What is it we’re living in, unprecedented times? You can’t see it, but the air swirls with a scentless, colorless chaos that sticks to our clothes, is tracked in on our shoes and settles on everything like dust. In my hometown of Austin, Texas, the weather app says the air quality is unsafe. Scientists will say it’s the Saharan sands that have been carried over, no doubt by one of the horsemen. I say it’s chaos. We’re breathing it in and we’re regressing.

Anyway, hello. I’m glad you’re here. I hope you find something lovely that you’ll take with you when you go. And I hope that you come back. When the pandemic started, I was a different person entirely. I had stars in my eyes and clouds in my head. You see, I’ve always been the kind of person to take someone at their word. Read: I’m gullible and naive. I expect others to be honest with me because I’m honest with them. My mistake, I have this nasty habit of forgetting that we’re often losing at games we didn’t know we were playing.

Yes, dear reader, I was in love – and planning a future that was being precariously built out of faulty lumber. If you would have asked me in January where I’d be right now, I’d probably tell you engaged, in Italy, flying down a very different highway in a very different direction with the top down. So where am I now? I’m in a very overpriced one bedroom apartment, the one I had a week to find after I threw all my stuff in a storage unit and moved back into my childhood bedroom. I occupy a meager amount of my 700 square feet with the rest being reigned by a 14 pound cat, a 13 pound miniature pinscher and an 8 pound chihuahua.

I’m flying solo again, at a glacial pace, in my sensible Hyundai Sonata. But I’m going somewhere good. I remember one particular sun-soaked day in the beautiful home I’ve since vacated. It had prominent windows with views of the spectacular Texas hill country. It faced due west and every night, the sunset lit up my world with abandon. But I often found myself rolled into some ball, melancholy staining the ethereal view. I sent my friend Hannah a message, a profession of my soul, the rasping may day of my gut instinct. I told her that if I ever were to find a way out, I wouldn’t waste another moment of my life on things that were not meant for me. Finally I would set out in search of my dreams. Maybe I’d move to England, I’d change my name to one that better suited me, I’d finally write that book.

For so long, I stood in the shadows of the soaring life I imagined for myself and everyday I told myself I’d start tomorrow. Why? Because I never saw a way to mount it. Taking one step would mean committing to the rest. And what if I got to the top and it wasn’t what I’d imagined? Everyone fancies themselves flexible, everyone always tells themselves they can still turn around. But so few of us take the necessary courage to use that knowledge to propel them forward. I lived in envy of those people until I took the courage required to turn around.

Flexibility was never in my nature. I am loyal and trustworthy and committed to all the things I’ve cultivated. But it’s made me rigid and unmoving. However, I’ve recently taken up ballet so I’ve become better at moving my atrophied feet.

66 days. That’s how long on average it takes to form a habit. I am committed to writing every single day. Whether it is a paragraph or a telenovela. Forward motion. In this new life I’m building, I’m celebrating progress, not successes. I am finding one way everyday to move closer to that castle on the hill.

Perhaps you’ll find something of yourself here, and perhaps we’ll find something of ourselves in each other.

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