Right around my birthday I get a strange sense of perspective: I stop and wonder what my life will look like a year from now. In one year, when I am standing on this same date, how will I be different, how will I be changed? How will my life be the same as it was and yet, because of the passage of time, can really never be exactly as it was? I wonder what I will think, one year from now, about where my life has taken me and where I have yet to go.

This time last year I was preparing for the end of a very long jury trial- one of the longest in the history of the City of St. Louis. I was filled with excitement and dread. I tried to imagine what would happen, how my life would change, how it would stay the same. I thought about the 4 months of trial that had just passed, how I relied on the help of others to care for my children, to take care of my every day life. I thought about how my life molded to my new reality of being in trial every day, of working every day of the week, of thinking about almost nothing but the next day's witness.

Through it all we made it, one day at a time, one witness after another. As one of my best friends said, being in trial every day became "the new normal". Day in and day out my children were cared for and my groceries were purchased, my hair got cut and my laundry was done. In a very funny way and in the thick of the trial, I even had a hard time imagining what my life would be like when the trial was over.  And then it was. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. 

We lost that trial but we also found our way after. I found myself in the arms of a new firm, with new mentors and new possibilities, with new hope and new ideas. I found myself being more optimistic, being more who I want to be and who I see myself being as I get older. I found myself standing in a new work space, surrounded by new friends, challenged by new work. I found myself somewhere I could not even have imagined this time last year and I found myself grateful for every moment.

Most of all this past year, I have found more of myself. I have found energy and determination that I had glimpsed in the past but have now taken hold of. I have found that while I have been changed by my past relationships and past history, I am not defined by them. I am embraced by good friends and emboldened with new insight, I am surrounded in love by my family and I am imbued with confidence found in myself and from others. I found myself this year, or at least parts of me I hadn't fully developed or embraced. And this new-found spirit makes me optimistic for what lies ahead next year and what I will look back on at this time next year.  

This is the life.