Let me tell you a story about a girl (a woman, really, but she felt at the time that "woman" sounded very old). This girl, at the age of 27, had promised herself that by the age of 30 she would be out of the food service industry. You see, since she had graduated from college with a toddler on her hip, she had been working as a waitress, a bartender, a caterer, her dreams of being an artist continually frustrated.
By the time she turned 28, she had reached this small goal. Instead of working bizarre hours breaking her back to serve people hand and foot, she had gotten herself a job in an office. Doing inventory and accounting, of all things in the world. And while the hours were steady and her paychecks were predictable, the girl was still very, very unhappy with her work. So unhappy that her wrists developed a painful condition and she was rendered completely unable to do the job. So she finally quit and went to work for herself.
During the short years the girl had been working in this office, however, she had been tending to a beautiful Christmas Cactus along with all of the other office plants. She liked to take cuttings from the cactus and grow new plants. One of these baby cacti was sitting on her desk, and while it had never flowered she still loved it, so she took it home with her when she left the job forever.
The baby cactus grew, and was moved to several locations within the girl's apartment, until it finally settled on a shelf above the girl's drawing table. There it sat for more almost 4 years, growing to its limit, but never ever flowering. Meanwhile, the girl had managed to work for herself, first in business with a dear friend, then opening up a business for herself. As time went on, she was able to work on her art more and more, and while she was not yet making a living from it, she became more and more confident in the possibility.
As the year 2008 came to a close, the girl reflected on the failing economy, the presidential election, the wars in the Middle East. She wondered in what unseen ways these things reflected themselves in her own life, and how her life would play out in year to come. How could she get her business to grow? Her art to thrive? Would she have to find another job? Go back to school? So much uncertainty, she tried to just move on and put her worries aside.
Then, on the last day of the year, the girl, nearly 33 years old now, woke up just like any other day. She made breakfast for her daughter, got dressed, did the dishes. It had been several weeks, but this morning she remembered to water the cactus in the corner (poor thing, if it were not a cactus it would have died ages ago, as did all of the other plants the girl had ever owned before). Suddenly, the girl gasped, as she saw that the cactus had finally, for the first time in it's entire life, sprouted flowers! Beautiful, delicate little pink buds.
The girl called her daughter over to take a look. Then she happily announced that it was a good omen for the New Year. She took a picture and wrote a silly blog in fairy-tale fashion, to share with all of her friends.
Happy New Year!