During a particularly riotous time in my 20s, a friend gave me a postcard that featured a black and white illustration of a Gibson girl on the front with these words:
“Believe it or not, my life is based on a true story.”
As most of us are tempted to send our 2020 calendars up in a roaring blaze, hoping to singe the memory of the year that halted life as we know it, I have harkened back to that postcard. As if a global pandemic, social unrest, and a bizarre presidential campaign weren’t enough, I chose to make my life even more tumultuous as I uprooted myself from my beloved home of 17 years in the Idaho panhandle to move across the country in the midst of all the chaos—effectively creating even more mayhem and strife. I have done a lot of stupid/crazy/ill-advised things in my life, but the decision to make this move amidst an unraveling civilization, topped everything that has come before. I was hoping for community and serenity, but I found neither.
If I were writing a screenplay of how it all unfolded, I might be critiqued by some script-reader that the plot-line was over-the-top, that there was one plot twist (or 20) too many. With the thousands of miles I’ve driven whilst looking for a new place to perch, I know it is more important to keep your eye on the road ahead, rather than in the rearview mirror. This is a new year and a new time zone and I have high hopes for 2021 and the new life I am carving in a new state.
Unlike the hard deadline of moving out of a home, I have no deadline to get fully settled into the new one, save for my desire to get on with a life that has felt unsettled for much longer than I’ve been living out of a suitcase. I have been living amongst U-Haul boxes for over a year—and in this particular mess for over a month, but the stacks are getting smaller and their emptied and flattened “skins” are sandwiched in a corner of the living room, a corrugated testament to my industry. Rooms are starting to take shape and I finally found the silverware yesterday. Progress.
I bought a book called “Daily Painting” and am hunting for my paints so I can start improving my art. I signed up for MasterClass and have started with Aaron Sorkin’s writing class. He says you have no story without intention and obstacle. 2020 was one long exercise in intention and obstacles. I am ready for 2021 to be the year I have been dreaming of my whole life: a life filled with serenity, passion, creativity and community. 2020 primed me for any obstacle. I can’t wait to see how my story unfolds. Happy New Year!