The first book I completed reading this year is by Shauna Niequist titled “I guess I haven’t learned that yet.” I don’t know that I’ll jump on here to talk about everything I read this year, but this one in particular struck a bit of a chord so I felt like it was worth sharing.
I’ve read another of Shauna’s books, so I knew to expect a faith-based writing style that weaves personal experiences into themes that are universally relatable. What drew me to pick this book up in the first place, besides the fact that I enjoyed her previous work, was the sub title. “Discovering new ways of living when the old ways stop working.”
While I cannot relate to moving to New York City after a lifetime in the midwest, followed by the events of 2020 in her experience, I could relate in other ways.
This is the final year of my 30’s. I’ve never feared aging, it’s going to be what it’s going to be. But I have started to notice that the ways I have long gone about my life don’t seem to work the way the have in the past. Or even, I find myself asking were they ever working in the first place? How much of my life have I lived on auto-pilot because of a case of a “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality?
It’s several things. I see it in my physical body, I see it in my day to day routine, I see it in how I speak to my kids and how I speak to myself. I want different things, different experiences. Not that anything up to this point has been inherently bad, it just doesn’t fit in the ways I’ve thought it should.
I have learned over the years that as much as I fight routine, I need to have structure in my life. But just because I crave that framework doesn’t mean I can or should, or WANT to follow it blindly. Instead I’m learning, or relearning in my own small ways how I want to show up in this world. How I want to show up so I can feel and look and live my best for my benefit and the the benefit of those I choose to surround myself with each day.
It doesn’t come from a selfish space, instead it comes from knowing I’m not doing anyone any favors when I am a walking disaster. To be clear, I am far from figuring this all out. I know that self discovery and reflection are lifetime deals when we choose to do the work. I am choosing to look at myself and my life often and ask “is this how I want to “X” if the answer if yes, then carry on. But if the answer is no, why is it no? Am I willing to look in the mirror and ask the questions, even if I don’t like what I see reflected back? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. But it’s the yesses that move the needle.
I don’t want to live in the past, and I need to remind myself that always looking to the future doesn’t help either. Instead, how am I showing up in the present, and if I don’t like what I see and feel as it pertains to what I can control, how am I going to show up in a different manner?
Few people I know or that I’ve conversed with in my life enjoy change. It’s scary and hard and REALLY uncomfortable. When we are thrust into a space that requires change without consent it becomes even more uncomfortable. So why not choose to step back and intentionally experience change before it hits you like a tidal wave? Not necessarily 100 things at once (that is an excellent way to fail) but small events and actions that one after another add up into something else?
What would happen for you (not TO you, but FOR you) if you chose to explore new ways of doing things when the old ways stop working? Are you willing to give it a try?