I've gotten in the habit of measuring my life in a series of before and afters that seem to revolve around the places I've lived. Before Lubbock. Austin. After Jersey. Spain I, II, and III. DC. It feels like the chapters of my life have started flying by since Austin. It was a staggering thought to wake up on my birthday this year and realize that I graduated from college 6 years ago. Eesh. Fortunately, I feel like I'm in a good place in the world. I'm happy with the exhausting degree I'm working on, my family exists in relative harmony these days, I'm blessed with wonderful friends across the globe, and all is as it should be most days of the week.
The fact that life is so good right now has done much to reinforce my mantra that everything happens for a reason. I can't help but think how much things can change in a year. If someone had told me last New Year's that I'd be living in Tennessee in less than a year, I would have laughed. It certainly wasn't in my life plan that I'd painstakingly assembled. Fortunately, I have friends and family willing to smack me back into reality and keep me from missing the hidden opportunities life has to offer, even if they don't come wrapped in the sort of package I might expect.