A serious meditation below, but please enjoy the collection of outtakes from this Thanksgiving, when all Jodester wanted was a "nice photo of all three kids together," and we gave her these. Sorry Mama Bear! We love you!
Lately it seems like every time I sit down to write anything, it leads off with the caveat of "I'm sorry it's been so long, blah blah blah BUSY STRESSED SO MUCH TO DO" - and that's really started to bother me. I'm trying very hard this year to say what I think, in the spirit of being open, so here goes: I think a big side effect of this move and new lifestyle is that the importance of this space for me is starting to dim a bit. I still love to write, and I still find it incredibly cathartic and gratifying to put something out here that seems to perfectly encapsulate what I'm thinking at any given time. Those times, however, are less and less frequent as my workdays are busier, my social life is more fulfilling, and my life in general is lived more off the page than on it.
This is a shift I didn't foresee. Since the moment I sat down and started writing this blog, it took on a momentous significance in my life. I used it as an anchor point of sorts - a place to process a major career shift, a lodestone and confessional while working through a horrible breakup, a digital exercise book that forced me to chronicle and create in equal parts. I treasure the memories I've captured here, and the different ways that blogging has forced me out of my comfort zone.
Why the sudden apathy, then? For the first time in a long time, my precious 24 daily hours are rife with other, more appealing ways to spend my time than writing. Unlike my previous job, I actually work full days here - and in the lulls in my day, I take lengthy walks and explore Stanford, or pop into a yoga class, or get lost in the art museum(s) on campus. After hours, I'm cooking and feeding a very hungry and effusive roommate, or spending time nurturing nascent friendships, or devouring books in our hot tub, or indulging in the kind of shenanigans that are so quotidian that they're hardly "blog-worthy."
In short, although this is getting really long, I'm happy, but in a different way than I've been for a long time. I'm happy in the mundane, unremarkable way that doesn't need to be voiced to be manifest. Maybe a better word would be content? I am at stasis - a point of equilibrium where, though life isn't perfect, it's balanced. Apparently, part of that balance bears the implied consequence of much less writing.
I think a lot of this silence comes down to discipline (or a lack thereof), frankly, and that disgusts me to a certain degree. An anecdote: in second grade, I vividly remember our teacher trying to explain the word "lack" to the class by making us go around the circle and say something we lacked. While other seven-year-olds offered up things like "crayons," "trucks," "chocolate milk," I, being a precocious enfant terrible, threw out "I lack discipline." I couldn't understand why every adult in the room laughed, but the statement has held true all my life.
I am not a naturally disciplined person - it takes an enormous amount of effort and fortitude to change a habit or check off an onerous to-do list. Once I commit to something, though, and get into a routine, I tend to cling to it with a tenacity that would belie the lack of discipline I claim. Writing this blog has been one such instance - I built a very rigid process out from 2014-16 in which producing blog posts was a part of my day as inexorable as brushing my teeth. That changed in 2017, along with so many other momentous changes. While I feel like I should want to get that back, I'm not sure I entirely do - which leads us to this massive rumination.
I don't know if I'll keep blogging for the immediate future, let alone forever - I miss writing when I don't do it, but do I miss it enough? Is the cost worth the benefit? Do I gain enough from this investment of time and energy to justify forcing myself to make it a priority again? This doesn't even scratch the surface of my thoughts on this topic - vanity and self-importance, privacy versus authenticity, honesty against the desire to protect others. We'll see what shakes out in the next several months, but for now, I'm going to promise myself (and you) at least this: no more apologies for my absence, and no more excuses for why I'm not writing.
Thanks for enduring this extremely self-centered essay, and for being here and who you are! I appreciate you!