This I Know

It’s official. Today marks the 8th anniversary of the blog. You can find my first post here. We’ve come a long way baby. Each year on the anniversary of the blog I try to take a look back and see how things have shifted since I began. Is the content still valuable? Does writing still make me happy? Am I learning and teaching with what I have created? It’s interesting this year more than ever to do an internal retrospective as we have just closed out what has been one of the most surprising and unprecedented years I’ve ever known. Early on in the pandemic I put “pen to paper” to try and share a bit of how I was experiencing quarantine: lack of work, Covid judgment, Covid fear, great time with family, anxiety making time with family, and all else. And then, the well went dry. I would wake up at 3am and my mind would swirl to life for hours with deep thoughts about how I could use the blog to make myself and all of you feel better. I wanted to move the needle forward during a time that felt stagnant and repetitive. I considered starting a podcast or doing more videos on Instagram. I missed talking to people and hearing their stories and sharing my own. My mind was ablaze. I’d stumble to the computer at 8am thinking I was ready to share, but the words just didn’t come. I started and stopped about 6 different posts. Some felt too serious – others felt not serious enough. So then I did the only thing that felt doable. I found the stillness and listened and observed. And now I see that might have been just what I needed. A quiet place to make decisions about next steps. I can’t say exactly what this next year will look like, but I can say that I have my butt in the chair, I am carving out time, and I am writing. And I have dug into my archives to make sense of some of what I wrote during the hazy months of spring, summer and fall. Some was crap, some was meh, and some was worth sharing. And now we are in winter. Let’s get back to business.

In December I celebrated my birthday. I have done 44 spins around the sun. And it has been a glorious ride so far. Don’t get me wrong, there have been high highs and low lows along the way for sure, but all-in-all the good far outweighs the bad. Leading up to my birthday I had quite a few people ask me if I was sad to be getting older, and I can confidently say no. Yes, I am wistful that my children continue to grow up in the blink of an eye. I despise the aches and pains that seem to plague me more and more. And I 100% without a doubt do not like the deep wrinkles that now adorn my outer eyes. BUT the reason I like this aging process, is that I can unequivocally say that with each passing year I gain more wisdom and a greater sense of peace in who I am. That doesn’t mean less pain and suffering (I think we can all agree that this year has been one of great challenges for us all), but rather it means that I can move through the challenges with more grace and I get over the tough stuff faster than I used to. I am thankful that I continue to evolve. And that right now I want to evolve. Because frankly there have been years when I have firmly said, “That’s it. I am done with evolving. No more challenges, no more learning, I am at capacity!” But this year, I am open to the process. For that I am truly grateful. After 44 years, these are some of the things I know to be true.

None of us will escape this world unscathed. We will all face trials and tribulations, and the best among us will learn from what feels like it is breaking us. We will realize that we are not being broken, but rather broken open (as the brilliant Elizabeth Lesser says in her book here) so that we can then live a life more fully feeling and experiencing from that open place. As a child I believed that every other family was perfect but mine. I hid my burdens under a bushel and hoped that my shiny exterior would shield people from seeing the broken bits I had unfolding at home. Boy was it a relief to get older, get honest, and start hearing the truth of what others had been living through too. We never want others to suffer so that we are less alone, but we do indeed feel less alone when we realize that the human experience for us all is based in both great suffering and great joy. To truly feel the highs of this life, I know that the lows are needed for perspective. That I have learned more with each passing year.

I also know that children change. Often. This past year I was teacher, and saw more of my children than expected. (Hands up for the teachers! Hallelujah, their job is HARD!) Right now I have a 12 year old en route to being a teen, a 10 year old who still thinks I hang the moon, and a rambunctious 6 year old who keeps us all laughing 24-7. Each day they are greeted with new experiences and feelings and I have a front row seat to watch them live into it all. With my pre-teen I am learning to listen more than I talk, and react less than I used to. I see her mind working double time to navigate school, relationships, sports, and social media. I want so badly to tell her how she can avoid the many heartbreaks I remember from that age, but I know that this is her time. These are her trials. And they (the good and bad moments) will mold her into a woman who is resilient, thoughtful, and kind. On my worst days of parenthood I remind myself that it all comes, and it all goes. We once thought we would never have a child who slept through the night. We were sure of it. And now, three kids often have to be dragged out of bed after a full nights sleep. Last year I convinced myself that my third would be the kid who just never learned to ride a bike. Trying to teach him was infuriating. And then, after weeks of tears, we shoved him off down a hill and he finally got it. These are small inconsequential examples, sharing the harder ones without my children’s permission feels less appropriate as they get older. I guess the point is, that even our hardest hurdles with kids can be overcome. I take great heart in knowing that.

I also know that a handful of true friends who know every inch of you and love you for all that you are is worth much more than dozens who love you with expectations and judgement. I’ve had some dark (and crazy) days during the pandemic so far, and my friends helped to carry me through the valleys. We laughed (thank you cartoons and memes), we cried, and we talked it out. I’ve always been a person who wanted to be loved by all. I’m not sure that is something that will ever change. But as I have navigated friendship in recent years I have learned the priceless value of someone knowing all of you, and loving you despite the scars. And when I bump up against a person or group that doesn’t love me unconditionally, I am learning to take that less personally. I may not be every person’s jam, but that doesn’t make me bad or unlovable. I challenge you all to think long and hard about this one. Be brave. Be honest. Be vulnerable. And sometimes it feels scary afterwards, but you have to stay the course. I have found that it pays off in spades in the long term when someone loves you while really knowing all of you. I’ve got some darn good friends in my corner, and I am making sure to tell them how much I appreciate their love and support.

These are just a few of the things that I know to be true. I’m open to the lessons to come, and grateful that I am still here to keep learning. This year more than any I feel the gratitude that I have two feet on the ground. The ground has shaken, but I am still here.

In the weeks and months ahead I promise to catch you all up on some of the things that have really worked for me this year. Great books, CBD, cold baths, anti-depressants. It has been a season of great learning and I am eager to share with you all. Be well friends. Be kind. And don’t hesitate to reach out and connect with me. Perhaps the thing I missed most during Covid (and the thing I continue to miss even though we are no longer in the same kind of lockdown as last summer) are the conversations with you all. 10 minutes in the grocery store, a brief hello on the street corner, hearing about a recent trip while on the sidelines of a sports game. Simple sharing. This I have missed. Welcome back friends.

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Comments

  1. I am so grateful for you my friend. 143

  2. Carmiña Roth says:

    Great post Lindley — thank you for sharing. Always encouraging.

  3. Beautifully written and in your always self deprecating way your honesty comes shining through! ❤️

  4. Love this, Lin. Thanks for sharing. And I agree on the aging. Much prefer it and the wisdom it brings with it.

  5. Blanche O'Connell says:

    Thank you for bravely sharing how we all feel. I’m so proud of you!!!

  6. Jeeeez, was gonna say same thing as the other Linds!
    Love you Aunt Inds

  7. Erin Stern says:

    Beautifully said, Lindley! Love you.xoxo

  8. ❤️❤️💕💕❤️❤️love you lee

  9. Cristina M Young says:

    Always interesting to hear what’s on your mind, Lindley. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Congrats on 8 years! Love this and LOVE you!

  11. Debbie Hires says:

    You have a very beautiful way of articulating how many of us feel as well! I love a recent song by Rob Thomas, “One Less Day” which states that he is not afraid of growing older, it’s one less day from dying young. Like your post, it makes me grateful to be growing older gracefully (or at least trying to 😉 xo

  12. Oh Lindley,
    you are generous and enlightened. I love what you share! there is a book I had read to help me develop some tools to use w/ Caroline called “Get out of my life, Mom, but first can you drive me to the mall?” Maybe you’re not there yet….but it happens to tout le monde at some point. 🙂 miss you and yours, Mary

  13. Well written! Happy birthday to the blog. I still remember when you were just starting it and we talked! xx

  14. Thank you for sharing. This resonates so much with me and Im sure so many others. I really have enjoyed your blog over the years and this post does not disappoint. Congratulations on 8 years! I look forward to future posts 🙂

  15. So inspiring, beautifully written, honest and always on point, Lindley. You’re an incredible writer. Can’t wait for a book some day!! ❤️

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