notes on a birthday

yesterday i turned 26. it happened all the sudden-- my body has now been kicking it on this good planet for longer than a quarter century. i appreciate these moments: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, for the way they punctuate our quotidian patterns and habits and ask us to notice where we are in relation to where we were at this time last year, the year before, the year before.

last july we were sojourning from northern california to maine, recently married, '98 corolla with 199,998 thousand miles on it stuffed to the gills with boxes of bowls, melted chocolate chips, and our ketubah. we were not yet hired for our jobs, unsure of what the future held. we felt nervous but excited to be closer to our families who we had longed for while living far away. we fluctuated on that drive between gleeful excitement for a new chapter after three years in the same place, and raw terror from not knowing what to expect or where we would land.

a year ago exactly we stopped in wisconsin for a few days to help a friend build a tiny home. we learned how to install insulation during the day and spent the nights recording acoustic covers of florida-georgia line & nelly songs and feasting on homemade ice cream. we paused from our travel to linger with her, settling our frantic selves after roadside skyped job interviews and simply spent some days with our friend.

this year, we find ourselves again in a moment of transition.  now moving from maine to massachusetts, we have again have packed up all our stuff and set off on another grand adventure. (although this time we used a rental moving van, which was filled with hundreds of baby fruit trees and perennials and two bookshelves that we actually own!) in some ways it feels similar: we don't have a full picture of all the details of our life to come. we (especially i) feel nervous and anxious, wanting to hammer out as detailed a picture as possible. we are again uprooted and afraid.

yet in other ways, we are so much clearer than we were last year. we have used the past twelve months to grow and deepen our vision for how we want to live. we are moving on to land with jacob's parents, ready to live inter-generationally. we have a more thoroughly articulated vision of how we want our life to be, and are working on developing our plan for an educational non profit we have been dreaming about for at least five years. we are stepping in to a new phase of action in our work and our family.

although some things have shifted and feel clearer, i am beginning to notice that we still fundamentally are wrestling with the same questions.

what are the best ways to live our lives? how can be deepen our commitment to our community? how can we be calm and peaceful while still not knowing the future? how can we be calm in the face of transition and challenge? how can we support each other well and also ask for support ourselves? are we fully living out our ethics in our daily lives?

perhaps cycling through these questions, attempting to answer them, revising those answers, and then trying again is just the stuff of life. perhaps next year on my birthday i will be able to say i have unearthed some answers to these questions. but perhaps i never will, and maybe that i alright.

yesterday we attended the wedding of a dear friend at pie ranch. we sang for her, swung each other around while contra dancing, and ate most decadent cake. if life is proving to be about wrestling, struggling with big questions, year after year, it is also about singing and feasting, about community and gratitude.

i am so in love with being alive, so glad to have been born, so blessed to begin another year, and am ready both to struggle and to harmonize.