Measuring a Year

If you call my girlfriend’s cell phone, you’ll hear her ring back tone is ‘Seasons of Love’ from the play Rent.  It’s a beautiful song that poses a very thoughtful question.  How do we, as individuals, measure a year?   After all, we’re given the same amount of time.  Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes to be exact.  When I listen to the song, I am reminded of the many ways that value exists in our day to day.  Is it the daylights and sunsets, the midnights and cups of coffee?  For me, I measure this past year in nuts.

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes ago, I was sitting at home doing pretty much the same thing I am doing now.  That is coming off the high that was the Sister Hazel Hazelnut Hang at Isle of Palms.  In the year since I first came back from South Carolina following Memorial Day weekend, I can honestly tell you I’ve lived a lifetime.  I’ve met so many wonderful and exciting people, and I have created and shared so many wonderful memories with them.  It is hard to believe this has all happened in only one year.

It is also hard to believe that I am surrounded by such loving and amazing individuals.  To say I am fortunate would be a gross understatement.  This time last year, I was just learning MySpace and was struggling to get a profile created.  Now I have close to 200 friends, the vast majority of which are individuals I have met through the Hazelnut community.   From friends I have yet to meet in person, to friends I’ve met once and with whom I remain in contact, to friends I communicate with regularly, I can honestly say that my life is filled with their love, generosity and graciousness.

What truly astounds me is the strength and depth that exists with some of these closest friends.  Individuals who only one year ago I had just finished meeting and was having a tough time keeping names with faces.  We have grown together through ice cream socials, barbeques, road trip, hospital visits, and, of course, concerts.  We have shared secrets and confided in each other.  We have celebrated birthdays and mourned the passing of loved ones.  It has been true and real and cemented in a foundation of love and hope.  The same love and hope that resonates in the music of the band we all mutually share and love.

Like so many precious things in one’s life, it’s often difficult to go back and recall what is was like before I met all my nutty friends.  The individual bonds that exist create a collective web of support that feels so comfortable and familiar; I cannot imagine a life without it.  It’s as if a mighty Banyan tree grew exponentially, its roots taking hold quickly and strong.  Its branches reach up and out and clearly extend well above the other trees of friendship that existed before this one was born.  It is the landmark in my field of life.

I measure this past year in the number of smiles I have shared with these wonderful people.  I measure it by the memories that exist and the excitement generated by the idea of more to come.  I recognize that from the outside looking in, it may be difficult to understand.  Some would even say my association with this collection of music fans is borderline crazy.  I am happy to quickly correct and tell them it’s not crazy, just NUTS.

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