It's been one hell of a year and a half. I know this is old news, too. I even talked about it heavily in my very first post on Lead to Gold - but unlike that rainy, cold, February weekend, a grand shift is right on the horizon in the middle of this blazing June. It's not in my mind, it's here. Life is lining up for a portal to the next chapter, and I'm in the midst of preparing for whatever is on the other side. That said, I'm trying to go in with few expectations. It's all a balance that I'll forever be learning to walk.
Let me catch you up, a bit. I've made references to some of these events, but I want to go into more detail to showcase just exactly how significant these next few weeks are going to be.
My first home goes into settlement on June 15th. It's the same home my grandmother lived in for the last fifteen years of her life. Where she hosted so many Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas morning breakfasts. Where she placed angels and messages of friendship in every corner. Where her 4x4 half-bathroom perpetually smelled (and still smells) like hairspray. When she was nearing the end of her time on Earth, I felt this insanely strong pull to keep the house within the family. I'd been dealing with trials of living at home with my parents, anyway, so I took the plunge with my love of nearly ten years, and we decided to buy it. Renovations will take a little more time, but it's all coming together. It's happening. I get to live in Grammy's house and nothing has ever felt so perfect.
My first year of teaching high school ends on June 17th, the same day as senior graduation. It's bittersweet to the MAX. I loved my 150 kids as if they were my own. Even the ones who I never met, who never turned their cameras on. Even the ones who didn't respond through emails and hadn't done any of their work all year and are now set to enroll in summer school. I love them because they are all warriors. They survived the toughest school year of the modern day. That's a huge deal to me.
That said...I need a break.
So I'm heading to Montana on June 19th for six days. I'll spend the summer solstice and full moon out in Bozeman and Yellowstone and the Tetons with a friend so dear to me, who recently moved out there to start anew herself. (Quick pitch, please go check out @funkandfolk on Instagram - it's her baby and she is unreal talented). I know how clear and happy it's made her feel in her short time there, and I'm itching to feel it too. I want the mountains to crush my soul and start me over, for real.
Honorable mentions: my love and so many other friends are starting new jobs and moving, too. My little brother is getting married. One of my best friends since 6th grade is getting married. I get to be in both of their weddings. New EVERYTHING.
So that's where I've been - do you see why it looks so much like a portal to me? I'm ready to make some real changes here, and with all the change and newness going on in the lives of everyone around me, I wonder if you're feeling similarly. Maybe it's daunting to do so - I've been trying to establish loads of new routines and healthy patterns for months now, and they just haven't worked. I've been endlessly frustrated with myself for that, at times wondering if I'll ever get there or if I'm just doomed to be undisciplined. But, tying back to that February post, I've realized there are a lot more factors at play here. All of this happening at once is not by chance. Let's add one more thing to the above list, for now:
The restrictions from COVID are lifting. We are way more safely able to go out and be people again.
This was hands down the hardest part of the pandemic for me; I'm extremely social, and I thrive on staying active and busy, always having somewhere to go or something to do. When we were no longer able to just up and leave the house for the hell of it, I didn't know what to do with myself. I started laying in bed for three hours after waking up, only eating one or two meals a day, taking another nap in between, essentially staring at walls to pass the time. It made way for some pretty bad habits. I haven't fully recovered a quality sleeping pattern or healthy eating habits. I'll admit, my hygiene even dipped. And then when I started teaching from home, I couldn't focus on anything other than those moments when I had to teach. I fell behind on grading, procrastinated building lesson plans, and hadn't even read the books I'd assigned to my kids. I'd fall asleep during my planning block. Still, today, in the final weeks of school, I'll essentially give myself 20 minutes to get out the door in the morning without so much as a tentative plan for the day, without so much as a breakfast, a moment to breathe. I've been winging it, rushing it, and I hate to admit that I'm not as organized or prepared as I may seem.
This has all piled up as a heavy self-critique. I call myself lazy, gross, undeserving, for the patterns I've picked up. I feel as though I have no reason to be tired. But then I remember March of 2020 and all that came after. I remember the words of my therapist: "So many people seem to forget that we are still living in the midst of a pandemic, and even though things are going back to normal out there, it doesn't mean your body and mind are immediately going to catch up. It might take time, and that makes so much sense."
Ugh, I love her.
Of course I'm not going to be able to reverse a snooze-hitting habit within one day! I've been used to waking up at 8:45 to go upstairs in my sweatpants, turn on the computer and start teaching at 9. Of course cooking all my meals is going to be a little tough - I've been living with my mom who lives to cook for me and my dad! It really makes so much sense. This shit doesn't happen overnight.
But I've had a few weeks now, maybe even over a month, to get a grip on what life is about to turn into. It's unfolding in front of me, and it's happening so soon. I want to be ready to come out of the quarantine shell. I want to become new. Not the person I was before quarantine, though she was lovely. No - because the world we're seeing emerge is not the world of 2019 or before. It is new, just like we are. It begs that we take responsibility for our newness and get clear about our intentions. Who can we be that will benefit ourselves and our loved ones? What does a more just world look like, after all the shit? How do we sit with the fact that there will always be new shit? To take a quote from Mrs. Glennon Doyle (just started Untamed) - "What is the truest, most beautiful story about your life you can imagine?"
My dear reader, would you write about this when you find the time? Would you sit with yourself for a few minutes and picture it? What could the new world look like for you, and what would you need to happen soon, or even right now, to get you walking toward it? For me, it's this perfect lineup of events, calling me to start over - giving me a place and a moment in time to start over. I intend to make the most of it. I also hope to go easy on myself when I can't do it perfectly, because, of course, I won't. Neither will you.
The point is that we show up, and we embrace it, when it comes.