I turned 29 on Saturday. 29. Finally, an odd-numbered birthday. I love those. They used to freak me out but then always end up being great, important years.

Besides, 28 blew.

Seriously you guys, 28 was one of the most difficult years ever for me. After losing my job (and spending the last few months before I lost the job stressed out of my mind), I turned into a snarly stress-beast. And I didn’t like being snarly, so I became sad. I began to cocoon. And then I started having some pretty bad dreams, bringing up stuff from my past that is scary and yucky and I’m still not quite sure how to process everything. So I cocooned even more. I curled up in a ball and rarely moved outside of myself. It’s like I was going through my life with a very bad migraine. I couldn’t face the outside world; I had to stop seeing friends and I hid away from almost everyone. I’m still not sure how I managed to sustain my relationship with Slim. It helps that he’s the most compassionate and understanding person I know. I’m still not sure what he sees in me but I will say this: the guy deserves a trophy, a cupcake, and a vacation.

Cocooning is a funny thing. I realize now hiding away from my friends was necessary for beginning to cope with these memories and what-ifs. I still can’t put actual words to them or even talk about them very much. And I don’t regret taking that time because it was necessary and required. And y’all, I’m lucky. So many people in my life have offered me grace through the last few months, understanding when I can’t seem to leave my house and always making me feel loved. Sadly, others have not been able to understand (because I’m not really able to vocalize and explain myself) and I’ve seen a few friendships change. I like to view them as being put on pause and have hope of seeing these relationships move forward.

I was so fortunate to find a job I love back in August. I’m energized by my work (even though I’m so exhausted I’m falling asleep by 8:00 every night). Being with the babies every day pushed my outside of myself and forced me to focus on someone else. It was just what I needed. The babies are growing and learning and interacting with their environment in new ways every day and I get to be a part of it. I get to help them experience the world. Seriously, best job I’ve ever had.

I’ve moved again, this time living in a house with two of my best friends and their 6-month-old son. I get to watch him grow every day and watch the amazing relationship he has with his parents (and they have with each other). I’m surrounded by family and I feel like I belong. This has been instrumental in my finding the courage to move forward.

And I am, guys. I’m finding my courage again. I’m being brave. I’m back in improv class and pushing myself to take risks. I now go out more than I stay in, although I still can’t quite handle big groups. But I’m getting quality one on one time with dear friends. Slim and I have been learning so much about ourselves and each other in our relationship and we are stronger for it.

I’m taking steps toward the future. My application to college is due on February 15th, coincidentally the day I begin doing weekly volunteer work at a local hospital to try out my Maybe-Career to see if it fits. My darling Linds is coming for a visit in 3 weeks. Slim and I are taking a much-needed trip to Montreal for Passover and I can’t wait to spend a few days with his family and to see some very wonderful faces around the Seder table.

So here I am. Back from another absence from the blog, trying to get the courage to come out of my safety-cocoon and take a step back into the world, a year older and a whole lot stronger.

I’m 29 now. And I like it.

If you’re still out there, dear reader, I’m hopeful about finding more words. I hope you’re still there to read them.