Bill once suggested to me that there was no such thing as a wasted year.
That when you looked back with grime and fog free eyes, you could see growth. You could see where the seams slid together and where the bulges and fractures fit to make the pattern more—not less—complete.
I took comfort in the idea. What if there really was no standing still? What if that breathless feeling after the sudden loss of momentum was just an illusion; like a theme park ride. What if the changing—the real changing—could be taking place at a cellular level and was safely away from the naked eye?
What if the last twelve months of my life were not a throwaway year? And the idea that I would throw it away offended the cosmos on a very personal level, because HELLO! Major shift happening down in your atoms, thank you very much!
This is something I've learned but apparently will keep on learning: Hindsight has a very powerful focus lense.
(I picture my team in the heavens shaking their heads in affectionate exasperation at me, already prepping the next lesson in Hindsight. Ah, our Stepper! She's so cute when she doesn't realise she's being dense!)
Even so, this last year has felt very much like that feeling I get in dreams, sometimes, where I know I can fly but I can't seem to take off. I can feel it so deeply in my bones—I can fly!—and my desire to push myself away from the earth and shake off gravity's hold on me is so deliciously intense I am CERTAIN if I could just get up enough speed, if I could just jump at the exact right time and at the right angle I would feel the air push beneath me like a wing and I would soar! So high, so fast tears would stream sideways along my cheeks and into my ears. My teeth would feel cold from laughing in the high air. I've FELT this before. I KNOW this part of me.
But in too many of my dreams, I run with abandon down the grassy hill only to crash into the trees in frustration and bewilderment. The sky is mine. I know I belong above these tangled trees, moving with the beating breaths of the wind, but I beat myself against the ground trying. Why can't I JUST. TAKE. OFF?!
And then the world shifts and suddenly I realize that all along, I was just standing at the top of the wrong hill. For a whole year - just on the wrong hill.
MY hill is over here. And on this hill...I can fly!