From the time we are little we learn that growth happens in spurts. I remember wearing the same shoes for a year and then needing new ones, two sizes bigger. Sure, we grow a little each day, but largely physical and mental growth is not a linear function. We never stop growing, and this growth never stops happening in fits and starts.
2006, unlike any other year I can remember, was a growth spurt of a year for me. The changes I have felt within myself have been nothing short of immense. I feel as if an inner eye finally opened widely with clear vision so that I could see what is important, what isn’t worth sweating over, what it means to live, to give, to hurt and to be loved wholly for (or in spite of) who you are.
Losing Randy was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. It showed me how unfair life is, how cruel nature can be. It forced me to face mortality and taught me how to keep people alive through the memories they leave behind. I lost dear friend on
On the other hand, getting married was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. Even though no one was there to see it, the flood of emotions I felt when Dean stood up before me, the non-denominational minister and possibly God (whoever He or She may be) and swore to love me and honor me no matter what was the best high I have had. On September 9, 2006, we vowed to live our lives together, to love each other come hell or high water, in times of financial distress, emotional distress, in any city we wind up in, no matter how many kitties, bobbleheads, or books. He vowed to accept me and love me despite the volcano of crazies that is constantly threatening to erupt. And I him, even when his team loses and he’s hurtling insults at the TV and the kitties are hiding. It isn’t going to be easy, but something about taking this step makes it more concrete.
Though I joke about being a crazy cat lady and write way too much about my adventures with the dumpster kitties, those mangy fleabags changed me for the better this year as well. What I am about to write to so cliché, but I don’t really care. It feels so good to do something that makes a difference. I realize in the grand scheme of things fixing 13 stray cats isn’t going to change the world. But it has changed their world and my world. It isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun but damn it can be rewarding. And even that puts things in perspective. I love caring for them and I’ve reached a point where I would rather spend my hard earned money feeding and caring for them than buying myself another book I won’t read or a trendy shirt I’ll wear for a couple months. I’m not finally going off the deep end, I’m still relatively presentable and keep Dean well fed. I guess what I’m trying to say is doing good is addictive. It’s a drug I’m glad I discovered this year.
All these things and others have combined to make me grow up this year. I feel a maturity I didn’t possess before. An understanding (not necessarily an acceptance) of the world in a broader sense, and a taste to do more. To live for those who are no longer with us, to help those that cannot help themselves and to know that no matter what all this entails I won’t have to do it alone.