Looking back on this year, it very much felt like a year where I came full circle. Or that lot of things got put to bed as I look out from a new beginning. Or that I’ve worked hard all this time just to get to the starting line. A bunch of realisations felt very pointed this year in the way they kept/keep surfacing across a whole lot of parts of my life and various interactions.
The first of which is something that I wish I could tell my 14/15 and 25 year old selves – that life will never cease to surprise you, you just have to live long enough and let enough time pass. Kind of a riff on “this too shall pass” but not just that you won’t be stuck in the one moment or situation or emotion forever but that life really will surprise you. And it’s worth sticking around to find out how. Or as my mother says, “it’s not the end of the story til the end of the story.”
This hit me yet again yesterday. We were at my in-laws for lunch and I wandered in to one of the bedrooms to grab my phone from the baby bag. As I walked in, I saw one of the beds from my childhood (my sister and I had the same kind of beds growing up. My parents recently moved and ended up giving one of the beds to C’s parents who were looking for an extra bed for the spare room). On the bed was some of the stuff C had unpacked to change a nappy earlier. And I just had this moment of coming full circle. Standing in my in-laws’ house, my bed all made up in one of the rooms, my husband amusing our baby in the other room. Being completely happy in the moment and having what I had always hoped to have. And yet it looking nothing like what I thought it would look like. Feeling nothing like I thought it would. And yet being exactly what I always wanted.
The thing about life never ceasing to surprise you? I feel like a lot of times this year I’ve realised that all I needed to do was to give in and give away all my preconceptions about what I wanted (how it would look or feel or how to go about getting it) to get exactly what I wanted. And that chasing after what you want isn’t necessarily the way to get it. In my case, I couldn’t have met C earlier or in any other circumstance. And I spent such a long time being sad, lonely, feeling like I was not good enough or being punished or unlovable when really all it was was timing, and the right person. And I had an idea of what the right person would look like and who they would be and that was nothing like C and yet, how could I be with anyone else? How could I have thought anyone else even came close?
And this isn’t the only part of my life where I’ve had this kind of moment with. My PhD and the topic is another example – it seems I’ve spent the last 7 years collecting reference material for this exact topic, completely unthinkingly. Helen only talked me into this gig late last year. Before that, I could never have even entertained the idea of giving up working for the environment.
And lots of other smaller examples where things have taken a long time to fruition and have been surprising. And I guess that’s one of the pluses of getting older – the living longer so that you do see the full turning of things. It’s interesting. I thought I wouldn’t like approaching 40 and yet the closer I get to it, the more I realise that Life Just Beginning at 40, is really true. And it’s kind of exciting.