I feel I’m on the cusp of a new chapter or perhaps I’ve already begun, but lacking the required perspective that only time brings. Change envelopes me, transforming me into a whirlwind oscillating between slow-motion and fast-forward. Life’s tailor measures and refits me mentally and physically as the whips of heartache snap at my being, strengthening and softening. All the while, a deafening calm blankets everything I am, providing a comfort that has slowly grown through the years. I blink and see this new character emerge from the chaos, my character. And I smile.

I am in the worst shape in my life.
I failed — As the statement above should be screaming “BEST”. Failure is vital. Failure is the fodder of goals. And, in some respects, I failed my first yearly project since I began in 2008, in others, it’s the year I learned the most about myself. And in the end, this growth is what this project is for. That all said, my personal health is still a major priority and always shall be. I love living. And I’m excited to do it for as long as possible.

I am the wealthiest I’ve ever been in my life.
In many ways, I have attained so much. I’m healthy, financially buoyant, and not insane(ish). My friendships continue to blossom, even while others are pruned. And then there is my quest, my mystery, my ballad, this eternally, elusive thing: romance. It has never seemed so close, so obtainable, yet so nebulous. It’s strange, I’ve ventured for so long stumbling in this darkness alone. And even though part of me fears the foreign face of light, I gleefully await its warmth as I pen that last line, and beginning a new volume, the one with two authors.

I am at peace, more so than I have ever been in my life.
Through the years I’ve had to decide what is important, where to park my priorities. I’ve never been the one to burden others, to reach out and ask for help, advice. Somewhere early on I turned inward, perhaps to prove I could do it alone, perhaps I was scared, perhaps I truly did not want to bother anyone, or perhaps I just felt there was truly no one that cared. In all likelihood, it was a bit of all four. It’s been and is a difficult excavation, I’ve buried myself pretty deep. But I see you guys peeking your heads over the top and reaching out your hands. Thank you you’ll never know the depths of my appreciation.

I am wiser than I have ever been in my life.
Ironically, so much time focused inward freed me from a lot of my ego and made me pay a lot more attention to everyone and everything around me — truly listening, analyzing, and judging. I began to see through all our differences to our sameness. My love of humanity exploded. My tolerance for any dogma preaching elitism, violence, or hate was obliterated. We don’t get to choose what we are born into. We do, however, get to choose how we react.

As the whirlwind’s resonance begins to build within me, around me, encompassing my entire universe, I pause. In the mirror an unfamiliar shine. A sliver shard protrudes from my temple — a lone adventurer has stepped away from his grey, stubbly comrades on my face into this unknown wilderness. And he carries with him the wind of change.