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The door catches and doesn’t fully close behind you as you enter the world for the day. Again. When will you learn? The sunny, blue sky day waits temptingly as you sigh, turn around, grab the door handle, and put your whole body into pulling it all the way closed. You mutter to yourself that there’s a beaver family somewhere that would be so grateful if you chopped this forsaken door up. But look, the sunny, blue sky day is still waiting. You breathe, walk out to the street, and turn right.

You walk in the road down the block. In a rural town of 4,000, you don’t see many cars on this road you’re on. The road slopes down and you turn left. A hound shatters the traditional norms that a rooster should wake up the neighborhood. Good for the dog for living her best life.

You attack a small incline as town hall comes into view on the left. Walking two blocks is quite the commute.

You arrive in town hall without knowing what exactly will come up during the sunny, blue sky day. Excitement fills you as you know there will be at least a few moments, experiences, or conversations from today worth writing down. You have begun to settle in, understanding that other town employees respect you as a colleague with goals – for yourself, for the town, and for the Lead for North Carolina fellowship. You hear colleagues talk about the large amount of time they needed to fully settle into a new job, a new place, or a new level of responsibility. The realization hits that having many things to still figure out after a month is just fine.

You also think back on life in college, when you could fully control the pace of work regarding a project and have the satisfaction of quickly seeing an end product. Now you work on exciting projects that have a far-reaching impact, but travel a long road from concept to implementation. You slowly learn that the lack of instant gratification doesn’t mean you aren’t completing meaningful work.

Presently, you see the clock edge past 5:00pm. You say your friendly goodbyes and head out. A voice inside recommends walking a different way home. You remember the meetings you attended about the improvements to the downtown streetscape, and head out towards Main Street. The summer is winding down, but you notice happily that Spindale’s citizens are out in force. Restaurants are full with the early dinner crowd and the picnic tables outside are crowded. Bikers fly by and pedestrians amble on the Thermal Belt Rail Trail, the beautiful greenway paralleling Main Street.

You decide to sit on a bench on the greenway to read; you want to be near the action and don’t want to miss the sunset. A shadow crosses the slanting sun and you look up. A biker is coming to join you on the bench to rest after a long ride. You learn that the friendly cyclist is a former town council member of the neighboring town, and you realize you aren’t surprised anymore that yet another citizen here is nice and welcoming. You suppose it must be something in the barbecue sauce here.

You wander home thinking about how you got to where you are today. It’s been quite a journey. You chuckle to yourself as you open the door. The door catches. You start to scream, promising the beavers they will have a new dam within the week. But then you breathe and turn around. People are chatting on porches and playing tennis outside. You hear your neighbor playing guitar and the birds singing along. You don’t know all your neighbors yet, but you will. Life has slowed down a little bit, and you realize that it’s all good.