All my favorite bloggers are doing their year-end/year-beginning wrap-up posts. So I was thinking I’d jump on the band wagon.
Except, I’ve just started this blog and I killed the others. So. If you read this post, it’s pretty much wrapped up. Clearly, doing a blogging wrap-up like Sarah Bessey or David Lee or even something loose like Rachel Held Evans was out of the question. Then I read Christine Gilbert’s post, Another Year.
I don’t claim to be anywhere near as articulate as Christine is, but I do have some wrap-up thoughts about this past year and, indeed, this past season in my life.
Just over five years ago I had, for the first time, discovered how to work in a location-independent style. I was a travel writer (a bad one) working for a start-up in the Silicone Valley at night while ‘moonlighting’ selling graves on the North Side of Chicago during the day. Between freezing bike rides to the cemetery, I was pretending to train for a marathon and eating as much as I could get my hands on to drown the pain that was my post-ministry life. On Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco, after that
horrible long marathon (8 hours, but I did finish!) I cried my eyes out to my mother about how I wanted to move home to California.
Within two weeks, I had taken a leave of absence from work and was back in California making enough money to support myself and my husband with the online work. I thought I would be happy – finally I would be able to travel like I wanted and live/work wherever the winds took me.
That never happened.
I watched David take off on his trip around the world and build his business while I continued working at home, at various companies, at home again and then at my current job.
I fell in with watching Christine when she was pregnant, then birthing, then traveling with her newborn son, all the time arguing with myself about being ready but not ready for parenthood and angsting about it but never doing anything about it.
I checked in with Sarah and Rachel and Katherine and watched as their blogs blossomed, their ministries grew and their writing developed into books. Meanwhile I was spending most of my time poking around social networks and hiding from my half-baked plot line of a novel.
And all the while I wandered around this big, bad, fierce world – subsisting on the crumbs from the tables of those living their lives while I ate more food, slept more hours and avoided more of the world. To make it all worse, I pretended I was doing well and that I had something to share with the world. The truth was I was asking myself nearly daily: What am I doing? Why am I trying so hard to live this story that isn’t mine? Why can’t I enjoy my life, instead of dreading waking up in the morning?
I’ve been struggling with that guilt for quite a while. Have I wasted my life? The last half of a decade? Where did I go in the midst of all this ‘surviving’ that was going on?
What I want to write next: “I realized that this time has been a time of internal transformation, of learning to be strong, bla bla bla.”
But that’s not true, and I’ve promised to be true if nothing else in this new space. This is what I really feel: I feel the answer is “yes, I wasted the last half decade of my one precious, beautiful life.” I fear the answer is “I was doing nothing, which is why it was so hard and why I ate so much and why I avoided everything.” I am scared the answer is “I went nowhere.”
And I’m scared that I might still go nowhere. That everything might just stay the same. That this purgatory period of my life might turn into my life.
Which just makes me feel guilty, because I’m wasting this one, beautiful, precious life that I’ve been given and because it doesn’t seem unique, or beautiful or precious from where I stand.