It finally feels like Spring has come to Michigan. The birds are chirping every morning. The sun is shining more days than not. We’ve had warm and rainy weather. Michigan residents can finally open their windows and allow the fresh air to seductively fill their homes and push the stale air of Winter back to the outside world, where it belongs. As I sit here glancing over my shoulder out my office window into the world of sunshine and warmth thinking about all the things that I must get done tonight I am gently reminded that my life, not too different from the seasons, has encountered quite a large change of seasons, too.
A few months ago, I was in a completely different place mentally and physically. I was starting back to school for my masters degree. This was the first time I’d been in school in 4 years. Steve and I were living in our apartment with no end in sight. The weather was crappy and the holidays were here so I was not eating consciously but instead I was enjoying the holiday food choices. I had been busy trying to put time on the calendar for all those that were important to me or for some that “needed” me, I “needed” them or maybe those I felt obligated to give my energy to.
I don’t know what happened or when. I started school in January, completely unprepared and unaware of what I was getting myself into. The semester officially ended yesterday and I still don’t know how I feel about it. I’m a doer. So my criticism of myself is that I didn’t give it my all. The reality is that I couldn’t give it my all because so much of me was being spent elsewhere. I tried really hard, though and for that, I’m proud of myself. It may not have looked as I had wanted but giving myself grace I recognize that I am still proud because I have passed both my classes with higher grades than I anticipated. My first lesson: grace. It seems that this lesson is one I must learn again and again. I always think, “I’ve got it this time” when I’ve encountered something difficult but the next time I encounter something I am met with the same realization: I need loads of grace, for myself and for others. Hopefully in September when school resumes I can keep this at the forefront of my conscience and do just as well, if not better than I did this semester.
The next change is something that I’ve been trying to pursue at 100 miles per hour and God has been putting on the brakes because he had something specific for us this whole time. We bought a house. We are in the process of moving this weekend, we close in 2 day and it’s not the house we thought we’d go for but it’s absolutely lovely. We are so ready. This particular house has fallen perfectly into every available slot between school, trips, work and other obligations. There’s no denying that God has been stitching this together for us and for that, we are grateful because we know his plan is always greater than our own. We are so excited to get in and transition our life together into this new space that we can make all our own.
There have also been some changes that have been very difficult to adjust to. Something emphasized by our move, our birthdays and other life events. This is a point in our lives when all of our friends have pulled away to start their families. This is supposed to be a super exciting time and it is, but no one talks about how lonely it can be. We don’t have very much help to call on when we move. I couldn’t have a 30th birthday party because my closest friends are pregnant, we area all trying to do “life” on our own terms and to be fair, I have stuff happening too with moving and school. I had to cancel registrations to two professional conferences that I was scheduled to go to so we could move quickly without having to take time off work. So It’s coming from both ends. There is a dash of excitement in there but it’s taken with a stiff shot of reality. Writing this now, I have come closer to peace with it since the last time I thought about it but it still hurts and it’s still an adjustment. Looking at my own life, I’m sure we’ll all reconnect again in a few years when things settle down but for now… it’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt.
With all of my new-found goal-oriented energy my husband and I have been on a fitness and health journey together. We have each lost about 15 lbs since January and we now run short 5 k races together. The house we’re moving into this weekend has access to a 26 mile stretch of paved trails, a lake for kayaking and is just down the road from the local recreation center for hiking. So this is just the beginning of the active season for Michigan. We love being outdoors together so this is super exciting. it’s just another way in which life has gotten more fulfilling.
Finally, there have been boundaries being built between myself and those that have gotten good at sucking my energy, time and emotions. This is another lesson I am continually learning, again and again. Boundaries are hard because you never want to block people out of your life that you care about and that’s what they seem to do at first, but I think once you learn how to navigate them yourself and your wounds heal a bit you learn that boundaries are flexible and look different for each person. I’ve also realized that initially the boundary you’re putting up feels like a way to keep that person at a safe distance but they’re also for the people putting them in place. While it does feel painful to stick to your guns when they are being tested it is a journey that I think pays off if someone is truly trying to hinder your growth, happiness, health and/or the path you are on.
So this is the season I’m in. There is an air of freshness filling my lungs in the way I’m allowing myself to be treated, in my accomplishments and in my goals moving forward with my loving and wonderful husband. There is also a feeling of sadness which is also something I feel at the changing of the seasons. I think you must mourn the previous season before moving onto the next, not because the next is bad but like living in Michigan you must acknowledge the joy in each season, even if only in the beginning. I read a quote today about how God isolates before he elevates and I gotta say, I really hope there is elevation coming. I have faith that there is. I feel it like I feel the warmth of Spring coming in as the crisp Winter air leaves.