Turn the Page

Selfie: Q1 complete, 2016.

Selfie: Q1 complete, 2016.

2016 has been a year of highs and lows thus far.

By now it’s no secret that I’ve struggled with my health since just about the moment I set down my new year’s champagne. Trent and I have both also been grappling with the loss of his grandfather, the impending loss of both my grandparents, and the sense of responsibility we feel to my mother and our want to be close to all our family far away during this “generational changing of the guard.”

We’ve had some dark days this year, and some depressing conversations – about things we didn’t quite expect to be talking about in 2016 (well, not the grandparents dying; it’s probably time to have those conversations).

But at the same time, I’ve had tremendous success at work and feel my star rising quickly: faster than I think it ever has. I’ve managed to layer on new ways to find fulfillment including volunteering, mentoring young people, and joining a school board. We’ve accomplished a ton at home: 3675 at last has the upstairs bathroom she deserves. We’ve hit the end of the long, no-fun-must-do project list for this old house and, having survived El Niño, both our homes are undergoing spring cleanups like they’ve probably never had in their long histories. Plus – one of my best friends has relocated from the East Coast to be just a half hour away.

My ten year anniversary of being a Californian is just around the corner and I feel like my second decade here is going to be a lot different – better, even – than the first.

Struggle is what brought me out here in 2006; I was looking for a place to escape to, to start over and regain my strength. Here I am ten years later, struggling again (with a few very familiar demons), but I don’t feel the need to escape or start over. I’ve obviously gained a lot in this past decade, not the least of which is an incredible partner to struggle and grow with.

This feels like my home now. San Francisco wasn’t quite it but Oakland definitely is, and there was learning in that; certain people have come and gone from my life, too, but a picture of a family I want to keep around me is beginning to emerge. I know the work I want to do and, more importantly, I know where and how much of it to do.

Even with all the lows, I feel very, very lucky. And excited for the next chapter.

In particular, for the immediate next chapter, because it’s spring here, and the weather is glorious and I’ve already filled my summer calendar with things I’m so looking forward to. Every day there’s something to deal with that I’m not quite looking forward to, too, but I’m just focusing on the good stuff, for now…

Just a little over a month until Downtown Julie Brown's first California birthday celebration!

Just a little over a month until Downtown Julie Brown’s first California birthday celebration!

Annual Memorial Day trip to DC is coming right up!

Annual Memorial Day trip to DC is coming right up!

Under two months to my 38th birthday... Oy.

Under two months to my 38th birthday… Oy.

Rocky Rest sites snagged for summer camping kickoff!

Rocky Rest sites snagged for summer camping kickoff!

July 4th on the calendar with the Rippees again, this time up at Arnold!

July 4th on the calendar with the Rippees again, this time up at our new home!

El Niño means we'll be hitting the Truckee River again in July!

El Niño means we’ll be hitting the Truckee River again in July!

It’s a summer routine now, and I love it. It’s my routine, and even with some crap thrown in that I wasn’t quite expecting, I’m going to do it all, and love every minute of it.

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One thought on “Turn the Page

  1. Marge Wisniewski says:

    Who knows? Maybe Chapter Two will be even more phenomenal! Key learnings here are that you have a home and a family in California that you love, in addition to the family that you have in Michigan and DC; that you know what you want to do and how much of it you can do ( big step); and that there is some good to be found in each and every day. Learning to live with the dichotomies and the uncertainties will be challenging and exhilarating. It may not seem like it on some days, but you truly are a very lucky girl. Most people will live a lifetime and never experience a fraction of what you have seen and done in 38 years. Love you!!!!

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