I’m trying to get better at observing the world around me. Picking up tidbits of conversation, looking for details I may have missed before, and generally being mindful of my surroundings–these are just a few of the things on my list. I’m finding this to be a vital part of understanding the people and places I encounter every day.
A couple nights ago, Myla and I accidentally joined the local Take Back the Night march. We’d been at a rehearsal dinner downtown and, when we left, wandered through a the Take Back the Night event and met Myla’s Aunt Chelsea, her aunt’s mom, and her cousin. We explored the tables a bit while Myla and her cousin marched around with a sign saying “Take Back the World” and chanted “No more littering!”. (There was a drawing of Earth on the sign, so it kind of makes sense.)
I’m traveling for work this week. The DC area is one of my favorite places to go for work–and now I know this time of year is the perfect time. It’s gorgeous. Every other tree is absolutely lit up with blooms in shades of pink, purple, and white. The weather is perfect. The sun is clear and bright.
Traveling always reminds me how easy it is for me to disconnect from the people around me. I could quite easily talk to no one all day long. Occasionally, this is okay. It’s fine for me to introvert and enjoy solitude. But I’ve realized that this also cuts me off from so many things. I’m in a beautiful place with people from all over the country learning about the things that matter to me–why wouldn’t I welcome conversation with others?
I almost applied for post-grad school.
Can you believe that?
I just got done with the whole get-your-education thing (it took me 10 years to get my BA and MA) and I was suddenly considering going back into the mess of deadlines and debt to get my PhD.
I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot lately.
My gratitude practice has been life-changing (not an overstatement) and it’s only been three years. Or it’s already been three years. Or it’s been a whopping three years. I can’t decide which best describes it. There were long seasons where it was a struggle and I didn’t want to make a freaking gratitude list because life was really shitty. And there were other times when the list grew and grew out of control because there was just so much to put on there.
It’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting under my favorite quilt. There’s a gooey rum cake in the fridge and my dog is happily curled up in the sunshine. The kiddo? She’s upstairs, playing Mario Brothers–her new favorite thing. My boyfriend (yeah, he’s great) is sanding and staining a shelf for our kitchen nook. Our Christmas tree is significantly larger on one side than the other and the ornaments are unevenly distributed. There are presents under the tree–most of them with too many bows. My Christmas cactus is full of silky white blooms and there is nothing for me to do today but write and relax.
It’s me. It’s been awhile, I know. Surely you’re used to this nonsense by now.
In the time I’ve been gone, a thing or two has happened, as they often do.
This might be an uncomfortable time for you. It is for me. Many of us have been living in a really comfortable age where we didn’t have to stand for much of anything because none of what we loved was under threat. That’s privilege.
You are strong. You will continue growing and getting stronger because that’s who you are. Remember who you used to be and how far you’ve come.
I am wrong far more often than I’d like.
I make mistakes like it’s going out of style and have to take a really hard look at who I am at my core at least once a week.
It is tempting in this strange world we live in to judge and categorize all my experiences and decisions in a misguided—but well-intended—effort to make some sense of things.