A Check-In.

Somehow nearly half a year went by without my writing one word in this space. I know blogging is very 2008, but I still love this space despite my lack of engagement with it. Between all that has happened and not really knowing what to say about it, I found myself starting a post and not finishing a number of times. Here’s to hoping this one is different…

When I last wrote, I had flown home early from a running girls’ trip to Colorado because Dave needed me (and I needed him). That was July. In August, Dave and I returned to Colorado, just the two of us, and had the best time. We drove and took our bikes and rode a trail from Breckenridge to Frisco and back. I loved being able to go for miles and miles with little worry about cars. I hope people in areas with extensive biking and running trails know what a gift those things are.

Then, later in August, Dave and I went to Portland, Oregon, with some friends and did Hood to Coast again. This was my fourth time, I think. We were not sure it would happen with the pandemic, but it did, and we had the best time. My Hood to Coast team is a special group of people. They make me laugh deep in my gut and also give the very best hugs. I came away from that event completely exhausted and completely full in the best way.

Then, right after Hood to Coast, our lives changed a bit as I went back to school full-time. For about thirteen weeks, almost everything I did revolved around the school schedule. I had weekly homework and quizzes in two of my classes. In the other two, I had lots of reading and occasional papers and exams. School kept me busy, but I loved every minute of it. I finished the semester on December 16, and I can feel myself developing a twitch as I wait to return to that space.

Our holidays were quiet. Dave and I spent them (including our birthdays) mostly on our own. It was lovely to have that time with him. We hiked and biked and ran and did some shopping and even saw a movie in a theater – only our second of the pandemic. We cooked a lot and did a puzzle and did our traditional cleaning leading up to the new year. Today, Dave continues the organization effort as he’s tackling the kitchen pantry and cabinets. I’m grateful to him for doing my least favorite chore. I’ll clean and do laundry and vacuum any day, but organizing the kitchen? Yuck. Thank goodness he loves that space.

With the holidays behind us, we are moving back towards normalcy. I’m back at work today. Dave will go back on Wednesday, as I start back to school. We’re doing a January challenge that for Dave is about drinking water and exercising daily. For me, it’s about drinking water, weighing in, and doing yoga a couple of times a week. I made a chart that hangs in our kitchen. So far, having the chart to fill in has motivated us both quite well. I think we are both just competitive enough to keep each other going in this way that we can visualize.

The biggest change to me is that I feel that we, in the last four to six months, have really turned inward in a new way. We are not alone, but our community feels different right now. It feels smaller and more expansive at the same time. Between my going back to school and Dave’s new work, our in-the-world activities and interactions have increased pretty significantly. At the same time, we have had fewer and fewer face-to-face interactions with our friends. I have friends I run with, friends I lunch with, and friends who come for face-time on the porch, but the circle of friends I see is much smaller today than it once was. As we are in the world more in some ways, I feel the need to be in the world less in others. I think to some extent I still feel like I did in July. I feel the need to pull back a bit, and I have. And in the pulling back, I have found more peace.

I have to actively try to keep the peace. The voices in my head these days are fewer. They come from Dave, my parents, church, school, a handful of friends, a handful of podcasts, and a handful of books. What I take in is much more limited than it used to be. And that is intentional. The “out there” remains difficult for me. It’s better in some ways and worse in others, so I regulate more heavily than I once did. I do not like feeling guarded, but that is where I am right now. I am feeling guarded at times.

Despite feeling guarded right now, I am hopeful. I am hopeful about the future. I am hopeful about my family. I am hopeful about my relationships. Some things are changing, but I do believe where we land will be good. Better even. And maybe along the way, I will have more words for this space.

In the meantime, I hope that you and your families are healthy and well and that you are finding your way in this changing world in new and sweet ways.

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