72°

photo-4 For some people, the day of the year that whispers promises of redemption and new hopes is  January 1st. For me, ever since I was a little girl, the first truly (and often abnormally) warm day of the year is the one that does it for me.

I don’t know what it is about days like today that make me giddy with anticipation for all that life has to offer us here on this big floating green and blue ball. 

Maybe it’s being able to finally free my toes from their tiny shoe prisons.
Maybe it’s a pineapple milkshake from Cardinal Drive In.
Maybe it’s driving home from work with the windows down, not caring that my mane is becoming a giant auburn wind-thrashed mess. (Also ignoring that I’ll have 100 dreads to pick out later).
Maybe it’s because the ushering in of warm days rings true with the the promise of new things to come.

If I’m being honest, lately I’ve been struggling a bit. Struggling with myself. Struggling with conflicting feelings that squeeze me tight like a vice grip until tears well up in my eyes. This may sound so stupid, but I’m so torn between the need for new things and new adventures, and the want to stay right where I am that I (quite literally) don’t know what to do with myself.

This probably deserves a blog post all on it’s on, but for today lets just say that as a general rule, I LOVE life. I love it with every bit of my curly-haired, skinny-legged, laugh-till-she cries and cries-till-she laughs, being.

I am so blessed to get up everyday and go to a job that I love. To have a mom and dad to come home to, two people that love me, and laugh and cry with me, and pet my hair, any buy me candy, and give great hugs. To have family dinners and sleepovers at the Baldridge house, and to spend lazy afternoons with my grandparents — talking about nothing and everything all at once. To have opportunities to try new things like learning German, and finally having the guts to plan a hike for this spring (who am I, by the way?). To go to Dugan’s on Tuesday nights with new friends and old friends to talk and laugh and play trivia just for fun (and in full disclosure: also for cheap beer, and also to win). To sit with Claire on my bed at night before we go to sleep and listen to her giggle like Ron Swanson and tell me about all her plans and and dreams and what she hopes for the world. In short, life is sweet. Freaking sweet.

But I can’t shake this feeling deep down in my gut that there is SO much out there for me to see. So many names to take, ladders to climb and dreams (specifically ones that involve a certain large white house) to chase. The are new places to explore, new faces to recognize, and new people to love. 

But what to do? Do I go, or do I stay? Seven definitive little words that keep me up at night.

Long story short, I’ve been feeling a little conflicted and angsty lately, please forgive me. But today, oh today. What a glorious, glorious day. It’s beautiful to feel like God reaches, down, picks you up, and whispers through the warm wind, and the sandal-clad feet, and the pineapple milkshake, “It’s ok little one. I’ve got you. Do you hear that? I said I’ve got you?”

Every year, I  love  the first warm day. But this year I am oh so grateful for it. I’m grateful for the overwhelming combination of peace and joy and unbridled hope and excitement that it  brings. No shame, but I teared up during my drive home from work today. It just felt so good to feel the sun on my face, and for the first time in a long time, it felt good to be okay with the complicated  winds of change blowing all around me.

Here’s to 72° days that allow us to press the reset button on our lives. 

And to my friends who might find themselves in a place in life similar to mine, I urge you to rejoice. It’s ok to be conflicted and it’s ok to keep trying to figure out your place. Ponder your next move.   Just don’t you dare forget to live. Go get yourself a pineapple milkshake. There are warmer days ahead. 

5 Comments

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  1. Love it, Ashley!! Very Inspiring as always!! Listen to God, He will tell you His plan! :}

  2. I am so thankful for you. Also… A hike?! And, more importantly, can I come with? Love you little bean.

  3. I say GO!!!!! Go see what the big, scary world has in store for you. You are up for that challenge! And you can always come home after your adventures (or to Hickory)! Love you!!

  4. Part of me is sad to be able to commiserate with you on so many of those points, but most of me is reaching out for a good ol’ fashioned fist bump.

  5. Just found your blog and holy smokes this post is good. So what I needed. I just graduated and am waiting to hear back from grad schools and so much of me is happy in this season of waiting and the other half can’t wait for my life to “begin.”

    allienotsally.blogspot.com

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