Seven years ago yesterday I started this blog. If you want to read that first post, here it is:
Since then, this blog has evolved. Although it started as a chronicle of my simplification, it has become more broad. It's become about my thoughts, my philosophy of life, my photography. And yes, I still sometimes talk about simplifying.
I haven't done a firm count of my possessions recently; the number has become less important than the idea. I think the more interesting information would be how I've changed over the last seven years. I probably should have been preparing a blog on that, summarizing all the changes I've recognized, and asking other people for changes they've seen in my over the last seven years. Now that would be interesting.
(On that note, I'd be truly interested in hearing your thoughts on that topic. How have you seen me change over time? How am I different now than when you first met me, or first read this blog? Feel free to comment here, or through email, or in person.)
I'll start working on examining the changes I've seen in myself. If you've read this blog for very long, you'll know I don't have a regular posting schedule. I write and post when something strikes me as post-worthy. So I can't promise a date for my personal-changes-post, but I'll work on it.
This month is also the four year anniversary of leaving Wendell. I think my last day was actually October 29, 2010. Whenever this time of year comes around I experience that loss again. I know it was the right thing to do. My body couldn't survive staying there and my job performance would have suffered. Even so, leaving that community continues to weigh on my mind.
Grief and loss comes in many forms: loss of family member through death, divorce or something else, loss of job, loss of friends - the list could go on.
I lost my job, obviously, but I also lost a group of friends. Not that they aren't still my friends, but the friendship of daily interaction is necessarily different than the friendship of once or twice a year. The friendship of daily personal interaction is different than daily social-media interaction. I also lost a sense of purpose when I left Wendell. I went from being a productive, effective school counselor to being an out-of-work blog, relying on my family to support me.
Much of that has changed.
I'm on disability, which allows me to support myself (mostly).
I teach part time at NNU, which helps me feel productive, needed, necessary, valuable. And it keeps me in the counseling field. I may not be influencing a school directly, but I'm indirectly influencing a number of schools by training the next generation of school counselors. I may not be impacting the lives of students directly, but I'm indirectly impacting tens of thousands of students through the counselors I'm helping to train. That seems important - feels important to me.
I continue to learn how to live with my rheumatoid arthritis. Some days it's a struggle, some days less of a struggle. But I get up every morning, do what I can, try to grow as a person, love and help those around me, and find significance in life. Every night I go to bed, usually exhausted, but content that I did what I could today.