Year End, Beginning Again

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.

12 Comment

  1. Jillian says: Reply

    My mother once told me that no decision is a bad decision. She said that when faced with different paths that each one would teach us something we were supposed to learn. I wouldn’t regret any decisions you’ve made these past years. I would suspect that you’ve learned a lot about yourself if you care to examine it carefully. In fact I would put forward that those learnings unconscious or conscious have led you here to this place of honesty with others, and most importantly, yourself.

  2. It’s a really hard thing to tell the truth, but a really good thing, too. Hang in there.

    1. Susan says: Reply

      Dude(tte)… especially when it’s on the web and you can only tell your story. I acknowledge that it’s a hard and beautiful thing, even if it seems sloppy and messy right now. Thanks for your ongoing support and inspiration.

  3. Liz says: Reply

    Dearest Susan, how about this then – rather than looking back at a time that ought to have been something else, transformational or what have you, continue this year and this space with what you want rather than regrets. And later when I have better words, I’ll try to convince you that even if life goes nowhere and you do nothing with it, that doesn’t mean you wasted it. I love you.

    1. Susan says: Reply

      Liz! When did the crazy freshman Fleshman become so wise? Thanks for the sweet words. I’ll try and remember that going nowhere does not equal wasting.

  4. Marc says: Reply

    Compelling, literate and deeply felt.

    1. Susan says: Reply

      Thanks Marc!

  5. Maria says: Reply

    You have achieved something some people never do: being open and honest about yourself. To yourself, for one, but then putting it out there for others. That’s some serious courage, girl. ♥

    1. Susan says: Reply

      Thanks Maria!

  6. You are a beautiful writer and person. It takes SO much strength and courage to write how you do…and put it out there for all to see. You explore yourself in depths and ways that I’m not sure I know how to do. I can ‘feel’ how you are living with your eyes wide open and that is something to be applauded in this “one, beautiful, precious life.”

    1. Susan says: Reply

      Thank so much Lisa, that means so much coming from you (all experienced as you are and stuff!). I hope you’re well!

  7. […] barefoot running I do. I will need to do some beautiful eating and beautiful training and avoid negativity and depression during training like the […]

Leave a Reply