Waiting for words, logging off, living well
There is no one in the house but me and the pets. I’m drinking coffee, eating a scone, and rapping along with the Hamilton soundtrack. This morning my husband went to the office (and I don’t mean the one in the basement) and I biked the three older boys to school and then biked the four-year-old to his first day of preschool. This is a new era for me and I’m hoping to settle into a rhythm for these hours while I’m looking for a job. I always want that rhythm to involve writing.
I’ve had no words lately. I’ve wanted to write. My blog dances around the corners of my mind all day, begging for time and attention. For some reason that makes little sense in our social media age, I’ve always loved a blog. I love my own. I love to read others. It seems too much to ask for everyone to stop dumping their thoughts on Instagram and write some old-fashioned blog posts, but I’d still like to make it. Yes, I’m talking to you.
And yet, when my hands hover above my keyboard, I find myself ignorant, empty of words, without anything of use to say. Part of this essay is signing my own permission slip to let this space be what I want: pictures of food and bike rides to school, links to things I love, and free-flowing essays about life alongside theological ideas and book reviews. Part of this is acknowledging that life has shifted substantially this summer.
I’m reading Write Better by Andrew Le Peau. In the chapter titled “Cracking our Writer’s Block,” he says “sometimes we are challenged by something deeper than not having any good ideas at the moment.” The first problem he lists is a life event, such as moving. He advises patience, something I’m clearly bad at exercising. While I am assigning myself a writing practice, I am also acknowledging how I’m settling in well in other ways.
I deleted my social media apps a week and a half ago. I was already struggling with some anxiety, particularly over COVID and sending the boys to school, and social media was making it worse. I checked my feed on my computer a few days later and noticed that the posts went like this “Afghanistan. Afghanistan. Haiti. Afghanistan. Racism in America. Back to school picture. Afghanistan. Issues at the border.” I care deeply about all those issues. I’ve been reading the news and praying, supporting people who are doing good work in those areas. I’m also practicing noticing what is mine to do and not carrying the weight of the world the entire day.
Social media is not mine to do right now. That seems like a wild thing to say, even to myself. How will anyone know I’m a writer or a seminary student? How will I find opportunities and make connections? How will I keep my name in front of people? I don’t have answers to those things, but I knew I couldn’t live well and be on social media. I logged out. Instead, I’ve been biking my boys to and from school. I’ve been making lunches while making dinner and playing games before bed. I’m listening to stories about school from my kids and calling the doctor’s office to make appointments. I’ve been meeting with women I’m discipling and reading the Bible with my kids at dinner. I’m doing homework and registering for fall classes in seminary. I’m developing an evening yoga practice. I’m praying for other people navigating similar challenges as one way of managing my own anxiety.
I might not have anything profound or unusual to say here, but I’m practicing living well. Honestly, it doesn’t make great Instagram content. Restricting my social media usage reminds me that I don’t have to be fabulous. It’s not required for me to be fabulous, just faithful. And sometimes, faithful can look, well, boring.
We are going to continue adjusting to all our changes. And I’m going to let this space be whatever I want, just as a creative exercise for myself. Here’s to living well, finding where we need to be (and where we don’t need to be), and taking some of the pressure off.