I've done a lot of living since I wrote last. There has been stress and tears, good and bad. Lots and lots of change. Death and birth (literal and figurative). Lots of adjustment. I was so crippled by anxiety and obligations that I never felt relaxed (or awake) enough to spill words onto a page for the last almost 2 years.
It's kind of shocking looking back on this last stretch of time and seeing the journey. My daughter is almost 7. I've gotten 2 promotions and (finally) 2 master's degrees. I've fallen deeper in love and gotten engaged and married to the love of my life. Our wedding was my dream wedding, complete with lots of family and all of my very best friends. I've met some big professional goals. My husband (!) and I went on an amazing Hawaiian honeymoon and made beautiful memories.
I know where I'm going, and I certainly know where I've been. The times I felt hopeless and overwhelmed seem so temporary in the rear view. The times I yearned for one single friend where I lived are just a memory. I feel like I have people now.
I also have time. A seemingly endless stretch of time. It's the greatest luxury of all. I'm done with school! I don't spend my work days dreading the million things I have to do in the evenings now. I don't spend my evenings agonizing over readings and exams and lectures and papers and notes. Instead, I stress over how I can possibly fill all the time.
So this morning, the first morning I've really been able to fully relax since the whirlwind of the last month (graduation, wedding, honeymoon, new job, etc.), I took myself on a coffee date and did some much-needed thinking. Here's what I thought:
"Self, what are we going to do all summer? What do we want life to be now that life can just be? What do we want to look back and see a whole lot more of the next time we're sitting in this seat?"
And here are all the things I came up with:
• Playing with Kimmy as much as she wants
• Reading: anything and everything
• Music: anything and everything
• Painting: watercolor journal, canvas
• Gardening: grab the weeds and get dirty
• Hiking on weekends
• Walking in the evenings
• One purposeful workout every week (can include gardening or hiking)
• Writing: journal, blog, poetry, letters to Kimmy
• Mindfulness: coffee/tea, one thought at a time
• Church: just go and be open
• Cooking: plan ahead, try new recipes
• Traveling as much as possible
I have lived on lists over the past few years: lists of times and dates and obligations in my planner, lists of tasks on post-it notes, lists of memory jogs and random groceries we're out of on my notes app. Lists have been the glue holding my brain together. So it's quite fitting that I make a list of what I envision for my life.
It's going to be a transition, maybe the biggest one ever. Less phone time and deleting some apps that have helped me suppress swirling thoughts and be mindless when I needed to. More purposeful time spent doing real things and tackling thoughts head-on. Time spent learning how to play with my daughter now that I really can spend time doing a lot of that. Maybe I'll even pull out my stack of cookbooks and post-it flags and go to town marking recipes to try.
All I can say for sure is that I'm going to give it my best shot and go after my best life. I've made it to a place where I can breathe, and I plan to breathe in every experience I can track down.
Kelsey Ann Pierce Gregory (!!!)