Last year, the word evolved and presented itself as "grace." This year I'd sort of wondered if it wasn't going to be a bit more about settling...as in settling more into life, myself, the future, my career & finances, slowing down physically, etc. And while it does seem to be about that....it also has really been presenting this aspect of reconnecting with the past also.
Case in point:
1) I returned to search out the career that I always felt was more my calling....and doors opened...as in flew open. But I had to reconnect to the past and what mattered to me then in order to move forward into the future of what those dreams could be....
2) I mentioned last year that while on a running date, I literally ran by a guy from my hometown. We shared mutual friends through two sources and so he and I hung out a few times with one of those connections (who also lives with his wife in Portland). That particular mutual source actually was an old love/long time best friend of mine and I am so in love with his wife and him together. I've had the opportunity to hang out with them (the couple) and the guy I ran by several times in the last year, but we all just reconnected again this spring as well. I honestly so love being in contact with my old best bud, am continuing to look forward to building a relationship with his wife, and totally enjoy the great moments out with them as a couple!
3) This story continues as on a lunch date last month with the guy I had run by, I also saw a friend of mine from my middle school days when I used to live in Eugene. It had been 12 years since I'd seen her the last time (again when I randomly ran into her in Portland). She and I were finally able to meet up for lunch last Friday and caught up briefly on the last 10-20 years....amazing! We've both had interesting turns in our life stories in the last five years but agreed that we are much stronger people because of it. It was fun seeing an old blast from the past and we're planning on taking her kiddo to the zoo one day this spring.
4) And there's more....In 8th grade, my family and I moved to the coast where I also finished high school. Almost 70% of my 8th grade year was spent with my buddy who lived down the street. I called his mom my second mom and she drove me to all sorts of events. I have SO many memories from my five years on the coast with this first brother-from-another-mother: shooting hoops in the gym, learning to shoot a gun up in the woods with his parents on my 15th birthday, homemade ice cream, camping with his family during a basketball tournament, going to church youth group, sharing my boyfriends as his other best friends. (Most my good friends were males until I hit my junior year of high school....) He met his now wife when we were 15 and they've been married & parents since we were 19. If I'm totally honest, he's one of my friends that I am most proud of and the two of them remind me so much of a younger version of my parents. I was able to visit them in 2009 when we were stationed in Louisiana and he and his wife were stationed in Alabama....but then somehow life got away from us. And even though they've been stationed in Washington for the last 2-3 years....it wasn't until way earlier this month that we saw each other again. Yet, I saw them again yesterday for the second time this month when I stopped at their place for dinner after a trip to Seattle....and it felt just like old times albeit now with more life and responsibility. And truthfully, I really hope to fit in a few more trips in the next year and before they get orders to a new location. It feels SO GOOD to have reconnected.
5) If you haven't noticed, beyond having just plain male friends, I also tend to try to transition guys I have dated into friends. While I recognize that not everyone operates this way, I've been fortunate to turn some unrealistic romantic partners into wonderfully supportive friendships, although I don't have the opportunity to see many of these friends much due to distance and life circumstances. One of the guys who taught me so much in my mid-20s however has been a great minimalist supporter over the years...and after not seeing him for almost ten years, I will be getting together with him briefly on Saturday.
6) I've already mentioned stopping by my old college housemate's house and visiting with her, her hubby, and their four kiddos on my recent trip to Bend. In that case it had been four years since we'd last seen each other in person.
7) Oh and that wedding I'm going to in Canada at the end of this summer? Again....an old high school friend who I only get to see every 2-3 years usually. There are only two of us from our hometown who are invited/going and since this other guy and I are also family/church friends, it'll be great to see him. Ironically he, his wife, and kiddos live locally....but we really only reconnect when our mutual buddy is in town or involved. :)
I also have a feeling that the reconnections that I've mentioned aren't going to be the only ones. While this influx of old connections could be totally coincidental, I also do find it interesting and can't help but wonder if there is a bigger lesson I'm supposed to be recognizing out of it. Regardless, I've been enjoying the process and am looking forward to more visits ahead. And maybe just maybe, as I move toward this notion of "settling," perhaps this other underlying lesson is that sometimes it's good to be reminded of who you were before the rest of life happened.... :)