I love summer and all of the fun and warmth that comes with it, but I must admit that this summer was a difficult one. I have been embracing fall and all of the changes and coolness that comes with it. The crunch of leaves and the shock of color has been bringing me comfort and joy.
I am having mixed emotions about this season in my life, I am incredibly happy to finish one thing and start another, but I am so tired. In just a few short weeks I will walk across the gym and be handed a diploma. I will be wearing a cap and gown with honors cords around my neck. I will also be 1/3 of the way through grad school when this happens. It all seems surreal. I have worked so hard for this moment and want to celebrate, yet I feel an overwhelming urge to just let it pass with no fuss. It is far too late for a no fuss graduation, reservations have been made, things have been bought, and people invited. people keep telling me to let others celebrate me because this is for them as much as it is for me. I agree, I am humbled by the support my friends have given so freely over the past 4 years. I have an abundance of gratitude for the people close to me who have stuck by me and helped me through it all. This celebration is as much for them as for me…if not more.
So as we enter this time of gratitude, I am going to try to remain humble and intentional with my thoughts and in my actions. I will walk slow, soak it all in, and be grateful for the people who are here with me. This is a season of changes, of shedding the old in preparation for the new, and for starting a period of rest. And while grad school is far from restful I will continue on my path of less, my path of saying no, and my path of slow life. I have not let go of my weekend of silence that many weeks ago and the sound of quiet still rings loudly in my ears, unless that is the ringing of bells from handbell choir tonight 🙂
I feel like now is the better time to set new goals, and start fresh, probably more so that the new calendar year. I wonder if that is the change in the weather, the rain, and the ever present transition in the air? Regardless, I feel like now is the time to embrace the change, to set new goals, and to form new habits.
And so it begins…
Part of what I loved about my time at the Abby was the time to think and process feelings alone in the quiet. I didn’t have to worry about checking emails, texts or social media. It was an intense time away that brought me back to when I was training for a half marathon. While I was out on my morning training runs I didn’t have the weight or pressure of life pinging me. I could take my 40 minutes and just me me. I felt like I could breathe. Even on my worst training runs I could escape life even if just for a little while.
In an effort to bring the abby home into my real life, I ran today. I am incredibly out of shape. I am heavy, tired, and weighed down by life, but I ran. I didn’t go far and I was really slow, but I ran. It was cold. It smelled like water and dirt and fall and so, so very good. I am going to do it again…soon. A lot.
I printed out a plan, because you know me, I am a planner. In this season of my life I need structure, a plan, an end game. 12 weeks from beginner to 10k is the plan I choose. By pure happenstance January 1 is just about 12 weeks away. And with that I am registered to run the 10k First Run. I think this is a big step to bringing the Abby to my real life away from the Abby. Yes, it is adding training time to my busy schedule, but it is also taking so much away. Today’s 20 minutes was so good for my soul. I am excited to keep it going. 20 minutes of peace, yes please. Also sore muscles, less flabbiness, and a whole lot of confidence building. Time to get out on the trail.
So, what does it look like to take the Abby home? For me it has meant a slower pace to my chaotic life. While this is one of my more busy weeks, with youth programs starting, lots of meetings, and kid extra curricular activities all in full swing, it is hard to remember to be mindful.
Today I went for a walk after morning drop off. Just a way to get some quiet peaceful time before the crazy of my day starts. I have the luxury of being able to ease into my mornings before work. It was so nice to find a little bit of calm before my storm today. Not that my day was stormy, it was just a normal busy Thursday, but the peace and fresh air made me far more productive today once I did get to work. I felt more creative and not so soul tired.
Over the next month or so I am going to try to make these walks a daily thing. Or if not daily, at least more than a few times a week. I am also going to enforce a pretty strict no email or social media until after my walk. That is one of the things I would really like to bring back to real life, the lack of social media and constant intake of news was extremely refreshing. Maybe by adopting this practice it will become a habit…a very good habit.
I am not ready to put the spiritual retreat into words just yet. I will say it was an overwhelmingly awe inspiring experience. I am full of gratitude that I was able to go, and was humbled by the whole weekend.
One of the things I am bringing home and adapting is being slow and intentional in life. I am trying to savor the things I am doing (motherhood, work, school, family) and enjoy the chaos of life. I will be saying no more, I will be choosing to do things that really speak to my heart and that are important to my family. I will continue to work and hustle, but instead of saying things like I have to do homework, I will try to shift to I am so grateful I have the opportunity to be in grad school learning and fulfilling a dream. Instead of Oh My Gosh I have so much to do in the evenings, I will shift to I am so blessed to be teaching kids and participating in a handbell choir. Death by meetings, will become I am so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing job where I get to make an impact on the community. I am blessed, and I am going to stop taking things I have the opportunity to do for granted.
In keeping with slow and intentional, I’ve decided that if I don’t have kids with me I should ride my bike and leave my car at home to run errands. Today I went to the library. I am a little wobbly, especially with a basket full of books, but I will get there. I don’t know that I will be able to do grocery trips, but for the every day stuff like running to the library, post office, to grab a gallon of milk and such my bike will be just fine. I may change my mind once it gets really soggy out, but for now it is forcing me to slow down and enjoy life. I am also getting a pretty good workout.
I am challenging myself to be slow in all areas of my life, it is hard to not rush when my list is long, grad school is in full swing, and the kids still need so much. However, being intentional is something I really need in life at the moment. Even if it means not going to every event, not getting straight As, or letting things on my to do list linger longer than I am used to.