Sunday, May 24, 2020

Day 30: Community

This post brought to you by ONE MONTH of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.  And conversations with my favorite (and only) older brother.

In all honesty, I had every intent on writing this earlier.  In fact, I actually started this post something like 8 hours ago.  But, as so commonly happens, I got utterly distracted, and so, am getting around to writing it now.

C’est la vie, right?

Sometimes quarantine makes me think, and I’m not sure I’ll have the skill to put my thoughts into words, but I guess I’ll try.

Community isn’t something that comes easy to me.  I’m a bit of a loner, and I honestly pride myself in that fact.  It’s not that I don’t like people - even if somedays I try my best to convince them of that. It’s just easier to not let people in.  I mean, after all, if no one knows me, no one can hurt me, right?

And so, I try to keep most everyone at a distance - telling myself that what feels safer for me is better for them too.

While it may not be true, it’s really sort of beautiful.  Because when no one gets close, it’s easy to believe that who I am, what I say, and what I do doesn’t matter.  And when nothing matters, life comes easy.

With quarantine life, I feel like there’s been a lot of talk about community - some communities using this as a time to grow stronger, others feeling so utterly alone because all connections have been lost.

Me?
I don’t even know.

Before COVID hit, I didn’t necessarily have a booming social life.  Sure, I had engagements that I enjoyed that seemed to keep me busy most every night of the week, to the point that I had convinced myself that maybe this was the way to “live in community” like I’d so often been encouraged to do.   But, they didn’t necessarily define me.

And then came the shutdown when everything came to a screeching halt.

Suddenly, all these engagements were gone, and I was left on my own.
At first, it felt weird.
But, with every passing day, I came to love the silence - the solitude.
To the point where I honestly don’t want it to end (which, may be a problem considering my chosen career).

I’ll admit - that makes me feel guilty.
Shouldn’t I want to run back to everything that has been lost?
Shouldn’t I miss the life I was living before?
And, why? Why don’t I?
What does that say about me?

I don’t have all the answers - or, probably any of them.
All I know is that I love it here.

The topic of community bothers me the most when I think about church.
Community is something that I feel like is often highly emphasized in the context of the church - and righty so.  The message of Christ was to love God and love others - and it’s pretty hard to do that within a bubble.

But if I’m honest, I haven’t listened to a service since Easter.
I don’t listen to the devotions that are posted daily on social media.
I don’t follow along in the books that I’m supposed to be reading for studies.
I don’t miss going to church.

And so, when I hear people talk about their concern that COVID is going to change the church atmosphere forever because people will back out of community for the sake of convenience, I can’t help but turn in shame, because I don’t have to look hard to know that that’s me.

It’s what I’ve done all my life.
And I have a million and half arguments to make it sound good, like - “if you’re not connected with people you’re really not in community anyway”, and, “you don’t need to be in a church to grow in faith” - both of which I feel are true.
But neither of these change the simple reality that we weren’t made to do life alone - even on the days when it feels like that’s what we prefer.

Admittedly, I have no idea what this may look like as the days, weeks, and months pass by.  As they do though, I’m grateful for the little communities that I still find myself in.

Annnd I’m tired of writing.
Night y’all.

-Hannah

Question of the Day: Are you ready for COVID to end yet?
Challenge of the Day: Run a mile.
Photo of the Day:

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Day 29: Recap

This post brought to you by another lovely evening of Name That Tune.

As it would seem that I still haven’t figured out how to plan my days more wisely, this Day 29 of #100DaysoHannah and #100DaystoOffload will be yet another simple recap.

It was a scorcher today.
Last night, I decided to skip my alarm, in favor of having one day a week dedicated to sleeping in.  When I woke at 6, I started getting ready for my morning walk/run routine, when I glanced at the temperature - 78 degrees.

Yikes.

Though this may have been the coolest part of the day, I’ve been out on enough 80 degree, 90% humidity mornings to know that they’re really not all that refreshing - the walk would wait until after breakfast, coffee, a podcast, and devotions.

For the podcast this morning, I decided to dig into the Authentic You archives, where I stumbled on an episode about comparisons.  Great food for thought - maybe even worth a blog post later.

The rest of the morning slipped by in a blur of walking, chores, and snacks.

This afternoon, I admittedly spent wayyy too much time analyzing a potential desk purchase.  I’m not used to buying even modestly priced items (four years of grad school will do that to you), so I tend to get analysis paralysis pretty frequently.  Around 3:00 though, I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger.  Here’s to hoping I like the result!

The rest of the afternoon was spent working out (aka training for my first Murph!) and researching not entirely random diseases.

I think tomorrow I need a to-do list.

In any case, Happy Saturday, y’all.  I hope it was great!

-Hannah

Question of the Day: How do you escape analysis paralysis?
Challenge of the Day: Try to guess 20 songs (title, artist, and album) within the first 30 seconds!
Photo of the Day: 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Day 28 Random.

Tonight was going to be a night of abstract word vomit - but after letting my fingers hit whatever keys they felt like for the last 20 minutes, I was too ashamed of my words to actually publish them.
Because who really wants to read a non-sensical post trying to quantify the feelings that I don’t know if I have?

Exactly.

Right now, I’m heavily contemplating not even posting today.
I mean, does it matter?
What happens if I don’t?
Why should I?
I should be able to do whatever I want.

Which sum up my Friday in a nutshell.
And, for tonight, I won’t even try to make that ugly reality anything but the harsh truth that it is.

Hooray for day 28.

-Hannah

Question: Do you ever write, just to write?
Challenge: Do something you don’t want to do (like write a post)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Day 27: Running

Twenty-seven days of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload
Oh goodness - what to talk about today..

It’s been another day of posts flitting through my head, but significant uncertainty about what I want to say tonight.

So, I guess I’ll embrace the spirit of spontaneity and just dive in.

I was angry today.
I’d like to pretend it doesn’t happen often, but if I’m truly honest, I’m a much angrier person than I normally admit.

In theory, my anger today could probably be justified.
An repeated, undeniable, inexcusable error by the offending party prevented me from accomplishing a project that I value, leaving me frustratingly helpless.
And fuming.
How could such utter incompetence be possible - much less accepted?

As I sit back and reflect though, my anger was disproportionate.  Yes, the frustration was reasonable. But anger?  It wasn’t called for.

So then, why anger?
If it’s like normal, this anger was probably a culmination of events - carefully tucked away in a bottle of “no worries” and “it’s okay’s”.

Because life’s easier when it’s all okay.
There’s no need for confrontation.
There’s less pain without the sting of truth.
Maybe for once I can avoid the high risk stake of vulnerability.

And some days, it really is okay.
I try to understand.
I see my many flaws.
I’m not hurt - so, what’s to hide?

But some days, they’re just words - another phrase.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - emotions are not my strong suit.  I just don’t really know what to do with them.
And so, I shut them off or bottle them up.

Growing up, I can’t deny that I was an angry kid.
Some days it felt like that was my super power - like the Hulk, with anger in hand, I could conquer anything.
More often though, I knew it was one of my greatest weaknesses.

And so I tried to hide it - stuff it inside where all the other emotions knew to go.

But anger?  It always came back.
When stuffing failed, I ran.

I’d like to say that at some point it all changed - that one magical day my anger disappeared never to return.
But if I’m honest, the truth is that I’m still running - running from people, running from emotions.
Hiding in a new life, hoping that the anger of my past lags far behind me.

I’ll admit - I don’t like ending with imperfection, but I promised attempted authenticity.
So, here we’ll sit.

‘Til tomorrow,

-Hannah

Question of the Day: What makes you mad?
Challenge of the Day:  Touch your toes
Photo of the Day: I didn’t take any pictures today.. So here’s a post-run pic from Sunday. Because, running.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Day 26: Reading

Well, we’re officially over 1/4 of the way through #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload!
Welcome to Day 26!

I’ve had about six different ideas floating through my head today as to what to discuss in today’s blog (since I so miserably failed at blogging the last couple of days), and I’m still not really sure which one to pick.  Too bad I can’t put out a realtime poll to ease decisions.  Oh well...

This morning, one of my best friends recommended a book to read, which got me thinking about reading in general.

Y’all, I suck at reading.
Which, is honestly sorta funny considering how much I love to write, and how much I appreciate the written word.

It’s not that the physical act of reading is particularly difficult for me, or even that I struggle with reading comprehension - I’ve been blessed to have both of those come pretty naturally.

I just don’t really read.

This hasn’t always been the case by any means.  As a child, I absolutely loved to read (refer to my Memories (Part 1) post), and can remember getting up before school and lying on the couch with a book to my nose (gotta love that uncorrected myope life) on many a morning.

At some point in late high school or early undergrad though, that died.

Maybe I was just burned out.
Maybe I stopped being willing to sit for hours at a time.
Maybe I learned to love living in the present, rather than running to another’s world.
Maybe I just got busy.

Who knows.

Admittedly, I can’t say that I really miss it.
I’m not someone who looks forward to curling up with a book and coffee on cold rainy days.
Or hot sunny summer days.
That’s just not me.
But, some days, I still love a good read for all the wonders that books have to offer.

Some days, it’s the characters that I fall in love with.
Others, it’s the philosophies.
Some days, it’s the life lessons.
Others, it’s the irony.

Today?  Today, it was the sheer brilliance of the creation.
And the willingness of someone to share it with me.

No, I don’t read often.
But, maybe I should.
Because maybe, through someone else’s words, a connection can be formed from across the world.

‘Til tomorrow: happy reading!

-Hannah

Song of the Day: I Don’t Care
Question of the Day:  What’s one of your favorite books, and why?
Challenge of the Day: Start (and finish?) a new book this week!
Photo of the Day: 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Day 25: First Quarter

Ugh - today was supposed to be a significant post day. I mean, after all, it's Day 25! We're 1/4 of the way done with #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.

But, it's not gonna be.
1) Because it's way past my bedtime.
2) I don't want to turn my brain on enough to contemplate life right now (that can wait til tomorrow... maybe... I don't remember what's planned for tomorrow)
and
3) I need to get up early and be REALLY productive tomorrow morning.  Which is likely to be impaired if I stay up even later tonight.

Later y'all,

-Hannah

Question of the Day: How often do you assess your motives?
Challenge of the Day: Try to see life from a different perspective than you normally do.

PS: I'm skipping the photo of the day for now.  Maybe I'll add it tomorrow. (Is that permitted?) We'll see.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Day 24: Call

I would just like to point out that I’m blogging before 10:00p, which is a significant change from my apparent new norm.

This Day 24 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload brought to you by an almost 3 hour phone call with fam and a gloriously hot day.

Let’s get this out of the way first:
As a rule, I’m really not a phone person. There’s just so much room for awkwardness which just tends to compound my already excessive awkwardness.
Besides, most conversations can be managed just as easily with a text, which leaves sooo much more time for well-thought responses.

Over the past year, my phone aversion has (slowly) started to decrease though.
Maybe it’s being 18 hours from home.
Maybe it’s not being given the option of staring as my phone while it rings and being able to claim in all honesty that I thought the call was an accident. (Okay, I still do this sometimes... it takes a lot of effort to work up the nerve to answer an unexpected phone call!)
Maybe COVID really is getting to me and I’m just too bind to see it.
Who knows.

All I know is that I’ve had TWO 2+ hour phone calls with my parents in the last week.
With nothing being wrong.
And you know what? I’ve actually enjoyed them.

Admittedly, growing up and hearing other people talk about multiple hour daily phone calls with their significant other, I thought that they were crazy.  Like, what in the world could anyone have to talk about for that long that often?

But I think I’m beginning to understand - you find the things that you both care about, and you talk about them.  And you don’t run away from silence.

My dad and I are both solidly introverted.  (Okay, so he’s probably got me beat. It’s not... well maybe it is... my fault that I’m in a career that requires a relatively high degree of interpersonal communication..)  Which would seem to pose a problem for conversation.

But it isn’t.
Because it’s okay to not talk about anything.
And it’s just as okay to talk about everything.

Tonight - after a discussion of the weather, I got distracted by analyzing weather patterns around the world, which led to comparisons of Greenland and Iceland, followed by a short investigation of geothermal energy, a brief analysis of COVID practices around the world, and an introduction of a book discussing the Christian position in politics (which I have historically avoided).

And before I knew it, we were nearing three hours together.

Which is to say that I’m incredibly grateful - for the time to talk to my family, family who is willing to take the time to talk with me, technology that allows us to stay connected despite being 18 hours part, and unlimited diversity in conversations.

‘Til tomorrow!

-Hannah

Question of the Day: Do you have an internal monologue?
Challenge of the Day: Call someone you love - just because you can.
Photo of the Day: 

Day 30: Community

This post brought to you by ONE MONTH of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.  And conversations with my favorite (and only) older brothe...