I haven't posted for a bit because I've really thrown myself into writing this past week, and I'm happy to announce that I'm two-thirds of the way through the first draft! It's progress in the making, the end is in sight, and I couldn't be more excited. There will be much more work to be done after that, editing and reshaping and perfecting, but completing the initial draft is a huge accomplishment in and of itself, and worthy of celebrating once it occurs!

It has definitely taken me longer than I had initially anticipated. To be honest, there were days when I just didn't want to look at it. Didn't want to relive all of the tragedies. I was respectful of those feelings when they would appear — giving myself room to breathe and just be. I think those days have been just as important as the productive ones, because it allowed things to shift and settle inside, paving the way toward forward movement, both with the progress of the story, as well as the healing within.

I've mentioned to a few friends that I could not have predicted the enormity of growth I've been experiencing by writing this story. I mean, I knew that it would be tough. That I'd be examining pieces of the past long buried, and probably buried for good reason. What I didn't know, couldn't know, is that the lens I now use to view these memories has changed. I'm no longer running from everything — from everyone — away from myself. I'm older and, hopefully, a bit wiser now; able to revisit the past with questioning eyes instead of narrowed, distrustful ones.

I'm so thankful to be taking this time away from work so that I don't have to wake up each morning and put on the professional mask, so to speak. I'm able to truly sit with my thoughts and feelings as they come rushing through me or float about me, able to hold them and examine them, and then, ultimately, set them free.

Aside from all of this heavy stuff, I've also had some fun experiences revisiting my childhood. When taking a walk through your past, you will undoubtedly uncover the quirks of the era in which you grew up — in particular, the words and phrases that were common at the time, the electronics that were impressive in their day, the television shows that were popular, and the kinds of games you would play. Here are a few that I made today for us to reminisce together:

Does anyone remember these games? Please, please, please laugh at the giant FAIL that is the Paper Fortune Teller on the left. I'm seriously cracking up at my shameful lack of inner kid wisdom. After twenty minutes, I finally just gave up. I didn't even have the heart to write the numbers or colors on it, even though there are some fortunes inside. But you can Google search it if you're feeling up to the challenge of creating one of your own!

The Paper Fortune Teller and MASH (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House) — we loved these games! I was filled with nostalgia when I rediscovered them. Instantly, I found myself sitting outside in the hot summer sun, on the hard concrete steps with friends, big, stinky black markers in hand, intently making up lists, and then letting fate decide our futures.

So it's not all bad, this journey I'm taking. Quite the opposite. For any of the tough days, I'm reminded of the many ways I'd endured them. And for as many todays as I'm fortunate enough to continue experiencing, I'm filled with gratitude that we can keep exploring ourselves and the world around us, and that growth and self-actualization doesn't stop at any age, as long as you are still willing to take the leap.

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