Change and Boredom

My daughter turned two this summer. That’s right – I blinked and suddenly a toddler has entered my world.

She’s a firecracker, who’s testing her limits as a typical “terrible two-year-old”, as we so affectionately say at this age! As I write this, I can hear her rumbling around in her room, determined that, today, she will not nap!

Having noticed lately this shift into toddlerhood happen, I have started thinking about the way that life can change so quickly. Two years have passed already!! Wasn’t I just holding that screaming baby for hours at night???

Believe it or not, with a two-year-old in full gear and a 7-month-old ready to get on the move, life at the Carpentier residence has fallen into a pretty predictable routine these days. And, while on the one hand it’s lovely to have some order and structure, I have to admit, it’s pretty boring at times. The days can feel far too predictable!

One of the things we often do is go for walks.

Lots of walks.

And as we’ve been out for our daily walks, once, twice…. maybe even three times a day on a bad day….that’s where I do my ponderin’.

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace. Frederick Buechner quote. On blog

I’ve been remembering times when life hasn’t been so predictable and monotonous, like when I moved to California for graduate school.

I clearly remember standing on the driveway of the home where I was temporarily staying, not certain what to do next, and thinking…. “AAAACK, what have I done??? Maybe this moving to California thing wasn’t such a good idea…Maybe it was a disaster!”

Everything and anything that had been familiar to me no longer existed and in that moment, I longed for the routine that had been my life, boring as it might have been.

Just over 2 years ago, in the months leading up to my daughter being born, life included a different series of changes. In a matter of 6 months, my husband changed jobs and we got our first dog.… who unexpectedly had nine puppies 7 weeks later! We also renovated part of our house, bought a new house, sold our house, and moved 10 days before my daughter was due to arrive.

Then we had our first child and went through months of her being colicky. Hours and hours of walking the floor with a screaming infant. It was quite the year!

Anything familiar or routine was gone.

Once again, during the worst moments of that year, I do remember faintly wishing for the familiar, predictable life that had once been mine.

However – I’ve done this to myself enough now, creating newness and uncertainty in my life.

In a weird way, I sort of welcome these seasons of chaos that bring about a change.

Maybe you know what I mean…It’s hard to appreciate the mundane times if we never go through seasons of change.

But –  while some changes are chosen, others are unwelcomed and come unexpectedly into our life. Those are much harder changes to endure. We didn’t see them coming. We had no time to prepare and maybe even don’t like the change that happened.

But change does come… So what have I learned about navigating the changes that come through unpredictable or uncertain times of life?

  • If possible, don’t make decisions while in the midst of uncertainty. Usually we don’t see very clearly in those moments. When I arrived in California, the task of creating a life there felt very overwhelming. There was so much new to figure out that in those first weeks. I couldn’t see clearly if it had been a good decision or not.
  • Ground yourself. Plant yourself in something familiar that you can hold onto. When I had a colicky baby, my grounding moment each morning was making the coffee. It was a symbol for me that I’d made it through another night. Even though I didn’t know how long these days and nights, weeks and months, of a crying baby would last, there was something familiar and comforting each day.
  • Appreciate the mundane times. They’re kinda boring. Maybe a little too predictable. But…. When looking at the big picture, they’re ok. They help us appreciate busier seasons of life. They may even help us find the courage to make changes when the time is right. Both seasons of life – predictable and routine, or chaotic and full of unknowns –have their value if we can appreciate them for it.

So, maybe you’re in a season of change and uncertainty and feeling as though the world around you is unfamiliar. Ground yourself in something you know. It may not change the circumstances, but keeps you connected to yourself while you put one foot in front of the other.

If you’re also in a season where life is predictable. Familiar. Consistent…

Enjoy the mundane.

I know I am trying to…..  Because we all know, kids don’t stay 2 forever! And, from what I’ve heard, 3-year-old’s come with even more determination to assert their will! So, until that time comes, maybe boring and predictable is just perfect right now!

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