7 things I’m trying to do:
One. Save $$$ for graduate school. If all goes as planned (which almost never happens in my life…so, we’ll see) I’ll be starting a MA in Arts, Festival, and Cultural Management in Scotland THIS September. I’m enrolled, I’ve applied for scholarships, I was accepted for student housing…now I just need to apply for a visa in June and hope they’ll take me. But there are all kinds of deposits involved and a lot to pay for in general. Plus, it would be nice to travel elsewhere if I have the time or resources. Wish me luck as I depart on a summer of bare necessities. Don’t ask me to eat out, plan a vacation or go shopping, people. If you have any personal tips or tricks on living the frugal life, please do share!
Two. Read more. I’m a go, go, go person. I like to pack my schedule with people to see and things to do. But lately I’ve been a book fiend. I couldn’t put down ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers, which is a thrilling/disturbing novel about a woman who works for the biggest, most influential internet company in the world. As her role there becomes more public and the company grows and implements new ideas, it raises big questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge. I also recently read two books by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, which is a collection of short stories that explores the “ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States”. And ‘Americanah’ which is a novel about a Nigerian couple who leave each other and their country to live separate lives in the West, but then they return to a very different Nigeria 15 years later and rediscover their homeland and each other. I loved and would highly recommend all of them.
Three. Laugh every day. What is the most hilarious thing you’ve read, heard, or watched lately? I’d love to know because life is rough right now, friends. I need laughs. They say it’s the best medicine.
Four. Tell myself the truth. I lie to myself a lot. I think things that aren’t true, so then I feel things that aren’t true. And the media lies to us all the time, too. So that doesn’t help. I have found that when I’m on a slippery emotional slope or over analyzing something, I just start repeating truths to myself over and over again. Sometimes in my head, but it’s most helpful to say it out loud when I’m alone. I try to do it before I go to bed, when my mind is most susceptible to tired nonsense and unable to shut off.
Five. Meditate. I don’t know how people do it. I think shutting my mind off is unattainable. But I’ve been meditating on these words a lot:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not foresake them.” Isaiah 42:16
Six. Feel all the feels. Grieving is awkward. No one wants to do it. There’s no time for it. Everything in life is in motion, even if your insides are stuck in quick sand. When someone dies there’s time set aside for closure. There are days off work. Probably not enough, but there’s at least something. People come to you to. They say things like, “Take whatever time you need.” They bring you meals because they know you’ll be too sad to cook or feed yourself. No one says that when your marriage dies, but it’s just as life-altering. I’ve choked back tears in meetings, at the gym, talking with friends, ordering food (the most awkward one), etc. Break-downs are not becoming. No one wants to see that, right? But I’m trying not to suppress the feelings anymore. I’m not going to be embarrassed of them or feel pressured to always keep it together. I know that if I don’t grieve, I won’t be able to let go and if I can’t let go, I won’t experience healing. I’m going to stop telling everyone I’m doing well when I’m really not. I’m free to feel everything in its entirety: the emptiness, the fear, the hurt, because I know that I will survive and that the feelings will eventually pass. I know every day I can turn a little more over to Him. I know healing is a choice and it requires release.
Seven. Set more goals. My job now requires me to sit down with kids and figure out what their goals are and then follow up with them. If I’m going to make other people do it, I should probably do it myself. So, that’s sort of what this list is.