slowing down.

Almost a month later, and I’m finally back…

Where did the last month go? It was filled with house projects, happy hours, too much driving, 2 nights of volleyball each week, baby showers, dinner dates, family time, trips up north, engagement and anniversary celebrations, spending too much money, gym trips and work out classes, packing and unpacking, yard work, tears, tailgating and football games, mentoring, appointments, staining the deck and renovating the kitchen, the last wedding of the season, checking out new breweries, church, laughing, and taking pictures. It was full of fun and exciting things, but I spent entirely too much time rushing from one thing to the next, updating my calendar to try and fit in everything, trying to be “present” everywhere and with everyone and doing everything.

It wasn’t filled enough with relaxing or reading or taking baths or lighting candles or deep conversations with friends. There wasn’t much time to try a new recipe on Pinterest, write, design, binge watch an entire series on Netflix, have a craft night; not enough time to unwind or reflect. And now I’m burnt out. The events and the to-do lists will never end. There will also be things to do, places I want to go, people I want to see.

This past weekend was spent at Crystal Mountain, celebrating my grandparents’ 55th anniversary with my extended family. I look forward to those weekends away and that family time more than anything – the euchre playing, the bonding, the laughs, the silly moments I’ll always remember, the food, the little bit of drama that always accompanies 25-30 family members together. The amount of love and honesty all in one place.

Honesty – accompanied with tough love – hit me most this past weekend, though. “Kayla, you need to slow down. Enjoy the little moments, little things, and take time to smell the roses. Stop rushing from one thing to another.”  True. So damn true. At first, I felt defensive. But then I agreed. It’s extremely difficult to be fully present, to really be there, when you’re tired and overwhelmed. Tired of packing and unpacking and always thinking about what’s on your schedule next.

The more I think about it, the more I question not only where the last month went, but where did the last YEAR go?! How long have I been rushing from one thing to the next, trying to fill my schedule to avoid feeling all the things – loneliness, stress, anxiety? Way. Too. Long. Avoiding those feelings also turns into avoiding true feelings of happiness, satisfaction, love, gratefulness, grace.

And while at Crystal, I remembered and reflected on what this life is really about. It’s about those feelings – the good and the bad and confusing and the hard. Without the sad, how do you feel the happy? It’s about people. Those people who have always been there and will never leave. Those moments of sincere honesty and love – even when tough love. Those laughs after too many drinks at the Lodge bar or while racing each other down the luge track. Those memories of the toast Grandpa made about family, of baby cuddles, falling asleep with headphones because your cousins snore too loud. The silly drama that won’t ever change how we feel or change how we’re just as excited for the next family trip.

But how? How do I slow down? How do I stop planning so much and too far in advance? How do I better say NO to things that won’t help me grow or fulfill me in the right ways? Finding my people and not losing sight of them so easily. Planning less and letting God plan more. Being okay with lazy nights alone on the couch (in moderation of course). Not feeling guilty about skipping a work out to consume extra calories at happy hour with close friends. Determining what my priorities are and truly making those things top of the list (because getting rid of to-do lists and my calendar probably won’t happen anytime soon!)

I pulled over on the way home from up north to take a picture of the color changing leaves. That’s a start, right?

Northern Michigan, 2016

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