This is the part where I’m supposed to be doing a May review – since somehow we’re pretty much halfway through June and I haven’t done one. But frankly, in the midst of everything that’s happened: finishing graduate school, finishing my job, packing up everything I own and hauling it five hours away, I haven’t quite kept the best track of my word counts and reading habits. I think I read about three books last month, and yes that’s a very embarassing number. I’m trying to make up for it this month.
I’m relatively certain I wrote somewhere around 25k, because I know I started a new book in the second half of the month, and I know I was writing a few short stories and working on some revisions too.
So this time around, the month in review is going to look a little bit different, and maybe have a hint more melancholy, but hopefully I can bring it full circle.
As I look back at this last month, here’s a few of the things I regret: I regret letting the pressure I put on myself to make certain word counts and keep constantly creating new material make me so exhausted I didn’t even like writing for a week. I regret being so focused on my to-do list that I didn’t fully engage in things like my last dinner with a group of friends, the last drive through the city, my last day of class. I regret letting my fears speak louder than my sense of adventure through the moving process, and I regret sharp words I exchanged with people when what I really was was scared, not angry.
The things I don’t regret are these: sleeping in the back of my friend’s car when the spiders were too much, snuggling with the puppy at every opportunity (even though today she chewed my poster and I’m not currently speaking to her), beginning the book that won’t leave me alone, sleeping for 15 hours in a stretch, taking the time and effort to say goodbyes the right way.
Every season in our lives is different, but often we expect to be able to do and say and act just as we always have and get the results we want, have the lives we want. We expect that if we set goals we’ll reach them, and if we aren’t one hundred percent passionate and happy about what we’re doing and where we are, it’s wrong. But the seasons don’t work that way.
Every season is ours for a particular reason, whether it’s to make us more compassionate, more honest, more genuine, less afraid, less constricted, or less selfish. We can fight against what’s happening in our lives and demand things be different – that we be stronger and better, that the words come easier, that success happen faster – or we can take a moment to recognize which things are changeable and which are not, and that who we are is formed equally by how well we handle the things in our power, and how we choose to react to the things that are not.
Life is imperfect, messy, and difficult to measure sometimes. A month may fly by in a haze of 80,000 words, or creep by on the back of a 3500 word short story. Sometimes we read many books and sometimes a few, sometimes we are graceful under pressure and sometimes we embarrass ourselves. We can’t change the past, or leave it completely, but we can own it and allow what we’ve learned and who we’ve become to shape our future.
So this time, my month in review is more about the lessons than the words. Such is my season and time. Maybe June will be the same, maybe – probably – wildly different, and that’s just the way it should be. It is this change, and these seasons, that make our stories.