This girl loves…reflecting.

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Today I sat in the ballroom of a hotel.  Twelve years ago I checked into that hotel, unpacked the contents of my previous life in Florida, and readied myself for a new life in Arizona.

Today I attended a writing conference as a middle school English Language Arts teacher.  Twelve years ago I started an office job, temporarily abandoning my education degree.

Today I thought about all the stories waiting for me to write.  Twelve years ago I was still generating those stories.

Today I felt that I could do anything.  Twelve years ago that idea evaded me.

A lot has changed in the twelve years since I moved to Arizona.  In the span of a young adult’s life I have grown just as much.  My 22-year-old self is unrecognizable to me as I look back.  That 23-year-old girl was a child, a girl with very little real-life experience.  She couldn’t command a classroom of 35.  She couldn’t speak comfortably in a group of people she didn’t know.  She couldn’t see a happy life in the desert because she simply could not see the beauty of her surroundings.

I feel confident in saying that change has come.  That girl has grown into a beautiful, independent woman.  A woman that has started to take risks, to step just outside her comfort zone.  She has learned to grow where she is planted and see the beauty that Arizona has to offer.  She has learned to be a remarkable teacher with an incredible passion for education.

As I look back I wonder: if I told 23-year-old Sara that things would get better–that she would go on to have a wonderful life–if she would believe me.

Would she believe me if I told her that she would live out her dream and move to England for a short time?  Would she believe me if I told her that being in England would change her life?  That she would never feel quite complete unless she was walking the busy streets of London, or the quiet cobblestones of Cambridge?  That the air and the food and the people would brand her soul leaving her forever bound to that country?

Would she believe me if I told her that she would teach for the next ten years, receive her master’s in English education, and begin teaching middle school?  Would she believe me if I told her that she would have students who adore and admire her?  That students from previous classes would run up to her, envelop her in a hug, and say they were so excited to have her as a teacher again?  That they would tell her about a new book they just finished or shove their stories in her face awaiting her approval?  Would she believe me if I told her she would be teaching reading, writing, and Shakespeare?  That “If music be the food of love, play on…” would roll off her students’ tongues with ease because she taught them these profound words?

Would she believe me if I told her that she would volunteer at her synagogue, mingling with groups of people she barely knew?  Would she believe me if I told her that, while making small talk was still a challenge, she would be willing to task risks and attend social groups alone?  That she would engage her peers in discussions of the places she had seen, the knowledge she had gained, and the work she loved.

Time changes a person.  You grow, you explore, you learn qualities about yourself you never thought were possible.  While change does not come easy, it is a necessary part of life and it is time to start embracing it.

This girl loves…living.

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“When daffodils begin to peer, with heigh, the doxy over the dale, why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year; for the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale” William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale

This week was a busy one and when I had some time to reflect I thought about living.  I thought about all of the living I have been doing for the past four months.

It is amazing to think that my soul had lain dormant for close to ten years-since I set foot in this new and unfamiliar place.  For ten years I cursed the place I lived, blaming it for all of my unhappiness.  But four months ago, as in Spring, my cold soul was awakened and I was ready for a new outlook on life.

For the past four months I have thought only of today.  Yes, of course I’ve made plans for the future, but the immediate future, as in tickets to a concert or a show a month or two in advance.

I feel the need to clarify that until four months ago I planned for a life I would lead a year, five years, ten years from now.  When I finally realized that prolonging my happiness for when I was in a better living situation, a better social situation, or a better financial situation was hazardous to my mental health; after this realization is when I did start to have a better living situation, a better social situation, and a better financial situation.

You see, four months ago my plans for happiness were uprooted because a partner I thought would be there for the rest of my life, left me.  With this departure, my plans for a new career and social life departed as well.  I realized that it was no longer the place that made your heart soar, nor the place that made your heart ache.  It was me that did that.  I realized that I now held that power in my hand and I was tired of not utilizing it for my own well-being.

With this new found power, I started to forge new friendships, understanding that they would take time to develop into the friendships I had already established.  I looked at my surroundings and decided that it was time to start exploring this untapped resource right in my backyard.  Since then I have patronized local eateries, art galleries, ballets, concerts, and more…  I feel as though I am able to give back to the world I inhabit.  In seeking my path to happiness, I feel I have helped others whether it has been through my generosity or simply my live-for-today attitude.  With each new experience I do just that, I experience it to the fullest extent.  Some experiences have  proved better than others, but I understand that it what living is: adding to my emotional toolbox.

Since this realization, I feel better  inside.  I sleep better at night.  I work harder at my job during the day.  I laugh more often with my friends.  I love more deeply and profoundly.  I have learned how to truly appreciate the life I am currently leading and not look ahead toward a life I will lead.

The clarity of mind this realization has provided me is food for my soul and I am finally hungry.

This girl loves…blogging.

I am a girl that thinks about a thousand thoughts a second.

I’m thinking about love at this second-love of life, love of food, love of poetry, love of love itself.

Thus spawned a new idea: a blog.  A place for me to record these thoughts.  My hope is that you derive some pleasure from it as I seek to derive pleasure from everyday life.  Recording and sharing has become a part of my daily life and for me, there is no better way to share my story than through my pictures.

This was the photo that started it all...

This was the photo that started it all…