My place has a smell. It’s sweet, but just a bit… like vanilla. It’s warm, the way soft blankets smell straight out of the dryer. It’s fresh like flowers—this week the sunny kind. If you’re paying attention when you walk through the door, you’ll catch notes of dark coffee, the oil I use for the frizz in my hair and blown-out flame from the candles I burn into the night.
That’s what greets me each day when I unclick the latch and hurry inside to shake off the raindrops and kick off my damp boots, allowing my toes to return to a well-circulated pink once again.
It’s been a little over a month here, and I know which floorboards creak, exactly how hard I have to hip check my dishwasher to make it actually start, and that the windows swell just a bit if I leave them open too long—making for a graceful display as I jump off a chair, grab the window’s lip, and use the full weight of my body to drag it closed.
The rafters are good for echoes—they amplify the raindrops that plink in a cosmic kind of chorus, the golden retriever’s happiness next door when his owners play their piano, the laughs I’m coming to know from those who are animating the space and reanimating me.
Here, there are recipes to try, wine to share, and a fuzzy brown blanket that frequently tricks me into naps on the couch, where I look like a very large caterpillar. There are sunsets that sink into the lake. And I like to watch them each day from my desk as I inch a little closer to finishing the manuscript for my book.
It is good here. I am good here. I am continuing to be myself here—remaining, remembering and reawakening. The same girl on a different journey, and so in that, someone different too.
And sometimes, often on the quiet evenings, I wonder, “Will it all be ok?”
This last week, a loving mentor and friend listened to the unkempt set of emotions that can swirl up within me without warning—I confessed to him grief and fear and doubt. He wondered what had evoked these emotions right now; why this moment?
I thought, and then said, “I think part of it is the goodness. I can feel it moving me forward, and that brings its own uncertainty and pain.”
“I am convinced there is nothing our hearts must battle more fiercely to endure than goodness,” he said. “It is terrifying in the new possibilities that it creates. It fills us with a hope that nearly aches.”
For most of my life, I’ve leapt at the chance for goodness. I have always loved surprises and gift-giving and concerts and holidays. I seek out laughter and games and bright spaces and hope.
And I have to imagine that part of growing older means that goodness gets more difficult—undeniably it becomes more bittersweet and risky. It must make its way through all of our life’s “lessons” and the protection we embrace because of failure and loss. It confronts our panic about scarcity, our belief that “no, at some point, the goodness must run out and I will be left behind…there can’t be more of this certain goodness for me.”
But what if there is enough goodness? What if I stopped the kind of nervous comparison within me about where I am now—what it looks like and where life is headed–and trusted the story?
What if I honored that my life is filled with the things that matter to me and incredible kindness, and that the unknowns of the future are actually what is making life itself a bit wild, and a bit epic?
Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world. She’s a 26 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart. Her favorite creative project right now is called The Someday Writings, and someday, she may let those writings see the light of day. For now, she shares her thoughts here.