all of the years that have passed – how some moments feel like a faint memory, and some feel like they were just yesterday. Memories came flooding back, and I was in awe at how much can fit into 13 years. It can be a bit jarring, and definitely stirred up some emotions. Mostly it made me just take a moment to take stock, and to appreciate the journey I have been on; one that has in many ways come full circle this past year.
Almost thirteen years ago I came to the Bay Area with no money, no support, and no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that I was going to see the world outside of my small town, and get a college degree. I had no idea my academic journey would (like most journeys in life) not be a linear one.
A year and a half ago, after several detours, I returned to San Francisco State University; resolute in my purpose and determined to finish what I started. I thought I was in it for a piece of paper – but had no idea it would come to mean so much more. I could go on and on about how much more meaningful the learning was this time around, and how pleasantly surprised I was to meet such wonderful friends along the way…even if most of them were too young to remember M.C. Hammer ;-p The point is, I did it. I finally did it, and you know what? It feels even better than it would have when I was 22. I will be walking in my graduation ceremony on May 21, 2011; and that feels just perfect…
I remember struggling with the choice to come back and finish my last semester, or stay at Casa de Milagrosto help out during the difficult months of organizational transition. A huge part of me wanted to stay, as there was a huge need for my support, and love. I figured, “I’ve waited this long, what’s one more semester??” But in my heart, I knew that I needed to come back and finish. I could not let another 6 months, year, or decade go by, as I have learned how easily that can happen in life…It was a very difficult choice, and I struggled with a lot of guilt and sadness. But I did return, and threw myself into school taking 5 classes this past Fall. I don’t know how, but I made it through; with straight A’s no less…
A year of challenges, hard work, uncertainty, inspiration, soul searching, value defining, and faith walking…Today I feel energized by yesterday’s “purge” – I feel lighter, and more open to the possibilities and new beginnings; of the season, and of my life…
One year ago I bought an orchid. I got her at the Farmer’s Market – I found the perfect one with gorgeous, white, blooming flowers! And then, as orchids do, she sloughed away her beautiful flowers, and she was left to nothing more than stems. I have never maintained an orchid, and have a notorious “black thumb” when it comes to plants. Part of me wanted to throw her away and just buy a new one next year; I thought it was such waste of time for something so ugly, taking up space, and besides, I didn’t even know if the investment of energy would pay off. What if she didn’t bloom? What if it was all for nothing?? I was sure that my attempts at keeping her alive were futile, but I kept watering her anyway – once a week, every week (well, most weeks…) And I waited.
Last week she sprouted buds. At first, I didn’t realize that’s what they were – not only because I was convinced I was incapable of keeping a precious orchid alive, but also because I couldn’t believe it had been one year.
This weekend she bloomed ;-) Two beautiful, white, perfect flowers; to be followed by at least ten others by the look of it…Orchids have always been my favorite flower, because they are so precious, so rare, and so worth the wait… ;-)
So much can happen in one year, and all of it is part of the beautiful journey that is our lifetime.
There will be “good” years, and there will seem to be “bad” ones…but it’s all important, and it’s all necessary. The challenges, the uncertainty, the walks of faith, and the times of heads-down hard work – it’s all “worth it!”
At the end of every Winter comes Spring; and with every Spring comes the bloom…May your Spring be beautiful and full of new life, new energy, and a fruitful “bloom”.
Lots and lots of light and love,