Ten years ago, if you had shown me a photograph of my life today, I would have been amazed. I need days like this anniversary to remind me of this amazement. I’ve got September 6th circled on my calendar forever and always. This is the day my blog began. And every year, when I shake hands with this date, I feel gratitude and reverence. I can always see how far I’ve come. I can always trace the journey lines on the map.

But this year is hard.

Ten years ago I was 29 and had purpose to my days. I was an amazing and dedicated caregiver. I was funny and creative and hopeful.

I’m now 39. After I was let go from the startup earlier this year I realized I have no real career. And while I’ve made huge steps to work on that (I’m not dismissing the largeness of returning to school) I also feel very shaky. I don’t have a foundation to leap from. Part time work I counted on is, well, nothing I should count on. That’s a kick in the shins.

My biggest fear is that while I bring us down to a shoestring budget I won’t be able to bounce back. I’m having a hard time keeping the facade of normalcy up for W. But he’s fine. I vow he will always be fine. Which is why I swallow my pride as I apply for him to receive a free school lunch voucher.

I know on the other side of this dip in my life there will be good things. My first week of school was fantastic. My computer network teacher is actually the head of the IT department for the college and those classes have been energizing. I’m even, so far, keeping up in my math class. (I got an A on my first test!)

But while I’m wading through, this in-between life, is hard. It’s not sunshine. I’m pretty much down in the cave. Many days I beat myself up for not being good enough, but I know that’s just depression having a play date with my head. All I can do is what I’ve been doing for the last ten years: show up, be open, write, and keep going.

Ten. I thought it would be different. I thought it would feel stronger, wiser, more confident.

Instead ten feels raw. It feels scary. It feels impatient and quiet.

But I’m here.

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