Friday, January 11, 2008

introspection: getting back to the new/old me...

please excuse the emotional honesty - i've had so much on my mind today. and if you only visit this blog to see adorable pictures of baby owen, feel free to skip this one and i promise i will post more soon.
back to what has been on my mind...
i know that life is a series of changes. we are constantly "becoming" and just when we think we have life figured out, something happens that makes us realize how very wrong we are. i have not always been fond of change, yet somehow i feel that i have changed sooo much in the last few years. some for the good, some - not so much.
many of you who have met me in the last few years might be surprised if you were to meet the old me. she may seem nothing like the now me.
for example:
-i used to love going to stake dances. i couldn't get enough of it. i loved being a spaz. i somehow managed to convince quite a few of my non-mormon friends to go with me.
-i played field hockey and loved being part of a team. i was captain one year and took my role very seriously. i also had a short lived career as a track star (well, i suppose that's why it was short-lived... i wasn't exactly a star per se.) i didn't like it because i didn't feel like i was part of a team. if i lost, i lost. my fault. no one else's.
-i was also known to participate in every school activity - and i mean every one. in fact, i went stag with my friend keri to winter formal senior year because we decorated the whole gym and decided we wanted to go last minute. i also often painted my face for football games and wore crazy hair (think pippy-long-stockings) and was voted "most likely to bleed green and gold" my senior year.(clint always teases that it is a good thing we didn't meet in high school because he would have NEVER gone for me. ha!)
-i was one of those annoying efy (church youth camp) counselors for 3 years in college. . well, i like to think i wasn't annoying, but really cool. it's amazing what a bunch of adoring teenagers who think you are the coolest can do for your ego. i know anyone who has attended byu in the summer detested efy counselors. sorry. from the bottom of my heart.
my point? i used to be one of those fun-loving, crazy-dancing, could-care-less-about-what-you-might-think-about-me, free-spirited kind of girl. i didn't crave attention, but i certainly didn't shy away from it. more than anything, i loved getting people excited about something - sports, leadership, the gospel, you name it.
somewhere along the way, life threw me a few curve balls, and i lost a lot of that spunk. i'm not sure how it started, but i just kind of got boring. i think part of it was on my mission - i was humbled to the dust and i think my spirit was a bit broken. of course that is a good thing to have a broken heart spiritually, but i'm not sure i fully took advantage of the opportunity to rebuild. (don't get me wrong... i loved my mission and would not trade the experience for the world...)
since then, i have been more serious about life. i have struggled to be the eternal optimist i used to be and to really have fun in every situation. i have cared about what other people have thought, and i think i have turned inward instead of focusing on others.
all of this introspection started when we went with my parents and bro and sis-in-law to a little get together with all of my parent's friends and their families. (grown children, grandbabies, and all.) it was good to catch up with people and more than once some of the adults (referring to my parent's friends - not me) reminisced with me about when i was student body president or when i did this or that in high school and how neat that was. clint kept looking at me weird and finally later admitted that they were talking about a girl that he didn't know. someone so different from the girl he married. i knew it was true, but hadn't really put my finger on where she had gone.
now that i am a new mom, there has been more change than ever. this is the first time in i don't know how long that i haven't had a boss, or co-workers, or clients/students/customers of some sort. thus, growth is hard to measure, and i am not literally responsible to any one person for my performance. that is strange.
i find myself thinking about the kind of woman i want the mother of my dear baby boy to be. do i want her to be serious and conscientious, or spazzy and spontaneous. can she be both? and even though motherhood is extremely challenging, i think about how i will be able to continue to grow and progress in all areas of my life now that i am at home most of the day everyday. it would be easy to sit in front of the tv and do nothing to become more of the woman that i want to be, but i just can't bring myself to do it.
i think that is why i have been so crazy excited about my new challenge. i'm not even sure how it started. i didn't see a movie, read a book, or hear someone talk about running a half-marathon or marathon. it just came out of me, this desire to do something, to stretch myself, to break out of this box i've built around myself. naturally, i didn't want to do it alone (i'm not really one who needs alone time) and so i started recruiting. this is where the old jess has begun to creep back. i think i am more excited that my sister and some great friends have taken on the challenge than the fact that i have taken it on. the old me that loved getting other people excited about something has seeped back into my life. and i am loving it.
i have a different spring in my step these days. as of now, i believe there are 7 women that are going to reach beyond themselves and do something awesome and i think it will be life-changing. as i told a friend today who will be joining us, this already has changed my life every day. i feel excited. i feel energized. i feel happy. i feel successful. i feel free.
i will continue to be molded into a woman, and each experience will add to who i am and who i want to be. i look forward to 2008 as a year of change and growth unlike any i've ever known. and here's to the old me, the now me, and the new me.


Mique said...

Wow- incredibly well written. And you know I've always wished I could be more like the spunky girl you are.
It's interesting how life does throw the curve balls. And such different curve balls to everyone. You and I couldn't have more opposite curve balls if we tried. I hope as I get older I can learn more and more from the curve balls but also from the non-curve balls as well.
I'm glad you have challenged me to step out of my zone. You know me, I love to prove people wrong. So this is one hefty challenge to prove others (and mostly probably myself) wrong. I am looking forward to more perspective and growing in the coming months. Please remind me that when I am chafed, drained and in an ugly 1/2 marathon outfit.
Love you more than you'll ever know.:) And always, I'm a super proud big sis.

Holly said...

It's interesting how different life is, when becoming a mother! You really do realize what's most important! I am excited for the challenge you've brought upon yourself...and your friends! What a great way to bond and feel "free"! You're an inspiration!
And...It may have been short lived...but I think everyone had some sort of "star" quality on the track team! What a fun time!

The A-Team said...


Have I ever mentioned to you how grateful I am to have you as my friend in life RIGHT NOW? Our friendship is a huge blessing to me. I feel like we have had similar time lines in our lives & for that reason can relates so well to each other. Since our paths reconnected it has been as though we have been friends our whole lives...easy, fun & completely comfortable. I loved this post and can relate to you (once again) in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Thank you more for your friendship.


p.s. you guys are not allowed to move out of the area unless we do...and then we are going to move to the same place. j/k....kinda. ;) I hope you don't get sick of me.

jess said...

thanks for the comments! it feels refreshing to be honest with myself and others and so awesome to hear kind words of encouragement as well. thanks for your love and friendship!

Tracie said...

Once again you had me in tears. Maybe it is my hormones, but I think it is more your beautiful writing. If I weren't so far away and pregnant, I more definitely THINK about joining you! You have inspired me to find my own "1/2 marathon". My something to reclaim me!!