One year ago today I sat folded up in the cushions of my mom and dad's plush brown couch and put the smack down on a major to-do list: moving logistics.
In 17 days I'd be driving out of that Illinois driveway for a four-day drive to Oregon, where my parents would help me settle, then leave me 2,000 miles away to fend for myself. Life's next great adventure awaited in Bend.
Today, one year later, I'm folded up in the cushions of a borrowed couch in a subleased apartment, Luna snoring by my side, much like she was a year ago. But I'm not in Oregon, as I intended to be at the close of 2016.
Instead I'm staring out the window at a busy residential street in a crowded neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Enter 2016's proverbial record scratch.
Everything that happened between that Illinois couch and this Wisconsin couch is 2016. And no, it’s no coincidence that my year has basically begun and ended with me in my pajamas on a couch. That is just WHO I AM AS A PERSON.
“Whirlwind” is such a bullshit, clichéd term, and yet, here I am about to describe my year as such. I should try harder. However, whirlwind perfectly describes what occurred between Illinois, Oregon and Wisconsin.
It felt like this:
One day, as 2015 came to an end, I sat on my mom and dad’s couch to rest. On their couch I found a box. When I opened the box, I fell into an explosion of confetti and adventure and mountains and love. Amid the chaos, I quickly slammed the box shut and woke up right here on this borrowed couch in Milwaukee one year later with a different life.
The entirety of 2016 is in that box. I love that box. I want to wrap that box in bows and shiny paper and place it gently under the fragile Christmas tree that’s currently shedding needles all over my borrowed hardwood floors. I want to sleep with that box under my pillow. I would, but there’s a cat who regularly sleeps on my pillow with me and a man who sleeps next to me, and really, it’d be uncomfortable for everyone if I started keeping boxes under my pillow.
Personally, 2016 has been such a precious and trying and wonderful experience that I’m sort of glad it will remain an enigma that’s safely tucked away in a box within the most sacred parts of my mind.
For the world, 2016 has been a dumpster fire that we can hopefully sweep under the rug and smother into the fiery depths of Hell with quickness. That does make me sad, though, to know my year of really, really living coincides with the year America came to a screeching halt. I suppose that’s how balance works. Good and bad, light and dark. But for the record, Donald Trump does not get to be in my box. Or around or on or near or grabbing my box… whether he thinks he can or not.
Once again, I digress.
I lived so much life this year and didn’t write nearly enough about it. I’d never be able to recapture it all with words now, and maybe I’ll regret that, but maybe it’s best that it’s tucked away in memories and photographs and friendships and x-rays and moving boxes and love.
I wouldn’t change a thing about this year.
Okay maybe I’d change a decision or two, but I firmly believe our actions – big and small, good or bad – deliberately deliver us to where we belong. My year required every traveled mile and dollar spent and FaceTime hour and lonely day and broken bone and beautiful view and giant choice and difficult adjustment.
I've got plenty say about 2016. I'll get around to it eventually.