home sweet, exactly the same, home

Wisconsin December.
Wisconsin December

So yeah. In an extremely tiny nutshell, babies that were in bellies are out of bellies (I was actually gone long enough for one friend to get pregnant and have the baby, imagine my confusion when she referred to her kids in plural form), existing tiny humans got less tiny, and Taylor Swift is knee-deep in her efforts to take over the world.

It’s comforting, strange and a little disappointing at the same time. But in one of our recent one-to-one sessions, Mr. Thoreau reminded me, “Things do not change; we change,” and in the three weeks I’ve been home, truer words were never spoken. If I was expecting anything to be drastically different when I returned, that’s on me. The strange thing about leaving is, all the things that made you leave in the first place are sort of still waiting for you when you return.

Saying goodbye to 2014, Montana
Saying goodbye to 2014, Montana

Like most people, I did some reflection as the New Year way too rapidly approached. On December 31 of 2013, I rode a beautiful horse named Gato along a rocky beach in Ushuaia, Argentina, drank crappy whiskey from a bottle chilled in the Patagonian waters of Tierra del Fuego, watched the sunset from the end of the world, and rang in the New Year with a game of Yahtzee in a tiny tent, a good friend and Auld Lang Syne playing on my iPhone. On December 31 of 2014, I found myself sitting alone in my friend’s basement, staring at a TV I had no idea how to work (television has gotten very fancy) with no desire to move too far or make any real plans for the evening. Oh, how far I’ve come.

This sounds worse than it is.

The last sunset of 2014
The last sunset of 2014, Madison, Wisconsin

I am actually not complaining. 2014 was a BIG year. It was the best year. It’s a year to which I am not quite ready to say goodbye, a year I don’t really want to end. I sort of just wanted to hide in that basement (in retrospect, I definitely should have done that) and pretend when the clock struck midnight, all the 2014 calendars in the world would flip back to January so I could do it all over again. It’s not that I am afraid of 2015, I’m just not done with 2014.

Yeah, okay, that’s sort of lie. I am afraid of 2015. In the short time I’ve been home, I’ve spent some time hiding out in the magical snow globe of Montana, celebrating life with friends and family and beer, dodging all sense of responsibility, watching way too much Netflix, thinking as little as possible, making some very questionable choices and actively avoiding Reality, which I knew would have to face when the party was over. Now it’s January 5 and the party is over. Like, all the parties. Everyone went back to work, back to their lives, while I wander the streets in subzero temperatures and sit in coffee shops, trying to figure out how to give my life purpose today.

Big Sky Nights
Big Sky Nights, Montana

At some point, I’ll have to take 2015 by the hand and figure out where we’re going together. And I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but having this huge adventure on the road behind me is sort of complicating things. 2014 was like that really phenomenal wedding speech that’s impossible to follow. I know it’s not a competition, I know I can’t sustain 2014 greatness, but I’m also having a hard time with even the thought of going back to life before it. I’m not quite ready for the world of schedules and timelines, routine and structure. All of the things that seemed unappealing to me before I left, seem even less appealing now, and worse, my list seems to be growing. I know, I know, wah-wah, this is Life, Tosha. Quit bitching. But one of my favorite takeaways from 2014, is this is actually NOT life for everyone.

So I have to figure something out. Leann Rimes’ mama (and probably lots of other mamas) said idle hands are the Devil’s handiwork, and all the mamas are not wrong. Maybe some people would flourish while having zero responsibility and all the time in the world, but it might be the death of me. The more time I have, the less productive I get, the longer I procrastinate. I mean, it’s been almost three weeks since I’ve written anything; even my creativity is sucked dry by the over-abundance of time.

What town centers in Montana look like
What town centers in Montana look like

My New Year’s resolution for 2014 (and life) was to forget the past, connect with myself, wake up and be present. It is an incredibly difficult string of seemingly simple things to accomplish, and I was doing well for a while there on the road. But now I am so in love with my recent past, I’m finding it hard to live in the moment, because I keep turning around, glancing at the awesomeness I painted with the days of 2014.

Until a seven-year-old snapped me back to today. I spent Christmas in Big Sky Montana with my brother, sister-in-law, and their two kids. Almost as soon as we arrived, it started snowing and never stopped. We spent days boarding down the powder mountain and nights eating delicious food and soaking in the hot tub. And of course, beer. One cold, exceptionally magical night, we rode up the mountain on top of a snow cat, up to a cozy yurt where we ate the most mouth-watering steak by candlelight, listening to the murmur of the other guests and the guitarist in the background.

My super introspective nephew, probably pondering our existence amongst such beauty.
My super introspective nephew, probably pondering our existence amongst such beauty.

The chef noticed my nephew’s Wisconsin shirt and asked him how he was liking Montana, to which Cole carefully replied, “I know I am going to have a lot of great moments in my life, but today, right now, here in Montana, man, these are the best days of my life.”

Are you kidding? The kid definitely knows how to live in the moment. He is awake, he is very present. And anyone in the room could see how genuine he was. He truly appreciated every second of every day. And he made it look so easy! He wasn’t even eight yet! He’s also the kind of kid who closes his eyes until the entire present is unwrapped because one of his favorite parts is “unleashing the paper,” the kind of kid who explains to me and my niece there are no boy colors or girl colors, when she was upset about her blue boarding pants (I’m supposed to be the adult here, why didn’t I think of that?), and late Christmas evening, expressed his gratitude by saying, “Mom, I really appreciate all of my presents, and all you’ve done for me, but it makes me think about all of the kids who don’t have any presents to open. But that’s not all it’s about. It’s about family and having food and shelter and stuff to drink.”

I sort of want to be him when I grow up. Until then, I’ll just focus on giving 2015 a fighting chance.

We help each other out.
We help each other out.

15 Comments on “home sweet, exactly the same, home

  1. I’m feeling National Geographic should be in your future. Reach for it. What do you have to lose?

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  2. I felt the same way on New Year’s Eve! 2014 rocked, didn’t it? But here’s to keeping that momentum going- and letting great recent history lead us to an even more awesome future.

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  3. Great post! 2015 is scary. I think we’re programmed to think every year is inherently better than the last (3rd grade is better than 2nd grade which is better than 1st!) then when we’re free of school structure, we start questioning the “every year gets better” paradigm. I, too, recently quit my day-job (October 2014, which did involve EMRs in Verona 🙂 and am working on finding a groove. Happy new year!

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    • Well hey, congrats on breaking free! Finding a groove is so much harder than I thought it would be, and you are so right about each passing year. It’s just that now I am hyper-aware of how I spend my free time and can’t help but think it has to be “worth it” – am I actually bettering myself? Making use of all the time I used to wish I had? You know? And HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!!

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  4. Everyone is afraid of 2015, whether they admit it or not. The difference is that I have confidence in your ability to figure it out. I just ask that you send me a few tips along the way.

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  5. If your adventure is over, Tosh, then my vicarious one is as well…I’m not ready…Australia is calling you…

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  6. you’re a pioneer and you’ll do it again in 15′. maybe not in the form of tripping around the world, but your heart will find itself behind something…. you’re not someone who’ll just stand aside and watch life go by… your best days are still ahead. believe it!

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  7. Great post! Your nephew sounds like such a cool kid. I know I’m afraid of 2015. This year I want to focus on myself and go after my own happiness, and a lot of that involves taking chances, which can be scary.

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