moving on.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio, February 21, 1947 | credit

On a cold New Year’s Eve a few years ago, I told myself, “No more character development!  Next year will be all about story progression!”  I don’t remember what year it was, but I know that nothing really changed over the next year.  I made the promise again the year after that… and the year after that… and the year after that.  Over and over, it felt like nothing really happened in my life – like I was stuck in the same place, year after year.

I can honestly say that so much has changed since this time last year that I’ll probably be saying this New Year’s Eve, “Let’s just chill for a minute, okay?”

I think the reason nothing really happened was because I’d always been so scared of change.  To be completely honest, I still am, in some ways.  After all, I like to be comfortable.  But I’m not quite so petrified of it as I used to be.

Maybe it’s because I’ve lost so much recently that it feels useless to try to hold onto normality, like grasping at sand when waves are pulling it back out to sea.

Last summer, I prayed for a new car, a new job, and a new place to live (not necessarily in that order).  In less than a year, it all happened.  I didn’t mind that change as much as the stuff that was outside of my control, but even the things I’ve chosen have had unexpected consequences.

It’s probably mostly because of this change that I haven’t posted recently.  I kept thinking, I’ll do it when I get past this hurdle.  When this next thing blows over, I’ll write a big post about how much I learned from it and then we’ll go on from there.

And then stuff just kept happening, guys.  Who would’ve thought.  I barely had time to “learn” from anything before the next thing happened and pushed me back down again.  (There’s that wave analogy again.)

Seriously though.  If I could’ve told myself a few years ago that sometimes character development and story progression happens at the same time and that it would all happen at the same time way faster than I wanted it to – and that some of the things that caused both would leave me on my floor too tired to cry anymore – I think Younger Me wouldn’t have been quite so eager to be in a different situation.

If I’ve learned anything from the insane events of the last six months, it would be this: Don’t be so afraid of change.  It feels overly simplistic to say that “nothing changes if nothing changes,” but it’s true.

Nowadays, nothing terrifies me more than stagnancy.  I’ve learned that moving and discomfort and learning and constantly being reshaped is all part of growth, and it’s hard to grow if you’re frozen still in a “comfortable” place.

My best friend and I talked extensively on the phone yesterday, partially about how neither of us are “there” yet and we never will be.  I’m grateful for that.  I want to be able to look back and see that I’ve made progress, even if it’s just a few steps farther from where I was.

And sometimes being shaken up and spilled out and broken is a good thing.

(PS: Thank you for reading this, whoever you are.  I’m so grateful for you.  Please know that I don’t take you for granted!  If something has happened in your life since we talked last, let me know in a comment!  How have you moved on from something and grown from it?  I’d love to talk with you about it!)

8 thoughts on “moving on.

  1. *all the hugs*

    I don’t think we are ever, ever done with our character development. I think God only writes “the end” on our character arcs once we die. As a writer, that idea excites me . . . but as a HUMAN BEING trying to LIVE OUT my story, I’m more like “yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh.” *white knuckles on railing*

    I’m at a weird place in my life right now, because everything’s so much more peaceful than I’ve ever known it (none of my siblings are in crisis, I’m not in school, I’m not OBSESSING over school to hide from #1) . . . and it’s, like, hard to get used to?? It’s hard to make myself remember that everything’s really okay, and that I have space now to–sort–stretch out. To move. To grow.

    It also feels super wacky to be [apparently] relatively close to achieving my writing dreams: I keep being like “is this Real tho” and I’m pretty sure I keep hearing God’s voice like “Actually, Yes.”

    IN OTHER NEWS, I’m the only adult kid still living at home, and I can’t decide whether to be shamefaced about that fact or to embrace it, boldly, like “YES I love my childhood bedroom with the sky-blue painted ceiling, what are you gonna do about it???” 😛 (In all seriousness, I kinda feel like it’s the best choice for me right now: I get along well with my parents, I like the low rent, I know enough about myself to be fairly sure my overall mental health would Not appreciate living alone, and I ain’t feelin’ the prospect of Roommate Drama.)

    Wow, that was a #rant. Your posts tend to inspire those, because they make me think.

    Love you, Ashley! ❤

    • oh for sure. that’s the realization my friend & I came to (for the millionth time). yesssss completely agree!!!

      YUP. BEEN THERE. enjoy that season bc, like all seasons, it’ll come to an end. (although I hope for your sake not any time soon!)

      YAS QUEEN GET IT.

      listen, it’s ok to like kid stuff! just don’t let it inhibit your growth. 😉

      that’s beautiful. thank you for your kind words! love always!!!💚

  2. Man, this post hits hard. Mainly because I alternately love/hate being in a comfortable place and I’m so scared to move out of it. But I think the new church we’ve been going to + trying a few new things (very slowly) has helped me grow at least a little. And I hope that my ability to embrace change will continue to develop (as long as I keep exercising it).

    I love your blog posts (I wish there were more of them but I get it 😉 ). ❤

    • i completely agree! it’s so hard to get out of that space, but i realized that once i was shoved out, i was better off! i’m proud of your progress!!!

      bless you, friend. i’ll be here more soon! 💚

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