The second half

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There is so much beauty in my front yard.  No, this metaphor doesn’t escape me.

Last Friday morning, I spilled an entire cup of coffee on my laptop.  It died immediately.  I spent the next several hours at the Apple store, then, once home, on the phone with Apple customer service because setting up the new computer did not work as smoothly anticipated.  And by that I mean it was not smooth at all.  I was particularly panicked because the computer’s hard drive was shot and the only chance I had at recover 25,000 photos and two books and a zillion essays was my external hard drive.

Thankfully, it worked eventually, but it was a long, emotional day, made harder because I was so furious at myself for knocking over the coffee in the first place.  Stupid and careless, yes.  Human, yes.

And let me say I’m aware of my great good fortune in even letting this be an issue.  Yes, I could go buy a new computer, and this is hugely lucky.  I know.  This is the definition of a first world problem.  All of what’s going on with me right now is a first world problem.

But somehow the computer, and the stupidity, and the unanticipated expense, and the overwhelming terror that I had lost so many things that matter to me just broke through some final, gossamer-thin reserve.  I lost it.

I’m just really tired. The truth is this has been a difficult half-year.  Since January there have been a parade of health concerns and unanticipated stresses in our lives.  I’ve struggled to sleep and we all know that makes everything more difficult. Everything is fine.  Yes.  Everything is fine.  But it’s felt like a slog, more than any other year I can recall.

There is still so much beauty.  I see it every day (which you can see on Instagram).  I hear poetry and quotes in my head on a daily basis, too, and they remind me powerfully of how extraordinary and rich my every day life is.  These observations buoy me; I described them in aggregate once as a sense of sturdy joy, and that’s what they are.  I bob on these swells of awareness every day.  What I’ve learned is that this can be true and I can still feel not-great.  I try not to complain, and I’m aware how miniscule my concerns are in the grand scheme of things, but the truth is I’m really worn out.  This has been a challenging 6 months.

And yet it is just life, isn’t it?  All of this.  The obstacles and the difficult days, the tiredness and the bickering children and all the ways adult life has wound more circuitously than we’d imagined.  This is life itself, and if I know one thing it’s that waiting for the challenging stuff to be over is the ticket to wasting your days.  These obstacles are life.  And as long as I can see the beauty, and bury my nose in the hydrangeas, and gasp out loud at a sunset, well, then I think I’m still doing fine.  I read my friend Tara Sophia Mohr’s post yesterday with a deep, settling feeling of recognition, identification, and thank-goodness-me-too.  This incarnation is not for the faint of heart.  No.  No, it is not.

Still, I wish a few days of ease, a few nights of sound sleep, some rest and peace.  That’s what I hope for now.  Today is the first day of the second half of 2015, and I’m ready.


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21 Comments

  1. Posted July 1, 2015 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Oh my, I’m so glad you were able to recover your hard drive! That must have been agony.

    You are so right when you say that in waiting for the challenging stuff to be over, we waste our lives. There is power in just meeting life exactly where it is. I was having similar thoughts recently, I wrote about it in a post called Freedom from the Next Thing.

    Wishing you some days of peace, Lindsey!

  2. Posted July 1, 2015 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I hate that we apologize for the worries or hurts in our lives. I mean, I know why you do it here, but your feelings are genuine, regardless of your bank account.

    Briar and I were just talk about levels of difficulty in life. It’s tricky and beautiful, juggling the different layers, but it’s good. Being valiant and vulnerable. xo

  3. Posted July 1, 2015 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    “Anger comes when your self-image is threatened.” This wisdom comes from my sweetheart’s grandmother, who was wise beyond her considerable years. Truthfully, her phrase explains almost all anger. We hate to be found wanting, incompetent, awkward. It’s a phrase that I found oh so helpful as a parent,and honestly, even more so as an adult going through my own personal angsts of various ilks. To give yourself a minute to realize you’re just human, it’s just coffee, it can be fixed/replaced/recovered (yes yes yes lucky us first worlders!) is a gift you can give yourself. The trick is getting to that forgiving place before you go haywire. I’m still working on that piece…

  4. Posted July 1, 2015 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry to hear about the things that are hard.

    I am trying, these days, to retrain myself out of the habit of minimizing my own sorrows. Yes, this is what life is; yes, I have many blessings; but the sorrows are still sorrows, and it’s okay to name them without apology. (I’m struggling with this, but I’m trying.)

    Holding you in my heart.

  5. Posted July 1, 2015 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I’m with you on stresses and lost sleep and bidding adieu to the first half of 2015. “…waiting for the challenging stuff to be over is the ticket to wasting your life.” Thank you for the reminder. Hoping for some peace and lifting of weight for you soon. (So glad you were able to recover your hard drive!) xo

  6. Posted July 1, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Yes. I feel you and the pain of these last 6-months. It has been hard. And yes, I too am ready for the second half. And I am with you. We are together. And I love you.

  7. Posted July 1, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Oh, Lindsey, I hear you! I’ve had the same kind of six months. Thank you for so eloquently describing so much of what I feel. xoK

  8. Posted July 1, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    As you always do, you bring such lovely perspective to what’s happening in and around your life. I appreciate the honesty in this post — although your difficulties may not be huge in the grand scheme of things, they’re still challenges, and that’s worth acknowledging. I believe, too, that the hard times can make the happier times sparkle a little brighter — wishing you easier, more sparkly days in this second half of the year!

  9. Amy
    Posted July 1, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Once again you’ve perfectly captured my experience the past few months. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Posted July 1, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    This post really hit me. We apologize for our pain and stress. I do this. All the time. It feels right. On the other hand… There is no win here. We look around (sometimes don’t have to look far) and see the crumbling mess and horrors of the world then apologize because we’re upset. It’s complicated. I always tell my children they’re allowed to feel however they feel. Interesting I don’t give myself the same courtesy. I’m very happy to hear you’ve recovered your work and photos.

  11. Elaine
    Posted July 1, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I once spilled Diet Coke on my laptop. Horrible to watchthe screen scramble and struggle and die. I lost a chapter of a book & since we were in London replacing the computer was complicated. Took it to the Computer Clinic, as I recall. Blue hydrangeas, btw, are a motif in Mrs. Dalloway, with which I am much involved these days. Mrs D thinks that at 52 her life is over, but a century (almost) since we have a much longer sense of the female life cycle. The same issues get repeated and replayed with different meanings year by year. Now watching our twin granddaughters Emmy and Rosie learning to walk, the cycle begins again, Buddha smiles. Love reading your blog, dear Lindsey.

  12. Jerkasaurus
    Posted July 1, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I have ever conflicting feelings about the whole notion of “First World Problems” because… well, we live in a first world country. Of course we have first world problems. It would be kind of ridiculous for us to have any other kind of problems when we are blessed to live in these countries as we are (using plural cuz I live in a different first world country than you)…

    Labelling something as a “first world problem” and then dismissing it, to me, is kind of like that “empathy vs. sympathy” video where they talk about people who say “at least”… “Oh, your baby died? At least you’re young enough to have another” and so on.

    I am glad you were able to recover your stuff. I went through this while I was in the middle of writing my thesis and I lost every. single. file. I’d. ever. saved. for. my. entire. thesis. two. years. into. it. It was a pretty big deal, even though it was a first world problem. Ah, and pictures! Pictures of your kids growing up! So so glad you could recover those!

    Here’s to hoping the 2nd half of 2015 is much better, that sleep begins coming easily, and that everything settles to be a manageable amount at a time.

    PS – because I cannot not say it… “Stupid” and “careless” is pretty strong language for an accident. “Human” is definitely more acceptable. I’ve spent a lot of time this past year trying to figure out how to not be mean to myself for mistakes that I think I’ve made – it is just being human, not being stupid. 🙂

  13. Posted July 1, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I hope the next 6 months bring you more than a few days of ease and comfort. I have always been in awe of how hard you work and how many balls you keep balanced.And you always always always find beauty.

    I don’t see this as a first world problem at all but about how hard we work and how we are a pretty solitary culture despite all the connection. . When things fall apart we have to pay people to help and sometimes when they fail it is all a bit overwhelming.

    I agree with Amanda and Rabbi Rachel that sorrow is sorrow and fear and frustration shouldn’t be minimized.

    I am grateful you are always so honest here in your graceful way. I really hope summer brings ease and sleep and sweetness

  14. isabelle
    Posted July 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I am sorry you have been going through a challenging stretch. I hope you are able to get some time to rest, recover, and refuel. I also hope that the second half of this year is much easier. I don’t know if music is something you find helpful but my anthem for times like this is Joy Comes Back (Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem).

  15. Posted July 1, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    My laptop died about six weeks ago and I so understand that feeling of frustrated helplessness. I’m glad you were able to (eventually) recover your data, but oh my, it is an awful feeling. And it is just being human – much as we like to pretend we aren’t, sometimes.

    It has been a tough couple of months over here too, but you are helping me to keep seeing the beauty. Thank you, friend. I am hoping for some ease for you. xo

  16. Posted July 1, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    First of all, thank you for speaking your truth. We need more authenticity on the internet, which tends to favor the shiny and sparkly and attention-grabbing. As writers/bloggers, we have the privilege of using our voice to promote authenticity and personal truth, which, in turn, enables others to embrace theirs. So kudos to you.

    Second, hard is hard. It isn’t necessarily complaining, but rather honoring the multifaceted nature of life. It is speaking the truth that life can still be beautiful while being hard at the same time.

    And third, I’m sorry things have been tough. Here’s to a brighter, calmer, and (dare I say?) “easier” second half.

  17. Posted July 1, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh Lindsey, the computer coffee thing sounds so much like something I would do (may still do!) and then be horribly hard on myself. But yes, so human, and sure first world problem, but still, I can feel the stress and the breaking of that gossamer thread. I’m relieved all was recovered, and hope you have an easier second half of the year filled with beauty and some peace in your mind and heart.

  18. Posted July 1, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Agree with jerkasaurus. I’ve been trying more lately not to add qualifiers to my descriptions of how hard things have been lately. You know I recently moved, and I feel super, super lucky. I love this place. It’s also been really, really hard–a green pool, raging buckthorn, vines two feet thick, broken dishwasher, squabbling children, leaking gutters, a skunk. So, in my head and in conversation, I stop after, “I love it. And it’s really hard.” It just is.

  19. Posted July 1, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    It has been a slog, hasn’t it? Yes. I wonder if the snow had a lot to do with it—seems like that to me at least. A false start to 2015 of sorts. And I’d comment more on this extremely relatable post, and the hard task of allowing ourselves to feel the full range of being human (no matter our other circumstances), but I’m here trying to convince myself that this cough of mine hasn’t progressed to pneumonia and feel another migraine starting, how I’m going to get to the stuff I owe other people, and not cry, and and and so…yeah…totally get where you’re coming from. Here’s hoping the second half shines brighter. xo

  20. Posted July 2, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Thinking of you. I know exactly what you mean.

  21. Posted July 4, 2015 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    My laptop died in a similar way last year. It involved all the things you described – securing everything on a hard drive and a few frustrating visits to the Apple store.

    Here’s to finding love and light during the latter half of the year. xo