This moment – figuring it all out


Natalie Mix

This is my cat, Yoshi, sitting by me while I read the third installment in the Shadow and Bone series

For the past three and a half weeks, I’ve been fighting a sense of self-focused frustration, despite the overall contentment that the golden arrival of summer has brought me. I’ve been guiltily fending off the unwelcome thoughts of an untouched list of responsibilities: the completed job application waiting on my desk to be relinquished to Schuler’s Chapbook Café, the AP Lit summer reading assignment I haven’t even started, and this second installment of my Editor’s Column. 

I’m needlessly outing myself to admit this, but I’d intended to publish a column every two weeks this summer. Yet, when the most recent two week mark rolled around, I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write. I’ve written nothing, not even a journal entry, over the last three and a half weeks, and that feels like it betrays every innate thread of my composition.

But whenever I consider sitting down to write, consider delving into this idea of “slowing down” that I’ve committed to, I can’t pick apart the congested cloud of thoughts that surround that idea, and I feel like I’m going to approach it wrong, like I’m going to waste everyone’s time with this silly goal of mine. 

This mentality is inherently counterintuitive to slowing down and truly existing in the moment. Because I’m so focused on what I’m failing to achieve and whether or not things will turn out in the long run, I’m rejecting the key components of acceptance and faith. 

Accepting where I am, what I can have, and what I can do relieves me of the pressure to bring my unattainable wishes to life. Once I’ve accepted what is, I am able to see what was right in front of me all along, the chance to be happy because things are spontaneous and effortless. 

And the faith that things will turn out as they are meant to be, or rather simply going to happen, allows me to embrace what is happening right now. Once I look away from the final picture, I can see the pieces at my disposal, all that my hands have to work with. I realize that I can try something new, particularly this new thing, this column, without needing to see where it will all land. 

It’s far easier to put these thoughts to words than it is to put them to actions. But the more I hold these two ideas in my hands, acceptance and faith, and get to know them, the freer I feel. 

These past few weeks, despite my deep-seated frustration, have found me slowing down. 

I haven’t been writing, but I have been reading—something that always brings me back to the most innate spark that resides within me, the child that was known for always having a book in hand. I’ve felt a very pure sense of happiness in the rapid turn of pages as I devour their words and the magic of being drawn in by characters and worlds. 

I’ve also found myself seeing more of a couple friends from my old elementary school, friends who I’d loosely kept in touch with since we parted ways in fifth grade and now am renewing old bonds with. Like reading, these friends tie me back to the little girl who has matured in leaps and bounds, but still needs to feel like herself and loved for who truly is and always has been. 

The other thing that I’ve taken up over the past couple of days is cooking. I’m certainly not adept in the kitchen, which often leads me to a diet of microwave meals and easy snacks, but recently, I’ve discovered a certain inspiration that has led to frequent trips to the D&W down the road and a slightly healthier diet. This is one of those things that I anticipate I will grow tired of rapidly, but in the spirit of trying new things without needing to know if they will work out, I plan to ride this wave as far as it will take me. 

Although it took me longer than I anticipated to finally spill words onto this page, I have been slowing down, and I have noticed a balance in my life, a steady rhythm that I can appreciate. 

For now, I have a vacation twelve hours away and a suitcase waiting to be packed.