Today I can’t help but do some more reflecting. 2020 has been such a fun thing for my brain lately - from the way the numbers repeat to the fact that it marks the beginning of a decade. My own nostalgia has brought me back to the dawn of the last decade. It was an extra special dawning of an extra special decade… In fact, ten years ago on this day, I built up the courage to make contact with a man who changed my little world.
You see… There was this cute single guy whose kids went to the same school… I’d never really paid him too much attention, lest I venture out of the protective wall I’d built around my heart. But a few days previously, this guy had cracked right through my wall and I was intrigued at how he’d done it. I had to know more. I had been working part time at a beautiful cafe in the middle of the desert to make those ends meet, and cute single guy would often stop in for lunch with his sister and brother-in-law. I’d serve them with the cool stand-off-ish humor that kept spirits high and emotions distant. Then came a sunny Sunday when cool single guy and his whole family stopped in for some refreshment after an afternoon hike in the desert.
Armed with my comedic wit, I chatted and joked with them as they ordered chai lattes and fruit smoothies, moving them as quickly as I could through the line. Then cute single guy was up. And instead of business as usual, I was caught completely off guard by a look in his eye that was so different, my heart’s eyeballs flew right open. I tried to play it off. But it became much harder to play it off once my hands start violently shaking. And also, once “Sugar Booger” tumbled out of my mouth (there was context, I swear…).
Apparently, once I cross the sugar booger threshold, the kid gloves come off. Apparently, once I cross the sugar booger threshold I get bold with red scarves, heels and eventually even emails. And apparently? That clumsy kind of bravery is what led these two people to learn how much we had in common and how natural it felt to be together. I’ll take credit for making the first move ;)
That was the way 2010 started to unfold for us. I’ll never forget the magic of those nightly phone calls during the time we once puttered away at our work… Meeting up on lunch breaks to walk in ancient canyons… The excitement of making lunches and dinners together and sneaking around behind our kids’ backs until we were ready to share our relationship status with them.
As we look into the next decade, our lives have changed so drastically. And then in some ways hardly at all. We still walk a lot together. And we still love hanging out with each other. For the longest time I wondered when we would get used to the thrill of spending some time zoning out in TV land after the kids’ bedtime. Every night, we still get excited to just shut the door and do whatever the hell we want. We both spent a few years as single parents before we got married. We learned to make that time productive or self focused in some way. We couldn’t have predicted how grounding that time would turn out to be for us.
Life at home is very different with just one of our kids still living with us - by this time next year we may very well be empty nesters. I always imagined this time to be such an open and magical time, and now we have the opportunity to make it so. We’ve spent the last decade living in this desert community, and I know in the next decade we will explore living in other places in these United States. Places that are less red and more green. Places that are less serene and more exciting. Mountain towns, lake towns and beach towns. I imagine we will always come back to our desert, where our families are rooted, and… I guess... where our boogers were initially sugared?
Our next decade is wide open. With two work-from-home creatives, literally so many adventures are waiting. I can’t count how many walks we have walked, imagining the places we will go and the new things we will learn. Though I carried a few too many fears in my early adulthood to throw caution to the traveling winds to backpack in Thailand, or cross the London Bridge, or work as an organic farmer in Scotland just for the chance to see as many lochs as possible, I am working through those fears now so I can embrace the next decade and its surprises with a fuller heart... For now? We can learn how to cook foods from beautiful faraway lands, and we can take day trips to the beautiful landmarks that surround us. For now, we can appreciate the desert life and build our connections into our next chapter.
I can envision myself ten years from now, perhaps writing a new blog post (see how much faith I just put in myself to not fall off of the blog wagon?), chronicling the latest visit to Ireland or France, working through service project plans… I hope in my 2030 blog posts, I am still doing art in whatever form speaks to me then. I hope my children will have found some paths that ignite their passions. I hope to have met, laughed with, danced with, helped and just connected with new friends around the world. I hope I have made it through the hardest challenges in my healing journey, having gained a new perspective on the old defensive patterns that once protected me, but that morphed into barriers to fully feeling alive.
Ten years is an important span of time, and I am so grateful for where my feet have touched this earth in the past ten years. I’m so grateful for making it through challenges I had no idea how to approach. I’m so grateful for the soul people of my life, even when those connections have shifted and changed. I am grateful to those who have helped me to heal, and I am grateful if I have helped others on that track. I am grateful to have a partner who laughs with me - a lot; who finds me utterly lovely, amusing, important. A partner who steps up to the challenge even when he is completely inexperienced at said challenge. And a partner who has valued our children and our family in such a sacred way it has changed the way I relate to them also.
Cheers to the last decade - and cheers to my sugar booger. 2020, we’re ready for you.