just keep breathing

just keep breathing

What makes you want to keep living, even on your hardest days?

This is the kind of question I rarely think about. The answer comes to me on my best days, the days when I’m feeling thankful for everything. I feel thankful not because everything is great all the time, but because I can remember when I was feeling hopeless, and somehow everything has turned out fine. Everything is always fine.

There isn’t just one thing. Not at this point in my life. Someday when my life is completely different from how it is today, the answer will be different. Maybe even specific. But not today.

When I go to bed, I feel better knowing I’ve closed the door on today and that tomorrow is new. It has potential. It can be better. In the morning, I’m thankful that my body woke up, that I’m still here, that I still have an opportunity to tell people how important they are to me, to laugh with friends, to make an impact at work, to make things even better than they are. The sunrise and sunset give me peace and a promise for hope.

I want to keep living because I can’t imagine leaving anyone behind. Not Steven, not my family and friends, not my coworkers who depend on me. When I’m gone – either from this city or this year of my life or the world altogether, I want to have left something good behind, something important, something worth remembering. And sure, maybe I’ve done that already, but I still want to do more. There is so much untapped potential in everyone, and I wish we could realize that and use it.

I don’t meditate. Sometimes I want to learn how. But when I think about reasons for living, forgiving, trying again and again, and not letting negativity get the best of me, one of them is simply the fact that I am able to breathe. That I don’t have to think about it and I just keep doing it. That I wake up again in the morning, alive and well, remembering what happened the days before. That’s incredible, and I don’t want to waste it.

Eastward Bound

Eastward Bound

My last day in Missoula was completely gorgeous. I decided sort of spur of the moment to drive home a day early, but I still had to get up and do a last minute trip to the field first. It was so worth it – I wouldn’t have gone up the hill behind my house that morning otherwise, and it was seriously gorgeous. It has been over a month since I left, and it’s just starting to sink in that it’s going to be awhile until I see mountains again.

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I drove 16 hours straight from MIssoula to my grandparent’s in South Dakota. I really didn’t plan my itinerary very well at all, but it worked out in the end – I got to spend an entire day in South Dakota with my family.

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We spent one day at the lake. I caught up with my sister as we paddled around on the paddle board, and visited with an aunt and uncle I haven’t seen in about 6 years. Then we were headed back to Indiana and my man. I got two days in Muncie before I came up to Valpo, started moving in, and started my job.

I’m living with my senior year college roomie (!!!) and working for a land trust, teaching ecology and resource management to elementary kids. It’s pretty great. We focus on underserved schools and the kids are sorta wild at times, but most of them also don’t get to spend any time outside, especially not in natural areas. Their parents are worried about bugs and dirt, and won’t buy bug spray or let them destroy some clothes now and then. It’s so sad to think about, since I spent most of my early days climbing trees, digging for worms, and pretending I was Pocahontas. If the kids just aren’t paying attention to my lessons, I’d rather give up and let them play and enjoy their day than get myself worked up about their behavior. I just want for kids to be able to be kids, and I think that’s lost in general, and especially with the kids we’re working with.

I can see myself staying here for awhile. I’m getting slightly homesick for the mountains right now, but I think I’m mostly missing my Steven. I missed him more in Montana when I really didn’t have the option of visiting him, but I could console myself with the views and how busy I was. I don’t have a lot I need to do when I get home now, except plan the wedding I guess, so I’m not appreciating my new home like I should. Because honestly, Northwest Indiana is pretty great. Yeah, it may be more urban than I like. Yeah, it may have a terrible heroin problem. But there are so many hidden treasures here, and obvious treasures like the Dunes and Lake Michigan too.

I just got a second job and am going to start volunteering when I can. Things are starting to fall into place, which will free me up to get more involved in things, plan the wedding, and work out with Steven how and when we’re moving in together up here. Things are moving pretty fast, which is sorta the way I like it, and is also sort of terrifying. All in all, life is good.

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Home sweet home, Indiana.