Benjamin Chait


30 June 2018

I’m not sure where to begin with this past year. This past year has been a blur, including some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. This time one year ago, I felt everything was falling together just right; a few weeks later, and everything was falling apart.

The time since has been spent rebuilding.

Homeownership hasn’t been easy. It’s been pretty terrible, to be honest. From the very first rain of the season, we had standing water in our “finished” basement. It was only a few days until we removed the carpet, and portions of the drywall. We dealt with insurance; we argued with the seller; we spent hours with contractors, evaluating repair options. We got estimates, we signed bids, and then we waited. Months passed, and we tore the basement down to the foundation, waterproofed it, and began the long process of re-finishing. We’re almost there.

In February, Sarah and I brought home an eight-week-old pup we named Lyra. Neither of us were planning to raise a puppy this year; regardless of when, it’s a lot of work. Lyra joined us from Colorado, and though she’s a half-sister to Kippa, she is entirely her own, unique personality. She’s fearless, and fiercely loyal - the first night we had her home, she escaped from her ex-pen in an effort to be closer to her people. It’s different, this second time around. I’m not an expert on raising a dog, nor am I really all that better at training and caring for a small being. But I’m so incredibly grateful for the joy and excitement this little one brings to our home.

I could never have expected what this past year would bring. I’ll be honest: A lot of the time, I think I’d be happier if everything had been different. But I’m not going to try fighting what I can’t change.

I’m learning what matters, to me. I want to make a positive impact. I want to take something and leave it better than when I found it. My time is valuable, and limited: I’d rather spend it solving real problems, and helping make the world a slightly better place. I’m looking to grow, and to keep building skills and experiences.

At the same time, I’m learning how to take care of myself. Some evenings I just have to close my laptop and call it a day. I’m pushing myself to disconnect more often, or to be more deliberate about my use of technology on weekends and during evenings. My daily evening routine includes taking a long walk with Lyra, to get outside and to spend a few minutes in my neighborhood. This month, I gave up my parking pass to force myself to cycle again.

I’m learning how focus my energy, and how to spend my time on me. I’m learning when to say no.

After a year of challenges, and unexpected lessons, I’m focused on the future.

Benjamin Lyra in the backyard Sarah and Lyra Benjamin and Lyra Sarah Mount Hood

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