Once upon a time, I turned twenty six and celebrated in the least exciting way. While the start was far from pleasant, twenty six ended up being my most defining year thus far. I've been reflecting, as I do every year, and really trying to discover the best way to articulate my growth this past year. I came up with this, a puzzle.
I spent many days of my childhood at my Nana's house (great grandmother) while my Mema (grandmother) and her other sisters completed puzzles on the screened in back porch. They would spend hours each day working on one of their 10,000+ piece puzzles that took them weeks possibly even months to complete. I would try to be interested but after the initial gratification of finding two pieces that fit, five year old Danielle thought it would be much more beneficial to the morale of the group for me to perform self-made dance routines in my red tutu or create a mess of my Nana's kitchen crafting my original cheese sandwiches that I charged them all twenty five cents for or teach myself how to play the organ until it broke (I'm quite positive it never broke, they simply weren't prepared for my musical genius.)
Ok, back to the puzzle, I got distracted on a trip down memory lane. The past year to me is not a completed puzzle, because I am far from completing my puzzle, but in the past year, the small pieces came together to form one piece of the overall image. You know when you're doing a puzzle and the pieces come together to form a doll (I had a puzzle in my room growing up of many many porcelain dolls) and while you're not done with the entire puzzle that one piece of it is fully informed? Thats how I feel the past year was.
I think I was in search for something without really knowing it and each puzzle piece of this past year lead me to completing one section of my puzzle. Henry's liver disease. Attending the Forbes Under 30 Summit. Being featured on The Everygirl. Traveling to Uganda. Improving myself as a runner. Meeting Inslee. Hosting multiple blog events. Watching my girls transition to college. Pushing myself to embrace being uncomfortable. Developing a friendship into a relationship. Moving to New York City. Beginning a new career. While individually unique, each of these pieces came together to develop me into who I am today.
I'm more confident in myself and am excited to discover the next image in my puzzle. Though I'm ok with it taking a while to present itself while I enjoy this image.
Thank you to all of my friends and my parents who supported me persistently this past year. My puzzle would not be complete without you.
Cheers to twenty seven!