I’ll admit it: I fell in love with Instagram’s immediacy and accessibility this year. It freed up what it meant to make “real” pictures and just allowed me to see and to record whenever I wanted to. I even put together a portfolio of the images that I made while working on a small farm this past summer.
I turned 28 last week.
As I move farther from my teens and see 30 on the horizon, my birthday feels more like a time for reflection and looking forward, than it does for celebration. I prefer the company of few, of quiet hours at home, of self-care. I kinda of like getting older because I’ve become more at home in my own skin, my own body, my self. In the 365 days since I’ve turned 27, my life has changed enormously. At this time last year, I had just finished moving out of my parents’ house into the house of my partner and I had just left a full-time job to start a business.
The past 12 months have been about learning. How to be open to new experiences, how to be social all by myself, how to run a business, how to meet people, how to put myself out there. How to open my mouth and how to be seen. How to push through self-doubt, how to move on from the labels and the past that I’ve always thought defined my present and my future.
Even though my business did not catch like I expected, I learned that it was okay to fall flat on your face. It’s much easier to dust yourself off and walk away, than it is to wallow. How to find something else and how to move on. How to walk away from situations and relationships that are bad for the heart, the mind, the soul. How to notice and trust my own intuition.
At 28, I am young but haven’t represented “the youth” of America for a long time and found relief in being left off the hook for being cool.
How to live with someone that was not my parents or roommates, what patience and selflessness really are, how to be a long term partner, how to accept love, how to be vulnerable, what intimacy is, how to effectively communicate. How to give and how to receive.
How to be the leader of a one-human, one-dog pack, relearning the comfort of a wet dog nose and fuzzy dog butt. The value of a firearm. Walking alone in wild places, to the soundtrack of my own footfalls and the rustle of fields.
The value in a regular yoga practice, how strong I am and how strong I can become, what it means to really be present, where breath is, how to sweat. How to be in my body, how to love it, how to take care of it, how to honor it. How to feed myself and others well. How to make yogurt, delicious syrups and preserves from local fruit, cultured butter, my own tomato sauce, my capabilities for baking. How to strike the balance between good housekeeper and good person. How to find wild mushrooms for eating. The basics of beekeeping, the soft hum of a working beehive. How to ignore dusty baseboards in order to find joy and worth in other places. How to find a place to live quickly. How not to move next time. How to pack. How to get rid of stuff. How to untangle sentiment from physical objects.
How to grieve, how to be gracious at a funeral, how to loose someone so important.
New roads, new places, new ways to find home. My internal map, the roads that echo their promise on my palms, has grown and grown.
At the beginning of July, A. and I made a mad dash move. We found the house, signed the lease and moved all of our stuff (with assistance from his generous and kind family) within a matter of 10 days. Despite being incredibly stressful, we found a cute, Cape Cod-style house tucked away in an older neighborhood just outside of Coatesville. Well-landscaped, filled with sunlight and cared for, it has become a pleasure to come and be at home. I sigh, contentedly, when I pull into the driveway. Here, we are hidden from the world. Here, we have a generous backyard, with a large oak tree with abundant shade. Here, we both have ample space to stretch our limbs.