i turned 34 in june

I’ve spent the last two and a half weeks trying to figure out what I want my 35th year to look like. I’m like I DON’T EVEN KNOW OKAY I JUST DON’T KNOW. I’m kind of tired. Tired like “Life is hard no matter who you are and I have a mood disorder and I keep waiting and waiting and waiting for things and I don’t know how to just LIVE MY LIFE without being all up in some kind of project or whatever and why do I work as hard as I do but always feel like I’m spinning my wheels and what even is life and why why why why why is it so hard for people to act right.”

I don’t remember exactly what I was doing, but at some point today I had to just stop whatever it was and think “I do not know how to exist without some kind of hobby/project/event/deadline to structure my life. I can’t just BE MEGAN and that be enough.” I’ve had the thought before that it’s tough for me to feel like I’m enough, like I do enough. And that’s hard for a lot of people. People who are not narcissists and the like.

I took a picture of myself the day before my birthday and I posted in on Instagram and Facebook, with a caption about how I had gotten a bee in my bonnet about picking a theme word for this year. I’ve got one for 2018 – it’s Wend, and I love it because it basically just means to do the next thing. The actual definition is something like “to make one’s way.” And that’s so beautiful to me in this season of life that I am not really sure how to talk about it. After my Big Think today, I have realized that maybe what Wend was getting me ready for is a real break.

Like.

Maybe instead of sheepishly, tiredly, restlessly, confusedly trying to figure out what I’m Supposed To Do Next… maybe I could just Not DO Anything except what’s in front of me to do. I’m wondering about taking time off from making plans and having hopes. I’ve got a handful of plans for the rest of the year, and some obligations to meet, and I’m wondering about just skipping adding anything else to what I’ve already thought of or established as routine/tradition.

I don’t know what I was doing, but I remember what else I was thinking when that struck. I was thinking about work, and about how my Real Jobs were as a sort of runner at the mortgage department of a bank, then as an administrative intern in the IT department at Berry, and all that time I did a lot of work with kids, and then I did sales support at JCP. I got stuck trying to figure out a time when I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing to get where I’m supposed to go. I don’t know what I’ve ever done, I can’t think of any significant block of time, when I’ve been able to say that I’m where I feel like I’m supposed to be AND I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing AND there’s not something looming on the horizon.

AND MAYBE THAT’S A REALLY SUPER GREAT WAY TO LIVE LIFE WHEN I’M ALSO TRYING TO SEEK GOD’S WILL AND DO WHAT THERE IS FOR ME TO DO.

I’m flexible.

We’ll just roll with what comes at us next.

But.

Like.

Y’all.

I’m tired.

And I want to know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and not already feel like I’m not hustling hard enough to get where I’m supposed to go.

SO.

I think my word for year 35 is gonna be NOPE.

I’ll keep you posted. Or I’ll forget. We’ll see together, apparently.

While I was still trying to work up the emotional energy to even pretend to try to write a blog post, I went through photos from March through June 21st. I picked 34 photos of me. Nah. I picked like 38 or 39 photos of me, and then decided I would post 34, which meant I needed to not delete any more of them.

Most of them are iPhone selfies. One is a Nikon selfie. Two are Nikon photos by children – maybe Annie and Quinn. There’s a slim chance they’re both Quinn. But also a chance he took zero and it was Annie both times or Annie and Brennan. It’s like trying to solve a logic matrix. Nobody knows. ONE BIG PHOTO IS OF MY LEGS IN THE SUNSHINE WHILE I WAS WEARING SOME SHORT SHORTS (I didn’t build this collage, WordPress did, and then WordPress would not let me rearrange anything.) AND I AM JUST GONNA TELL YOU THAT THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR SINCE I WAS ELEVEN (AND IT MAY HAVE BEEN YOUNGER THAN THAT) THAT I HAVE WORN WHATEVER LENGTH SHORTS I WANT TO WHATEVER PUBLIC PLACE I WANT AND NOT BEEN 1) EMBARRASSED BECAUSE LEGS, 2) CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK, AND 3) ACTIVELY UPSET ABOUT MY SPIDER VEINS AND CELLULITE AND UNEVEN TAN AND MOSQUITO WELTS. I did have about a year in college where I wore a couple of fairly short skirts, but I was always worried the whole time. Y’all. This year I’ve been wearing high-waisted short shorts. AND SOMETIMES I TUCK IN MY SHIRT.

But whatever, that’s another 1000 words to explain why THAT is a big deal.

I’ve got a photo of me with Aiden, one with both girls, one with Quinn, a few with J, some are from “field trips” and Jasper trips, a few are from moments when I was just so done with whatever was going on that I had to snap a photo to gain some THIS IS HOW YOUR FACE LOOKS RIGHT NOW perspective. It helps. It really does. I have chats with the kids about how usually I’m not actually even mad at THEM, I am just as completely over it as they are… whatever IT happens to be. BUT ANYWAY.

THAT LAST PHOTO is from sunset on the solstice. Because I am so totally pagan enough to want to set things on fire to thank God for the way the Earth moves around the Sun. Annie is eating a roasted marshmallow. It wasn’t actually roasted, she did not have time to roast it because I was shrieking at my four children to cooperate to get photos during the minute of sunset, as determined by my watch, because y’all we can’t even see the actual horizon for the last two hours of the day.

I got a new computer on Friday and I promise to blog more now that I can really type, so that I don’t do any more of these 1100+ word monsters. I even deleted 400 words before I started talking about legs and perspective and paganism.

Hm.

Here’s to the other 49.5 weeks of this year of life!

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life lessons

I keep seeing distressingly thought-provoking memes – the kind that force you to ponder the advice you’d give your teenage self, or how you’d live life differently if you KNEW you would die in a year, or what you hope your kids remember about their childhood.

You know the kind I mean.

Existential crisis provokers.

🤦🏻‍♀️

This photo is on display at PopToo’s house. I saw it on Friday and it initiated yet another round of questioning my life-lesson priorities. Y’all, every time I see it (or any other prom night photos) I HAVE TO SMILE, but I also kinda want to grab this pretty girl and give her a hard shake and a stern talking to.

Just look at that girl.

She thought she was not thin enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, or kind enough, or mean enough (because if you’re gonna fail at nice then you just better push hard for the other extreme… teenager logic is a little warped, y’all), or talented enough, or just enough at anything.

If I could tell her things, I would tell her to never ever ever stop the late-night dance parties. Do y’all even know how many calories you burn just shaking your tailfeathers?!? (Also do you know how many calories I stored instead of burning because I didn’t realize that dance parties are legit aerobic exercise? SHEESH.)

I would tell her that there’s a simple reason behind why it’s so hard to figure out what to do with your life: there are just too too too many challenging, engaging, interesting, and fulfilling possibilities. Decide what to do now, then next… not what to do for for.ev.er!

I would tell her that people were not pretending to like her. The people who did not like her ignored her. Not everybody is gonna love you madly, y’all, but when you find those people who do love you…. keep them close. And trust that as long as you’re pouring good things into each other at every possible opportunity, your relationships will flourish. That’s as true for your spouse and kids and other family and friends as it is for your coworkers and the employees at the establishments you frequent.

I would tell her that anger is good, it’s a map that shows us our boundaries (thank you, Julia Cameron!). I would tell her another Julia Cameron quote: The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.

I could tell her so many other things, too, but a lot of the effort would be wasted. Because seeds sprout and plants grow and flowers bloom and fruit ripens when the conditions are right. So instead of focusing for too long on what I would tell that silly, precious spirit, I’ve been trying to figure out how to translate the grown-up lessons and connections and understandings and wisdom into seeds that can be sown in my kids’ hearts.

You know.

So they can sprout when conditions are right.

[shot stories] catchy title

I rearranged my desk, hoping it would be easier to find things and work. Nope. Because now my Dumbledore and McGonagall FunkoPop figures are JUDGING ME.

All you get this week is a heavily edited photo of birds flying over the sea.

don’t freak out

You know how things that make you roll your eyes or shrug when you’re above a neutral emotional level can make you want to hide under the bed when you’re in a fragile emotional state? Well. I’m trying to encourage myself and everyone around me to refuse to hide under the bed. 

Listen to Megan. Like, really hear me.

DON’T FREAK OUT. 

Yoga breathe (4 seconds in, 4 seconds out; repeat; try to use your nose) or SQUARE BREATHE if yoga breathing doesn’t work (4 seconds in, hold 4 seconds, 4 seconds out, hold 4 seconds; repeat).

When the kids keep dumping shovel loads from the $13 bag of potting soil, don’t freak out.

When you find the rice sock. Ripped open and leaking rice. IN THE WASHING MACHINE. After it’s washed the laundry.

Don’t freak out.

When the caterpillars are eating all the things, and you know they’re eating all the things, and you can’t find them, don’t freak out. Try again in the morning or evening. And then don’t freak out if one poops corn sprout on you. 

Don’t freak out *again* after you freak out because the kids are freaking out because it’s hot and everyone is tired and no one wants to do the next thing so everyone is so mad that they are ready to just quit doing this fun thing and never have fun again. I might have missed a step or a condition. But. Don’t freak out. 

Just be miserable together.

It’s way easier to say it than to remember it, and way easier to remember it than to adjust course and follow through.

But.

People.

I am tired of being confronted with the idea that it’s okay, it’s FUNNY, to be miserable and ragged and frustrated and frantic and angry and exhausted. We get in that space. And it is terrible. And then we need to arise and go, because it’s no place to stick around. AND WHEN WE REALIZE WE ARE STUCK THERE, we need to know that when we announce it, we are going to be met with encouragement and helping hands. Not with shrugs and “That’s life.”

Did you know that even busy, complicated, tough, stressful life can be beautiful? Did you know that when you can’t FEEL the beautiful things, you can still acknowledge them?

It’s not wrong to want your life to feel less chaotic. It’s not wrong to look for better answers. It’s not wrong to truly rest. It’s not wrong to need help. It’s not wrong, it’s not wrong, it’s not wrong. 

Don’t freak out.

Or, do freak out. And then keep moving.

astonished at his teaching

The story of Jesus cleansing the temple is familiar to me, but when I read it this latest time I noticed something.


Let’s take it apart and work backwards:

  • all the crowd was astonished at his teaching because it was fresh and new 
  • the chief priests and scribes feared Jesus because he was telling truth and it stripped away their power
  • priests and scribes heard and were seeking a way to destroy him because he just had to go
  • the temple had been made a den of robbers not obvious robbers, but cups that were washed on the outside and still filthy inside, and people who deliberately took advantage of worshipers
  • “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” was already establish as a holy idea
  • Jesus was teaching them he didn’t just pitch a fit and wreck the established order
  • Jesus would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple – Can we agree that it’s no great stretch to imagine this included mental baggage? LET IT GO, or go make it right, and then approach God with empty hands and a ready heart. 
  • he overturned the seats of those who sold pigeons at what I imagine to be inflated prices, because it was more convenient to buy Level: Basic than to bring an offering with you
  • he overturned the tables of the money-changers because, again, the reason they were even there was to take advantage of a need; things that should have been taken care of prior to approaching God
  • he began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple – he pushed them back to their proper place
  • Jesus entered the temple in Jerusalem and he did so to clear up the clutter and the wrong attitudes that had encroached on that holy space

I’ve heard lots of good things about this passage, but somehow I had missed the idea that Jesus didn’t just clean up the temple and kick BAD people out and shout a lot. He upended what had become normal, and he explained. He utilized a teachable moment, and he wrecked the pay-to-play power system that had been established. 

In some ways he made offering sacrifices and paying temple taxes more complicated, which stinks for the poor people who had journeyed to Jerusalem to do right things. But in so many ways he showed how to simplify and clarify the process. 

mother’s day

I am propped on my bed in the sunshine.

 It is Mother’s Day. 

Mother’s Day is not my favorite.

 I know too many people who hurt extra hard for Mother’s Day.

It took me a long time to admit out loud that I don’t love Mother’s Day. 

I love Mothers.

I love families.

I love people who hurt because of mothers and families and broken hearts and busted dreams and hopes that keep on hoping.

So, as Mrs Rachel says to Anne, “If you can’t be happy, be as happy as you can be.” or something like that. 

We can pick good things for today, even if they feel fake and we want to hide under the bed.

brains and breathing

If you have listened to me at all, ever, you have probably heard me say “There’s some real science about that now!” This can be confusing for me, because depending on who is reporting the science, it can be misleading or wrong… I have statistics trust issues. But when things make sense to me, I am willing to accept them as more likely to be true. 

So – knowing that next week someone could say “NOPE, that is WRONG.” – here’s some science I can get behind, because I have anecdotal experience:

How Slow Breathing Induces Tranquility (from Neuroscience News) Breating slowly and deeply on purpose helps your brain keep you calm. You can mellow out by BREATHING like you’re mellowed out. 

Your brain reinforces what you’re mindful of. (from Fast Company) The article title is something about deleting information in your brain, but it’s like pink elephants – you think about things trying to NOT think about them. So. Instead. Think about good things, things worth remembering. Over and over and over again. On purpose.

a new project

I’m putting together lists for a blog project, and (as usual) I need help. I want to write more about journaling and goal-building and building intentionality and Bible study and responsible self-care and planning and feeling crazy but knowing that’s okay. But. I am not always sure where to start. 


Talking with you darling people helps me so much. So please talk with me. 

Wait. Let’s make a list so we are together. I want to write more and with greater intention and broader reach about:

  • journaling
  • planning
  • goal-building
  • Bible study
  • learning on purpose
  • building intentionality
  • responsible self-care

What are your favorite things from this list?

What things make you wanna bash your head against a wall? 

Where do YOU feel strong? 

How do you want help with these things? 

Do you have favorite resources for any of them? 

Have you made or helped to make/provide resources for any of these things? (I know you have. Lay them out here.)

What do you think about when I mention them? 

If you didn’t have to worry about failing (please note that I did not say you would not fail, I said you didn’t have to worry about failing), what would you try?

What other catch-phrases or border clichés go with these words?

You can email me at megan(at)meganfloyd(dot)com, you can comment here, you can direct message me through Facebook or on Instagram (or comment on this post link there). 

I look forward to hearing from you!

meristem

My previous post was about an outdoors science math project adventure on Ash Wednesday, when we looked for Fibonacci spirals in nature and then watched videos on Khan Academy. I mentioned that I learned a word (and then I just stopped the post, yay awkard closings). 

THAT WORD IS MERISTEM.
Meristem is (thank you, Merriam-Webster) formative plant tissue.


So. Meristem.

Leaves (or petals or whatever) get started in the spots on the meristem where a growth hormone (auxin) is most absent. When leaves begin developing, auxin concentrates on that growth. The NEXT new leaf comes in where the auxin has flowed away. It turns out that the optimal placement of new growth (for access to minimally-blocked sunlight) is in a spiral. Leaf placement at 137.5 degrees around the stem creates a *drum roll * Fibonacci spiral, which allows for perpetual spiralling of new growth. Or something like that. I’m not completely clear on the science/math, and there are exceptions (or oopsies and alternate placement).

I WAS EXICTED BECAUSE, in “real life” as in nature, growth opportunities happen when we flood what already exists (our current project/responsibility/duty/task/to-do list items) with resources (time, energy, money, whatever) and then evaluate the gaps that have been created. I dunno about in nature, but in my life what happens is that I get focused on a few specific areas, and other things don’t get attention. Let me be really honest and say that it’s more like the gaps start squealing for attention. 


One of the things that I wish would just magically happen for me falls in with the idea: I wish I could catch the gaps and adjust the flow of resources before there’s a screaming disaster. It’s why I spend so much time building goals and evaluating what works and trying to clear out (prune, if you will) what’s not working. Sometimes I get nervous that I’m wasting resources or that I’m cutting out the wrong things, so I just kinda sit back and don’t do much of anything.

We don’t grow when we’re sitting still, refusing (for whatever reason) to utilize resources. (I DO NOT GROW WHEN I AM SITTING STILL.) We have to keep moving so that we can see the gaps and what’s producing fruit and what is just sucking up energy.

I’ve been working on a project with this in mind, and I’m hoping to share some more ideas soon.