And the past year, especially, has been the point of a fine needle, gingerly teasing apart the links, creating slack, pulling gently, untangling, aligning the links the way the links are meant to be.
Change is made slowly, they say, and so it is. I finally ended a longtime friendship that did not serve me, not that I expect a lot in the way of being served. But I found my voice and spoke up for what I needed and was met with apology, not accommodation. I appreciated the apology. Though I worried in those immediate days after if I had made a mistake. But then I came to understand that nothing had changed, nothing would change, and that as far as that relationship was concerned, I was exactly where I needed to be. Apart.
It has taken me far longer to truly step into the sphere of my creativity. I am grateful to have friends who inspire me and friends who encourage me and friends who metaphorically take me by the hand as if to say, "It's not scary. Come with me. I'll show you the way." I am grateful to have moved past the need for self-deprecation, to have gotten to the place where I can let people appreciate my work when they appreciate my work, and respond with a simple "thank you" when they have something nice to say.
Perhaps these are universal truths. Perhaps everyone arrives in similar places around this time in their lives. Perhaps there's a reason why the phrase "Life begins at 40" exists. Perhaps it takes we humans a few decades to work out the kinks and shed the expectations and arrive at our centers.
I'm making no resolutions this year as so many do. No "I want to lose 50 pounds" or "I want to run a marathon" or "I want to X, Y, or Z." I just want to continue to evolve, to become more of who I am meant to be, to become more of who I am.
Though I do really want to learn to play the guitar.