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It's Been Two Years Since the Fire

Rachel Saylor

 Animated by:  Austin Saylor  

 Animated by: Austin Saylor 

I wrote a piece while I was staying in Edinburgh, Scotland this past week. It was a free write, something I had not done in a while, and I was pretty proud of what I had written. 

As I open my laptop up today to read it over again, I find that I have lost the writing. 

It sucks. I’m bummed about it, and I’m honestly having a hard time continuing writing right now because I feel too pissed to write again when I just lost work. 

Funny enough, I opened up my laptop to begin writing a blog post about the two-year mark of mine and my husband’s home burning down. I find the irony in this because I’m almost too upset to write a blog post due to the loss of one document when this specific blog is all about losing everything, but not stalling forward motion because of that loss.

So, instead of lamenting the loss of a very small portion of my work, I will learn from it. I will double check that I’m saving work, and save my work in multiple places in the future. 

One large thing I have learned from losing my home is that the material things we have in our lives (including written work) should not own us or dictate our happiness. We are in control of our own happiness. It is a choice we have to make daily in the minute and grand happenings of our lives. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t experience emotions like sadness and anger, but we can choose to let it bring us down or we can use the heartache to our advantage, to propel us forward. 

My husband and I have been able to do this by being determined to come out better after narrowly escaping our burning home. After losing everything, our interest in collecting material things waned. If something got broken or lost in the past two years, we’d remind ourselves of the fire and it didn’t seem to affect us as much. “Oh well, it’s just stuff,” we’ve said on more than one occasion. 

Not only has it changed our mindset, but, this year, it has changed the way we are living life. We were able to pack everything we owned into our cars, leave the town I’ve called home for over seven years, and take off for London for three months. When we come back, we’ll be able to bounce around, visiting friends and family for a while. We then plan to slowly drive across the country, stay in Arizona for an undetermined amount of time with a friend before making our way up to Oregon. Not owning lots of things has given us immense flexibility and freedom that has been life changing. This wouldn’t have been as easy or possible without the fire and I am grateful for the opportunity that was created because of it. 

When life throws a curveball at you, you have a choice with how you react to it. It’s not easy to find the light in dark spots, nor is any one situation like the next, but I encourage you to find the positive in it and adjust your mindset. Some cool shit can grow from that, and it can rearrange your world so that you see all sorts of different colors and shapes. This act of going against what seems natural, giving into the pain and letting it swallow you up, can bring about a life you’ve never even dreamt of, and let me tell you, it is absolutely stunning and more fun than I can describe. 

I feel as if I am truly living life to the fullest and embracing all of the moments it has to offer. Cheers, fire. You’ve changed the way I see the world and my eyes are open wide. May I never forget the gift of freedom you have given me.