Change is hard. Change is necessary. Change is (sometimes) scary.

I’ve never been one to dive headfirst into the water. I’m more of a dip my toe in, test it out, make a to-do list (first one toe, then two, then maybe a foot … you get the idea), and then, and only then, will I consider diving in headfirst.

I’ve often joked that as the product of a hippie mother and an ultra-conservative father, I fall smack dab in the middle of practical and impulsive. I dream of the freedom and fun that comes from being bold and impulsive, but I crave the stability of planning and routines. It’s a fun place to live.

This past year has been filled with all the cliches of personal growth. I spent a lot of time soul searching, even more time trying to unblur the lines between work and home, and a LOT of time juggling dirty diapers with Teams meetings and to-do lists. I wish I could tell you that I’ve come out of that phase of life with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose, but that would be a beautiful lie.

If anything, I am more confused than ever. Well, I suppose I could claim to have a confused sense of clarity. The things I want and need are clearer, but the path to get there has gotten a bit rockier than I’d anticipated.

I won’t regale you with all the gory details of the bumps and potholes that have littered that path, but I will say this … they’ve forced me to sit and think. I’ve spent countless hours the past few weeks meditating and thinking and contemplating what my next steps in life are.

The only certainties I’ve found are that my passion continues to lie within words and stories and humanity. I find solace in a good book. Writing is my therapy. I will always, always be a loud advocate for and a student of human rights. There are the three strongest pillars of who I am at the core of myself.

With all of this soul searching, I’ve also found that there are situations I cannot and will not tolerate. It is with this newfound knowledge and appreciation for my mental health and well-being that I am embarking on the next phase of my life and career. I am opening myself to the possibilities that lie ahead … with a teensy bit of fear and trepidation, but head and heart first.

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