Wishes, hopes, and dreams.

It's 11/11!

I'm the kind of fanatical dreamer who makes 11:11 wishes every time I happen to be looking at the clock at the right moment. I don't step on the sidewalk cracks sometimes because of bad luck. I toss salt over my shoulder if I spill it, I knock wood, and I always eat the fortune cookies before I read the fortune. Needless to say, November 11th makes me contemplative for all the best reasons. 

As I am basic, a feet-in-leaves photo seemed appropriate. 

As I am basic, a feet-in-leaves photo seemed appropriate. 

I've hit a point in the past few weeks where, for the first time in months, I'm confident in saying I'm truly happy again. The barometer's been off for the better part of a year. First, my old job was causing me such professional misery that it skewed my view of everything else toward negativity. Shortly after I happened serendipitously into a job that suits me better than I could have hoped for, my relationship's rose-colored glasses shattered and left me facing more mammoth unhappiness. 

An early September sunrise from my parents' driveway.

An early September sunrise from my parents' driveway.

After months of uncertainty, self-doubt and self-loathing, and demoralization, that relationship ended. I ended up in my hometown and spent a summer on auto-pilot, trying to piece the fragments of my life back together. There were times when I was happy, for sure--my friends, my family, and my own stubborn pride ensured I wouldn't wallow for too long. But if I had to pick a word to define my summer of 2014, it would be "aimless." "Confused," maybe, or "stumbling." At any rate, it took my move back downtown to get me back to me. 

The most gorgeous farmers' market lilies. 

The most gorgeous farmers' market lilies. 

I'm a naturally happy person. By and large, I wake up every day ready to be joyful. Life's too short to be anything but excited about it...even if it's just the little things like short rib tacos, how pretty snow looks on a roof, the coziness of a fireplace or the prospect of inside jokes. My first wish this 11/11 is to always be able to hold onto that happiness, that delight in the little things that makes my life so worth living. I'm starting to get tiny lines at the corners of my eyes where they scrunch basically shut when I smile, and I'm fine with that. I'll take the lines if it means I'm smiling at everything. 

Balloon lights outside my 25th birthday dinner, because why not?

Balloon lights outside my 25th birthday dinner, because why not?

I wish to be able to take the time to put others first, and to promote others' happiness in those little things. I love to give--pumpkin cookies, a $5 bouquet of flowers, a book that I just finished and have to pass on. And time! It's such a small thing to give an afternoon to my grandma, five minutes to pen a thank-you note, a fifteen-minute phone call to my bestie, or a vent session over a happy hour. I wish to be the kind of person who can do all that giving unselfishly and bring others a little bit of insignificant happiness along the way. 

Even weeds can bloom (Cincinnati, May 2014)

Even weeds can bloom (Cincinnati, May 2014)

One of the best quotes I've heard in recent months is that there's a difference between listening and simply waiting for your turn to talk. I find myself guilty of the latter more than I'd like, so in kind with promoting others' happiness, I hope to improve that aspect of myself, and grant others my true listening ear instead of waiting, ready with my own anecdote to share. I hope that I can always remember that the hallmark of care is to give that undivided attention, to focus and remember and stay invested in that way in all the people who have invested so unselfishly in me. 

A fairly fitting quote from my five-year journal. 

A fairly fitting quote from my five-year journal. 

And finally, I'm dreaming again. I'm dreaming of all the places this job can take me...to London in a few weeks, to promotions I didn't dare dream of coming sooner than I'd hoped, to a more confident, fulfilled professional self. And even more significantly, I'm finally, finally dreaming about the time someday in my future when there are first dates, first kisses, new loves and, yes, broken hearts. And someday I won't be afraid of all of that, and I'll be ready. That's what I'm dreaming of, this 11/11. Here's to the wish for that future, on every clock and with every fortune cookie and in every well, until it comes true.