Facebook reminded me that ten years ago today I posted that my plans to move to Seoul had fallen through and that I was looking for temporary housing while I tried to figure out my next steps.

Step one: two random dudes on Craigslist who were both younger and seemed nice, kindly not asking why I was willing to take the smallest shoebox of a room while I tried not to seem too desperate. They remained kind throughout the year we all lived together, if a bit mystified by what it was I actually did, where and with who I spent my time. 

Step two: three jobs, all concurrent and poorly-paying, but all feeding something I needed at the time. The coffee shop for hip coworkers and socialization with regulars. The fabric store/fiber studio for being surrounded by beautiful things, flexing creative and teaching muscles, and making my first good friends who only ever knew the single me. The estate sale company for a completely different cast of coworkers, other people’s homes, other people’s lives, other people’s stuff. 

I worked steadily, afraid to stop, taking all available shifts and no days off between August and Thanksgiving that year, only going home to that tiny room where I would practice hangul and watch kdramas and wonder about leaving the country. And knowing, deep down, that I wouldn’t, that I wasn’t brave enough wasn’t reckless enough wasn’t able to do anything beyond my hands tamping espresso casting on stitches cradling antiques.

Ten years. I have so few markers of time and adulthood passing. Gone to so many weddings but never had my own. Made a rainbow’s worth of baby hats and remain resolutely child-free. I’m dogsitting this weekend because borrowing Charlie is the closest I come to having a pet of my own. 

I’ve lived and worked in four states. Visited and worked in other countries, some I never thought I’d see. Do a job 20-year-old me could have only imagined with starry eyes. I’m surrounded by things I’ve made with my own hands, my own work, my own time and no one else’s.

I’m not sure what to make of the path that’s led me here, of what I might have done more of or differently or not at all. I don’t really have a purpose in writing this, or some kind of meaning I feel I need to write toward. But ten years feels like it requires at least a pause. 

It feels like yesterday and an eternity ago and all the places I’ve lived and people I’ve worked with and things I’ve done since zoom by in a wild supercut in the meantime. It’s been a lot and nothing at all. I have more tattoos and longer hair. I wear the same clothes in a somehow different style. Have fewer fucks to give about just about anything. I’m still overwhelmed by the things and places and people I’ll never know or see or do or have. I care, both less and more, about everything.

[…]and felt his warm 
          blood curl
throughout his body, heard once more the tumble and the 
of his close heart and faced once more the breathing and
          the fears. 
Then as he waked he felt that the space and wind and cold and 
(the order of the elements himself had known before)
had altered life. And crept to see but found, blown idly to 
          his feet,
remnants of hope like tattered cloths used to wipe up a 

.susanna valentine mitchell.