I knew everything the year I was 30.
I had experienced death, too much death, loss of tragic dimensions, a successful career in which people were priming me for leadership. Animals of all types had come through our door and gone out our door. I had done enough local media that I was (rarely) randomly recognized by complete strangers. I had this thing called life well in hand. I was called as an expert on all kinds of odd things.
Then I turned 31 and somehow everything I knew as absolute slipped gently away. I realized as I meandered through my thirties that appreciating what I had was much more satisfying than fussing about what I didn't have. That loving the people around me was going to give me more gratification than longing for them to be different. Grasping that co-workers who weren't tagged for greatness still had lots to offer me (and our employer) was monumental and has changed my approach to everything.
I've realized that the animals I assumed were challenging because other people couldn't live with them were often pretty normal, and that there are animals and people with scars so deep and issues so gargantuan they are beyond my help. I've learned sometimes all I can offer is a safe place to lay a head and a listening ear.
I learned to reframe things that bug or upset me (from little to big it works: my car needed a boost - how lucky I am to have a car; someone I loved die - the grief is this profound because the love was that deep) and be grateful for the opportunities and challenges that continued to shadow me. Gratitude. It's where it's at people!
I wish I still had a magic wand for all situations for friends, students and animals.
It was a simple year.
It was a great year.
I am grateful for it but I am glad it was only a year.