My husband is a channel surfer. I walked in last night and he was watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I arrived at the moment when a wise character was telling the main character, “The belonging you seek is not behind you, it is ahead.” She’s advising her to stop waiting for something (or someone) who is long gone and look to the future instead. Maybe because today is my birthday, those words hit home.

It’s been a bit weird this last year, moving away from 27 years spent recording World War II stories and preserving the past, toward a new book and business that is focused on taking people into a brighter future. And it’s strange to be moving toward true empty nester status and realizing my time as the mother of dependent children has passed. I’m seeing my kids give up the familiar and strike out in new directions and I’m encouraging them to do so, reminding them that when we step out of our comfort zones, we uncover new parts of ourselves. We also discover new people, places, and experiences which, ironically, then become our new comfort zones.

So here I go, too, stepping out of some of my comfort zones and navigating toward a future that means leaving behind or possibly losing touch with some of the people and projects that have been vital to my professional journey so far, but also knowing there are people coming who are going to be perfect companions on this next leg in my development, and projects that are going to help me grow in all kinds of ways.

I’m venturing toward a place of new belonging. And even though that’s sometimes a little sad or disconcerting, isn’t it also exciting to think that belonging is not a word that applies only to the past or even the present? We belong in our futures too. And that’s a pretty optimistic thought on a day when one turns one year older.

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