Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I was visiting with a friend yesterday when she pointed out that my blog had been strangely silent these last few weeks. Granted, I did spend an entire week in Idaho with Heidi, but that excursion doesn't explain the absence of posts around here. I am beginning to see that writing is like exercising. When you do it every day, the habit is comforting and easy. When you miss a few days, the process is still familiar and straightforward--sit down at the computer, edit a couple photos, place hands on the keyboard, and the words flow. But . . . when you miss quite a few days, and when your writing muscles begin to atrophy, and when ideas swirl between your ears but they find no escape, the words disappear into a thought miasma from which recovery is difficult. I began this week with post ideas for every day, and here it is Wednesday and I have yet to publish anything.

So . . . with thanks to Allyson for reminding me that I need this corner of the world to maintain my sanity and to formulate cohesive thought, I vowed to sit down today and write about how I came to my word for 2016.

Here goes.

The last few months of 2015 left me feeling lost. It's the only word I can find that begins to touch on my feelings. Spearheaded by crisis after crisis, I felt my "self" slipping further and further away, buried between layers of stress and sadness. I took refuge at home, filling the lonely hours with the company of social media.

Social media--the Black Hole of our age. Where else can you instantly connect with friends and family all over the world and remain miserably alone in your bed at 10:30 am? Where else can you instantly smile at a funny video and cry that you have no one to share it with? (That's not true. You can instantly share it with all of your "friends" just by clicking a button. Somehow that's not the same, I've found.) I virtually lived every day--lived through each of the blog posts and Facebook announcements and Instagram images.

Yet I had ceased living my own real existence. Sure, I still made dinner and drove kids and cleaned my house, but the joy that I had always known had disappeared so slowly that I hadn't noticed it leave, because my nose was glued to my iPhone screen. Or my iPad. Or my Mac. Ah, Steve Jobs, what did you do to me?

I did it to myself. I take full responsibility, as much as I'd like to pass the blame on to someone else, living or dead (or virtual). Living vicariously through too much social media and others' lives lost my focus on what has always brought me peace, joy, comfort, and pride. I had lost . . . me.

Being an accomplisher (a word Brad uses to describe me on occasion) is one thing that has always made me Jenny. I lost that. I had become a "used-to-be." I used to be a runner. I used to be a yogini. I used to be a scriptorian. I used to be a friend. I used to be a scholar. I used to be an organizer. I used to be in control of my eating (with occasional lapses and bouts with the sugar monkey). I used to be a doer. I used to be a thinker and contributor. I used to be a (albeit amateur) blogger and photographer. I used to be strong. I used to be motivated. I used to be living my life.

What am I now? This is what.

I am sedentary. I am stiff and stressed. I am weak. I am lonely, not well read, not learning, and currently stagnating. I am cluttered--physically and mentally. I am tired and lack motivation. I am a consumer. I am living vicariously and virtually. I am imprisoned by the  acceptable addictions of the modern age--caffeine and sugar and lack of desire and compulsive phone checking and too much social media and envy of others' virtual lives.

It's difficult to turn the lens of objective evaluation on yourself. Have these things about me been truly lost, or are they simply misplaced and forgotten? How am I going to find myself again? I'm not being hard on myself, and I'm not depressed. For the first time in weeks, I feel the blinders being removed from my mind, showing me who I used to be and what I need to do to become the old Jenny--and better--again. 

It was quite a process--finding a word that fit me this year, fit around my heart and sunk into my soul. And then, in the end, the word fit me so precisely that I had to search through my blog to make sure I'd never used it before.


  1. Good post! I've lost and found myself many times over the years…For me, it's sort of like the cycle the Nephites kept going through, but applied differently. Every now and again, I just have to pick myself up by the boot straps and start all over again. I'm sort of in that mode now, except I'm not quite ready to do the picking up. But I'm thinking hard on it, which always happens just before…


  2. As my mother always says, Be kind to yourself.

  3. You are, and always will be a doer. I can't imagine you not engaged in 80 projects. I'm sure you'll get your groove back.