Twenty six. The year that sprung eternal. I am a different woman on this last day than I was when it started. I have a new name and a fresh heart. I’ve scrubbed all traces of poison from my life and, in their absence, grew a forest. Most everything I held dear a year ago burned down. But I’ll be damned if I walk a scorched earth. What I’ve put in its place is good, through and through.
I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I let those words marinate in the quiet moments when I walked down the middle of a warm street, mini skirt billowing in the wind, topo chico condensating in my hand. It might not look exactly how I pictured it, but, in this moment, I have everything I’ve ever wanted.
It doesn’t mean everyday is easy. Most days come with their own slew of demands. It turns out that filling your life with an abundance of wonder comes with a ceaseless stream of caring for it. The spinning doesn’t stop when you get what you want. Now you have to keep it, grow it, nurture it. And you have to find a way to live in a world where that wonder isn’t a certainty. And that’s been the hardest to understand.
It’s taken me all this time to realize that even if what we care for makes us vulnerable, loving is not a weakness.
I see now that I haven’t achieved any measure of finality. I am at the beginning.
I finally, finally know why deep fires burn out. I mustn’t cut off the air we breathe. Perhaps those words I read in Latin all those years ago are the simplest form of this truth; gather the rosebuds while you may.
And so I come to you, my successor, with humility, in the knowledge that all I hold dear today may burn down. That you may read these words on the eve of twenty eight and think I’m a fool. But fools are always the happiest, they’re the only ones dancing.