Dear Readers, Friends, Family and 82 Foreign Nations around the world,
Sometimes life can throw a few curve balls our way. Today, in fact, the internet was down when I was gearing up to write this particular blog; today of all days.
Tomorrow will be exactly a year to the day when I first started my blog project. That makes this day 365 when all the math is done. It's been an interesting journey to say the least. This past year has seen me through both some of the worst and best moments of my life. It's been a journey of discovering not only how my own family would react to the truth being told for all to see, but also in learning so much about the person I am and who I've become because of the crazy adventures I've lived through. I've explored several corners of the world and I'm always looking for the next adventure. Though the stories are far from over, I have reached my goal I set out to achieve. As of the moment when I post this for all to read, I will have a total of 365 entries on the web within 365 days from the first entry.
The 365 project hasn't been an easy one. I've had my share of challenges and struggles, but somehow I've pulled through to the end with stories enough left over to keep me going another year! There were several times I nearly gave up on the project, thinking there was no way I would ever be able to finish it. Half way through this project I was faced with challenges worse than any I thought I would be able to face on my own and yet I pulled through. I had plenty of encouragement from friends and loved ones along the way. Without them, I doubt this project would have survived. There were two distinct times when the blog project itself was the only thing I had to look forward to. There were times when I felt as though I didn't' have a friend in the world, and the blog was my way of reaching out to the world with open arms, asking complete strangers to love me. I was a desperate, lonely girl with little to no direction some days. Other days the blog didn't seem to matter - I had more important things to worry about. There were times when I would rather talk to a friend or go Line Dancing with employees rather than write. There were times when I felt so overwhelmingly loved that writing took a back seat to all else. Then there were the days in between, when the only thing more important than telling a story was stopping for a bite to eat when my stomach growled so loudly I couldn't hear myself think. Somehow through it all I pushed on and finally reached closer to my goal.
The farthest behind I ever got was more than 65 days behind. I did the math and discovered the massive number I needed to make up for in less than two months time one day just out of curiosity. I knew that if I didn't write at least 4 stories a day I'd never catch up to my goal. I haven't written stories on the weekends in so long now, and seeing that massive number surprisingly didn't' change things. I still didn't write on the weekend, but would put pressure on myself during the week days to write more than my goal. If I missed a day or two because of being ill, I would begin to loose my hope once more. A massive kidney infection coupled with tonsillitis a couple of weeks ago made the project seem further away than ever. Yet, once I started feeling a bit better, I attacked it all over again. I kept up with it through a car wreck, the announcement of skin cancer, a death in the family, the discovery of another and many, many other challenges. Even telling the stories themselves became challenges.
Some stories make me laugh when I write them while others can bring me to tears, but isn't that what its all about? These are the stories so powerful they will be with me forever. I've heard people laughing out loud as they read about the pranks my brother and I used to pull on one another as children. I've heard people gasp with horror at the kidnapping I survived. I've watched as other stories have made people both smile and cry at the same time. But no matter the emotions I've watched or heard someone go through just from reading my simple stories, I've felt those same emotions by ten-fold as I've written each story. I've remembered what an earthquake felt like. I remembered having my heart broken, and I remembered the guilt of breaking someone else's heart. I've remembered old friends and the warmth they made me feel from the depths of my soul. While talking to someone has always been a way for most people to vent frustrations and solve their own emotional crisis, I've found that writing has not only cleansed my system of the stories I've finished, but often I'm finally ready to let go of the horrible or emotionally damaging events of my past. As good as my memory often is, some things never seem to leave my memory no matter how hard try - until I write them out. It seems that when I'm able to share the story with the world, I'm finally ready to let go of it. So in a sense, if I want to forget something, I have to share it in what I hope is an unforgettable way.
I've tried to be a good person, but I've learned through my own writing and adventures that I haven't always been. I've been short tempered and irrational. I've been lonely and desperate. I've been guilty and innocent. I've been happy, but not very often in my younger years. I've larded that I have tried very hard to remain positive at all times when the rest of my immediate family seemed very negative about almost everything. I've been a rebel and I've been a follower. I've been childlike and innocent while at the same time being overly adult and fully guilty of crimes I care not to confess to. I've been easy going and I've been a stick in the mud. I've been a walking contradiction in terms. I've been extremely emotional and emotionally devoid. Still, above everything else, these stories, these contradictions, have formed me into the person I am today. But who is that? That's just one unique person… unexpected and surprising, childlike and fearless, afraid and timid. I'm still a walking contradiction, but after so many long, difficult years, my dreams are finally coming true. I finally feel loved. It wasn't the blog that brought the gift of love to me, but one remarkable man who loves me no matter what I've done, or what I haven't done, and has been kind enough to share his wonderful, loving family with me.
The 365 project may be finished, but my stories are far from over. Thankfully I am ready to let go of the distant past and focus more on the recent days. Life has changed very much over the past few months and I can only see things getting progressively better from here on out. I still want to share my writing for those who have become accustomed to reading it and enjoy it for what it is. I want to write daily again, but if that isn't possible then writing once in a while would be better than nothing. There are so many stories left to share. There's so much more to say and do. This time, I can go at m own pace.
With all things in life there is a delicate balance. Above all else, I've learned far more about that in the past year. While my job should never be my life, my writing should never take over other aspects of my life. I've learned that I need to be open and honest with the people I love, rather than leaving it for them to read about my frustrations with them in a blog or Facebook post. While keeping a clean house is important for many reasons, keeping a clean conscience is more so. While pets are important to us, personal relationships always take a priority. And when all else fails - always follow my heart. It's taken me on the greatest adventure of my life, and finally I've achieved my happy ending - the stuff fairytales are made of.
It may have taken me 365 days to learn all of this, while other lessons come in a single day or one clear moment of thought, but the mind and heart work in mysterious ways. Listen and you will hear the answers. They come from within. Love conquers the darkness, happiness comes to those who are patient and kind, sickness will give way to health, and the opposite of a lemon is actually an orange.
As of this very moment in time, my blog has 10,049 readers from around the world. I never imagined that many people would be interested in reading what I have to say. So, thank you all. I owe you a debt of gratitude.
It's not the end of my writing, but this does mark the end of the 365 project.
Happy Adventures, Everyone. Thanks for reading.