There’s nothing quite like trips through Europe. I’ve been twice this year, once to Madrid and Barcelona this August to settle my little sis in for a study abroad program, and am now completing a birthday tour of London and Paris. I love wandering down half deserted streets, with the smell of cigar smoke and strong wine and the glittering city lights.
I’m love traveling, and I’m a born wanderer, but I love home. With twinkle lights and candles and soft blankets and familiar tastes and those I love the most in all the world. Travel is exhilarating, exhausting, enriching. Work has been a burn out drive and I’ve been so grateful for the break. I was recently promoted and with this promotion comes a very small raise and a very large increase of responsibility, and I’ve just needed to madly wander and find the magic and romance in life again after everything was turning various shades of brown and grey.
As an idealist, I get burned out easily. It’s something I find, that I am both crushed down and lifted up on winds that are entirely fickle. I’m sensitive to harshness and anger and I tend to be brought entirely down by it, just as I am brought up by the lightest feather of hope or love or beauty. It’s the reason I love art museums and hate confrontation (Although, I mean, who really likes it?) And in all of that brutal sensitivity to the pains of life, both in myself and in others, I find it necessary that I have to find balance and advocate balance for myself in my life, just as I need to find limits and advocate limits as a giver. Otherwise I become sulky and stagnant in giving, and the gifts are no longer life giving. I need to find balance and harmony within myself before I can help others find balance and harmony. I’ve been knees deep in the muck of counseling for six months now, facing the monsters that haunt me, and now I needed to wander the sunset streets of paris and the halls of the Louvre and experience life anew.
26 feels old. I hate that I’m closer to 30 than 21. But I’m also grateful that many large milestones are past and that I can finally hunker down and taste the meat of life, dreg the depths; I can finally figure out what I’m really about and what my life actually should become. I’ve had several sweet friends speak words of life that clarify things that I’m already passionate about. But people can be wrong. And so I look to the giver of gifts to give me the gift of purpose and passion for that purpose. I used to have a step by step plan for my life that I informed the universe of at eighteen. And I think that’s the beauty of twenty six, you’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of the very confusing twenties, where everything you thought of for your life would be planned out and you have the hope and energy to get them all done; you suddenly find that things change and you’re frustrated and crushed, so you grieve the death of many dreams but a few beautiful, bright, sparkling hopes remain. So you move forward into the tunnel in hope and purified by light and moments of joy and suffering. You learn balance and wisdom and forgiveness. And I’m sure there’s a better way to state that in prose (and fewer run on sentences) but humor me on my birthday week. So, to quote CS Lewis, “Onward and upward.” Always onward and upward..
L and I were sitting at our favorite pub by a fire with pints (And yes, I’m a nerd and quote LOTR every time I order a pint) and I penned a little clumsy verse. I hope it brings a bit of beauty to your corner this morning.
I wish that we could put feelings into bottles
Open them in times of war and suffering
Send warmth and peace to those who are cold
Bring light to those who are dark
When there’s a long fight ahead and you’re weary
I wish for you that you could savor the breath of this moment
Smell the summer rain and crackling firelight
Open it for autumn leaves and blazing beauty
For quiet firelight and warm winter chill
I wish for you that the road is short and that friendship is long
I wish that you always have the joy of that first snowfall
To open and drink in the pint along with the summer wind-
I wish that you would always see the face of beauty
and feel the warmth of grace