A year ago on the 11th I graduated from Colorado Mesa University.

The next day I made my boyfriend spend our anniversary driving to New Mexico to see my best friend before she left to live in the Netherlands. We were both sick but he stuck out the weekend like a champ.

B and I stayed up late and connected as sisters do. This type of soul fuel is needed at least yearly.

25 days later I moved out of my grandparent’s house and embraced independence. The three years they let me stay with them as I finished my education mean more to me than they will ever know. I feel like there is never any way to repay such generosity.

Though my location of employment stayed the same I swapped departments. Public Services was my first home and gave me my first love. Technology Services taught me how to handle the rougher side of things and polish my stamina.

Sleep was reimbursed those first few months. Working 29 hours a week allowed for a lot of downtime and this new sense of aimlessness was not turned away.

But those practiced years of ambition and deadlines washed over me like a wave of purpose.

Irritation and drive began to seep into my personal life. I could survive on my humble wages but spiritually and artistically, there was no fulfillment.

After my eruption, A nudged me in the direction of an artistic partnership. “Let’s do more together,” he said.

And then God gave us the opportunity. (M, we owe you more than just a meal at Red Lobster. You have been the catalyst for a movement of projects.)

The first five months of the year was a strew of piecemeal job applications. Jewelry Clerk, Florist, Furniture Floor Salesperson; all jobs I could see myself squeezing out some form of artistic expression in. But rejection. rejection. rejection. My lib job was giving me some design projects, but I was left with the clock running out and continued hunger.

After the seventh job application bust I was resilient. The rejection was a tickle of a blow and I was ready for the next opportunity.

An early weekday morning I was scrolling through the social media classifieds and I stumbled upon a posting for a part time advertising position. Graphic Design experience preferred. As I was a rubber band at this point, I had my resume and cover letter updated within the hour. Within 5 hours an interview was scheduled.

Interviews force you to rehearse your goals but you don’t really think about your sustenance until someone puts you on the spot.

“So who are you? What’s your life story?”

I had rehearsed my response a dozen times.

“Well. I graduated this past December with the wrong degree. Not to say I regret my degree, but I know I’m called to teach and I can’t really get into the school system without the proper certification. I don’t believe in student debt and I’m not asking my parents to pay for two degrees so I need to work and save for a furthered furthered education. Not only do I need the monetary funds but the I feel like I can’t teach without some life skills. If I haven’t done anything, how can I share my experiences? I need to learn all I can to share all I can.”

“Okay cool. I just wanted to be sure you checked out. You look great on paper and everything you just said gives me confidence. You’re hired.”

That was six months ago and the last time I ever felt like I wouldn’t be busy.

I picked up a lot of freelance work in the summer and it forced me to set up a sole proprietorship. The advertising job called for more hours as the months went on and it got to the point where the only direction was a full time commitment. My lib hours had been reduced and I could feel the tectonic plates shifting. The fear was paralyzing but the reward outweighed the risk.

For some, the book job was just another job, but it gave me so much more. It gave me social support when I was terrified to become an adult. It gave me unlimited wells of knowledge when the world made it seem like I couldn’t afford a prestigious education. And most importantly it gave me my best friend. I was terrified to leave the lifeboat. Everything I love was inside of it. The water looked freezing.

But the level of paralyzing fear was also the measure of affirmation I needed to make the leap.

And once I did it felt like nothing I could have imagined.

I can only tell you now that if something is scary, DO IT. Nothing is regrettable as long as you have tried.

The increase of knowledge is incomprehensible to my conscious brain, but I know that this journey has allowed me to grow into the next version of myself.

The work has been hard and rewarding. I am ready for the next challenge. A has given me the support and courage to apply for more and in January I will be Mesa County Libraries 970West Artist in Residence for the first block of 2017.

I will have space to create, art to make, and an audience who will learn from me and I from them.

Almost as an annual pilgrimage, I made the voyage back to NM this last weekend to reunite with B. We get a bit sappy when we look back on our growth and those lifelong partners and mentors do not go unseen. Brunch with D, D & D left me overwhelmed with joy on my drive back home. God has put the most beautiful people in my life and I don’t know how I became so blessed to walk among saints.

I know 2016 has been hard for a lot of people. I do not mean for this to be braggy or insensitive in any way, shape or form but I cannot contain my joy. The amount of energy I have put into my life in 2016 has compounded riches of various outlets. Biblically, we were made to work. This may seem silly, but think of the rewards that spring from putting your all into something. Put work into your work. Put work into your relationships. Put work into your body. Put work into your local government. Do everything that you do with all of your heart and I assure you that the rest that follows will be just as rewarding.

Do not be discouraged by the shifting climates of this world. Know where your faith lies. Know the Truth. Know that you are loved and that even every fumble and failure is a triumph.

2017 holds hope for me. Hope for my heart, hope for my health, hope for my home. Do not let resistance win, and I assure you, there is hope for us all.