A quick note: So, I have a friend who is a fantastic blogger – and every few weeks she writes a “Quick Update” on her blog, Mid City Love, that details what her and the fam have been up to. It’s so well organized, so well put together, and enjoyable to read that I sometimes think to myself as I write mine and jabber on…”I think I’m doing this wrong…” So just wanted to say, despite the craziness of my writing at times, thanks for putting up with it. 🙂
By a few words on transition, I mean a lot.(No one’s surprised.) So bare with me here.
What a year it’s been. Does anyone else feel like they say that about each passing year once they hit a certain age? Like a lot of people, I recall my years by events that happened. Now, it’s almost like rattling off some sort of sometimes interesting/sometimes scary/sometimes awesome/sometimes crazy resume.
I’m 29 now, but in 11 years, (that somehow seemed to fly by) this was my life in a nutshell:
- 2005: A 2 year relationship ended with the guy I was dating. I broke my foot my senior season of soccer.
- 2006: Attended Cornerstone University. Had surgery on my foot. Medically red-shirted for soccer.
- 2007: Played one season at Cornerstone – transferred to Grand Valley at the semester. Made it to the Final Four.
- 2008: Met a boy. Visited him everywhere he was playing baseball. GV lost in the Regional Championships.
- 2009: Got engaged. Won a National Championship.
- 2010: Interned with the Detroit Tigers. Broke off my engagement a month before the wedding.
- 2011: Moved to California. For a month. Mostly for a guy and an opportunity to work for my dream career company. Met some amazing people. Moved home. Worked at The BOB. Became a graduate assistant soccer coach at Davenport University.
- 2012: Started working at MLive Media Group. Met a boy. Broke up with him. Missed him and started dating again.
- 2013: Got engaged. Became an aunt(!).
- 2014: Left MLive Media Group. Started working at Gazelle Sports/Team Gazelle. Got married. Moved to Alabama.
- 2015: Lived in Alabama. Worked for “the company” again at Alabama Media Group. Moved back to Michigan.
- 2016: Back in Michigan, remodeled our house. Started this crazy thing called CrossFit. Was still doing contract work for AMG. Started also working for Grand Rapids FC. Began coaching at Aquinas College. Stopped contract work for AMG – started a full-time gig for HexArmor. Still working for GRFC and Aquinas and doing freelance work.
WHAT IS THIS LIFE. Talk about a whirl wind. That doesn’t take into account the bazillion times I moved (sorry/thanks dad and brother!) To most, those are just words in a numerical sequence. But there’s so much that’s obviously being left out between those periods and spaces. Relationships, heartbreaks, deaths, births, challenges, issues, problems, victories, defeats, etc. etc.
Clearly, this is just the cliff notes version, people.
But for me, this year, 2016, was the Year of Rest. After reading a book(Present Over Perfect) that really made me rethink what’s been going on in my life the past 10 or so years, I recognized that’s what I was doing this year, and also what I needed. I’ve always been a person who has been about more..more…MORE! I want ALL of the things that life has to offer. I want to experience each and everything good thing that comes my way. No matter the opportunity and the actual amount of time or resources I had… I couldn’t pass it up. Almost gluttonous. Is it possible to be gluttonous for wanting all the experiences? I mistook my zest and passion for life as a pass for having to do everything.
I’m a dreamer and a doer. I love people. I love proving I can do things. I wanted to do everything. And I’ll try anything once.
- “Want to coach a club team?” YES!
- “Oh, really? How about two?” Yes for sure, why not?!
- “Want to help with Young Life?” Of course!
- “Can you pick up some extra training sessions?” You got it.
- “Want to come out with us this weekend?” Wouldn’t miss it!
- “Want to play in a coed league with us?” No question!
- “Can you help with this project?” Yes, of course – I’m there!
You get the point.
Plus also: trying to keep up with appearances and friendships and family and all the other stuff we try to stuff into our schedules.
And it all came at the cost of some precious time with family and friends.
“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Yea…THAT^^^^….wasn’t happening. It wasn’t that those things WEREN’T important, because they absolutely were, it’s just that I tried to be all things to all people.
I was (and still to this day, am) the person who felt the most loved when I thought people were proud of what I was doing and how I was doing it. That the more I could do and do well…the more people would approve.
(For an interesting – and warning, a little crude at times – perspective on “approval of others,” read THIS: Taming the Mammoth)
With the exception of 2010-2011…which I call “the worst of times” I was so focused on pleasing people. Not that pleasing people is bad, but when it comes at the expense of your own self-worth… it becomes an issue. It made transitions hard because there were so many things I couldn’t control with change, and I felt like I was juggling everyone’s perspectives and opinions of me in the air and I couldn’t let one plate drop in fear that I’d let someone down.
So, for the first time in forever… I felt like the past 9 months allowed me to just slow down and not feel like I was hustling around everywhere and trying to please every person. I was ok with just … being still. My workload with AMG wasn’t super intense, I could work from home or from a coffee shop, I was helping out a few local soccer clubs with their marketing and a great community cause that I was/am very passionate about with GRFC. I found out this was “Slow Amber” and I loved it. I completely understand how fortunate I was to be able to do that and I’m so thankful for a husband who let me do that. It’s like he secretly knew I needed this. Bad.
Remember how I mentioned I was a dreamer? This year, I was a dreamer…but not necessarily a total doer, at least not as much as I wish I could have been. A big part of 2016 involved dreaming up a coffee shop business. Yep. Certain things were lining up in my life at the end of 2015 and into 2016 and I started drawing up plans, setting meetings, having real conversations, looking at locations. The stars were aligning. I went to Ferris’ Coffee school, which was amazing, and then I started to hit a few roadblocks which slowed me down. So it’s in the back pocket still, just not right now.
Does anyone else ever feel like life is one big A.D.D project/journey/test/transition? Sometimes I look at what other people are doing or have going on in their life and I think to myself… “is their life really as calm, cool and collected as it looks? Because dang… they make it look so easy!” The answer of course (in most situations) is… I don’t think so? (Hopefully?!?) But God bless those people. I feel like my life is one constant transition after the other. I was talking to a friend the other day who gave me some pretty great perspective:
“Amber, through talking to a lot of people, it’s become pretty clear that we are all just figuring it out. I think the people I have found meaningful relationships and collaborations with though, are the ones who remain in that tension of transition and honor it somehow.”
The tension of transition. Honoring it. It’s an interesting idea. Typically, tension is viewed as negative. But, what she said really makes sense. Through all that’s happened, I’ve found that living in the tension of transitions and honoring them, as my friend said, helps you to become a cushion-y landing pad for transitions instead of trying to push against them (at least the ones that are out of your control). By doing this, you find a lot more beauty in the tough stuff and learn much more from it. I think the last 10 years have been filled with ALL the transition. Sometimes I honored it, sometimes I wanted to punch it in the face (too graphic?!). And now with new job(s), old friends in different spots of life, new friends, new family members, etc….I’m still feeling in a constant state of transition, and I’m totally ok with it. Makes things a bit more exciting, yes?
As 2017 hits, I’m going to do my best to take my friend’s advice to heart. That’s my challenge to myself and to you this year. Remain in the tension of transition. Honor it. It’ll help us see the beauty.
Cheers, friends. Happy New Year.