Friday, July 5, 2019

What I've Learned, with Gifs

When asked how things were going as we prepped for our move, I found I was finishing many anecdotes by saying, "I'm learning a lot."  Sometimes this was my nice way of saying, "Big changes are hard and this really really really sucks."  But sometimes I meant it a little more literally; an author I follow posted this at one point during the process, and it felt like God had shoved important words in front of my face, trying to get me to pay attention:

I can be more than a little myopic and have asked God repeatedly not to be subtle in His messages to me.  This can be a dangerous request.

Nonetheless, "Don't waste the pain" became my go-to phrase when things were painful whilst saying farewell to Iowa.  The pain was going to be there no matter what I did, so I figured I may as well learn from it, try to glean whatever it is God was trying to teach me.

For starters, I've learned that I like my comfort.  I don't mean a plush easy chair, feet kicked up, eating kettle corn- although, hmm, that too- I mean that while I say I enjoy new experiences, I apparently only enjoy those when I get to take a few steps, brush up against some kind of pleasant novelty or other, then retreat back to my comfort zone, where I can mentally process that experience at my leisure.  Being plucked out of my comfort zone and plopped miles and miles away?  Not so much.

I've learned I get overwhelmed when I have 47 tasks in front of me, but can manage so much when I chunk a list up into sections.  I look at all I accomplished in the months before we moved and I am astounded.  From getting a house ready to sell, to running herd on three kids on my own for two months- in APRIL AND MAY, no less, when each day has a concert or a field day or a history project due- to seeing as many beloved Iowans as possible in that span of time as possible?  I may not have done it all, but I did a lot.

I learned that asking others for help doesn't kill you dead.  I still don't like it, and only feel comfortable asking for that help from a handful of people and within a very narrow set of parameters.  Your mower has died but you still have two weeks' worth of mowing to do before you move?  You can ask a friend if you can borrow their mower, but YOU MUST do the actual mowing yourself and you WILL NOT ask that same friend two weeks in a row; gotta switch to someone else.  One of your kids has truly gone off the rails over this move and you're so worried you're on the verge of vomiting for 10 straight days?  You can contact people very strategically asking for prayer, intel, or a shoulder to cry on/ lose your ever-loving mind to.  None of this will kill you, which is hard to believe when it feels like there's an elephant sitting on your chest as you stare at your phone, willing yourself to ask someone for help.  Asking people for help is second only to asking people if they'll be your reference for a job application.  That is when I fervently start praying that Jesus would come back STAT. 

Since arriving back in CT, I've learned that I'm different at 36 than I was at 21 when I first moved here.  It's like I'm kinder, but also less willing to let anyone walk all over me.  More compassionate, but somehow also less tolerant of what I would consider unacceptable behavior.  I guess I'm just... older.  I'm also trying to be retrospectively gracious toward my past self who lived here before:  she was young, and and both worked and lived in areas that showed some of the worst sides of this area (retail and a rather ugly town, respectively).  She also hadn't yet realized that being outgoing as a personality trait doesn't have to be inborn- it can be learned.  This realization served her well in Iowa; we'll see how things go here this time around.

I'm sure I learned loads of other things, but this has gone on for a while.  Too much introspection invariably begins to feel like wallowing to me, and I don't wallow well.  I am spectacular at avoidance, however, which might be why I have so many hobbies to reach for when the thinkin' gets too deep.  Anyone up for a run?  How about a book?  Hiking?  Baking?  Walking?  Board game?  Gardening?  Writing?  Puzzles?  If it's an old-person activity, I probably like it.
I also enjoy sudoku.

1 comment:

  1. I am older than you and I have not moved cross country, but various situations have forced me to grow and occasionally I think of how I would have handled this or that as my younger self and I cringe.

    I do not like asking for help either. My usual 'ask' is hitching a ride for a kid somewhere from another mom. I compensate by baking cookies for the favors.


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