Whether it’s a new day or a new week or a new month or a new year, life seems to be in the business of consistently offering us second chances.
The first page of a new journal. The first day at a new job. A first date. That first kiss with someone new. We are always surrounded by fresh starts and new beginnings, if we will only open up our hearts and minds and eyes and hands to see and receive them.
My life tends to be cyclical. I open up the app, Timehop, every morning and am greeted by social media posts I made from a year ago, two years ago, seven years ago. And more often than not, I find that what I’m doing right now is sometimes the exact same thing I was doing at this time last year. I tend to post the same quotes around the same time each year. I rewatch the same shows on Netflix. I travel to the Smoky Mountains at almost the same exact time every single year, even though I never purposely plan it that way. I’ve always said I’m the queen of full circle moments, and life and God are always conspiring to show me just how synchronistic and serendipitous life can be.
But even with my life constantly surprising me with reminders that it all comes full circle…it still feels even more that way this year. I literally feel like life has handed me a complete do-over of last year, only this time I have the chance to do it all differently. All the wrong choices I made, I have an opportunity to make the right ones. All the times I turned right when I should have turned left…now it feels like I’m being given the chance to turn left. It feels almost as though I’m Pamela in that old episode of Dallas and I just woke up to find Bobby in my shower, the entire past year having only been a dream. (If you don’t know that reference, Google it. It was one of the single most ridiculous, amazing, and frustrating television moments of all time.)
Last year at this time, I was just joining Bumble and giving online dating a go. This year, I’m just getting back on Bumble. Last year, I had just left my publisher a few months prior. This year, I’ve just signed with a new publisher and am working on a book that I think has the potential to be the best thing I’ve ever written. Last year I lived on the same street I live on now, only in an apartment I didn’t much care for. Now I’m in the apartment of my dreams, just a few blocks down from the old place. It’s like I’m reliving the same year, only from a newfound place of wisdom and self-love and hard-earned inner strength. It’s as though God took the last year of struggle and heartache and brokenness and is rewriting the story into a thing of redemption and wholeness and beauty. It makes me feel brave enough to completely surrender and turn over the pen of my life to the unseen force guiding my every step. That’s what life is teaching me these days. Or trying to teach me. That it’s okay to let go. It’s okay stop trying to control every little thing and just TRUST that I’m being taken care of. It’s even okay to be grateful for the difficult year I’ve just come through, because every step of it was preparing me for where – and who – I am now.
I like to ask God for signs and I like to look for signs everywhere. Signs that I’m part of something bigger, that He’s up there listening, that nothing is ever coincidental or random (as I talked about in my last blog). And He is always faithful to send those signs. Last year, Bumble connected me with my upstairs neighbor and it felt like fate, because once he and I met, we discovered all these other random connections we had and that our paths had likely crossed physically many times before they ever crossed romantically. Though the relationship didn’t last, it brought things and people and life lessons into my life that I know were meant to be there and might not have ever arrived any other way. All because I swiped right on the picture of a stranger. Isn’t that crazy?!
This year, in the grand tradition of my life always coming full circle, I recently discovered that my neighbor across the hall from me now was also my neighbor across the way at the very same apartment complex I just moved from. She and I literally moved from one address to another, about a month apart from each other! What are the chances?! And though it’s not the exact same thing as what I experienced last year – as in this instance, it’s a potential friendship rather than a potential love connection – it still just blows my mind to catch a glimpse behind the curtain of life and see how interwoven and connected we really all are. It’s just a little reminder that there is someone out there ordering our steps and making sure we end up exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there. Isn’t that simply magical?
Everybody needs a do-over from time to time…right?
If this year really is a do-over of last year, I like to think I’ll make some better choices this time. That I’ll love a little harder but date a little smarter. That I’ll relax a little and trust the process to take me where I need to go. And that I’ll even make a few wrong turns like I did last year, because Lord knows it took those wrong turns to get me to the right place. I like to think that a year from now, I’ll be sitting in a coffee shop writing about everything I’ve learned over the past year and how grateful I am for every moment of it…the good and the bad, the happy and the sad.
Grateful for all that has been, almost was, and has yet to be.
See you soon, 365-Days From Now Me.