I hope that each of you out there has a place that they can go to that acts as an aid to help you breathe more deeply and feel more settled. For me, that is the bosque (woods) near Tingley Beach in Albuquerque. It’s right along the Rio Grande River. Whenever I go there, there is a sense of the familiar, which is comforting, but also there’s always something new that I see or observe, and that’s also comforting in its own way. Usually, I’m there with Morgan, but occasionally, it’s just me. I love to hear the sounds of the birds calling to one another, or the wind in the trees above me. On very windy days, I get to see the tumbleweeds blow across the trail in front of me. And it’s on those days that there seems to be a certain urgency in the air, and I can see it in Morgan’s face when she walks in front of me. She occasionally looks back to make sure I’m still there with her and I always assure her that yes, Mommy’s right here.
I’m feeling something here in Albuquerque that I haven’t felt in a long time. I’m not sure i can put the right word(s) to it, but I’ll try. I feel more like myself. Running in the woods, it reminds me of how I used to run along the shores of the Charles River in Boston, and how I would run through the trails of the trees and relish the feel of the packed earth below my feet, watching the flow of the water so close to me. I remember the instant boost of energy I used to feel when I would see the crew teams out practicing on the river, and I would think, “if they can keep going, then so can I.” Here, along the Rio Grande, there are no such crew teams, but there is the current of the river, and the call of birds flying overhead, and on the river’s surface. It’s a different boost of energy that I get. The same, but yet different.
I see runners in front of and behind me, and feel like I’m slowly finding my tribe again. I’ll never be at the same speed I used to, but that’s no longer the most important thing to me. Now it’s the ability to get out there, and run for myself, and for my dog, Morgan, who is my usual running partner these days. We get to share in the beauty of being outdoors, and getting exercise, and running the “crazy” out of ourselves. I’ve realized she is a great companion to me. Just like her mom, she’s always wanting to get out there and explore, and I talk with her about our adventures that we go on every day. I feel less scared to explore things when I’m with her. I know she has my back, just as I do, hers.
I’ve met a friend in town who I feel like I can talk to easily, as if we’ve known each other for years. I can’t tell you how much that means to me after having felt unsettled for the past 16 months or so. Knowing I was meeting people that I sometimes connected really well with, but just feeling like I hadn’t found my “place” yet that I was searching for. No one will ever replace my best friend Sarita back in Boston, of course (she’s my little sis that I never had), but it feels really good to connect with a kindred spirit again. Someone who just seems to “get” you. Someone who accepts you for what you are and bring to the table.
My job is challenging in some ways, but I feel like I’m in the right place for myself to be right now. It’s challenging to see animals suffering, and also the suffering of their parents, whether it be for financial reasons, or just health problems that can’t be solved. As I sit in the visiting room with folks preparing to say their final goodbyes to their loved furry ones, I’m often told “I don’t know how you folks do this every day.” Truth be told, I don’t know either. I just know that if there is a way that I can try to ease the pain of those moments for someone, I will do my best. It’s hard to know when someone might appreciate a hug, or when you should ask them a question to make them smile or remember a happier time in their pet’s life, but I do my best. And more than one has made me shed a tear. Last week was the hardest. Several DOAs, and some very tough euthanasias. It was a Sunday shift that I thought would never end. Thankfully, it finally did. Maybe I won’t end up becoming a vet tech after all. I’m not sure. I just know I’m good with people and with animals, and for right now, I’m not second guessing what it is I’m doing with my life. If other people think I’m wasting my potential, so be it. I will decide what is right for me, not someone else.
My life here is a humble existence, and a simple one. I have a small apartment, but a lot of furry love surrounds me every day. As I sit and type this, Callie sits behind me on the chair, purring away. I look at the others, and see them all sleeping soundly away and that makes me feel at peace. I’m able to provide the basic necessities for all of us, and that’s good for me. I don’t need a lot to feel happy, or at least content.
At times, I do wish I had someone to share my life with again. If you’re on facebook, you know how it likes to show you “memories” of posts from the past. I was reminded yesterday that it had been about three years since I last spoke to my ex-boyfriend, six months after he had unexpectedly and very suddenly broken up with me on a trans-atlantic phone call from the Middle East. That call brought some much needed closure to me, but I now realize it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way about someone, and part of me wonders if I ever will again. Am I broken if I don’t feel that way again? Am I just hiding from the potential of being judged by someone, and found lacking? Is this a mode of self-protection, or is it fear holding me back from growing in that way again? I’m not sure, honestly. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
This is the post I wrote about that relationship, three years ago. I just read it over to myself, and I’m glad to say that yes, I’m still getting a little bit stronger every day. Learning about myself and realizing I may never achieve all my goals and dreams, but the journey really is in the time spent figuring them out. It’s the growing that takes place along that path, that journey. Because I know myself well enough now to know that whenever I achieve one dream, I’ll always be looking for another dream to latch onto. Three years ago, I thought once I figured out a dream to chase, I had to do it NOW, NOW, NOW, and my friend Dan knows how often I used to obsess about and change my dreams on an almost day to day basis. (That he is still friends with me now shows me that I have been blessed since I decided to go on life on my own, leaving what everyone has been taught should be their dream: the marriage, the house, the good paying job, etc.)
If I were to die tomorrow, would I feel like some things were unfinished? Yes. Definitely. But would I be able to die more satisfied, knowing that I had finally started to open up to my fears and hopes, and acknowledge that I’ve been truer to myself in the past seven years or so, than I ever was before then, in my life. Life isn’t about being comfortable. For me, it’s about growing, and learning, and loving.
I’m not sure where this post came from, honestly, but it’s one that I feel has been trying to make its way out of me over the past few days. I’m not sure I’ve even expressed all my thoughts the way that I really want to, but I now know it’s better to have tried than not to have tried at all.
Thanks for reading. And I’ll close with the video that I included in my post three years ago: A Little Bit Stronger, by Sara Evans. Still true, today.