That I’ve made serious life change in the past two years isn’t news.
I’ve quit drinking, stopped smoking, ended some unhealthy relationships (sometimes happily, sometimes with great sadness), revamped my eating, taken up a healthy exercise regiment. I’ve started – in small ways – to find myself as a person again, uncovering all the components that most of the “normal” world takes for granted. Or maybe they don’t.
I suspect, though, they do for this simple reason: I am amazed daily at the small discoveries about myself and how I interact with the world; I don’t see others expressing the same wonderment. Unless they are in The Program, in which case they have a warped sense of maturity as well.
More than two years out, though, I can already feel I’m moving into another new stage of my sobriety. The first year was about hanging on, the second year was about re-assembling the broken bits, and the third year seems to be about the future.
The future. A concept that for most of my life I lived without. How odd, then, that I can conceive of a tomorrow. (This is one of those little wonderments.) That brings with it possibility. And with that, hope.
I’ve been thinking about what to do with that possibility and hope. After all, it’s really no good to keep it bottled up inside me, which I freely admit is what my tendency is. I’m an addict. Possibility and hope are the last stop on the way to death. I lived for years without a rational emotional connection to expectations.
Tomorrow was feared. Hope was beaten.
Now, I sit looking across the grand horizon on my life and am filled with a warmth and smile, if you can be filled with such things. It’s like a Southwestern sunset on the high desert. Technicolor dreams.
For years, I shied away from that. I realize now what a gift hope and possibility are. What a gift the oncoming end of this can be. It’s a reminder. Carpe diem. Seize the day.
Two years in, I feel ready to begin that journey. To attack my life with the same vigor that I hid from it.
The first step in this process – and this is simply the first of many changes coming – is a series of applications to writer’s colonies around the country. The residencies, as they are called, range from short two-week stays to 13-week summer escapes. Some are free, but most cost some nominal fee. The idea, though, is to head to a secluded place – most are on several hundred acres plots in the middle of nowhere – with a handful of strangers and then work on your art.
For me, this means writing.
The thing I’ve loved the most in my life but somehow lost my way. It’s become something I never quite get to, or don’t have enough time for, or can figure out what to say.
That brings an emptiness to my soul, one I am simply not willing to live with anymore. Seize the day.
Step one, then, is underway. I’m doing my research, writing my applications, applying for grants and exploring the possibilities (for both winter AND summer residencies). I will, as I have learned to do, put one foot in front of the other on this journey and see where it takes me. I am not worried about rejections or failures or roadblocks.
All of those, after all, are simply to keep other people out. There are no “nos” in Technicolor dreams. Only possibilities.
And Step Ones.