One of my favorite authors who writes on the level of my soul in so many ways has this routine. She makes a list of ten things that she learned in the past three-four months, both deep and fun. The further along I go right now, the more my soul needs to remember. So I decided to jump in and compile my own list. It is by no means exhaustive, because this season of life has been literally jam-packed with gems and lessons. But it’s a start. A chance to be grateful for what has occurred.
So, in no particular order, here are some things worth noting about this summer.
- Chick-Fil-a breakfasts are the best. I am not a morning person, so I rarely make this happen. But this summer, I made it a goal to help myself get moving. Days were heavy and so sometimes it’s the simple rituals of sitting down with good food + taking a moment to enjoy the simple things.
- There are other great things to do than Netflix. This may not sound like a big revelation, but it was something essential to my summer. I spent the better part of my semester lost in the daze of next episode buttons and stories that removed me from my reality. While Netflix can be a great break, it also distracted me from better things. So over the past months, I spent more time actually reading again, which in turn fueled my creativity and writing.
- The best stories are not the ones where everything goes right all the time. The greatest stories, the ones we are drawn to, aren’t all happy endings and beautiful dream storybook postcard worthy lives. They are marked with struggle, intention and consistency daily, tension in this inbetween (shoutout to La La Land for this perfectly timed reminder). So I am learning to embrace the brokenness. It is important to embrace the grief, the tension, to let it run its course and work through you. Your story is better for it.
- Writing is something I have to do. I’m wired this way. To let the thoughts and things lived through pull together into words that shape our lives. This year, I celebrated it being two years since creating a blog and also my 100th post. That number alone seems crazy to me, but the volume of experiences that have been captured is amazing to read back through. There is so much that I have learned and will continue to, and so I will keep on writing, releasing these stories and thoughts tumbling around in my head.
- Sharing the stories of what you are going through, of the things lost is so important. It took a while, but I realized that after a while, you need to remember. No matter how painful. So I started processing the memories of my mom and all that I am learning in multiple places (like this list). It may take a long time to get to that point, but one day you will press the funeral flowers and capture all that has occurred.
- “The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, or the sea.” All that they say about saltwater being the cure is true. I love the ocean. Initially I was terrified by what could be hidden in its depths, so it took forever to take those first steps. Once I broke through that barrier of fear, I loved walking in the crashing waves more than words can express. In that water, with tears streaming down my sun kissed skin, I felt more peace as I processed through the violent stream of thoughts. Late night walks have also been a great processing form. So yes, saltwater can be a cure.
- Late night donut runs and any-time-of-day smoothie runs are literally one of the best parts of college. There’s just something special about the times spent escaping the rhythm of campus life, jumping into cars, having deep conversations, and enjoying doing life together.
- Don’t invalidate past feelings and experiences just because you don’t have them now. Shame likes to play games, get you to replay and cringe incessantly. First of all, it’s not about you, so stop overanalyzing everything you did. Second, you are a human given these emotions and reactions for a reason. Own it. Give yourself grace to be real, to allow what was happening to fully impact you. You never know how your life impacts others.
- Walking through death changes you. It forces you to evaluate and reconsider your perspective. I’ve realized just how desperately people need other people. And that people matter above everything else. This is how my mom lived, and this is what I want to be all about. So I find myself looking for people all the time, savoring the converesations, the connections, the small interactions.
- Dance parties are essential. I underestimate the wonders that good music, solid friends, and just letting loose in stressful seasons can do. I’ve long loved wedding dance floors, so the chance to be in a similar environment with the people I love doing life with is the best.
- Concerts bring the most healing when you least expect it. A favorite space always where the soul finds release in a way that’s impossible to convey, and I’m convinced a love of them runs deeper than is normal in my veins. there is something magical about how they both magically tear into the most broken parts yet bring the most profound healing. it seems impossible that they’re capable of both. time stops. the wound and the cure.
- Knowing your personality type is game-changing. (Though I’ll be forever confused over whether I’m an Introvert or Extravert). I’ve long been obsessed with personality tests and taken so many. But I really dug into the results and explored many articles on the topic. Wow, it brought so much clarity. Finding out a lot of things I do are attributed to my personality type was so encouraging and freeing in a way.
Reading over this list, I can’t help but smile. Despite it being one of the roughest seasons of life, God has been incredibly good. All that I have learned has deepened my appreciation for life and the gift that it is.
What have you been learning? Write it down, you’ll thank yourself later.
Keep learning + growing in the big and little things friends,