7 Things Sunday

I’ve been home for a little over a month now. I don’t really know how to describe what the transition back feels like.

It’s not bad.

In fact, it feels really normal and fine in a lot of ways. I love being around my friends and family again. I love the hot sun and driving through rural gorgeousness. I love muggy nights on back porches with twinkle lights and brews. I love the sound of cicadas as I fall asleep. But I’ll get hit with a pang of shock and sadness at any given moment.

Because I miss cobblestone streets and secondhand smoke. I miss dancing in the terrible dance bars. I miss the weird things that happen on public transportation and walking by a freaking castle on a daily basis. I miss my friends and kirk and Steampunk crew. I miss chips, cheese and curry. I miss being offered a cup of tea all the time. I miss walking everywhere. I miss every little bit of it except for the wind and lack of Vitamin D.

I know from my own experiences and from watching various friends and aquaintances go through the “coming back home” from wherever you were for however long…that it can be really, really rough. People get stuck. They get depressed. They isolate. The job doesn’t come as quickly as they want. The friends aren’t around. You feel different. You feel lost. It’s not what you expected. You get anxious about waiting. Nothing goes right. It feels like this whole part of your life was just a weird dream. Oh, transition. Patience is truly a virtue.

I have been determined to not let myself slip into this place. Do people slip into it? Is it a choice? Or does it just happen? I don’t know. Maybe it’s not that dualistic. It’s probably a little of both. Either way, I have felt my foot slipping a lot in the last week or two, but I know I can also make choices to avoid just flat out falling.

So, here is what I have found to be beneficial in making the transition as smooth as possible. Hopefully, if you are/have been/will be in the same boat, there’s something helpful in the list.

One. Change your perspective. Rather than being bored and lonely and focusing on everything I don’t have right now (i.e. a job, my own place, my own car, a vibrant social life, routine, etc.) I want to choose to see this as a time where I’m free to do a lot of things. In a matter of weeks or months I will likely be back in the daily grind and will wish more than anything that I had all the time I do right now. Why waste it?!

Two. Do what you love and do a lot of it. I love creating. This last year I missed that so much. Grad school required me to flex my left brain a lot. The right is a little rusty, which makes me nervous but you have to start somewhere. Like now. I started knitting a new scarf. I’m teaching myself how to embroider. I’ve been sketching more. I just painted over an old canvas to begin something new. I’ve been cooking awesome meals because I have the time to. I’ve surprised myself with how diligent I’ve been at morning prayer and meditation. I pulled out my kickboxing gloves from Farrell’s. Keeping your head and hands busy is crucial. 

Three. Say YES to everything. Normally this gets me in trouble and I work relatively hard not to say yes to everything. But in this season, it’s been a good thing. Right now in this little window of time, I have freedom to say yes to everything. How awesome is that?! Want to come over and watch a movie? Yes. Want to go on a road trip? Yes. Want to come to my potluck? Yes. Want to teach this art class? Yes. Want to volunteer here? Yes. Want to housesit? Yes. Do you want to come stay with me after surgery? Yes. Do you want to go on a bike ride? Yes.

Four. Have fun. Today I painted outside and then I came in and moved the furniture so I could do cartwheels and dance around like a lunatic. By myself. And it was really. freaking. fun. After that, I made myself a gin and tonic and jumped on my bed. And then I took a bubble bath. I mean…it beats watching TV. Or at least I think it does.

But seriously. You should do cartwheels and dance to this, too.

Five. People, people, people. Re-connect. Make the effort even if/when people aren’t making it with you. And with the right friends, be open about how you’re dealing with everything. You might be surprised by people’s insight. You also might be surprised at how good it feels to be social when you force yourself out of the woe is me/sulky/I’m cool doing this all on my own headspace. And if you can stay in touch with the people you love oh so much in your ‘other home’ doooooo it.

Six. Try to balance. I completely acknowledge that it is important and normal to let yourself fully feel and wrestle with all the complicated, frustrating, weird, messy, transitional shit, too. Don’t get me wrong. I know you can’t just switch it off and be a busy, social, happy bee until life’s pieces fall together. Reflecting is good. Bumming out okay. But no one has to stay there.

Seven. Pep talk to yourself on the regs. Oh man. For as positive and optimistic and proactive as all this ^ makes me sound. I am full of doubt and worry and anxiety. I have to tell myself truths all the time to counteract everything else in my head that is much louder and more obnoxious. These pep talks usually happen in the bathroom mirror and in the car when I’m driving. But they work. I know when I start pep talking myself it means that I’ve been paying attention to my thoughts. It’s like I’m catching them and holding them up to the light in order to examine whether or not they’re legitimate or if I need some rewiring. My best friend has this notecard on his door where he wrote “Remember the upsides”. If you suck at catching your own thoughts, put reminders to stay positive in places you will see them. It’s simple.

Love,

Taylor

7 Things Sunday

 

 

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I hope that you all had happy hearts this week! I hate that couples take the cake on Valentine’s Day because really it’s just a day to overtly celebrate love. Anyone and everyone can do that. Think about or do the things that make your heart sing! Treat yo’self: to pedicures. To an extra piece. To a dance in your new underwear. To an hour of quiet. Make things: hats for people with cold heads. Drawings for people with naked fridges. Gluten-free cake for people with sensitive tummies. Tea for the friend who is sad. Give things: Nice words to people without smiles. Kisses and hugs to your grandma, boyfriend, kid or cat. Your precious time to the ignored or poor. Your prayers and thankful heart to the Creator. Remind people they aren’t alone. FYI: This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week! What a perfect way to extend the good love vibes.

It’s interesting to me how love is something so natural and yet I’m always learning more about what it actually is. What it actually means…what it looks like…how it feels. What I knew about love at 14 pales in comparison to what I know now. I wonder what I will know at 30 and 55. It makes me really excited to see how much I’ve learned but to know that I don’t know it all yet.  That there are bursts and depths of love that I have yet to experience. That there are people out there in the world that I will immensely love but have never even seen their faces. That there are places I will leave bits of my heart at, but have never been to. That there is room for my heart to grow and expand, but it has yet to be tested. Right now I’m learning about sad kinds of love. Or bittersweet kinds of love, at least. Love for what is lost and broken. Love for what is out of reach. Love in the midst of everything unknown. The handing over kind of love. The kind of love that rips you apart and holds you together at the same time. I think that’s the kind of love Jesus had. And that’s the kind of love I want to emulate, so maybe this is a good lesson. A good season of learning love.

7 Things I would tell my 14-year old self about love:

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Hey you awkward little thing, you:

1. You think you are in love right now. I won’t say you aren’t. I won’t roll my eyes at you and speak of puppy love or whatever it is grown-ups talk about. I won’t tell you that you have no idea what you’re really feeling. I will validate the in-loveness, the euphoria of it all and the earth shattering feeling of when you get rejected. I was thinking about telling you to guard your heart better (as if this is something we all inherently know how to do) so that it doesn’t hurt as much when its over (and then over again) but no…no, don’t do that. Because later on it will just feel silly. In a good way. The kind of silly that makes you smile. The kind of silly that makes you happy you experienced what you did. You eventually forget the hurt and all that’s left is a whimsical, nostalgic kind of thing. I shouldn’t say you forget the hurt. It’s definitely memorable. But the dancing in the rain kind of stuff will be more in focus. We learn from heartache. Everything is a gift, even that part. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, “It’s a good thing; a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” So I guess what I’m saying is take it all in with everything you’ve got, but then let it be over. Don’t keep trying or desperately hoping for more. Let it be.

2. You’re really good at loving your friends. Love your family more. Friends will still mean everything to you. Friends will still be who you see the most on a daily basis. But don’t miss out on family. I wish I could tell you everything, but just trust me. The family thing gets much better and bigger and more lovely. So give them the quality time they deserve. Your presence is love. Its cliche, but they will literally have your back no matter what. They don’t change. They always love. They will be your sounding board in life.

3.  Sometimes love is making the decision that doesn’t seem loving. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for a person is to say, “no more.” I know you’ve had it drilled into your brain: love, forgive, love, forgive, love, forgive. But that doesn’t always look how you think it does. You’ll realize all the love and forgiveness you can give doesn’t change a person. And sometimes you end up enabling the bad things because you’re too scared of doing the wrong thing. You’re not a very brave person in that department. You don’t trust yourself very much. It makes me sad. But grace is key to who you are, so don’t change that. Just know that it’s okay. It’s okay to have a breaking point. And it’s okay to not know what God is teaching you before he teaches it to you. It’s okay to let go of whatever is hurting your heart and soul.

4. For goodness sakes, love yourself more. In order to love people well, you do truly need to be in a healthy place of loving oneself. At the end of the day, you are all you have. You have your mind, heart, soul, and body. Take care of it. Love it, with all it’s flaws and all it’s beauty. Love your body. Be outraged at the objectification of the female body. Stop trying to please everyone. It’s okay if people don’t think you’re the greatest or the prettiest. It’s okay if people don’t agree with you. Don’t burn yourself out. Listen to yourself. What do you need? Ok…now do that. It’s quite simple, really. You don’t have to go to that thing because that person will be disappointed if you’re not there. You don’t have to do every little thing someone asks of you. It’s okay to say you’re busy. It’s okay to say you need a night at home. Learn to be in tune with your gut. Sometimes you have to listen to yourself and to God and accept that someone you love might not understand.

5. God loves you, no matter what choices you make. There’s nothing you can do that will ruin His plan. He won’t see you as less of a good person if you do___. Your life isn’t going to be less full or blessed if you ___. You don’t worship a conditional God. No, really. You know this, but knowing it in your head is entirely different from knowing it in your heart. It’s a really hard thing to grasp–unconditional love. Maybe you’ll get it more if you become a mom someday. I don’t know. You definitely have a “gray” perspective. You’re really good at being accepting of everyone else and not being judgmental. You’re really good at knowing if Jesus is the Truth, you’re not…except when it comes to yourself. When it comes to your life, things are more black and white. It’s harder to believe that whole unconditional love thing for yourself than it is for everyone else. But you are, you are so radically loved and accepted just as you are. Don’t let anyone else taint your journey by comparing it to their own. And don’t do that to yourself. Live into what God has for you.

6. Sometimes love needs boundaries to keep hurt and confusion at bay. And then sometimes screw boundaries…love with abandon, my dear.

7. Some of the greatest loves of your life will not be boys. They’ll be the girlfriends who intensely know you and are your memory keepers. They’ll be the places and spaces that saw you through unforgettable seasons of life. They’ll be the children that light up your world and teach you to wonder. They’ll be the roles or vocations that allow you to live out love and purpose. They’ll be the women you look up to, the ones who blazed the trail before you and come back to walk you through it.

Love,

Taylor