Embracing the New

A woman in a pink coat stands with her hand on a fence looking into the distance with a small scowl and furrowed brow. The Washington Monument is in the background.

April came in like a lion!
On March 31st I finished an extra assignment at work that thoroughly wore me out, so I was ready for a rest, but here we are and I swear the last couple of weeks have been packed with sweetness. Just the other day I looked out the sliding glass door at the trees across the way and realized the “greening” had happened. The pollen had been on the rise and everything was budding, but overnight the buds had started opening. I love that moment. It feels like the year and my spirits catch the wind and lift like a kite taking off.

A woman in a pink coat stands with her hand on a fence looking into the distance with a small scowl and furrowed brow. The Washington Monument is in the background.
One of my favorite pictures from the trip.

The first weekend of the month I met a friend from Bemidji in DC. We spent an absolutely lovely couple of days walking around. We didn’t see all the sites, but enough of them. I know that my ability to make develop friendships wherever I am is a gift. Y’all know that all of my friendships are significant to me. Something special happened in Bemidji, though, the depth of my Bemidji friends feels remarkable. I was there for such a short time and at such a difficult time of my life it might have been easy not to connect with many people. Yet, I remained tied to that place and those people in such a special way.

Wednesday brought me so many blessings this week. An unexpected chat with a colleague I rarely see brought me the most amazing “new to me” music.

A lot of swearing and frustration with auto-correct led to a new friendship. The day didn’t let me check much off my actual “To-Do” list, but the other tasks I had to do brought me a new perspective and vision about what my work could be.

Thinking through the beginning of this month, the changing of the seasons, the interplay between my old and new worlds, my thoughts turning to thresholds, boundaries, and transitions hardly shocked me. The familiar cog clicked into place, and a quick Google search confirmed, we are solidly into the seven weeks of Omer. The way that since I learned about it around 2017, when I found this article from Rabbi Dayna Ruttenberg, this time always makes itself known to me is something I can’t quite parse. Perhaps that is because every year feels a little different. As my new life takes shape, I no longer feel as anxious or as untethered in the transition.

Two women smiling into the camera. They are inside the library of congress, one visibly holds a glass of wine.
The evening of April 6th in the Library of Congress. Old friends, new spaces.

My life is much less neutral space and I have a bit more confidence about what this new life will look like. This year, though, Omer started on the evening of April 6th with the most beautiful mix of the old and new.

This week practicing the things that help me stay present, not creating expectations, not telling myself stories to interpret experiences, not taking things personally, shone a light on other lessons I’ve learned since my birthday. My new life is taking shape. It’s wondrous and full of new adventures big and small. Yet, even as I embrace those adventures, I can see the old patterns, habits, and armor I can’t quite put down. I am not sure how I feel about that. Being present here, admitting that while I may be less confused and anxious this is still the neutral space, because there are still parts of my old life I can’t put down, that’s hard to face. I’ve done so much work, and it seems like there is still so much to do.

It may be hard to face, but if my life has taught me anything it is that I can do hard things. In fact, I think I do hard things better than easy things. My face may not always show it, but at least I start this hard thing from a foundation of peace and joy.

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