Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Letting Go of Good Things

Here's a rambling of my ideas, as of late.

It's been hard for me to write this fall, since starting at Timothy. You may notice that, over the past two years, it's been harder for me to write consistently. I think it has *something* to do with the juggling act of adulthood that hit me all at once when I got married, moved to the suburbs, and switched jobs to have my own classroom. All at once. 

I got bogged down with things like laundry and grocery shopping and cleaning and lesson planning and summer jobbing and it all just took over my day-to-day. 

Teddy and me. 
I have this habit in the morning that I've fallen into over the past few years. While I'm blow-drying my hair, instead of focusing on the styling thereof, I sit and scroll through interesting articles on social media and various news outlets. I get updated on the world and the world of my friends, both of the real and Facebook varieties. 

Well, this morning on my daily catch-up, I came across a post from Elizabeth Gilbert that was really great. Here's part of it: 

"Long ago, when I was struggling to become a writer, a wise older woman once said to me, "What are you willing to give up, in order to have the life you keep saying you want?"
I said, "You're right — I really need to start learning how to say no to things I don't want to do."
She corrected me: "No, it's much harder than that. You need to learn how start saying no to things you DO want to do, with the recognition that you have only one life, and you don't have time and energy for everything."
So she continued on with a statement she posed to many good, but needing-to-be-cut things in her life. This is what she said to them: I love you, but I'm letting you go. 
This just resonated with me so much. This fall has been one big blur without the catharsis of writing in my life. It was the beginning of the year rush and then the October slump and now we're entering the holiday hustle and oh my goodness I have hardly processed what's been going on. My life has been ruled a little too strongly by media of all kinds. From news to Facebook to Instagram to Netflix to Hulu to Huffington to blogs to Vine when I'm feeling ridiculous and everything in between. If I look back, this media monster has probably eaten hours and hours of my life this fall. In some ways, media is great. It connects me to the world and all that nonsense, but it really kind of disconnects me in the end. I've been consuming so much that I've been losing my ability to create. The only thing I've written in the last little while that I've been any ounce of proud about was my little tribute to my Grandpa Gesch. My uncle Curt dubbed it to be "perfect," and that is just about the best validation I could've asked for, coming from such a fantastic writer. 
So I've decided to take a note from Liz Gilbert, such an incredible writer herself, and say to my overkill on media: I love you, but I'm letting you go. I thought about it long and hard, and I figured out that the things that make me feel creative and alive and myself are the two simplest: reading and writing. And I'm not going to confuse reading with scrolling. I just started the book we'll be reading for book club when we meet over Thanksgiving weekend. And so as a part of all of this I'm back here, feeling good about writing, checking in on my life, and archiving where I'm at right now. 
So what have I been up to? 
One small struggle is that I am missing a lot from year to year. I miss last year. I really, really miss Calvin Christian School. I miss the city life. I miss living with roommates with whom I could share clothes. I miss my Teach For America hustle and realness and colleagues. I miss attending grad school (I know, nerd alert.) I miss living with my best college friends. I miss a lot. And I've only been at this adulating thing for three and a half years. 
Brian has been a huge catalyst for me becoming who I am going to be this year. He is here, he is supportive, and he is so, so dependable. I'm not even here, supportive, or dependable for myself! He gets the teacher thing, and I love building our friendship right along with our marriage. Sometimes I roll my eyes in annoyance at his quirks, and then sometimes I sigh with relief as he endures all of mine. Sometimes we watch dumb TV shows together (Hello, Bob's Burgers) and completely get each other. Sometimes we are in the day to day and that's all it feels like: a regular old routine day where our paths don't do too much crossing. Sometimes I can't even believe how much I love him. It's all of the above. 
One huge effort in my life is that I've been looking for and grasping at community out here in the Western suburbs. We've joined a small group in Oak Park, I've been attending a Writer's Group with my mother-in-law (actually super cool), joined a Thursday night volleyball league, I'm joining/starting a book club with my friend Reese, and I started a more intense Bible study with my mentor and another girl from church. When I see all of that in one list, I feel pretty proud. I'm starting to feel a little more grounded in all of life. I know and can surely feel that the grind of the fourth year of teaching in the third consecutive school is getting to me too, with all the upheaval that goes along with that. But these little groups, little connections that God has allowed me to receive, have made me feel oh so much more connected. To other people, to myself, to Him.
So thanks, Liz Gilbert, for the advice. I miss a lot of things. I'm learning to let some of those go to make way for the new. 

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