‘Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.’-Joan Didion
I have usually used this Joan Didion quote in reference to grief and living a life in the before and after. A before and after I have had for nearly 30 years. But this year, it took on a deeper resonance and one filled with joy not sadness. When 2022 started, I did not think it would a life altering year. I was actually really stressed but slowly gaining a footing in Spokane, Washington. The schools I was teaching at were facing enrollment drops and budget cuts and what I thought was going to be great career move to Washington from Bend was quickly evaporating. Event with that, I had found a nice life in my downtown apartment and friends at the restaurant I worked at. It was a good life if not an unsettled one.
I always was looking for full time positions but, after a decade of being an adjunct, I never thought anything would come to fruition. I didn’t think anything of applying to a job in Odessa, Texas or got my hopes up when they called the next morning. I still was reserved when I was flown out for the final interview. I just told myself I had a great life in Spokane and whatever happened, it would be okay. The interview went great and while sitting in HR, where I was told to wait, I truly thought it was simply to wrap up and say bye. Instead, I left that day, in tears, with a phone call to my dad that I was moving to Texas. He said, ‘great, I have been looking at real estate.’ It still makes me laugh. So off I came to West Texas, where I had never been and knew no one. But you know what, it is true what they say, you can find joy in the most unexpected places.
Buying my first home has been great but the job has been better. I found a community I did not know I had been missing. I have met some of the best people and they are genuinely nice. I have also turned into my mom and say yes to a lot but in doing so, I have gotten close to so many amazing co-workers who have turned into friends. All in an oil town in West Texas. My mom was a proud Texan and my idea of living in Texas was Houston (where I have the best family) or Austin but I’m glad to have found a little bit of the American Dream a bit further west. I am a West Coast girl after all, lol.
2022 also brought a lot of travel. I explored the Pacific Northwest and knocked my 26th country off the list. I explored several national parks, car camped a lot (so excited for my new Toyota Rav4 hybrid…not sponsored but Toyota, I’m ready). I listened to the waves crash in Olympic, revisited Lower Antelope Canyon, the glacial waters of Glacier, Banff and Jasper, and watched the stars in Death Valley. I closed out the year seeing the incredible Adele in Las Vegas. Plus a cross country move.
An incredible year and for the first time in a long time, I am starting a new year with a sense of calm You truly don’t realize how much you are simply treading water until you have stability. A huge weight has been lifted, a weight I didn’t know I was carrying. 2023 will be awesome. More self growth, more being brave, and maybe I’ll even find a great guy to share it with (or maybe I have already met him, ha). But wherever this road will lead, I am ready to continue living furiously!