Thursday, January 19, 2017

TBT: 19 Years Ago Today

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep."

This is a picture taken almost exactly 19 years ago today. I know it was taken in the early days of 1998, when I had just landed here from the Motherland. It was one of the very first pictures taken of me on this other side of the Atlantic, and this was my view from my new home. It was Myrtle Beach, SC – a place and a state dear and near to my heart forever, because it was my very first home. Alone.

When I first moved here, I kept looking across that water every day, as if looking for the other shore. I just could not believe it, at that time, that I really, willingly, put that much distance between me and everything I had ever known before then. Looking at that marginless water made this realization palpable.

This is a picture of me, looking for sharks through the binoculars over The Atlantic.
I come to this picture, in my mind, time and again when I remind myself where everything started. This is one of the pictures in my life that really grounds me, and reminds me of where I started and how much longing and emptiness I once felt, and yet how happy I was to be able to see my dream come true. Getting here was, truly, half the battle.

I look back today, and 19 years seems like a lifetime. My god-daughter was 1 when this picture was taken. She will be 20 this year. That is, indeed, a lifetime.

I have written about all that I have accomplished and how incredibly much I have grown since moving here (, so I won't do it again. I will just say that I don't feel that old. I feel just like I did 19 years ago: happy, incredibly lucky, hopeful, curious, tired, somewhat lost and very much found, and with a wide open door ahead of me. Possibilities are still gaping into my future and I cannot wait to get to them. I can say, whole-heartedly that life didn't just happen while I was busy making other plans; I can say that my plans, aided by chance and an undeserved amount of good fortune, made my life happen.

Today, I stop and I ponder upon the amazing time I have had since then. I ponder on the things that happened, the things I have seen, the things I have felt, the things I have lost, the people I met, the things I have learned, and more than anything, I ponder upon the amazement that I am still here, writing this.

For that, I count my blessings. Twice. 

This is me, today, 19 years older and not that much the wiser. The flowers are a gift from my wonderful husband who never misses an opportunity to remind me how grateful and humble I really am to have met him on this side of The Pond.