I posted on Instagram late last night a [somewhat staged and cheesy] picture of me standing by the Bob Dylan “Forever Young” quote painted on my shabby bedroom wall, and I admitted publicly the mournful, pity-partyesque truth that I'd been having a hard time seeing the beauty around me at home. Even though I didn't need to be so emo about it, it is true that I've been struggling with that lately. Maybe it's because we spent the weekend bouncing around between farms, eating good food, playing good music and talking agriculture with good people, only to wake up on Monday morning back in the city. Maybe it's because we still can't justify spending money on a privacy fence, so we still have a nine-house audience anytime we are out in our backyard. Maybe it's because sometimes I feel like our house is pretty cute, but then I realize it's actually filthy and junky and needs an extreme amount of renovation and work to undo those traits. Whatever the reason, I have been feeling especially down about our current living situation and I somehow felt the need to publicly share that.
I immediately regretted it and decided to delete it the post. But it was super late and I was tired and the only reason I was still awake was because I was perusing Zillow (again.) So, I fell asleep. And I forgot to delete the post!
In the morning, I suddenly remembered--
Wait, first I have to say the funny thing that happened in the middle of the night. There was a HUGE storm with SO MUCH cloud-to-ground lightning, it was crazy. My first realization that it was storming was when there came the hugest, most intense clap of thunder I have ever heard in my life and I ACTUALLY JUMPED OUT OF MY BED. It must have looked like a cartoon, I sat up and then LEAPED out of my bed from a dead sleep. It was such a scary sound! I have no idea how, but all four girls slept straight through it all.
--Okay, back to the original post subject.
I suddenly remembered that I hadn't deleted the post; I hopped on Instagram to delete it and saw that I had loads of comments and five or ten new followers. I read the comments, and it turns out they were all really kind and uplifting and some said that they felt the same way and thanked me for my honesty. I quickly made a new post, thanking people for their kindness and explaining why I was feeling the way I was feeling, and I got even more comments on that post from people who have been feeling, or have in their lives at some point felt, the same way! People who have gone through the same situation of living in a place that is not where their heart wants to be, but they find a way to make it work. They have to work extra hard, but it's possible for them to see beauty where they are. So many people have shared my exact experience of leaving a homestead they loved to return to city life—reluctantly—knowing that it's what they have to do, even though it is so much what they don't want to do. Then one person shares their honest feelings about their situation and it causes people to reach out and share.
Isn't that beautiful? It is so easy to get dragged down by this modern age. This age of hatefulness and terrorism and ugliness. There are days I think it would be better to live the secluded cave life rather than have to deal with the human race for one more minute. Nobody can seem to get along. Everybody is angry. Disagreement abounds. But then something little like that happens—I used our modern age of the internet to put something personal out there, and it somehow brings people together. All the people going through similar circumstances can look at all those comments and think, “I'm not alone. I'm not the only one feeling this way.” And it makes me feel glad to live in this age of interconnection. It's not all bad. People aren't all bad.
Inspired by the encouraging comments, I reflected on my surroundings today and tried a little harder to see what around me makes me happy. Obviously, my little girls and silly husband. That goes without saying. But what in my aesthetic surroundings? When I imagine us living someplace else, what from this house do I hope will also be at the next? When I think of my dream-life, what do I have there?
Well, I'll tell you one thing.
I'll have a Venus Fly Trap.
We bought (adopted?) a Venus Fly Trap plant for $10 from a plant sale this spring (I think I blogged about it) and together as a family, we have made sure that it is the happiest plant on our windowsill. The girls catch flies and feed them to it. We water it strictly with collected rainwater. The thing is thriving! We love to observe it, to see how full it is, to watch the little baby mouths grow up from the middle, develop their teeth, open up, and eventually gobble enough bugs to turn black and fall off. It's a really amazing plant!
But... it's a plant.
Yes, but it's a family plant. It's interactive. We all take care of this plant together. And it makes us all really happy. And having that silly plant for some reason makes me content to be where we are. We bought the plant because we had moved back to this house and were walking everywhere and that plant sale happened to be on our walk home. It kind of symbolizes our new beginnings. A new endeavor in an old place that we would not have if it weren't for moving back here. It's a small thing, but as I was advised, it's the small things that you want to hold onto in order to be happy where you are, despite feeling unsettled.
For the most part, I am happy to be back here. The things I missed about downtown life when I lived away from it are even better than I remembered them being, now that I'm back in those old routines and activities. But some days lean more toward unhappiness. While I maintain that I need to nip the saddies in the bud, I was also given the wise advice that it's okay to be sad. It's alright if you're not happy-happy-happy all the time. We are all real people with real feelings and the spectrum of those feelings is huge! And we can embrace them all individually without believing they are permanent. And as I learned today, we can relieve others by being honest about those feelings that they may share, reminding each other that it's okay to feel that way, we're not alone, things get better, and that it's important to see the beauty in the little things around you. Our big picture is made up of all the little things we focus on, and if we focus on all the little things that make us happy in small moments, we might open our eyes to see that we really are happy in our hearts.
Thank you to all of you who left comments on those posts. Thank you for putting your own words out there for others to find comfort in. It's so nice to be reminded that we're really all in this together.