Stretching, dusting

Returning from the ether to blog again feels like stretching before a run after I've gone weeks without running. Like making a lunch date with a friend I haven't seen in years. Or like dusting off an old recipe I haven't made in a while. Anticipation. Familiarity. A little self-doubt thrown into the mix. And once I get going, a wholehearted desire never to let myself go this long without doing it again.

I told myself that I was taking a break from blogging because I was more interested in concentrating on my life than in writing about it. I realized upon closer examination that that wasn't really true, though. I still spent just as much time on the internet; I just transferred my internet energies to Facebook. Bits and snippets instead of quality writing. Keeping up with 500 of my closest friends and family members and commenting on a small fraction of things that were happening in their lives, instead of reading the blogs of people who inspire me. Publishing hilarious/poignant/ephemeral choppy phrases here and there instead of making a concerted effort to communicate in a structured way.

There are things I really enjoy about Facebook. Where else can you get nearly-instantaneous polling data on which color of vinyl siding you should put on your house? Or recount quickly a ridiculously funny thing your preschooler said, or share photos from a birthday party for family who weren't there, and for most of the friends who were there? It has brought me much closer to people I never would have imagined having much of a relationship with. But then again, so did blogging. I just forgot that. And blogging works differently. It takes more time and effort than Facebook.

What I don't enjoy about Facebook is the feeling that there's always more to see, always more posts to read or friends to catch up with or photos to comment on. I stopped reading my news feed a long time ago because I never had time to scroll through it all, but I try to keep up with family and close friends as I have the chance. Yet I'm still always missing news, photos, and funny stories from the people I've forgotten to check in on. And I still feel a little jealous when I read posts where other people have commented in really sympathetic, knowing ways to something I didn't even know was happening. I think a lot of those people spend way more time on Facebook than I do... which leads me to wonder a bit self-righteously what they might be missing out on in their own lives. Or maybe they just don't have as many "friends" as I do. Quotation marks intended. So can we all agree that Facebook is great in some ways, and maybe not-so-great in others?

The main reason I wanted to come back, to dust off the old space I used to occupy here, is to give myself something structured to get me through a very major life change. We're moving from Louisiana, where we've lived for the past 8.5 years, to Virginia, where I've dreamed of living ever since I met Jack. So much about Virginia is exciting and beautiful, and I feel deep-down that Virginia will fit who we are while helping us become the people we want to be. Yet the thought of leaving this home we've made for ourselves, these friends, this school, this church, this bizarre state and way of living, and this tiny, imperfect house, is sometimes more than I can stand. I've needed to let myself get lost in writing about it, and the 420 characters to which I'm limited in a status update just isn't the right venue.

My advice for today is this: put yourself in situations where you can look around the room and realize that you love every single person in that room. This has been happening to me more and more since we found out we were moving. Honestly, I've never felt more popular in my life. I have all of these "last dinners" and "farewell get-togethers" to get through — time-consuming, emotionally difficult, but wonderful — and having numerous chances to appreciate all of these dear friends is a blessing in the midst of the crazy.

My dear old blog will be getting me through the next two and a half weeks as we prepare to leave Louisiana. I will need it even more when we're in Richmond and I'm getting acclimated, making new friends but missing the old ones, and making a new routine but missing the old one. Check back, and shoot me some words if you feel like leaving your mark.

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As I prepared to leave New Jersey for Lancaster, a place to which I'd been hoping to return ever since I'd gotten to NJ almost 4 years earlier, I realized how lucky I was. Lucky that I'd grown so fond of people in various parts of my life in NJ that I felt sad about leaving, even though I was thrilled to be moving back to Lancaster. We open ourselves up to the possibility of this sort of sadness every time we make new friends that we may later leave, but I wouldn't live my life any other way! I'm glad to see you back here, Sweetie, writing your heart out!
I have zero advice on this topic. Stayed in my college town, been in the same house for 11 years. I look forward to reading about your journey. And obviously I am super excited to have you just a few hours away. We love you guys!
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