Slow Down and Say Yes






Hey, remember me? I've been gone a little while. I took a break without really meaning to, it just kind of happened with summer ending and classes beginning. I think it was good for me, and I've been thinking about coming back, but I've also been thinking about now because hey, I have a thesis to write, and this blog IS a bit of a distraction. And then I read this post from my bff Nicole over at Writes Like a Girl. I started to write a comment and then I had a response and a story to every single thing she said. So I'm back, and I'm saying them.

Nicole talked about being weighed down by complication, and laid out a plan for simplification:
// be kind, no matter what
// don't get worked up about things that haven't happened yet
// do what feels good, not what I think I need to
// surround myself with objects that are useful or add beauty to my life
I don't know how or why this has happened, but I feel like the older I've gotten, the less tolerant and patient and kind-hearted I've become. I grew up with a not great home life so with the pretty great life I'm living now (poor, but otherwise good) it seems counterintuitive that I should be less kind. Maybe I've just gotten jaded, or had too many friendships end weirdly, or have been in too many arguments, or have too much stress and expectations weighing me down. It's not that I'm a mean person, I just want to be more patient and give people the benefit of the doubt and be kind no matter what, and I feel like I used to have that. I want to go back. I want to take time. I want to reclaim kindness.

I have been having stress dreams about moving. Seriously. I have a full year left in my program and I'm already thinking about afterward. I mean yeah, I do have to start applying for jobs and fellowships really quickly. It is a year of finishing things and transitions. And I'm in a relationship that started here and maybe part of me thinks it when we leave here. And said otherwise awesome boyfriend is currently unemployed, meaning he's stressed and not in the best of moods. And then his mood catches and I'm not doing so hot myself. I'm behind on my thesis. Yikes, I'm a hot mess right now. So, let's pause. Let's not get worked up about things that haven't happened yet. My thesis due date has not yet arrived. I haven't even started applying for jobs yet, so let's not think about job prospects or moving or unemployment. This is not the time for worrying. This is the time for doing.

My summer babysitting gig is over, and though I wasn't originally intending to have any regular work besides teaching during the semester, I actually ended up taking a part time babysitting position with a five month old. Best idea? Maybe not. But, when I was thinking about whether or not I should do it, I told Andy that I was actually kind of looking forward to it (Baby time! Cuteness overload!) and he said that I should do it. So I did. And while the timing does pose occasional scheduling conflicts with school, I'm really glad that I'm doing it. Not something I'm "supposed" to be doing, but hey, it feels good and it gets me a little extra money.
As a GTA, I really do not make great money. It's actually enough to pay my bills and that's about it, so I've been fairly practical with my purchases. That's great, but recently I've been looking around and noticing that very little of what I have is "for fun." My shoes are pretty neutral so they match with most of my clothes. I don't really have any pretty knick knacks; everything has a function. My only real "for fun" kinds of purchases besides dining out and alcohol is makeup, which is nice and all but I've started yearning for more prettiness in my life. Which makes my life sound so austere which it isn't, but I want an impractically tall, bright pair of heels or some pretty things to sit on my desk. I have so many practical things that I want/need that these things get forgotten.

This semester I'm making efforts to do more. More exercising, more writing, more (attempting) publishing, more editing, more reading, more fun. But I'm also planning to do less of the things that I just don't have the energy for anymore or give too much time to, like caring about what people think of me, trying to dress perfectly for every situation, wasting time on the internet, and watching shows that I don't love. We've only got so much time on this planet, people, so let's spend it being ourselves and doing the things we love and being surrounded by people and things that are kind and beautiful and inspiring. That's all we can hope for really.

Yours Truly, Jen
P.S. The title of this post comes from this post by Casey Leigh. Check it out.


  1. i'm so glad you wrote this post! one, it's inspired by my inspiration post, which is all meta and validating, and two, i really appreciated your perspective on each of these things, and especially your final paragraph. in that last few sentences, you summed up what i've been trying to say all year. i want more, but i want less. i think a really integral part of growing up that no one talks about is the shedding of certain layers--specifically expectations of how we spend our time and with whom--and adding in things we've neglected, whether it be beauty or self care, or patience or balance.

    i hope that made sense. i think i'm actually going to write more in depth about unnecessary kindness, in terms of patience and giving benefit of the doubt.

    1. Thanks, and follow up posts would be awesome! Also, College Prepster posted twice about kindness today. Must be going around! (1: 2:



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