February

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I’m sitting on the deck while Zade dips plastic figures into a concoction of warm water, grass, and mud. It’s breezy and in the low 60s, perfect day for a run or a hike, but I’ve propped up my legs, one with a bag of frozen peas at my ankle. I’ve got a 10k coming up soon, and I need these ankles to work right.

It’s unseasonably warm outside. Stuff is in bloom. Every time I see something fluffy white, or bright yellow, or low lavender, I have to remind myself it’s just February. Instead of having spring joy, I feel cautiously aware at how forced the weather feels, blooms confused, opening like a confused bear out of hibernation to a fickle pretense–that it will stay warm enough to sustain its glory. These spring buds have a weird edge to them, a reminder that when you’re not ready for something, we’ll look awkward as we build trust for it.

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This last month has been an unseasonable race as well. The election started the year with an earthquake, and then life has to go on, radio dialed up on the way to Publix, hosting meetings for students while making doctor appointments.

Our life, with my mischievous calendar, is up to no good, and it’s burning me out.  I’m legit trying out breathing exercises and having moments of rebellion so I can rise to responsibilities. It’s not that my world is unique; we’re all busy. It’s that I feel hyper-aware at how fast days move to the next. My friend got me a dreambook planner that reminds me what so many of us come to over and over again:

“Your energy flows in the direction of your attention. What you put your attention on grows and becomes a theme of your life–whether you mean for this or not…As you take your last breaths, what do you want to have done with your life?”

Reading this the other day made sense and also freaked me out a bit, especially the, “what you put your attention on grows and becomes a theme of your life” part. I had this freakish image of my life being a series of working at the same school for 30 years, folding crumpled heaps of laundry Sisyphean style, telling my kids to stop yelling at each other. Would those tasks represent big thematics in my life? It fed into some major insecurities.

But looked at from a broader lens (after I calmed down and walked away from the crumbs on the floor), I guess, the lines could suggest a different version of those statements: that I’m shaping and getting shaped by a good community; that I’m taking care of my family the best way I know how; and that I’m trying to teach my children to respect each other. The minutia (and the noise) absolutely feels gargantuan in these unseasonable Februaries. I know I have to continuously work on letting the unimportant stuff go, but like my mom says, this is life. What is part of our life right now, filled with stuff that busy our lives that we hope are filled with the right, the optimum, the real, the raw, the meaningful, and the loved–this is life.

And if you’re like me and have 9,000 photos of this messy life on your phone, watch this commercial, give its advertising team major kudos (they nailed it), and get a “magazine subscription to your life.” I finally did it and feel like it was the right decision, and those certainties in this flip-flop February are hard-earned.

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