There was a time that my brain looked no further than 2010. I was the Class of 2010 for my physical therapy program, and having been in school for my whole life, the end of my formal schooling felt like a big END. My mind could get as far as graduation, and then a big, white blank spot appeared.
It has now been a full decade since the end of my school years. In 2010, I completed my last rotation for PT school in Phoenix, Arizona, hiking the desert and avoiding getting bitten by rattle snakes in my off time. I graduated with my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Marquette University. Quite randomly, I moved out to Spokane, Washington, with two friends from school. Later in 2010, I met my would-be husband. We married in 2012. After one year of newlywedness and several honeymoons, we had many different roommates for various periods of time. We had a roommate from Kenya who was interning at our church live with us for a summer. We met a new couple friend, also through our church, that we bonded with over boardgames and nerd-dom and semi-spontaneously ended up rooming with for a year, along with another friend of theirs who hopped into the Henn House for several months. Then my best friend and her husband moved in while house hunting, and we added another couple who was in between school/internships/stages for the infamous “Triple Double.”
In 2015, I had a pre-molar pregnancy, D&C, and dealt with the bitter disappointment of thinking that we had conceived when, really, we hadn’t. We assuaged some of the disappointment from that by planning a trip to Europe, which doubled as a babymoon since we were, thankfully!, able to conceive again relatively quickly. 2016 brought our sweet girl into the world, and the pattern of my life will not be the same for a long time. I went to down part time at work, and 2018 saw the birth of our son! 2019, as I’ve mentioned in this blog, was a rough one for many loved ones around us, and ourselves included with me losing my first and only professional job.
As a whole, the last decade has definitely felt like my entering adulthood years. Obviously, getting out of school, living completely on my own for the first time, and getting married and starting a family is pretty grown-up business. I’ve enjoyed getting into my 30s. I feel like I’ve earned a little maturity and wisdom, as only life, suffering and deep joys can bring. I’ve seen some truths come to light, such as realizing that there’s no such thing as black and white for anything. Politics, religion, relationships: everything is nuanced and context-dependent. To try to boil things down into simple opposites, right and wrong, good and evil, etc, is naive and limiting, and misses out on the deeper realities. I’ve embraced the gray-zones with wide arms more recently, and haven’t been put off by unanswerable questions or serious doubts. I’ve come to question A LOT of what I grew up believing. Two-decades-ago-me would think that today-me is a heretic, I am sure. And that’s ok. I was who I was then, doing the best with what I had and knew. And I’ve grown.
Looking ahead into the next decade feels predictable, maybe? Having kids now puts us on a certain trajectory as far as routine, starting school, the school-year schedule etc. At the end of the next decade, my kids will be 13 and 11. Teenagers! I’ve got a full decade to appreciate and soak up their cute, little kiddiness before they turn into hormonal narcissists. My husband and I plan to adopt some more kids into the family, likely when our first two are a bit older, but probably within this next decade. That’ll be an intimidating, exciting, scary bridge to cross when the time comes. Professionally, I’ll be starting a new job next week, and I’m looking forward to see where that takes me. I’ve become a bit specialized in a certain treatment area, so it’ll be fun to pursue that more going forward.
Spiritually, philosophically, emotionally, I am excited to keep learning and stretching and growing. I have SO MANY BOOKS to read! I can only hope that I will continue to expand my mind, to be exposed to new thoughts and ideas and keep processing them out loud with my friends and husband. I hope that I will continue to grow in love that knows no bounds, that keeps building the table longer and longer and keeps inviting everyone over for the party. I hope I will keep confronting my hidden judgments, stereotypes and blind spots that I can break open and confront. I hope I stay humble and never think that I’ve got it all figured out (I do struggle with pride, so that is a temptation of mine to think that I’ve gotten it Right). I hope to maintain our dearest friends and relationships, and possibly start some new ones, especially as our kids start bringing people into our fold on their own.
Despite how nasty this last year felt, despite how ugly and divided things can seem in the US politically and socially, despite the very real ongoing racism and xenophobia and homophobia, despite the loathing I feel for our current Commander in Chief, I do look ahead hopefully. People have always thought things were getting worse and everything was going to explode at all times and eras. I’m reading a book right now on the Pilgrims, and they left England because they thought the country was so corrupt and evil and would be taken over by the dreaded Catholics, they literally had no hope left in their homeland. And yet here we all are. Life goes on. And however ugly things can and will be at times, there are always pockets of joy and happiness. We can choose joy, in fact, even in the bad times.
So I will expect and look for the Good going into the roaring 20s. It’s out there, waiting for us. Let’s look forward optimistically, expectantly, and excitedly, and will it into existence!