New rhythms for 2019
*taps mic* Is this thing on?
I’m back! It’s been six months since I’ve posted anything in this space — longer than any other stretch of silence in the almost 12 years I’ve kept this site. Some people insist blogging is dead, but I’m here to say WANNA BET? As long as I’m living, so will be Hootenannie. (Not a promise.)
Speaking of Hootenannie, have you seen it since it was redesigned? My friend Micah Murray did a whiz-bang job upgrading this site from a dreadful 2008 WordPress theme to something simple, streamlined, and really beautiful; take a spin around. If you need help with your online space, Micah is your guy. All of the fresh images are courtesy of my sister-in-law Ashley Parsons, of course.
The last you heard from me, I had just closed on a little dream house in Nashville. I signed the title and drove straight to a coffee shop where I pecked out some words about my new home, and then I disappeared into the ether. Of course, this isn’t entirely true — if we’re friends on any of the socials, you’ve seen signs of life. But once I had secured a house, logistics took over. Between a move (September), a new job (September), and building a new life (ongoing), I just haven’t had the space to process and crystalize any thoughts or stories for myself, let alone for anyone else. I’m not so self-important to believe that anyone has noticed my absence here, but I’ve certainly felt my own lack of creative output, even if just to string a few words together.
I’ve been in my house for almost four months, and I’m finally starting to feel settled. There are still walls with no pictures hung, and some handyman told me that I need a whole new roof (yeah right, dude & get behind me, Satan), but it’s a total haven and when I’m here I can breathe. After 14 months without a home, I don’t take a single corner of this bungalow for granted.
So now here we are, on the last day of 2018. I’m imagining everyone else’s exciting New Year’s Eve plans while I’m home listening to old school Patty Loveless and cooking myself a meal, but the truth is that I’m happy to be right where I am doing right what I’m doing. I am heading into 2019 clear-eyed, sober minded, grounded, rested, and rooted. I’ve been establishing some new rhythms for myself that I’m excited to carry into the new year — not exactly New Year’s Resolutions, but concrete changes to my daily routine.
For example, I now wake up at 5am. It’s early and it’s dark. But it’s quickly becoming my favorite time of day. I get out of bed and throw on a sweater, then head downstairs to let Foxy outside and start the coffee I set the night before. Once the dog is back in and I have coffee in hand, I head to the couch where I journal for around 30 minutes. I haven’t been in the habit of journaling for at least a decade, but I’m rediscovering how helpful it is. My brain can be loud and very mean, and by setting aside time to process pen-to-page, I’m able to drain some of the noise before the day begins.
After my journaling is done, I pick up a book — an honest to goodness book, one with pages I can underline. Sometimes it’s theology, sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes it’s the Bible, sometimes it’s the Fathom print anthology you should definitely buy. Whatever it is, I take the mental space I just created through journaling and fill it with better thoughts and better words.
By the time I’m through, I still have plenty of time to get Foxy out for a walk (or even a hike!) before the workday starts. And when I finally open my computer, I’m ready to actually work.
This shift has been so good for me. It’s helped set me up for saner days, hopefully making me a better employee and friend and human.
After several months away, I’m back to my hot yoga practice. I try to make it 4-5 times/week, and trust me, that’s a lot of sweating. The oppressive heat often threatens to suffocate, but I’m convinced that sticking it out on my mat prepares me to persevere in other areas of life. I’m not a quitter; it’s good to be reminded of this on a regular basis.
I’ve taken my credit cards out of my wallet and hidden them away. The past several months of transition have been easier with them, but I don’t like spending money I don’t have, even if I pay off the balance every month. So now I’m back to my trusty debit card with a savings account to cover any emergencies — and a Ziploc bag full of cash envelopes, of course (signature Annie). I might still use the credit cards now and then to buy books, though — gotta keep that credit score hot.
I no longer sleep with my iPhone by my bed. It’s plugged in downstairs, and if the world ends overnight and I don’t hear about it, well, I will in the morning — probably when I naively walk outside and see the evil spirit from Bird Box.
Other than that, I promised my friend Joey that I will watch The Godfather and all of the Rocky movies. If I actually follow through on this promise in 2019, you’ll know that I’ve truly achieved.
All this to say, if you’re a New Year’s Resolutions/Intentions/Goals/Experiments hater, I get it and that’s okay. But this time of year always feels energizing for me — “free fuel,” as I saw someone put it on Twitter — and I see nothing wrong with taking some time to assess one’s patterns and make tweaks as needed. I only get this one life, you know. Might as well live it as well as I can.
Happy New Year from me and beloved Foxy. I’m grateful for what happened in 2018, and also that it’s over. I promise not to go another six months without saying hi.