366 hours – and so begins the list.

Good morning! It’s a sunny, wintery Saturday here in Old Town – I think the car told me it was 12 degrees on the way over today.  I’m settling in to one of my favorite spots to tackle a myriad of “to dos” in a precious and purposeful 4 hour stint at my computer while logging another shift as a volunteer at the Front Desk of the Carpenter’s Shelter.

On my way here, I stopped for a latte at Misha’s and just had to take a photo – as I so often do – of the beautiful foam on this morning treat.  I always appreciate the beauty of the barista-artistry at Misha’s, and it’s really all the more amazing to me in light of the pace and vibe of this bustling local haunt.  It’s always busy, the baristas are working nonstop in a seamless herbie-free system of one server per customer and it’s a work of operational perfection (not a Herbie in sight)… and as fast as they push us through the process, they more often than not do so with a dollop of beauty. It’s such a gift.  As I took my photo, I commented to my neighbor as he chuckled at me, that I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate this pretty little thing. He nodded and said “so few people do that nowadays”.  I agreed. We all know that the hustle-bustle usually makes such a moment of gratitude seem like a luxury or a novelty we can certainly do without…. but at what cost?

The good news is that whatever the cost of not appreciating the little things, it’s a cost I’m planning to actively and intentionally avoid this month and for the next few months (and perhaps I’ll make it such a habit that I never stop!). The thing is, it struck me today, that we’ve now begun the “season of goodbyes”…. as the reality of our move is growing more certain by the day. With a contract on 123 Madison and hopes for an offer on 301 S. Henry within the next few weeks, the wheels are now very much in motion toward the end of one chapter – and the beginning of the next.

I’ve already started The List – of all the little (and big) things that I will miss when we’re gone.  Perhaps I’ll just start a new post of that list just to keep an inventory.  Meanwhile, I’m going to try to very hard manage what I know will be a rather teary and bittersweet process by focusing on saying “thank you” to each of these little things, and hoping that might lessen the “farewell” part of each thing I see, do, eat, drink or cherish for the last time over the coming weeks.  I’m absolutely determined that there will be no real “goodbyes” to the people I love so much here in Old Town – while I know that visits will be rarer, they will simply be more special and less taken for granted.  Yes, of course, there will be many great folks I’ve known and worked with for years and years, who I won’t necessarily see again at a networking event, but I know without a doubt that distance is a tremendous filter – I’ll surely see some folks often, and others will remain on FB and LinkedIn, and that’s really going to be OK. And, even the moments I’m tempted to think will be my last, are not gone forever… those that matter most will still be here to be enjoyed again when we come back – including the lattes at Misha’s.

So, what’s the deal with 366?   Well, the awesome folks at Carpenter’s have been using a volunteer tracking system for as long as I’ve been spending time here.  As of this AM I’ve logged 366 hours of service (400 as of today!), which looks to be just over 2 weeks of my life watching the ebb and flow of so many lives who have spent time within the Carpenter’s community.  I’m not sure how many more shifts I’ll take before we head north…. but rather than get teary, at least for now, I’m just going to settle in and make the most of my time here today – and saying Thank You.

The bustle and vibe at Misha’s
A thing of beauty – the lovely latte!
366 hours and counting – a window on the world of Carpenter’s.