May 1st is meaningful to me.
I don’t think anyone else really knows its significance – not my closest friends, and probably not even my parents, who were there with me on the balmy Florida day when this journey all began but probably didn’t commit the date to memory.
Eight years ago on May 1st, 2010, I walked across the stage in a huge auditorium wearing a black gown and pink stilettos. I accepted my college diploma with a camera-ready smile, flicked my tassel to the opposite side of my cap, and strode into my future.
It was to be a good future, this promising new season of mine. I held my ticket to job security in the form of an elegantly-scripted bachelor’s degree, I was moving back home where my heart had been the whole time anyway, and I was leaving behind the satisfaction of a job well done.
Two years well-lived. The biggest adventure of my life so far, a scary venture that brought me 2,000 miles from home in a cross-country move to a strange city where I didn’t know a soul or street name. I had conquered each fear and was now leaving behind a beloved school, a familiar city, a handful of favorite southern spots, and some of the best friends I’d ever had. The goodbyes were so hard precisely because they were so joy-preceded.
I didn’t know what exactly the future held, but things were shaping up so perfectly, so ripe with opportunity, that I knew it had to be good.
A year later I stared out the window from my parents’ basement in Minnesota, empty eyes taking in the snowflakes that pummeled the green grass. I felt like I’d been pummeled right along with it.
If 2010 had been the best year of my life, 2011 was by far the worst, and snow in May was a pretty accurate metaphor for it.
A year later I was, in many ways, a different person. I had grown more in the past 12 months than in the past 22 years combined – at first by necessity, then by choice.
Nothing had gone as planned. I felt like every ounce of promise had been snuffed out of every area of my life, like I’d gained so much and subsequently lost it in a year’s time. In the midst of trying to thrive, I was now just trying to survive.
So began the deepest search for meaning I’d ever endeavored.
It was seven years ago that I watched the snow fall in May. Eight years since I accepted my diploma.
Eight years of highs, lows, gains, losses, tears, laughter, sickness, healing, opportunities and opposition, disappointments and dreams.
I’ve come a long way in seven years and even further in eight – further than I knew I could go. And I’ve got a lifetime of growth still ahead of me. We all do, or we wouldn’t still be here!
This is my story, and maybe it sounds something like yours, too.
We all want to make our lives count. We crave lives of purpose. We, more than anything, don’t want to waste the time we’re given.
We’re all searching for meaning.
I believe we’re capable of finding it. What’s more, I think we’re capable of creating it. You’re here for a reason. None of us is in it alone. Each of us has a unique purpose waiting to be discovered. And the best is yet to come!
Bring it on.