I’m blown away by how we are barreling through the rest of 2013. How can it already be December 11? How can my fortieth birthday be days away? How can my Africa trip be mere weeks away? Time needs to slow down.
Towards the end of the year, I become a major doer. I clean house. I pay stuff. I organize my financial information for my accountant. I make lists for the coming year. I am someone who won’t go to sleep on New Year’s Eve until I’ve purged the junk in my house, done laundry and dishes, and emptied all trash cans. This is normally a really productive time of year for me, and it is this year too, but it’s different somehow. Although time is flying by, I’m not feeling as frenzied.
My big boss asked me this morning if I have insurance in place, just in case I don’t make it back from Africa, because how will my work at the firm get done without me? What will they do if I die on the mountain? It was an odd question. I didn’t poke back that any policy I did have would list Bread and Butter as my beneficiaries. I just laughed and took in his unique and often comical way of expressing appreciation for me and my work. (This is the same man who, just yesterday, reminded me that I’m officially middle-aged and can’t be jaunting all over the world doing crazy physical things or else I’ll need hips and knees and everything else replaced when I’m really old. I love him.)
In that moment, when he asked about me dying on the mountain, I had the thought that, if I died, I would die happy. As this year speeds to a close, that’s a damn fine realization for me to have made about where I am right now.
Things are good. Is that okay to say? Will some kind of bomb drop now that I’ve spoken those words? Let me say it again. Things are good. I am well.
I do have a to-do list that is pages long – thank you notes I want to send, a long past due wedding gift I want to buy, pictures I’d like to print, trip stuff I need to prepare. I’m way behind on this season of The Voice. My dear friend had twins in November, and I still haven’t met them. I haven’t begun my Christmas shopping. I’m thinking about writing a Christmas letter this year but haven’t given much thought to what it would say. I have a ton of work, writing and legal, that needs to get done before I get on a plane to Africa. Everything is busy, but I’m feeling calm somehow.
I find myself smiling and laughing throughout the days. I’m enjoying my workouts, even in super cold temperatures. I’m enjoying my time at the office, with people I love and in my new space that now holds a recovered couch from my childhood. I’m enjoying being home and seeing the new curtains and bedding that my mom made last month. I have planned a number of fun events – game nights, concerts, and such – with friends, including a party for the birthday that I once so dreaded.
I wasn’t here this time last year. I was sad, lonely and unable to breathe much of the time because I’d lost someone that was so precious to me, someone who still is in so many ways. I was holding on for dear life, and it took every bit of energy I had to do that. It was exhausting.
One year later, to see and feel wellness? I am so grateful. So very grateful.
And I should clarify (especially for my mother, in case she’s reading) that I will not die on the mountain. I will work my way up slowly. I will deal with the cold and the change in altitude. I will deal with not having running water and learning how to use a trowel. I will take it one step at a time and, hopefully, God willing, I will summit. Then I will take some time to look around on safari. Then I will make my home to just be. That sounds and feels right to me. That sounds like exactly the right way to finish out this year.