How do you measure a year?

I am going to pre-apologize if this gets rambly and nostalgic and disjointed. Those words describe my thought process right now – just a big mess of words that I am trying to form into coherent ideas.

Here it is, August 1. I know everyone always says this at the beginning of a new month, but I really can’t believe it’s August. Then when driving home from the store tonight (while feeling super sad and angsty because this has just not been a good week) it dawned on me that one year ago today I was choking on my words trying to tell my boss that I was quitting. Standing there, knees shaking, heart pounding so hard that you could probably see my shirt moving, voice shaking.

I had spent the entire two and a half years prior to that measuring my life one week at a time, by how many days there were until the weekend. I would measure weeks by how long we had until some sort of holiday that gave us an extra day off of work. I’d measure days by how many hours there were until work was over, or by how many times I’d lose it on a coworker for no reason because my sheer misery had turned me into this constantly angry witch who woke up in a bad mood by default. I’d drive home thinking about how many hours I had to myself before having to go back there.

It was a different story back when I was a bartender, there wasn’t so much measuring. I’d usually just measure my weeks by how many shifts I had until rent was due, or by how many nights of partying I could string in a row. Or by how many crazy stories I would emerge from those nights with (and there were a lot. those were the days).

Even further back, like in college? Probably even less measuring still. Maybe by how many days there were until a final, or days until the quarter was over. But I remember that every day was fun, and it wasn’t spent constantly looking forward to something in the future. It seems like that all changes when people grow up and get jobs. Why are people completely okay with trading in an “enjoy every day” attitude for the idea that you are supposed to get a job that you don’t like, because that is the responsible thing to do and because that’s what it means to grow up, and live for the weekends? Why are people okay with doing something that, well, sucks… for the majority of their waking hours in each day and the majority of days in their week?

This past year has been measured pretty differently, and it still astonishes me to this day. There is no Sunday night dread or Monday morning blues. Wednesday is no different than Friday, Saturday is still awesome, but Tuesday is too. In the beginning my weeks were measured by how many bills were overdue, or by how many ramen noodle meals one person could possibly eat without going insane. But even on the days that I was using change I had found in my pockets to put $2 worth of gas in my car, the feeling that I was doing the right thing never wavered. I had my freedom and making art was my job and there is simply not a price that I’d ever pay to turn that in. I had stopped measuring, because every day was as beautiful as the one before it, and I knew the next one would be more beautiful still.

This week has been tricky, because it has been one of those “when it rains it pours” kind of weeks, and it has made me do a lot of thinking. What I keep telling myself is that you can’t always control the situations you come into, but you can control how you perceive them, how you react, and what you take from it. You are constantly in control of your feelings and your own attitude, which make up your situation and ultimately your life. I think people forget this way too often, which is why they settle for spending 40+ hours a week working dead end soul-sucking jobs. Or why spilling coffee on their shirt in the morning is just the beginning of a day from hell. Maybe this makes no sense at all… but I just wish people would remember that they are in control.

See? Rambly. This is what happens when I get emotionally exhausted. I just feel like ever since my plane landed in Columbus on Thursday night there has been a constant shitstorm overhead. Things included but not limited to: relationship changes, a strange eye disease that had me convinced for three hours Monday morning that I was going blind, being accused of copying a photographer that I admire greatly, which resulted in several hurtful things being said about my work (that was a pretty big blow. all good now.), then this morning one of my closest friends in the world woke up to find his kitty laying under a dresser, no longer breathing. If I could make a list of lessons learned this week, it would look something like this:

-Be grateful for your health. You sometimes don’t think about it until its been compromised.
-You have to let some stuff roll off your back, even though it’s not usually easy to.
-Haters gonna hate. You always have the option to rise above it.
-Hug your loved ones tight, as often as possible. This includes furry loved ones.
-Find joy in small things. You’d be surprised how many you can find when you’re looking.

I went to the fair this week and took some pictures. When I edited them I thought about how magical the fair was when I was little, and wanted to create that mood:

I love the fair. Kinda bummed that fair week was the same as my “tricky week,” since I look forward to it every year, but what can you do. It was still fun, I pet the sheep, watched baby chicks hatch, and ate deep fried oreos. Does life get any better than that? 
Lastly, I would like to give some love to Fuzz the kitty, who was fiercely loyal to his dude Jayme, had a mane like a lion, and loved to be knocked over on purpose. You are going to be missed, big Fuzz.
And yes, this cat is 100% as awesome as he looks. Hope everyone has a wonderful August.