Well, where to start?
It’s been a while– too long. How ya doing? Has this crazy year made you stress eat all the carbs like it has me?
I want to give a life update, and, more than that, I want to return to the creativity I found for myself here on this blog. I miss writing. I miss photography. I miss my creative pursuits more generally. Because, to be honest, 2020 hasn’t left me with a lot of spare time, energy, or space (mental or physical) to let my creative energies flow the way they once did.
Some of those reasons have been good; more than good, actually. I got married! I honeymooned in Savannah! I started a new job with amazing coworkers I loved working with! I moved into a new home with my husband! All such good things, and all things I’m so grateful for.
But some bad things happened, too. I mean, we don’t have to even mention the elephant in the room. You know the one. The one that hijacked my wedding and turned it into an elopement. The one that made the funerals I attended. . . drive through. The one that is threatening us with even more lockdowns. But boy oh boy, do I not want to talk about that anymore, with anyone, and certainly not on my personal blog.
My grandfather died this year. And my uncle. And my client, and two of my dogs, for different reasons. And my grandmother broke her hip. And I can’t see her, because she never fully recovered, and isn’t allowed visitors. I sold most of my goats. I moved from my little homestead to an apartment in the city, and I cried every night for a week. . . and I still cry sometimes, because I miss my before life, and I hate living in the city. I miss my grandmother. I miss my dogs. I miss having time and energy and going to sleep at night to the sound of rain or crickets instead of neighbors bumping their bass or tromping like elephants above us. I miss having a garden and a yard, and I miss my animals.
I miss my life being normal. Normal is relative, I know, and apartment living is normal for some people, but it isn’t normal for me. And I know that no one’s life is totally normal right now. I get that, and I don’t want to make light of it or throw a pity party for myself. Because mostly, truly, my life is good, and I’m happy.
I am finding things to be grateful for here in this apartment. We have made this space into a home. We have beautiful Christmas decorations, a very nice kitchen (by apartment standards, of course), and I was blessed by so many people to receive things that make my home complete. From furniture to our washer and dryer to our kitchen bakeware, much of it came from generous souls who gave us things to start our home with. I especially appreciate the gifts that hold sentimental value, like my grandmother’s crafting bookcase and her dresser, and the butcher block that was made by my father’s uncle. Both my husband and I were essential workers during the lockdown, which means we didn’t lose our jobs, and I was given an amazing opportunity to start a new job this September, too, right before our marriage. Working two jobs for three months has worn me out physically and mentally, but it was absolutely a blessing, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity.
The New Year is bringing new and different opportunities as well. I found out that my new job of three months is ending due to the location being closed; this gave me a moment of clarity to see that working two jobs was too much. (My husband also requests that I mention he told me this several times, too, so I’ll give him his credit. I’m a bad listener sometimes!) I was spending so much of my time either working or being exhausted from working, and it wasn’t sustainable. So starting in January I will have another new job, at a single place, and I will be leaving my current two jobs behind. It is so bittersweet, as the people I have worked with in both positions have been so good to me, but it’s a positive thing nonetheless.
And despite the fact that all these changes have been hard, and despite the fact that there is no garden and no homestead here in this apartment, I am making the best of it. I love decorating my home! I love cooking in my new kitchen (and I will have so much more time and energy to do so in the coming year thanks to my job change), and despite not being able to homestead right now, I am able to bring some of those same values and motivations into my current life. I’m not perfect, we still eat out more than we should, and sometimes I do stupid things like forget that I dethawed chicken in the bottom drawer of the fridge until it goes bad. But we’re all human and things like sustainability and healthy eating are goals to aim for, not perfect standards to hold oneself to. Small changes matter.
Small changes matter.
I believe that I will be able to homestead again one day. We will have a yard with a garden. We will have chickens and goats and a cow. I’ll have fresh eggs and milk, homemade cheese, too many dogs, and a little house with a shade tree in the yard. This year was not the year for those things to be, but they will be again.
Today as write this, it’s the winter solstice. The return of the light. From this day forward until the summer solstice, the days will get longer and brighter and warmer. I love this day, because it’s a reminder that the cold, dark, dreary days of winter don’t last forever. Spring is coming! The promise of sunshine and new life. This promise is deeply resonating with me this year, because it’s reminder that my days in an apartment won’t last forever, either.
There are many different seasons in our lives, some short and some long, and they all eventually change. Sometimes the change is painful, and it is almost always challenging, but change can also be good. Just look at the trees as they bud in the spring.