I'm not sure how I'm going to go about doing this, but it turns out that I NEED to continue this website. I NEED to write here, more even than I LIKE to write here, if that even makes sense. What I have to figure out is HOW to write here. When. Where. About WHOM. I just don't have as much to SAY about my kids these days; not, at least, in long-hand form. Kid updates are better suited to Twitter or Facebook, I think, now that they're older and simply saying adorable things and asking hilarious questions that can be summed up in a few sentences. I don't seem to be overthinking the kids lately, and it's nice. I mean, yes, overthinking also used to lead to a lot of overthought CONTENT, but I just don't second-guess myself like I used to; I just don't need as much hand holding and reassurance or even venting space like I used to.
(I may have to start an anonymous blog about my husband, but I'll be sure to let you know where to go if it comes to that.)
The thing about blogging is that after a few years, you make blogging friends. And as great as email and Twitter and Facebook and group texting and Instagram are, the fact remains that the friendships I made (and desperately long to hold on to) began because blogging was our primary form of communication. I want this blog to remain that, for those I've met and written to for years. It's not even that it's EASIER; it's just... I don't know how to say it... maybe organic is the (awful, overused) word? Back to the root of the friendship or something? I just think about what it would be like if Maggie or Elizabeth or Jennie stopped blogging – I would feel like my connection to them withered as well. And yet – isn't that exactly what I've done by overlooking my little spot here?
But I've tried in the last few months to restart myself; to remotivate myself to make this a priority. And it is HARD. You know why I started a blog? BECAUSE I WAS BORED. I mean, when was the last time you were BORED, MOTHERS OF SMALL CHILDREN? I'm VERY RARELY truly bored anymore. There's always SOMETHING I could be/am doing: more laundry. More meal planning. More vacuuming and more toilet scrubbing. Picking up more dog poop. I was so high on the 10 hours of freedom I was getting when Lucy started preschool this past fall that I spent most of it doing things like going to Target alone or trying on every pair of shoes in my size at TJMaxx JUST BECAUSE I COULD. But I think I am realizing that I was foolish with those 10 hours. I should have spent them here, at my house that I love, writing and being creative and making connections instead of buying another ¾ length t-shirt at Marshalls for $6.99. (Do you know how small the window for ¾ sleeve shirts actually IS? Like, four days in spring and six in the fall. THAT'S IT. Save your $7.)
Now, four-ish months later, I actually feel disconnected from the online world. The term “online world” sounds ridiculous until I clarify that the “online world” I'm referring to are simply the friendships I've cultivated over the last six, seven, eight years. And it would be one thing if I was busy with something else that was even MARGINALLY important, but I'm not. There's no freelance work. I'm not having lunch dates. I'm not even SEEING ANY REAL PEOPLE for the most part (unless I'm related to them). As a result, I'm feeling isolated and sad and like I'm just floating out here without any real connection to anything that makes me happy. I have a million and one acquaintances from church and my neighborhood that I love, but so little time to cultivate close in-person friendships. (Is this a challenge for anyone else?)
I think part of that issue is that I still think of “close friendships” (and I am not speaking of my online friends here) as the same kind I had in high school and college, and I realize that as people age, the KINDS of friendships they have change, too. But that is still really hard for me to wrap my mind around – hard for me to reconcile. I think about Dave and how his closest friends are two guys he went to high school and college with, who still live within five miles of us, and the guys he knows at work. That seems pretty typical to me. And yet: my high school/college friends don't live anywhere near me at this point, and I don't have an office to go to every (OR ANY) day. AND MAKING NEW FRIENDS IS HARD.
You know what though? Dave got me and the kids a puppy for Christmas. There have been moments I have been extremely resentful of this puppy. He is a PUPPY. There is pee everywhere and I have to let him outside 85,000 times a day and I have to teach him to walk on a leash. It's going to be months before I can go running with him by my side or trust him enough to turn my back on him and the kids for five minutes while I start dinner. It is STRESSFUL, this having a puppy thing.
On the other hand, this puppy ties me to my home. I can't leave him for hours at a time yet; I can't while away the hours at Target or try on every pair of shoes at TJMaxx – this puppy is forcing me to be very DELIBERATE about my choices and about how I spend my time. I've struggled in the last week to say goodbye to the lifestyle of spontaneity I've been enjoying for the last few months, and it's been kind of hard. But you know what I also realized? The ability to go to whatever store I wanted to for ten hours a week never actually fulfilled me. The pursuit of material possessions never REALLY made me happy. Now that we have a puppy (A PUPPY), I almost feel RELIEVED. Oh sure, cleaning up pee accidents blows. But I feel like staying at home more – pursuing something more creative or relational – is just the thing I need. And walking the dog in the last couple of days has led to 15 conversations with kind strangers. I know they're strangers, but I NEEDED those interactions.
(Is it so terribly obvious that I'm a PAINFUL optimist?)
Seriously, though, I think my resolution for 2013 is to stop using my free time frivolously. I want to use my time for things that will benefit me in the LONG run rather than please me for a moment (or, say, ten hours a week). This means more blogging. This means more reading my Bible and spending time in prayer. This means training for a long race or two. And this ESPECIALLY means being way more present in my current relationships and open to starting new ones.
So, you know. Bite me, 2012.
(Not you, Rocket. You may not bite anyone.)