That’s a good question. I’m not too worried about it.
It has taken me well into this month to actually take some reflective time. Even as I finally write this, New Girl is on in the background. Not meaningful music or quiet stillness. I can’t focus on anything these days. That is something I’m seeking…something I should resolve to correct. It is definitely reflected in my spiritual life…which is scatterbrained and stuttering. I constantly feel like a fraud, and I know this is basically how everyone feels some of the time, but some of us feel it all of the time. Being a person whose friends see me primarily as the person in seminary who did a ministry job…sometimes feels like they think I have it together. Those are obviously facts about me…but they are too much pressure.
Well, here’s the recap of the last year. I didn’t keep track of anything too well, so I am using my Instagram (as I did last year), which is pretty incomplete.
January brought the end of our semester break. We hung out with some friends in St. Louis before actually returning to regular routines, which made me start to feel at home here. Trump was inaugurated, and I tried to control the amount of information I digested about politics every day but also wanted to know everything and felt as if I could miss the vital life-changing moment that would inevitably happen. I started reading Humble Roots with a group of women from church – the book I wrote about in my last 2017 blog post. I got a very bad stomach bug. We started our second semester of seminary.
In February, I celebrated Galentine’s Day with some women – mostly people I don’t know well, but I was glad to be included. I started enjoying my classes for real. I resolved to make exercise a legit priority in my life for the umpteenth time since being a legit dancer/runner. I got sick again.
In March, friend Maggie visited and interviewed for Covenant’s counseling program (& I got my hopes up kind of but did not hold it against her for not enrolling). I had a little bit of a crisis: what am I doing with my life? I mean, I have this as an ongoing crisis because people have been asking me this question every month since senior year of high school: WHY didn’t I become something that people understand? Spring break happened, during which we went to Nashville for a few days to be tourists. We went on to visit my aunt & uncle & cousin in Knoxville for a few days. It was lovely and relaxing, and I read a whole novel, which refreshed my heart. I got sick another time.
In April, Spring came in to bless everything, and it was my birthday: these things shall always go together and Spring shall always be my love. The light started to come back. Friendships felt stronger. Big projects felt bigger. It’s blurry.
In May, Nick took the plunge and did a Kickstarter in order to record a new album. We went to Texas for a week so he could record that album, and anxiously awaited the Kickstarter process until it was fully funded thanks to the amazing people in our lives. Whew! Nick’s Mom came to STL see him play a house show. Nick’s Dad and Bonus Mom came for a quick visit.
In June, we “moved” to Indianapolis for the summer. Nick did an approximately two-month internship with a worship leader at a great church there. I took the time to write and read a lot. The change of pace was wonderfully startling, and we felt like “normal” human adults. Nick’s birthday day was a lovely quiet adventure.
In July, fireworks. Our third anniversary. Cooked a lot of good food. Enjoyed the summertime life. Missed friends in St. Louis and doing anything with them. Started to feel lonely. Visited various friends in Chicago for a weekend. Returned to STL.
In August, I shifted nannying jobs and started working for families from our church. My parents came to visit. We went to Lincoln for Nick to play a CD release show. We saw the Weepies in concert in Kansas City with friend Hanna, and it was the best thing. School started: our third semester of seminary.
In September, LDR Weekend (conference) for which friend Kayla came to town. There were lots of weekend walks to the farmers’ market. The Stockley verdict came to St. Louis, and the response was protest. I have been wracked with anxiety since I failed to participate in the direct action, and I continue to feel limited, not doing or being enough for the cause of justice here.
In October, the thick of the semester, there was fall break. We get some nice breaks as students. It was good to stay in town, keep working, camp with friends, and see John and Hank Green as they went on tour for John’s new book. All of the feelings. Nick released his third album, Autumn! He played two shows in St. Louis and one in Tulsa (the first travel weekend! I was not in attendance; see also: the second and third travel weekends).
In November, we went to Indianapolis (the second travel weekend!), where Nick played a house show for some of the people we connected with this summer. We passed through Bloomington to visit Lincoln friend Johnathan. We went to Lincoln for a wedding (the third travel weekend!). I got sick. (Did we not see that coming?) My parents came back to town for Thanksgiving, which we celebrated together with our friends the Gordons. Blending families and sharing good food, although my sense of taste was completely inhibited by the sickness. (I enjoyed leftovers and my first normally portioned Thanksgiving meal as a result.)
In December, we somehow finished the semester with all of our hair and teeth. There were holiday parties and dinners. Friend Chelsea visited STL. We got to Nebraska as soon as finals were over. Saw good friends for lengthy visits. Family time with Nick’s and mine. Watched (and felt) some old dorms at our alma mater implode (and breathed their dust). We returned to STL for Christmas celebrations with Nick’s Mom and family. It was very cold outside and very cozy inside. My Grandpa Bobby Boy turned 80 years old and all of the family was there, which was the most special thing.
I wrote 13 blog posts in 2017…mostly in the summer when I had the most time and focused energy. It was still quite hard to make myself write. There should be some goal about that this year. I’ve been wrestling with myself, remembering that it isn’t purposeless to contemplate hopes and dreams and to try moving toward something you like…something you want. Wrestling with my social responsibility and constant guilt for not being the first to stand up to protest and for not using all of my time altruistically. Wrestling with this idea that “’silence’ is violence” when I’m generally (apart from a few times last year when I didn’t know what else to do) silent on social media when it comes to…anything that is not random pictures of my life. I’m not trying to use social media as a platform…but some people believe that is really a core use…or what it should be if you profess to care about issues and people and justice…very confusing and a lot of pressure to post and “speak” about every single thing all the time. As if talking a lot about one thing and not about another automatically means you’re disregarding the other. Or that if you’re not vocal on social media that means you don’t care…I think that’s crap. I think what you do in your actual life matters a lot more. I have cared in the past more about saying and thinking the right things than about actually putting them into action. What would the point of saying the right things on social media be if they didn’t bear out in my day to day? But it will never feel as if I am doing or saying enough.
Sometimes I wonder why I like to do this kind of a recap…I think it’s because my future self will appreciate it (even though my present self feels like it’s not that important).
Next time: what will 2018 be? Hint: resolutions that come about 20 days “late” are more like long-term solutions to problems that have been under long-term reflection.
Do I have recommendations…? Well, I always have something.
Book: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Book: Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Read Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail