Rarely has a chapter of my life had such a clearly defined beginning and end as did the last year and a half. It opened with high hopes, a move, and the start of my husband’s new career as a State Park Ranger: his aspiration for as long as I have known him. It closed with state budget cuts, his getting laid off, and our moving back to Spokane. Of course, much happened in between, including my scrambling for a job and finding one that I loved, missing my friends and making new ones, adopting two shelter dogs, and living out in the middle of nowhere. Now, being back in Spokane I appreciate so many things, like living two minutes from a grocery store, having friends nearby who come save me when my car breaks down, and being able to access pretty much any amenity imaginable. I didn’t even realize how much I missed the bright colors in my house and the mismatched architecture of my neighborhood, or how much my feet enjoy the cool smooth slope of our old porcelain tub and the uneven expanse of parkay wood floors. I’m surprised how much my senses have celebrated our return to the little brick bungalow.

But there is something a little “off” about a journey that ends in the same place that it started. You’re left with a lingering “what was it all for?” even though you can point to things you’ve learned, people you’ve met, and places you’ve seen that you wouldn’t have otherwise. It also has a fairytale flavor leaving you wondering if it all really happened, since you’ve woken up in the same bedroom as you fell asleep in before.

Each new beginning offers so much possibility. I am once again looking for work, but this time a different kind. I am looking forward to a struggle while I should be wishing for security. I want to make something big happen with my life, and I think now is the time. I don’t know what this year will bring, but for better or worse I’m home.