TENSION: OUR SUMMER SERIES
I’ll remember this time with a fondness. With a smile and a sigh of how much I was growing, and how hard of a time I had doing it.
If you asked me to name the most uphill year in my life thus far, the honest answer would be this past one. I’d call it a free-fall, no feet touching the ground in sight kind of year. The list of internal conflicts to address has felt endless – from identity and wants all the way down to faith and finances. I’ve longed for more than I’ve been content with – more than I would like to admit. I’ve craved stability, a home that feels like a haven, and finding the right balance in what feels like everything.
There is a gritty, intricate friction we face not only during a rocky year, but everyday.
You know it. You live it. As creatives, entrepreneurs, and women pursuing purposeful lives, we are continually confronted with decisions. And not just the day-to-day ones that require attention of their own (Do I pay someone to do my taxes? Should I give the extra hour in my day to getting some exercise, or calling my family back?). No – we must also endure those that call us to question our intentions. The ones we wrestle with, and lose sleep over.
As dreamers, our big ideas spark us. They give us courage to quit the job. To start, or say, something groundbreaking. Our aspirations are the movers and shakers of our internal conversation. And now, after we’ve spent a quarter reflecting on the big picture with the Wander series, we shift our focus to the everyday. To our problems, practices, and conflicts that don’t feel as pretty. We explore how to preserve that purpose we searched so hard for, during the daily push and pull away from it.
Recently, I watched Ryder Caroll’s Ted talk (the creator of the Bullet Journal), and his spot-on explanation of this state of living has lingered on me:
“Studies suggest we have over 500,000 thoughts every single day. Remember, as a kid, my biggest problem was I was focusing on way too many things at the same time. Doesn’t that sound familiar though?
As an adult, that’s just known as being busy. But being busy doesn’t mean that you’re being productive, right? A lot of times, being busy just means you’re in a state of being functionally-overwhelmed. And a lot of this is due to the overwhelming amount of choices that we have to make in our modern life.
Freedom of choice is absolutely a privilege, but it’s a privilege that comes at a cost, because for every one of these choices that we make, we have to make a decision. And every decision requires us to focus. And focus costs us our two most valuable resources: our energy and our time.”
This constant balancing act we live in, it is our Tension. We feel it in the juggle of creating a work/life balance. In the practices we refine to foster healthy relationships during a hectic season. In the tough choice to keep placing value in social consciousness when at times it means losing profit. Often, when a decision is placed in front of us there is sacrifice on either side. But what gives these moments real weight is not just the outcome, it’s that we are defining ourselves by what we choose.
This means continually placing our character on a pottery wheel, and asking ourselves what shape we want to take.
That’s what my year has been chalk full of. I’ve challenged my own opinions. Questioned if what I think is best is actually what I think is best. I’ve pressed into friendship, and put honesty first. Spoken up more, and settled less. Good communication and I are even getting to know each other. Is it work? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. These are the necessary, forged in fire times that evolve us.
For these next few months, I challenge you to take a good look at everything we often want to hide from. We’ll do it with you. Let’s ask the controversial questions. Let’s confront the parts of ourselves that are uneasy. Because the truth is, tension is not something we can learn to escape, but something we must embrace. We have to look discord in the face, and decide how we can walk away from it as our best selves.
Let’s find the gold in this Tension.
Photos by: Eun Creative