Last night I was listening to Astral Weeks. I've been listening to Van Morrison's growly voice float off the stereo singing about "gardens all wet with rain" for as long as I can remember. That record is linked to so many happy memories from drastically different periods of my life and it has this way of muting whatever problems are currently nagging at me and instead causing me to reflect. My birthday is next week, and when I look back at the last year, I'm smiling, and I'm smiling as I move forward into the next one. This is not because I didn't make a whole lot of mistakes last year, and it is not because I am perfect and it is not because I have everything all figured out. My contentment doesn't come with being 100% satisfied with myself and it does not mean I am finished improving. I have made a lot of mistakes and unfortunately there have been many times I have acted selfishly and times I have hurt people when I could have helped them. Yes, I am proud of the ways in which I've grown, but I am still determined to try harder and grow stronger. This ease of mind does not come with surrender; instead, it comes with acceptance-- accepting that I am extremely blessed, accepting that there is a time for everything, and accepting that I can always find a reason to smile.
Photograph by Audrey.