I’ve always been a calendar counter. When I was a kid, I used to pick something in the future to look forward to and write numbers across the little boxes on my wall calendar. I’d cross them off with big markered x’s, even occasionally adding a half slash around noontime. As a now-Buddhist, this isn’t ideal. The days and moments leading up to a change are not to be scratched off a calendar or discounted as unimportant.
And yet about a year ago, I began counting. The months at first, then the Mondays, then the workdays. Last June I could say for certain that I had 12 months left until I could walk away from a desk life. And even though it had been very good to me, I disconnected from a part of myself. And so I counted. And I set my sights on the landmarks that would remind me of the passage of the year. The seasons, the holidays, the little celebrations in between. I wanted to time to pass so quickly that I discounted the most obvious factor–one that you’d think I would have learned after 30 years of counting–life happens, and sometimes really happens whether you decide to keep your head down and count the hours or not. A year ago, I saw the upcoming 12 months as just that–time to be passed. And now that they are gone, I see them for what they were: a year of life changing, earth-shattering changes, troubles, and celebrations. Long sleepless evenings, beautiful nights of friendship and love, and endless reminders of the strength of a strong community.
To honor a year that never deserved to be counted down on a calendar, here is the year I never expected–the year that lead me to the start of my Camino, or perhaps was the beginning of it in the first place: