And So the Wheel Turns

Catherine Anne Howell
3 min readApr 11, 2022
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

I’m in a “finishing” stage of my life.

So many things are coming to a close right now: I’m graduating, moving out of the first place I’ve lived alone, ending my internship, leaving my twenties behind, and, as of last week, I’ve completed the first draft of my first book in my adult life.

It’s interesting to watch this chapter of my life come to end in such tangible ways. It’s markable, supported by documentation: a degree, a terminated lease, a finished manuscript, another revolution around the sun. Like when I began this chapter nearly three years ago, it’s all happening at once.

I recently read Night Film by Marisha Pessl, and among the outstanding prose, a quote stuck out to me:

“People don’t realize how easy life is to change. You just get on the bus.”

This is profoundly true. While no one can truly escape their past, I was shocked at how simple it was to flip my life upside down and start a brand new one. In the span of just a week, starting the day after my twenty-seventh birthday, I ended a long-term relationship, left my living situation, began my first semester at OU, and started a new job. I didn’t do it entirely on my own — I’m grateful for the help I received from my family and friends — and it wasn’t necessarily easy, but I made it happen.

And so it began. From the ashes of tremendous upheaval, I built a new life for myself brick by brick with each new project, friend, and experience. My studio apartment became an incubator in which I could dissolve and reform. During my time in this cocoon, I plumbed the depths of what haunts me and exorcised some violent demons. I shattered myself just to inspect every piece. I questioned everything.

Above the ocean of my wild self, something new rose to the surface: stability.

It’s unfathomably foreign to me. Unlike the simplicity of total, annihilative change, stability requires cultivation and consistency. It’s difficult for me, a loyal devotee to chaos and indulgence. It’s a radical exercise of self-trust. Rather than the exhilarating explosion of rebellion, it’s the resilient foundation that sustains revolutions.

Now as the pieces I’ve fought so hard to hold in place fall away, I feel a mixture of things: trepidation, excitement, but above all, contentment. The stability is not just outside of me with an apartment, a degree program, or a job. It is within me, now. I’ve proven that I can trust myself not just to destroy, but to build. I see the path ahead of me because I’ve laid it with my own hands.

By the time I turn thirty this year, I will have achieved so many of my dreams: earned a bachelor’s degree, traveled to Greece (!!!!), lived alone, held down a steady job, created a podcast, and, at long last, published a book. I have friends, old and new, to take with me into this next chapter of my story. It’s exhilarating and surreal.

As it ends, so it begins.



Catherine Anne Howell

Writer, podcaster, and creator exploring psyche, meaning, and self.