The Beauty Of March

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Here in Michigan, March is the complain-iest month. At least that’s how it is for me. Whereas in January and February I kind of expect cold and gray – and am genuinely surprised and delighted on the rare day that the sun peeks out and the temps rise above freezing – suddenly in March, I feel like I’m owed spring-like weather, and find myself disappointed and irritable when it’s dreary out.

But part of the beauty of spring is the weather you, well, weather to get there, and that’s precisely why those first honest-to-goodness sunny, warm days – the days when you stand outside with your coat off, listening to birds absolutely losing their chirpy little minds, turn your face up to the sun, and inhale the delicious scent of mud and the promise of little green things growing – feel like such a reward. After months of cold, you’ve earned the pleasure of a warm, sunny day, and nothing feels quite as good.

Along with March’s puddles and occasionally-disappointing weather comes fresh promise, and this year that feels like a particularly fitting metaphor for what’s happening in my life. For the last year and a half I’ve been mired in the preamble, process, and aftermath of a divorce that, while not extraordinarily messy, was still a divorce, and all that goes along with that. I admit there have been plenty of days when I’ve just pulled on my boots and slogged through whatever unpleasantness has showed up in front of me, one foot in front of the other, tromping through muck or sliding – and occasionally falling – on slick, unforgiving ice.

The ice part is not entirely metaphorical. Falling on slick patches twice in one week this winter literally changed the way I moved through the world. I took to walking down stairs sideways, clinging to walls and railings and whatever other supports I could find. I studied the ground as I walked, looking for patches of snow and rougher ice to provide traction. I even stopped trusting cement that appeared to be clear of ice – been there, fell on that, got the knee brace. Both literally and figuratively, I’ve been staring down at my feet, looking for the safest next step – rather than letting myself dream and take healthy risks (my usual signature move).

But I’m sensing a change coming. The ice is finally gone, and these days I’m walking with my chin up again. I feel ready to make decisions that take me beyond mere survival, too.

Last week, I decided to ask to go part-time at my agency job, in the hopes that I can spend more time with my kids, get back to writing things that matter to me, and of course, be a bigger help to Sarah as we grow the Life, Listened network.

I also made a somewhat snap decision to move the kids and me from our current five-bedroom home – which I love, but is proving more and more difficult to care for and leaves very little wiggle room in the budget – to a three-bedroom home that will be snug, but allow us all to simplify and even better, save money. (Keep an eye out for an episode about small-space living in the future…)

My request at work was approved, and the other day, I signed a lease on a modest bungalow three blocks from Clara’s elementary school and within easy walking distance of family and friends. The kids are excited about the move, and I for one am looking forward to a fresh, clean, cozy space that I can use as a springboard for a new future for us all.

I also won’t mind having 1300+ fewer square feet to keep clean.

Nothing’s really changed from last month to this month, but somehow it feels everything has. And that’s the beauty of March. All it takes is the sun to come out a time or two to remind you that anything is possible, and that while the weather may change in tiny increments, just a degree or two at a time, it will change.

I didn’t always remember this on the bitterest January days, but now it’s incredibly, unmistakably clear: summer will come again.

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