Time to state the obvious: it’s been awhile.
Here’s the thing about writing for me - forcing myself into it is hard. Beyond that, I’ve been successfully playing the self-induced role of Stretch Armstrong lately, and I’m tired of it. Work is stressful, work #2 is wearing, and generally speaking, life is demanding right now. Oh how delicate the strings of life become when pulled in all directions; stretched thin, worn out, eventually fraying.
I’ve frayed. But the reminder I have in my ability, even more so, my requirement to grow into a state of discomfort in which old skin needs to be shed lies here:
“No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put wine in old, cracked bottles; you get strong, clean bottles for your fresh vintage wine. And no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unaged wine.” - Luke 5:36-39
There is so much found in the letting go of the old to step into the new. I become like a toddler who’s exhausted, but won’t sleep - that’s how I know the time for growth has come. With each new cycle of ecdysis, I’ve found that the shedding of my old self isn’t complete until I give myself permission to grow. This permission usually comes in the form of grace. In the same way that “you get strong, clean bottles for your fresh vintage wine,” I need to step into a fresh skin of wisdom skimmed off the top of the past season of life so that I can continue to develop in boldness, fullness, and well-rounded flavor. It’s truly putting to test that phrase, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” I also love the idea that I myself am fresh vintage wine, so let’s go with that.
I want to grow. The discomfort I feel comes from stagnancy and the stress of feeling like I’m in over my head, and while these two ideas seem contradictory, they walk in stride with one another. While I work hard to make it all happen, the monotonous feelings of daily routine pile and compound, cracking the old skin until it’s not longer fit to carry this body growing inside.
Growing up in the Midwest, I learned to say a lot of words that I’ve later had to re-learn how to say correctly. For example, the root of a tree was pronounced like “rut” by my younger self. I think back to when I tried to order “Rut Beer” at a restaurant and unsuccessfully so. I’ve since learned that it’s more commonly pronounced with a soft ‘o’ at the center, eliminating a lot of confusion across the board. Ironically, in this season, the rut I find myself in has to do with the roots I’m choosing to nourish and with what.
But at the heart of it all lies gratefulness; gratefulness is that drop of serenity cooling the crazy rhythm of life as you try to sink your roots down deep into new soil, and honesty is the pathway that gets you there. And man, am I ever grateful for the sweet life I am so quick to call out for being demanding.
The word I have graciously been given for this current season is: trimming. I know some of you don’t give a what about the Enneagram (and if you don’t know, you need to know), but I have found great resonance in my ‘type’ that has allowed me to make sense of so much and of so many aspects of my life. As a 7, my constant emotional state is to need to experience the absolute most out of life. The most adventure, the most emotion, the most socially, etc; so receiving the word that means, “to cut off irregular or unwanted parts” terrifies me because I want it all.
When the unnecessary is trimmed away, purposeful growth is given a greater chance to bloom into what’s meant to be. Like I said earlier, there is so much found in the letting go of the old to step into the new. If something isn’t propelling you forward, if it’s holding you back from staying true to the conviction of what you’re really waiting for, if it’s a thorn in your side instead of an encouraging voice equally as interested in personal growth as you are, then time to trim. The season that’s coming next is also one of trimming, but of the “decorative material added around the edge of something” kind.