It is the writer's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.
Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post in January but didn't post it because I wanted to rework my website a bit. Here we are four months later and I'm finally posting it. Better late than never! While you're here, feel free to check out the rest of the website if you like.
The start of every new year always brings a flurry of emotions with it for me, as I inevitably spend a significant amount of time and energy both revisiting the past and contemplating the future. This year is no different and, in many ways, brings not merely a flurry, but more accurately a blizzard, hailstorm, landslide - whatever term you prefer to describe this transition I've been pressing my way through. It's been a doozy.
I suppose it began last August. I turned 50. My daughter got engaged to be married. It became apparent I would be closing down a business. Ya know, minor stuff.
In no way did any of those things scare me much. I've never been afraid of getting older. My grandmother lived a very full life until she passed at the age of 102. My mother is an active, 86-year-old, spunky enough to dance to "I like big butts and I cannot lie" at my daughter's recent wedding. (Update: My mother fell and broke her hip in February after I'd written this draft. It slowed her down for about 30 days, She's doing fabulous now. ) I'm in relatively good health and have no plans to slow down. Okay I'll slow down a little, but not much. So take that, 50th birthday! I'm just hitting my stride.
My daughter's engagement and subsequent wedding was much to be celebrated. Without question, there is an element of grieving to letting your little girl go. But when you've walked the kind of road we walked to get there, and prayed the kind of prayers we prayed, the grieving is so small in comparison to the countless reasons to rejoice. Their wedding was fun, meaningful, and a testimony to God's power to redeem.
Closing down a business is never fun, whatever the circumstances. My husband and I have been small business owners our entire 27 years of marriage. It isn't easy, for any of you considering that life. However, in spite of the difficulties, I wouldn't trade the entrepreneurial life we've had for anything, mostly because of the people we've had the joy of working with. Through our most recent business, The Space, I met the most amazing people and hopefully we served them well at every turn. I will miss so many of them. Not all of them, but many.
I will miss Summayia, who introduced me to a community of people who believe very differently than I do, but who celebrate their faith in a way I somewhat envy. She shared her culture and her delicious Middle Eastern food. She left me flowers and she always left our building cleaner than she found it.
I will miss the instructors and members of OLLI - the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I sat in on several of their classes and learned much, including the importance of continuing to be a student of this wonderful world in which we live, no matter how old you are.
I will miss the women who gathered for MOMS3.0, a group of moms navigating the teen years and trying their best to weather the transition to becoming a mom of adult children.
I will miss the members of BNI Profit Powerhouse, the business networking group we hosted every Thursday morning. Good people trying to operate their businesses through good times and bad. I have recommended their services to a lot of people over the years and will continue to do so.
I will miss Irina, my petite but spunky friend who showed me that Russians really know how to throw a party. She brought me her homemade pastries after she had stayed up all night making them for her 65th birthday celebration. And she left me Vodka. I am REALLY going to miss Irina.
I will not miss the people who never paid their bills, who left our place in shambles, and who simply complained about every little thing. Ugh...those joy-suckers. I'll remember those people for sure, but I am choosing to think more fondly of the Irinas of the past three years rather than those other people who really don't even deserve the time I've given them on this blog. Moving on...
Leaving 2017 behind means saying good-bye to a part of myself. I've cried many tears over those good-byes, but that's okay. An occasional eye-washing is good for the soul. While it swells and stings for a short time, I know it eventually clears the view for what's ahead. And there are good things ahead.
There are songs and musicals and books to write. There are people to invest in. A growing family to enjoy. I'm sure there will be unexpected things that cause me to stop, force me to breathe deeper, and possibly demand that I change directions. I'm okay with that too.
So because I just hit 50 and I've always had this finish line of 100 years of life in my mind, I'm choosing to enter 2018 as if I'm at the beginning of Act 2. The stage has been set, the characters are being developed, the story is moving along, but it's just about to get really, really interesting. Fun. Challenging. Rewarding. Exciting. Good. The reality is, the second act may not be as long as the first, or as long as I'd like it to be. But I'm going to move forward as if this is what I've been working for my whole life. Like I'll finally unveil the part of the story that gives meaning and purpose to what Act 1 was all about.