Well, here I am, in Portland, Oregon.

If you had asked me a year ago if I’d be anywhere near here, I’d have looked at you wistfully, and then realized that no, probably not. Things a year ago were as chaotic for me as they’d ever been.

It was a long winter in the Denver area, at least for me personally.  At this point last year, I’d have started going out on my hikes, sneaking off whenever I could to get away from the life I’d been leading in the suburbs west of town.  I had some friends that I’d mingle with from time to time, but really, I was just biding my time before I could move in with Amanda.  She would be on her way from Georgia soon, and I was anxious for her arrival.  It would mean a long-lost friend from the way-distant past would be making her way back into my life.

I was stumbling around in dark, really.  I wasn’t ready to actually stop all the craziness that I’d started once Nate and I had broken up.  I was acting as I had every other time I’d found myself single – scoping out the guys at bars, acting like a fool, barely getting any sleep, and living to drink, dance, and work.  It wasn’t a very fulfilling life, but it was what I did to survive.

I’d hoped the drive to Denver would have brought something different into my life.  I thought I’d forgo the old habits and the old mindset, and get down to the business of getting on in my life while in Denver.

The thing is, I did – just not in the time frame I had originally hoped for.  It would take me just over another year to get my head into the space it should have been all along.

It was a hike last summer, just before I met Caleb, that made all the difference.  In fact, I reference this hike in my manuscript as the pivotal moment of the last few years for me.  It was what I needed to get a grip.

Last April, I was nearing that point.  I’d had enough of going out, and was growing weary of the online dating that I’d become so addicted to.  Every morning, all day at work, and into the night, I’d be scanning the screen of my phone, looking for a connection.  It was about this time, though, that people around me kept mentioning the Pacific Northwest.   They kept telling me that I’d fit in well up here.  They kept telling me that the guys up here were more my speed, and had a way about them that would suit me.  I would look at them while they told me this, and my eyes would gloss over.  Yes, I’d love to get to the water again, and to the place where the trees are as old as time, but at the time there was no way forward for me.  I was too caught up in bills, the life I’d been living, and trying to bring back some balance into my life.  I was too busy watching where my next step would be that I’d lost the ability to scan the horizon.

Those of you who know me know that this is a constant in my life.  I am often caught up staring at my feet when I should be taking in the brilliance of a sunrise, or sunset, or take notice of horizon line before me in however way it chooses to present itself to me.

I’m amazed by what has happened in the last twelve months of my life.  I had the opportunity to live with one of my oldest and dearest friends.  I had the opportunity to make some pretty influential and impactful connections with some of the finest people Denver has to offer the world.  I have finally made my way through an MFA program (barring any hiccups with my manuscript) that began with the complete demolition of a past relationship and past life and has ended with the beginning of a newer, better, deeper, more grown-up relationship with Caleb.

It’s been a hell of a transition and transformation in my life.

I feel more grown up.  I feel more complete.  I feel stronger, more able, and more at-ease with the person I am.  I have returned to a better diet and more exercise.  I now have the chance to make a home with a man who loves me on so many levels and in so many ways.  I have a garden.  I have a simple life that brings me contentment, and that’s all I could ever ask for.

And, I deserve this.  Caleb reminds me of this on a daily basis.  I chose to give myself more credit than I ever have, and it has made all the difference.

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