This is it. Welcome to AJ 2.0. Or are we on release number three? I’ve lost count. Either way, let’s raise a (stiff) drink to toast new beginnings. And then down another one because starting over is some scary shit.
When J. and I bought our house in 2010, our realtor told us most people stay in homes for 5-7 years. I laughed, “No, this will be our home for a while–thirty years maybe? We’re in it to stay.” Oh, self… I had no idea the amount of changes that were on the horizon, a dangerous and deceptive iceberg that would tear a gash in the hull of my life.
As much as I loved that house, it never felt like my home, for some reason. I never got comfortable–truly comfortable–the way you do at home. It was my home out of habit–not out of a sense of belonging there. And so, too, I realized was my marriage, in a way. It had fallen prey to habit–lazy habits, habits that decayed the thing from the inside out, hurtful habits, habits that belonged to both parties.
In late 2013, the ship known as my life collided with the iceberg. By the end of the year, she sank, twirling in a chaotic free-fall to the bottom of the ocean. I lost nearly everything I’d worked so hard for over the first half of my life–the things that grounded me and made my life, well, my life. Some of it was by choice; some of it wasn’t; and some yet still was an aftershock of initial tremors.
I began building a new ship in January of 2014. The hopeful thing about beginning anew is you can rectify all the things you didn’t like from your first go at it. You can make a stronger hull, a more aerodynamic design, and add more life preservers. You can make your next vessel anything you want–something completely different from what you had before or even an improved version of the first model. It’s certainly a challenge but not one without reward.
I’m dreaming of a cheery yellow house with a wrap-around porch on the outskirts of the city. It has a couple of cats and a dog, maybe even two. There is a small garden out back to grow tomatoes, green onions, strawberries, and more. On chilly nights, you can find me sitting around a fire pit, drinking adult beverages with friends (and not acting like adults whatsoever). And oh, the sunsets…
As the flowers begin to bloom and the temperatures warm, I can’t help but get excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. To look at life with wide-eyed enthusiasm after everything is perhaps the most fortunate piece of all of this. And this time, as I set sail on my new ship, I’m letting the compass of experience guide the way.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaïs Nin