I feel sad today. Each day at work we go around in a circle and ask the kids to express how they are feeling, what their goals are, and then ask a silly icebreaker question. I said I was feeling thankful, which I am. Thankful for my family, for my work, for the fact that I got to walk on the beach today and play at the park with my nephew. But I also feel sad. While walking on the beach today I saw more plastic that I ever remember noticing – washed up in the waves of seaweed that line the beach and mark the various points of tide throughout the day. I noticed these colorful pieces of plastic tangled up in this seaweed after almost every step I took. These may not be new, but I noticed them strikingly today. It made me sad. It was also sad when I drove by the cemetery that my Opa was buried in this week, thinking about the next time we play pinochle and he won’t be there, and about how much I wish I could still talk to him and ask him questions that I never asked. I feel sad seeing stressful events in my friends and families lives: new health issues, financial stress, house disasters, and job stress. I feel sad about the kids I work with and those who seem to have little or poor support from family.
I have been thinking a lot about my life and the things I have the ability to change. These are some of those things:
*Seeing the plastic lining the beaches (along with the numerous photographs of plastic build up in our oceans and learning about waste in my public health courses) all remind me of how I would like to eliminate (80% realistically at the moment) single-use plastic from my life. It is possible with preparation and research, though it is definitely less convenient.
*I want to incorporate meditation and prayer into my routine before falling asleep, especially as the past few years have brought on more anxiety than I have experienced in the past.
*I want to take a long walking trip next year and I would like to have more endurance before attempting to do that which means more frequent long walks and more consistent exercise.
* I want to find a church and miss the consistency of meeting with other Christians, I have found myself frustrated with specifics about the church and doubts about Christianity which have caused me to bring my Christianity inwards and neglect meeting with believers as often which I believe is incredibly important.
You get the point.
It can often be overwhelming when I look at the things I want to change about my self and my environment. I have been asked in the past how I can encourage others to be healthy if I am obviously unhealthy myself. I think this is the wrong approach. I think it is valuable to recognize that we are all learning from each other as incredibly broken and flawed humans. I may struggle with things you don’t and for reasons you don’t. I don’t believe that in order to be an advocate for something one needs to have perfected it. Each of us have our own definitions of perfection too and an order in which we prioritize these potential changes. I can fully acknowledge that I am not where I would like to be in many areas of my life. There is a danger in letting these feelings of hypocrisy keep me from acting, which they have done on multiple occasions in my life. I have a hard time knowing where guilt should come in to play, as I have not found it helpful personally. I find the opposite extreme of blissful ignorance just as unhelpful. I find myself motivated to change for a variety of reasons that are sometimes incredibly different from the person next to me.
And on that note…
It has been good to be home. At this point I have no moving date as I finish up my travel nurse contract and prepare for some field experience for my Master’s program. I did not anticipate being here for so long but am so thankful that I have been. It has been strange being home in San Diego with initial anticipation of moving soon, 3 months turned in to 6 and then to 8. There are numerous things that I am so thankful to have been here to experience, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I have been able to experience births, birthdays, going away parties, graduations, hospitalizations, funerals, and so much more with my friends and family. I am unbelievably grateful for these moments. I wish I could pinpoint a specific thing that is keeping me from feeling at peace with staying here long term, but I don’t feel at peace. So much of my life and the lives of those around me are transitional, and though I do long for a sense of being settled, I also am restless to see and experience more. There is a significant amount of conflict in my heart about this, about the balance between adventure and contentment. Too much adventure leads to loneliness, but too much contentment can lead to apathy. I don’t ever want to grow away from those I love and who love me, I want to be reliable and faithful as a family member and friend. I also am scared that I will stop learning and growing and stop seeing the world in a way which leads to compassion and passion. There is so much that is broken. I believe that God has called us to see that which is broken and help in the healing process. Somehow I feel that seeing the variety of people, communities, and struggles as I travel is helping me build a foundation to do this better. So for now, that’s the tentative plan.