Our second year of law school, we made a mixed CD before the first day of Spring Semester. We popped it into her car's CD player and drove out to the boat launch on a cold January night. Lined up, shoulder to shoulder, we tossed baseball-sized rocks into the Atlantic, shouting as the rocks crashed through the waves. We threw the first few semesters into the ocean - the 1am morning hours spent learning partnership dissolution, the upchuck of strawberry yogurt before the exam, the walls closing in above the bed, the spilled edamame on Whole Foods' floor. We intended to throw away the bad and keep the good. Keep the very best. When we finished tossing rocks and screaming into the darkness, we climbed back into her car and drove around Portland until the CD found its way back to the very first song.
The CD contained mostly songs about relationships. The songs didn't mention a word about school or jobs, grades, careers, internships, or exams. Yet, they said everything we could have possibly said about that past year and a half.
I have a relationship with this career choice. I chose it and it chose me. Long ago, really. I fell in love long ago.
[I try not to get trapped into the dichotomous thinking of a relationship v. a career. One winner, one loser. I don't have to be monogamous in this regard; I can love both, him and it, at the same time. In the same breath.]
But it has been a long and bumpy road. And yet.
Today, and yes, today for the first time, for the first time ever, I feel like I am exactly where I belong with this career. With this love. Had I not experienced every single difficulty, heartbreak, and disappointment, I would not be in this place. Had I not let it carry me on the days I felt too weighted down to even move myself, never mind myself and a career, I would not be in this very place. I am certain.
I have moved from hope to faith to certainty.
[I believe in questions. Question this certainty, yes. Always. But I had to arrive at certainty to even begin to ask questions of it.]
I could not have gotten to this place without every single difficulty. If there had been even one less, if there had been one less turn, one less bump, one less ditch, I would not have arrived here.
And here. Here is a place with steady footing. For the first time in a long time, I can stand grounded, take a deep breath, and see out beyond the peaks and the valleys.
Here I catch myself smiling involuntarily at tiny moments in my day. Remembering how to better care for myself. Getting lost in the months ahead, rather than the years. I find myself letting go of expectation and marvelling that this is even better than I thought it could be.
I am finding myself in places I didn't know I was hiding. I am here now. I am finally in a place where I am certain. Where I am steady. Where I can belt out - ... God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.*
[*Sans religious implications, please]