Thursday, October 29, 2009

Goodbye, Ordinary

"Live like there's no tomorrow, love extravagantly, lead a life to be followed...goodbye, ordinary!"

It's not as if I want to say goodbye to ordinary. I am content with ordinary. I love ordinary! But that's the thing, I guess. In a lot of ways I'd be perfectly content to stay with this life forever. To live in one house, eventually falling in love with a very wonderful person, getting married, moving into another house, and having very wonderful children. The theme of this blog should be "All I desire out of life is it's mediocre simplicities, but it's amazing how good I am at complicating things by thinking about them all the time." Well, let's not.

But something within me screams "Do something!!!" I often stare blankly at it and when my mind comes round I finally ask it what the heck it's talking about. Why would I need to do something?? I'm living my dream right here. Don't push discontentment on me! And what do you mean by "something" anyway?

And I am sure we all get that feeling. That there is more to life than what we've known so far. More than what is right in front of our faces. And for some of us, this is a call to explore the depths of life and the world, to discover all they possibly can as they strive to fully live; to meet their own expectations of whatever that means to them. Then there are people more like me, who usually shrug off any such longing, keep on enjoying everyday life, and treasure family vacations to the beach or mountains.

Note: people such as myself are perfectly sane. They are not selling themselves short, and they are not to be thought of any less than your average, more driven person, looked down upon, or felt sorry for. Thank you.

Note #2: Of course, these are the two extremes, and there are many people in the middle, as well as crazy people that take the extremes to extremes, but to keep the length down, I won't go into great detail of all the different personality-types in the world.

Back to the blog.

But sometimes I do feel like I am selling myself short. Not because my life here does not meet expectations of a good life, by any means. Like I said, I would be perfectly content just to live my altered-for-Christian-non-feminist-people-who-homeschool version of the American Dream till the day I die. But because there are so many opportunities I have laid eyes upon in my life that I think I would have liked to take. I tend to imagine vividly what doing these things would be like - from going to Indiana to study wolves, to Oxford to intensely study creative writing, to Nicaragua to backpack the gorgeous terrain.

I think, more than anyone I know (I could be wrong) I have wanted to do basically everything. I've wanted to be a circus acrobat, an equestrian, figure skater, prima ballerina, conductor, Broadway performer, Olympic swimmer, soccer player, hockey player, dog behaviorist, whale rider, personal trainer, psychologist, photographer....there's no need to go on. And every time I get one of these ideas in my head, I start imagining. I research it, and sometimes I even have started to make plans. But then it's all forgotten, usually for these two subconscious reasons:

1. I love this life, I am content, and what I really want is this normal-ness I've grown up around to be my normal-ness, if that makes sense.
2. If I am going to do anything career-ish with my life, I am going to write. Because, no matter how hard I might try, I can't stop writing.

So I drop it all, and go back to my normal life, reading, writing, being Jessica, and swimming as often as possible. Works for me!

Then, along came a spidey who sat down beside me. Its name was Novel Writing Camp-ish-thing in Oregon. 1 month. Write a novel. At the beach. In another state. At first, I was sold. But, figuring it would interfere with normal life I, again, shrugged it off and kept swimming (not a figure of speech or Finding Nemo quote; it was early July).

Later in July, I mentioned it to my dad in passing, and he encouraged me to actually go. After all, I want to write, right? And now, I am leaving tomorrow.

No, it does not seem real to me. All my life I have said, "yes, I am definitely going to do _______," and my brother would be happy to point out to you that I just DON'T. I never do. I always back out of it quietly, whatever it is. It's a wonder I ever took college classes, graduated from high school, joined a swim team, own a chinchilla, take piano lessons, do improv shows, or anything else that now is a part of my everyday life (that I love, have I mentioned??).

I don't want to love travelling so much that I lose sight of how I love normal life and never come home again, so I guess that is why I am writing this entry. Still, I think it's good for every young person to have that time where they go off for a bit into the world and do something new, if for no other reason than to see what it's like and be fully aware that "home is where the heart is", "there's no place like home", and other clichés that Delilah will probably tell you if you call in to request a song.

Anyway, here I go, off to write my book! I will attempt to blog at least a little while I am in Oregon, and hopefully post pictures on Facebook, too. If you are not on Facebook, you really should get one. You know who you are. After all, you don't become addicted/obsessed unless you let yourself, right?

I love you all!!


Monday, October 26, 2009

New Beginnings

Fall can be looked at in many different ways. Despite being very cold right now, I can easily look past that to the gorgeous colors outside my window, and the leaves whooshing around, decorating the ground with the essence of autumn. It may sound strange to see death in this light, but we all do it. The leaves are dying, true, but they smell so good and look so wonderful!

This time of the year just makes me think of beginnings for some reason. More so than spring, when everything really is coming to life. The air is so crisply fresh, the cool nights perfect for bonfires, and the time has come for cuddling up in warm sweaters, enjoying the great outdoors, or cozying up inside under a warm blanket with hot chocolate and a good book.

And this time, fall brings a real new beginning with it as well: I am leaving the comfort of the only home I've ever known....the only life I have ever fly across the country for a month to write a novel under the inspiration of new experiences.

I have often wondered if I have a wandering soul. But, having never really wandered before, how am I supposed to know? But, the truth is, while I like traveling and going new places, I really like to stay in one place. While I appreciate extravagance, high adventure, new sights and sounds, etc., what I want for the rest of my earthly life is simplicity. Not simplicity as in uncomplicated or easy. But "A Simple Kind of Life" .... "Somewhere that's Green." A simple house, on a good amount of land somewhere not too far from civilization, but not too close either. Just me, my Someone, and as many kids as God blesses us with.

So, nobody fear - I'm going, but I won't be gone forever, and I certainly won't go away that often. :) I love my life and wherever it leads me, but most of all I love it here.

Just a few half awake thoughts on this lovely Monday morning.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Today I.... going to to a post about what I did today, because I would like to blog, and with blogging usually comes deep and philosophical thoughts in their own time. So, ladies and gentlemen, a Monday in the Life of Jessica:

Today I woke up. The sun was not shining. I feel like I have written those two sentences before, side-by-side. Hmm. This probably means that this is how I start every day....moving on....

I did yoga, worked out some, made tea, grabbed a leftover biscuit, and read one of my favorite Richard Maybury books, "Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused?" It is a brilliant book, as Maybury is a brilliant man. You should read it. Enough said.

After this, I went into my room, finished Esther, started Job, read some in Isaiah and some in Matthew. This completed, I set to work plotting my story out more. Man, I have seriously never planned this much before for anything. But this book must come to fruition. Therefore, someone must write it. And writing anything good requires sufficient planning. So, I must plan like crazy. I love my logic.

I ate breakfast and read a chapter in "How Should We Then Live?", which is another excellent book (not by Richard Maybury, but by Francis A. Schaeffer) that you should read.

After this, I did the dishes, folded laundry, cleaned my room (funny how I actually have a floor, walls, and furniture now), and thought about what to make for dinner. I settled on a dish called something like "wild mushrooms running rampant through a creamy forest of chicken and noodles." Yum.

I then settled down to read ANOTHER great book called "Story" by Robert McKee. You should read it IF you are interested in any medium of storytelling. It will change your life forever and all of your stories will increase in greatness by at least a tenfold!! =D This caused me to do more story planning as well.

Eventually, I stopped this and started to work for my dad. I answered e-mails, etc. for a while.....during which, my parents went on a walk and my siblings decided to throw a techno dance party in the living room in their absence.....

After working for some time, I looked up chord sheets for piano, printed them out, and went into the kitchen to make my chosen meal, only to find out I had been bumped by my mother, who insisted that the pork chops must be cooked at that very moment or they would go bad; that they were for dinner and I would either have to prepare my dish later and not-for-dinner, or make it another day.

"Well," I thought to myself (in an 'aloud' kind of way), "gee, mom, this is your night out with your yoga class, and my only night in this week: we're going to grandma's house tomorrow night, Wednesday is Radical, Thursday is either improv or Kara is coming over, Friday's the fair, Saturday's the improv show..." and I began to wonder what person in their right mind would schedule so much to do! But that is off-topic. The point is, I was bumped from making dinner.

I made it anyway, after everything else was done and everyone else had eaten the pork chops. WOE IS ME!!!!! Well, I ate the mushroom-chicken-noodle thing, and I thought it was quite tasty, if I do say so myself. And chicken is so much better for you than pork. And mushrooms are just so awesome. So there.

Between getting bumped and making my meal, I practiced piano. Okay...well.....sort of. I started off all nice and dedicated-ish, playing Ben Folds' "The Luckiest" like I was supposed to, and then suddenly I wanted to work on a composition I have been thinking about for a while. So that was my piano practice, until I got up for a moment and a certain dad and littlest brother turned on the TV (to watch while they eat their pork chops).

I cleaned up, read some more in "Story," attempted to upload pictures to Facebook (failing presently; must have something to do with blogging). And here I am now.

Well! That was most fascinating, I am sure. I even threw in some drama and self-pity to make it interesting.

Reflections on today:

1. What I have learned: It is very easy to be productive if you set your mind to it. It is also very easy to get distracted and forget to set your mind to something.

2. Best thing about today: Getting 1,000 brainstorms for my story.

3. Worst thing about today: Ummm....probably that I am staying up late right now and I will be very tired/groggy/falling-asleep-on-my-book-ish tomorrow.

4. If I could change one thing about today: I would go to bed. Now.

Fine. That settles it. I think I shall do more of these, though. At least so I can remember what life was like before it got hectic for the next 2 months...then I can get back to this life in January, right? Wouldn't trade it for the world...


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cruise Control

So, I wonder what is up with me now. I've noticed that this past week or so, I have been in a mood. Or, is it a mood? It is, in all probability, normality: I am set on cruise. Can't stop to pick up extra passengers right now, or to get extra food from the next MacDonald's. Gotta keep trucking down the interstate, towards that destination somewhere at the end of December. That's when I can pull over, get a motel for a little bit, examine my maps and tour books, and make some calls to catch up and get advice from family and friends. From there, I can decide my next course of action.

When in cruise, I can't speed up, either. The limit is a steady 65 mph. Slowing down isn't timely, but, also, if I speed up I miss enjoying the incredibly scenic trip.

I can't know where I am by gazing too far into the distance to try and make it out; I need to just concentrate on what is around me and what I can see. Plus, if I don't follow this, I might find myself lost further up the road, perhaps even without a memory of where I had been before; and where I made the wrong turn.

So that is what I need to be doing. Why, then, do I sit here, blinking and wondering, "What am I supposed to be working for again?"

On the day before a piano lesson, I practice like crazy, all the while swearing I will remember to practice way more next week. I get caught up on work, and then let it sit there while I pretend it doesn't exist...then I get stressed out with having to catch up again, and promise myself I will STAY caught up this time. And I never seem to remember to do everything I'm supposed to, no matter what it is. Because at any given time, all I see is ME and MY thoughts. Or me and my "free time."

I can just see this happening in Oregon. I'll get there, having only planned half of what I should have before I arrived...left...whatever. And I will, without a doubt, seriously hate myself for this. I won't finish my book by the time I am supposed to. And I will not feel like writing some days, so I won't write, though I am supposed to keep going.

I feel like I will always be concentrating on the wrong thing.

Should I just abandon this attempt to concentrate altogether? But, if I do, how am I supposed to get anything done???

Obviously, I have barely ever accomplished anything before, anyway (I know this sounds terrible, but this is a low-self-esteem moment, okay? Okay!). What would "not concentrating" do differently?

*Breathe in* *breathe out*

No. All I need to do is try a different angle on focusing.

Hmmm....I shall be all official and call this "Optimistic Concentration." I'm not sure what it is, but it sounds pretty nifty, doesn't it? It' is....the....the opposite of "Obligatory Concentration" (which I also just made up). Yeah, that's it. I don't HAVE to concentrate...I simply want to. I can stop concentrating at any time I please, and go eat ice cream and stare at the stars. And while that sounds lovely, it would not really be beneficial to any great degree. All of my blog entries would be about how dairy relates to, take the Milky Way for example...

Yes, this is what I shall do. Optimistic Concentration. So there.

Goodnight all!


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