At the end of a season, I like to reflect. I used to be a super sentimental person (and maybe I still am), but these days, my reflections are less of moping about things that happened and more of thinking about what I’ve learned. It feels natural, normal, not forced. And actually, I’ll talk about why I think that is in a minute.
But first, background. I read Emily P. Freeman’s blog (this post is phenomenal bee tee dubs) and last winter, I discovered her practice of doing a What We Learned blog post or journal entry at the end of each season. (PSA bloggers, she hosts a link up.) Basically, through the season, you write down stuff you learn. About yourself, others, history, life hacks…whatever it may be. (In spring, a few of mine were “I really like jicama” and “Going without feeling like writing often means I’m out of tune with myself.”) Then at the end of the season you can go back and put them all together in a list. And there ya go. Easy. But insightful. Impactful.
Two hacks. One, I use a signifier in my bullet journal to flag my What We Learned items, like Emily does: WWL. Two, she has these printables (free!) you can tape into your journal. I do. But you do you.
But on to what I’ve learned this summer. Looking back through my journal, I didn’t find a whole lot of my WWL signifier. In other words, I used it once. ONCE. The whole summer. It’s not that I haven’t learned anything, because I have.
But reflecting, I think I’ve learned one main lesson this summer. I’ll share a few smaller things and then the kicker.
Taking five to ten minutes slow every morning sets me up for the day. Really, this summer I started taking a few minutes every morning to drink iced coffee, read my Bible, journal and it makes me go into the day feeling so much more relaxed. It seems counterintuitive because if you’re stressed, wouldn’t it be better to just go and get it done? Then nothing left to stress about, right? But no. There’s always something you can stress about. And taking a couple minutes to ease into my day helped alleviate that for me.
Always, always, always wash your hair after doing an avocado banana hair mask. DO NOT just rinse it with water. Or you will have gross, sticky tresses flecked with green goop. Not that I would know from experience. (This is that one thing I wrote down specifically for my summer WWL. So, it’s that important.)
When my soul is striving, I narrate my life. Let me explain. I’ve had the best summer. I didn’t go on any big trips. Do anything life-changing. I worked a lot and rode my bike and ate and slept and read books in a hammock. So I’m not sure why I loved this summer so much. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m not blaming my body. That I’m not stressing over food and eating for the long run.
But one day, I had an off day. You know the kind. You’re tired. Nothing goes right. Life feels blah, for lack of a better term. And after getting home from work, I noticed something felt different. I felt like I couldn’t think or really do anything. Then I realized it. When I’m stressed, when my soul is striving, I start narrating my life. Like actually. Not out loud, but in my head. And when you start narrating everything you do and think, it turns into a whole lotta noise. Does anyone else do this? I think I’ve always done it and it used to be normal. I was always stressed and striving, so I always narrated. But I guess it’s been a long enough time since I last did it that I finally noticed it. And once I noticed, I could stop.
Banana bread yogurt bowls are bomb. You know how I feel about it. Sorry not sorry for all the pics. Just keep scrolling. Just keep scrolling.
Solastalgia is homesickness while still at home, the feeling you get when your place is undergoing change and won’t be the same. A new word for me.
Drinking lots of water makes me feel better. Pretty straightforward.
I love where I live. Ya know, until a few months before I moved across the country for school, I never thought of myself as an Oregonian. Or about my town. Granted, it’s a small town and I spent most of the last few years either in Salem, the nearest city, or driving to Salem. But knowing you have to leave will do that to ya, I guess. The campus I’m on is beautiful and I’m excited to find the best spots to study in and the best places to go running. Still, I miss the quirks in Monmouth, like the sidewalks that start and end all over the place.
And now, the kicker. The capstone. The one that, to sound overly-dramatic, changed everything.
I didn’t just learn it over the summer. It’s been a long time coming. Here it is: I learned to make peace with myself.
Making peace with yourself, loving yourself, taking care of yourself–it doesn’t mean you turn into a self-obsessed person. When you’ve made peace with yourself, you can finally live the life you’re supposed to live.
Grounded. That’s how I feel. No longer a cardboard box, but a house, with a foundation (and a coral door and hydrangeas, please). No longer a leaf, but a tree, with roots. Grounded, above all, because of Christ my solid rock. And because of that, everything, truthfully, is different. That’s why I feel like when I reflect on things (like life) now, I don’t feel out of control or I’m losing my grasp on things of the past like I used to. Of course, I’m not “there.” I won’t be ever in this life. But going towards “there”? It’s a good place to be.
That’s what I’ve learned this summer. What have you learned this summer? Share anything and everything! The mundane and the marvelous.
Bucketfuls of love to you!