This post may seem slightly at an odd time of year since the nearest upcoming holiday is Christmas. But we all know how I feel about doing things in order ...it drives me nuts if things aren't in chronological order :) But ...it's where my mind is now. I'm watching RENT. One of the best productions in history. Words can't describe the magic and the mood of the first time I saw RENT on Broadway in New York City. It was a spur of the moment thing, on a recommendation from my favorite resident rent-head Jill. My friend Danielle was visiting me in NYC. We had a couple hours of time unplanned to wander the streets of my favorite place on earth. I had talked to Jill earlier in the day and she informed me that Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp were in town reprising their original cast roles for the week. She pleaded with me to go in her honor since she couldn't make it out. I hadn't seen it before, but I know how passionate she is about it, and Danielle and I were able to score $20 second row seats for that night's performance so we decided to give it a go. It was literally one of the defining moments in my life. I sat through the entire production moved beyond words, beyond tears. The stream of powerful emotion roaring through me. I laughed, I cried, I loved, I felt lost, and I felt purpose. And I felt myself beginning to emerge anew. I began to discover who I really was. Again. Out on my own. As an adult living in the greatest city in the world. As a nurse, as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister.
From that moment I began to live my life for me. In baby steps. Since then I have accomplished countless goals that I'm proud of, and set many more. I've become an amazing well rounded person who loves without holding back and who notices and takes stock in the small things. I say this not to boast of myself, but because I have made it a point to celebrate the good things I do. I think we should all celebrate more of our accomplishments and the root that they all come from. And I think it's ok to say that I think I'm turning into an amazing person. I'm not there yet, I'm not perfect, but I'm working on it. And I like myself. In the years since that fateful Broadway night I've learned to love myself. I've hated myself, I've been lost and confused and hurt. I've fallen in love and picked myself back up. The good always out weighs the bad.
So now as I'm watching the movie RENT (not the same as seeing it live, but an acceptable substitute because of the memories it evokes) I'm asking myself how I've spent the last 525,600 minutes of my life. Can it be measured in miles driven? Trips to Starbucks? Hours at work? Lives saved? New journeys? In truths learned? Tears cried? Bridges burned? Friends made? Sleep lost? Life should be measured in love. All four seasons. Seasons of love laughter life and learning. As compared to previous years, it seems I didn't really do much of anything this year. I remember at the start of the year I made it a point to be more selfish and do more me. Well, I went on with my life and plodded on along like normal. Looking back I was kind of a shell and a puppet. It was on a trip to North Carolina in the late summer that I realized my misstep. I was deep in conversation with a soul-sister of mine, Serena, when she essentially hit me over the head with a hammer. We were discussing our lives and how they were so different than we had ever planned, and we didn't know how we ended up where we were. We discussed living and loving and evolving, and she said to me, "Toni, I just feel like you've lost who you are. I feel like you don't know who YOU really are anymore."
She was right. It turns out when you make a goal to focus on yourself you have to do more than just say you're going to do it. You can't say you're going to make a change then carry on with life as if nothing is different. I may not have done things this year like I have in past years. I haven't learned a new language like I wanted, or gone sky-diving, or scuba-diving on a foreign tropical vacation. As it turns out what I did was find myself. I felt a LOT of emotion and I owned it all. All year long. That night in the car with Serena was another rebirth to me. Her words were so beautiful, heartfelt, and simple that I could never have come to them on my own ...one of those too close to the forest to see the trees things. We made a pact that night. I promised her that I would go back home to Seattle and that I would find myself. That I would free myself of the baggage that had been holding me down. That I would cut ties with the people I was nice to out of obligation who were just dragging me away from who I was. From that moment on I was on operation find myself. Full force. I stopped worrying about the petty things. I did or did not do things because I did or didn't want to. I stopped all my defensive false pretenses. I had a few slip ups and a few backslides, but Serena was always just a phone call and stern-reminding word away. And I loved her for it. She kept me on track and she didn't let me have or do anything less than what I absolutely ultimately wanted/deserved.
I guess what I'm getting at is that I took a year off from being myself to find myself. Make sense? :) It has been a journey and has taken everything out of me. And only good things have been molded back. I'm back. I'm me again and I'm a confident me and I love again. It's what I do. I love. Things, people, life, everything. I'm back. That's the point :) And I'm moving on and moving forward with a life that I am more familiar with. A life with what I know ...new things and adventures and a hunger for progression. The ball has started rolling already. I haven't wasted my last 525,600 minutes. My journey may have taken longer than I might have hoped, but it is what it is. I don't regret it and I wouldn't change it. It's mine.
Looking forward to my next 525,600 minutes I anticipate many things. Vacations are back ...Boston for St. Patty's day here I come ...New Orleans here I come ...etc. School is back, I'm now officially a Husky ...Go Dawgs ...and I'm on track for my second baccalaureate degree. I'm going to be a better nurse and I'm going to have a lot more letters behind my name. I've said goodbye to complacency and I don't miss it. And this year I'm going to do it. I'm going to learn a second language. Maybe two because I can't decide between Italian (because it's just so beautiful) or Spanish (because it's just so useful). I'll still have my trips to Starbucks, my tears, my laughter, my hours at work, lives saved, truths learned, and I'm sure tears cried and bridges burned. But I'll measure my next year in love. Because really, life is short. Live life to the fullest, every moment. Every single one. Love without holding back. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other day, no other way, no day but today. And always, ALWAYS viva la vie boheme!!!!! Much love all, and may you all have a blessed and rich holiday season!
Sigh. I had such a great weekend with my family!! I just love them all to pieces!! I flew into Salt Lake at 0900 and Heidi came to pick me up. Since we had both worked the night before we went for "breakfast" at TacoBell :) After a failed attempt at shopping at the Gateway ...who knew they weren't open at 9? Anyway ...we headed home and took some naps. Well, I took a nap. Heidi apparently went to the gym and then to make my secret present, then came home to take a short nap. When I woke up Cody, Chelsea, and Boston were at my parents house for dinner and to visit so I spent the rest of the evening with my family. And it was wonderful. And I got my secret present. A poop box for my car. Complete with air freshener and tissues :) It's a long story that I'm not going to go into, but it involves a very extended congested traffic jam after a long day of shopping ...including shoe shopping with boxes and tissue paper. That's all I'm going to say.
Anyway..... So Friday I got to spend the whole day with my awesome sister in law and my sweetie lil favorite cuddle buddy Bosty. Chel had a photo job at the Bountiful Temple, so I came with her to hang with my little buddy. On the way home we stopped at In-n-Out for Bosty's first visit :) Then we forfeited a small shopping trip to make it home in time to see Life As We Know It with my mom and Heidi. Great show, and also Bosty's first movie. He thought it was great :) Saturday was a chill day preparing for Sunday and doing a lil shopping. Including the second trip to Temptation Cupcake ...best cupcake store ever. Hands down. Amazing. Then of course Sunday was Bosty's blessing day and family picture day. Good times!! Love and miss my family already!! Boston is just such a sweet little happy baby. He's just sweet. A chubby little adorable sweetie. And he only let's out a death scream every once in a while :) And Cody and Chelsea are amazing parents. I'm so proud of them! Heidi is just amazing as always and has so much more self control than I could hope to have ever. And what can you say about my parents?! I'm just more lucky than words can express!