By Laura Hughes

More than anything else, I need space to be me. To explore. To sink into my feelings, my self, my depths. To know who I am at 43, vs. who I was at 23, or 29, or 33. To discover what pleases me, now. What brings me alive. What encourages me out.
(I seem to know plenty about what irks me).
But, at 43, gosh – nearly 44, what’s important to me now? What really matters?
I must be close to dead on halfway through my life. (If I’m lucky). So, surely these questions are ripe for the asking.
What pleases me? What builds a steady foundation for me to show up in the world each day? Not as my best, but, my most real… my most true.
What opens my eyes? With awe? With shock? With wonder?
What opens me?
And, most importantly, what actually matters? (Of the thousand places I could turn my attention).
Yesterday, I felt exhaustion. I woke up in a strange apartment, in fog. Chilly outside, and in. Disoriented. Destabilized.
Throughout the day, my weariness began to build – but I didn’t want to acquiesce. I had things to do, people to see.
And, as it turns out, exhaustion is a feeling I prefer to turn away from; to power through.
Yesterday’s particular flavor of exhaustion felt familiar – from COVID. And at one point, I pulled out a test, just to check.
But, I had plans last night. Evening plans. Plans to cook for a friend. Spanish food. (Since we met in Spain.)
I’d let her know I was having a hard time. “Me too”, she’d said.
And that was what became most important. Cooking for a friend. Sharing too much wine. And delicious bites of perfectly curated cheese, veggies, potatoes, olives. (As perfectly curated as I could manage from Trader Joe’s, anyway).
Why so important?
Because somehow, something in me knew that cooking in this strange apartment, and sharing with a friend, would warm me. Would allow me to open. Would bring me home.