New chapters are a funny thing. You have the opportunity to start fresh, but you’re still processing what you previously read. There are words we know, things we’ve seen, ideas we’ve had that help us process what’s coming. We can’t quite prepare ourselves for what’s next, but we want to predict.
Yesterday, I finished a major chapter when I said “see you soon” to my dear colleagues and had my last day in the office as program coordinator. I’ve been blessed and so grateful to have seven and a half years with them; over that time, I’ve developed deep friendships. It’s difficult to move on from people you’re so connected to, but I realized that I was missing a connection to myself. To my own passions and needs, and it’s time to honor those too. It was a bittersweet day – excitement for the future, but also nostalgia for three quarters of a decade.
The first chapter of my adult life was written during this time. I learned – I’m still learning, constantly – about what it is I truly want. What will fill me up, and what will make me the strongest, most vibrant version of myself. And in learning that, it was time to conclude that chapter and begin writing the next. I can’t predict what it will look like, and I’m trying to sit with that. It’s not a feeling I’m used to, but it’s a feeling I’m getting more comfortable with.
We decided to hang out with a bottle of wine and When Harry Met Sally last night. And yes, “we” means me and hubs. I am proud to be married to a man who can appreciate a well-written, classic rom-com. Harry is notorious for reading the last page of the book because, you know, what if he dies before he finishes? He’s got to know how it ends.
It’s tempting, sometimes, to want to skip ahead. To know how things end, just in case. To prepare ourselves. To protect ourselves. To not feel as vulnerable. To avoid the discomfort of the unknown. But it’s in the unknown that we have freedom. It’s unwritten, and that means we decide how the story goes. We have the ability to make choices, to choose a path – many paths – that will help our story unfold. And it’s on this journey that the story is woven. We can punctuate it however we want, and that is a gift! (See what I did there, with the punctuation.) When we start a new chapter – and you can start a new chapter every single day, every single moment – we own our stories.
For now, my story will involve learning. About myself, about the way I want to contribute to the world around me. It will involve research, about health and wellness and the way the food we eat impacts our bodies and our minds and our communities. It will involve writing. It will involve travel. Things that I know, from my previous chapters, make me feel so alive.
Here’s to new beginnings. New adventures. New chapters. No jumping ahead, because the good stuff is between the lines.