5 Minutes

So true!
So true!

Living in a mobile, fast paced, ever-changing society such as ours has its advantages and its disadvantages. On the plus side, we can now explore more of the world than ever before, we can experience new things, and we have the opportunity to get to know a greater number of people than if we spent our whole lives living in one place. The downside is that once you leave those friends, or they leave you, a rut begins that goes like this:

“Oh, I haven’t talked to [insert name here] in a while! I should call her, but I really don’t have time for a long chat.”

One month later….

“Oh goodness! Now it has been two months since I talked to [insert name here]. I want to catch up with them, but with my crazy schedule I just can’t spare 2 hours.”

Another month goes by, and you finally have a free afternoon. So, you call them, and get their voicemail, of course. Then they call you back, and get your voicemail, and the cycle is perpetuated until you finally connect and spend 3+ hours catching up on the past 6 months or however long it has been since you last spoke. At the end of the call both parties promise to call sooner and agree not to let this happen again, except that it always does.

At least, that is what so often happens in my world. Until recently, when I read a fabulous blog post I can’t find anymore from someone I have never met. She postulated a solution she uses to correct this endless cycle that has helped me tremendously in keeping up with dear friends.

The idea is not revolutionary, but it does take commitment on both sides.

You both agree to talk more often for a shorter amount of time, say 5 minutes.

It is extraordinary how much you can communicate in 5 minutes.

Just share one story from your day, or call to share something funny that happened, or just to say hi and hear their voice. The best part about it is because you have both agreed to the plan, there is no guilt when you call on your way to the grocery store and say “hi, on my way to the store, just wanted to see how your week is going”, and 4 minutes later when you arrive saying “ok, great to chat, just got here! Talk to you again soon”.

I’ve been experimenting with this brilliant idea since I moved back to DC a few months ago, and so far I love it. I have a list on my phone of 8-10 friends who are in it with me, and on my 30-45 minute drive home from work, I go down the list and call them. Or I call them when I see something that reminds me of them, or do something I know would make them laugh. Or I call on my way to the store, or while I am sitting at home. And sometimes they call me! Some days I talk to one friend, other days I talk to 4 voicemails, and still other days I talk to three friends in one drive. Sometimes we talk for 3 minutes, and sometimes we talk for an hour and a half.

It’s really quite freeing. We place such high expectations on ourselves when it comes to keeping up with our friends, thinking that it is only a “good” talk if it lasts for hours and you talk about every aspect of your life. But the reality is we rarely have time for those chats, even though our desire to maintain the friendship is genuine. What I have found is that talking more often, no matter how long or short the conversation, strengthens the bond and deepens the friendship in a way that talking for longer periods less often cannot accomplish.

So, I invite you to try it. Share the idea and see if your friends are interested. You never know what might happen!

 

 

Numbers

Haven’t done one of these in a while! Thought it would be fun to bring it back out for another run.

In no particular order:

3: days until nannying Little E begins

2(ish): months until my nephew makes his grand appearance

205: posts on this blog…that’s a lot of words!

27: number of years I have been alive as of this coming Monday

9: years since I started college

5: number of times I have signed in and out of facebook today

4: pages of to-do lists I had last week during the move

15: different places I have had to change my address (so far) since moving

3: days until The Voice begins another season!

12: different email list-serves unsubscribed from today

 

 

 

Hanging out in Chaosville

Transitions are a part of life. There are always people coming and going. Jobs don’t remain forever. Houses get bought and sold. Children arrive, and then leave again (that one takes a while though, and sometimes they come back!). But even though transitions are constant, it does not always make them easy.

During my time on staff with Cru we learned about this fabulous thing called the Cycle of Transition. The cycle has 5 stages: Settled, Disengaging, Chaos, Re-engaging and Settled. So it makes a circle, if you draw it out. You start off in the Settled stage – life is good, you know your schedule, your friends, what to do, where you are, what to expect and how everything works, for the most part, of course.

Then, when a transition begins you start to disengage from your nice, calm, lovely, settled life. You begin saying goodbye to the people you love, packing up myriads of boxes of belongings, ceasing the activities that used to keep you occupied and entertained, and transitioning out of your job. Life begins to un-settle, and as the one departing or changing, it is not necessarily the most comfortable spot to sit.

After the disengaging is in full swing, you begin to enter into my favorite stage, chaos. “Favorite” is not actually the word I would like to use, but it seems most appropriate at the moment. We’ll come back to the chaos stage in a moment.

Stage 4 is re-engaging, where you begin to settle into a new routine, find new friends & hang-outs, start your new job, learn a new schedule, maybe wake up earlier, shop at a new grocery store, unpack boxes, hang things on the wall, discover restaurants that will become “the usual”, explore a new city, find a new church and small group, locate new doctors, dentists, hairdressers, change all your necessary addresses, and move towards being settled, which is stage 5, or the return to stage 1, however you want to look at it.

I like being settled. I love routine and knowing what is going on.

That is not my life at the moment, nor will it be for the foreseeable future.

At the moment, I live in Chaosville. Now, part of my life will soon be starting up the re-engaging process, albeit with the knowledge that any settling in is temporary. The other part, the hoping-to-be-overseas-by-next-fall part, will remain in Chaosville for a long time. One of my former office-mates reminded me of that about a month ago when I had a momentary emotional crisis over what I am doing at the present (leaving staff, nannying, trying to go somewhere that doesn’t already have an organization sending people to that spot, finding a teammate, etc). She helped bring me back to reality and remember that Chaos and I are going to become good friends over the next few months, and I can either fight it or learn to enjoy it.

If you have tips on how to enjoy living in Chaosville as a type-A, OCD planner/scheduler who loves details and knowing what is going on, please share. I personally find it helpful and freeing to know about this cycle. It makes me realize that I am not going crazy, I am just in the Chaos stage, and that is ok. Chaos can somehow be enjoyed and embraced, and hopefully over the next year I will learn how to enjoy and embrace it fully. In the meantime, I am going to go unpack another box.

Countdown: 1 Day!

It’s here! August flew by so fast, and my time in Indianapolis has come to a close. By tomorrow night, I will be back in the DC area to stay (for a while, at least). It’s been a good run here in the midwest, but my east coast roots are calling. I am excited to be back in the land of natural hills and humidity, and also for the new adventure of nannying and then hopefully heading back overseas sometime in the not-too-distant future!

Whatever happens, I’ll be ready, with the help of Jesus.

 

In the words of my friend the emperor:

Huge waterfall? Yep. Sharp rocks at the bottom? Most likely.

Bring it on. (Can you name that movie?)

Moving Week

Moving week is always an adventure. The only place left to sit down in my entire apartment is my bed. And tomorrow morning, that will be taken apart as well, and we will be down to the floor. Good thing the moving van comes on Thursday. Almost everything is packed away in a box, with its clear label of where it is heading. More items keep appearing that need to go to Goodwill – trip #4 will happen tomorrow! I forgot to take my microwave on trip #3 today, necessitating the beginnings of a 4th trip pile. So far we have primed the office, living room, dining room and kitchen, saving only my bedroom for tomorrow. Every hole has been spackled, cabinets have been emptied, closets almost there. The final things left to pack are a mirror, and a couple pieces of artwork, which is good, since my only remaining boxes are mirror boxes. Anything left over is going to Goodwill, Gaby or the trash can outside.

Emptying out the fridge is always the trickiest part of moving. Meals end up being an interesting array of whatever is left, and then there are always those stragglers that you just don’t really know what to do with. Like blueberry ice cream topping, or a giant bottle of ketchup. It’s not like I am going to eat 20 hotdogs for dinner. I don’t even have buns! Or hot dogs, for that matter.