You can only move forward

People talk about starting over,  new beginnings, new leases on life, fresh chances.

Those phrases are all a little misleading. You can’t ever truly start over.

(Well, not unless your memory is erased, nullifying the sum of your experiences. But for almost everyone, I’d bet, that would suck.)

People argue nature versus nurture all the time, but I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. We are who our genes tell us to be as much as we are what our experiences make us.

So at each “fresh start,” we are applying the lessons we’ve learned throughout the courses of our lives, however subconsciously.

It’s like hitting the “reset” button on an old cartridge game. Yes, you are starting the game over, but now you know more than you did on your last play-through. You’ve learned how to control your jumps better, where that secret passageway with all the rings is, the exact spot you need to hit to kill the boss.

This is why no word written is ever wasted. Just by putting your pen on the paper and moving it you’re learning.

And humans are designed to learn and grow. That process only stops if we stop paying attention.

Never stop paying attention. And keep moving forward.

Onward and upward

The past week has been full of good things.

Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary by taking a short trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is situated between Cleveland and Akron in Ohio. It’s an interesting park, because it is very much an urban park, but it’s still beautiful and the hiking trails are lovely.

On Monday I began in my new position as the clerical specialist at a new library branch. This promotion comes with more responsibilities and duties, and I’m excited to really dig into it. My first week has been a time of observation, getting to know the library, some of our patrons, and my new coworkers. I’ve learned a lot already, and I know I’m going to learn and grow so much more.

I’m also trying to expand my regular writing gigs to challenge myself, meet new people, and generally be an engaged literary citizen rather than just a blogger/writer of weird fictions.

And in addition to all that, I’m trying to build a daily yoga practice and hopefully begin riding my bike to work, at least when the weather permits.

All of this adds up to a lot of time, though, so expect me to be scarce while I find my footing. I’m going to bump down to a three-day-per-week posting schedule on this blog for now, and hopefully once I’m settled into my new routine I’ll be able to add more back in.

Waking up in my new house

Today I am flying to Anaheim, California, for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. I am writing this post from the past (meaning I wrote it Monday and scheduled it for Tuesday).

The chances of me being 500 percent excited for the con are so good making a bet on them would be foolish—unless you’re Han Solo.

On top of getting ready for Celebration, over the weekend my husband and a few friends moved all our belongings into our new house (I had to work). Sunday night was the first time I slept in my very own house that belongs to me because I bought it.

As I got ready for bed, I felt a sickening sense of dread because of the late-night campfire my neighbors were enjoying and the whine of motorcycles on the highway at the bottom of the hill. Laughter and bad country music drifted up to my third-floor window with the motorcycle noise.

I worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I worried this would happen every night. I worried I had made a fatal mistake in purchasing a house—well, this house, specifically. What was I thinking? This is a real neighborhood, with children and families and people whose families have lived in Pittsburgh for generations and generations. I worried I wouldn’t belong.

But my neighbors quieted down around eleven and I reminded myself that everyone I had seen outside had introduced themselves. They aren’t shunning me because I don’t have kids, and they will probably care more that I chose to live in Pittsburgh than that I’m from Philadelphia (ish).

I fell asleep quickly, and didn’t dream, or don’t remember my dreams.

I woke to the melody of birdsong: new notes mixed in among the familiar robins and sparrows. I’m not good at identifying birds by their songs, but I hope to get better. Once I get my bird feeders set up, I’ll get a look at the kinds of birds living in my neighborhood, and then start my birdsong education from there.

My new house is still a construction zone, and it seems like the work will never be finished. I know it will, though, and when it is, I will have a beautiful place that I can truly call home.