Hi there, Internet friends.
As you may have noticed, I haven't blogged much this summer. I could blame it on our move, re-prioritizing now that Matt is a full-time dental student, my lack of desire to sit in front of my laptop after I finish my workday (since I'm now a full-time telecommuter), or the piles of dishes that somehow manage to appear every night.... but the truth of the matter is, I just haven't had the energy to devote to this little virtual "home" I built the last couple of years & I'm at a point in my life where I want to be intentional about where I spend my limited free time.
So I'm going to disappear for awhile. Maybe a long while. Maybe a short while. Who knows when I'll feel like I need another creative outlet... but for the time being I have a lot of other creative aspirations that don't involve me in front of the laptop. I do enough of that already.
What - you may be thinking - am I going to do with all my free-time now that I'm not blogging? Well, if you've gotten to know me at all the last couple of years - you've probably figured out I'm a planner & list-maker, hence I have lots of great things in mind. But before we get there (in case you care...and if you don't, just jump on down to the end), a little background on how & why I ended up saying sayonara to Simply Suz.
Actually, the decision to bid farewell to the blog came after a dinner conversation Matt & I had a few nights back. It was a familiar conversation for us.... we're at the point in our relationship/marriage where we're ready for that next step (a.k.a. starting a family), but because of our life situation, we've decided it would be wise to wait a bit longer.
That's tough for me to swallow. Especially when I look around & it seems like everyone else is expecting (including folks who seem to have just tied the knot yesterday, almost everyone we know who got hitched around the time we did, heck...even friends of my little brother are becoming parents)! Matt & I intentionally heeded the advice of wise, older couples who valued that pre-family time in their marriage, and decided early on that we wanted our relationship to be rock solid before we introduced a wee one. I came up with an arbitrary number of years when we'd "have it together," and thought that for sure, by year 4 or 5 we'd be ready. In my mind, that'd give us enough time to work out any kinks, travel (something I wouldn't trade for the world), be free enough to try brave things (like moving to a state where we didn't know a soul), be financially stable, and of course, grow individually and as a couple.
In many ways, we are ready. Our relationship has grown tremendously & we've learned (sometimes in difficult ways) so much about each other in the past 4+ years of marriage (& 8 years...almost to the week ... since we first met). Maybe year 5 was the magic number relationally, but there are so many other things that factor into our timing. I should stop and mention that in no way am I saying there is a "right" time to start a family... it'll be different for every couple. One thing I do know, is that the decision shouldn't be based on boredom, a desire to fix something amiss in your marriage (at best, it'll be a temporary fix... at worst, a baby will make things more difficult), or even (in our case) a desire to "keep up with the Joneses." It's a no-turning-back decision, and should be considered thoughtfully & prayerfully!
The truth of the matter is, Matt is already getting a taste of the demands of dental school, as am I. He has been a wonderful partner and such an amazing helper at home, but I would rather him focus his efforts on succeeding in school than vacuuming or doing dishes. That means that after my workday ends, I have to find time for all of that household maintenance stuff that I was fortunate enough to share with Matt before he started dental school. I know that some of you are thinking "you'll make it work" ... but I also know that Matt is going to be an amazing dad one day and I want our kids to get his/our full attention. For at least the next two years, he needs to be pretty much solely focused on school and I don't want to "rob" him of the opportunity to enjoy the early years of our (future) kids lives.
I think this sense of impatience & restlessness can be true no matter what your life situation & presents an opportunity not to focus on what you're "missing out on" but on what God can do in your life right now. A relationship, marriage, family, particular job not in the cards for you at this very moment? Instead of feeling sorry for yourself (which I sometimes do), figure out ways to enjoy this season of life. I feel grateful that the Lord put Matt in my life early on, but now He's teaching me to be patient as we wait to grow our family. He's teaching me to look to Him and trust His perfect timing, instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing.
So.... the end of that dinnertime discussion with Matt was about what we want the next couple of years to look like. For Matt, his life is pretty prescribed/full with the demands of school. In order for me to prevent myself from resenting him or the 10 pregnant women/new moms I know, I want to be able to look back on this season of our life and feel excited about how I spent my time, closer to Matt than I've ever been, thankful for the ways in which the Lord grew me, and hopefully more prepared to be a mom when this is all said & done.
Here are my mini-aspirations for this season of my life. Some of these are going to be a challenge, some may seem trivial, but I'm taking this opportunity to set some mid-year resolutions, that will hopefully carry me through the sure-to-be-grueling (but also potentially amazing) next four years.
- Support Matt. I want nothing more than to see him succeed in dental school. We have worked too hard to get to this point for me to now become needy and value something I can certainly handle (like dish-duty, which I despise) over his success in school. That means taking responsibility for all of the household stuff and relieving him so that he can focus on school... More importantly, my enthusiasm for him, my prayerfulness, & my patience really need to be a top priority. Maybe babies need to sit on the back burner awhile longer, but our marriage should be thriving.
- Be incredibly active. Again, to some this may seem trivial, but I know when a family comes along, I'm going to have a lot less time to spend at the gym, riding my bike, or going for a run on a whim, so I want to take time to enjoy these things because I really and truly feel best when I do. Plus, I need to get out of the house more often (since I now work from home) so I am excited to make this more a part of my life than ever before.
- Give back & get involved in the Gainesville community. I'm pumped to start volunteering again with Young Life, a ministry I am passionate about and which really shaped my college years. In addition to having an opportunity to pour into college and high school kids, I know it'll help me feel connected to our new community.
- Grow in my faith and find a great local church. We were blessed to get plugged into 2 great churches in Chicago and North Carolina (Calvary in Oak Park and The Summit in RDU) and these churches both challenged us to go deeper in our faith and were places where we met friends and built community. We're still "shopping around" - but I'm anxious to find a church home soon!
- Read. Despite my crazy travel schedule, I've managed to read four books in the last month (which is more than I read our 2 years in N.C.) and I'm wondering how I wasted so much time on Facebook, watching television, and working on this blog when I could have been burying myself in a good book. In short, I'm a big nerd and I really like to read. From observing my sister & friends who are mommies, I recognize that this is a luxury!
- Be creative! I have developed a real enjoyment for photography, so even though I won't be sharing my photos on the blog, you can always check them out at http://mcandrew.smugmug.com/ (and get a flavor for what's going on in the McA's lives)! Additionally, I'm looking forward to spending more time on some random house/craft projects, as well as one of my favorite things to do.... cooking!
- Make time for adventures. I get a kick out of sleeping in a tent, breathing fresh air, climbing up mountains, exploring new places, & taking beautiful pictures. That's a heckuva lot easier to do without young kids, so although it'll be more difficult time and budget wise with the demands of school, I still want this to be a priority. I need an escape from the daily grind & have something to look forward to!
- Talk to my friends instead of stalking them online. I came to the realization that I was spending more time keeping relative strangers up to date on our life than picking up the phone or writing an email to my nearest & dearest friends and family. Shame on me. One of my New Year's resolutions was to write letters every week much like my grandmother does, and I've failed miserably at that. It's time for me to take my mode of communication off the computer & intentionally invest in those individuals who truly mean so much to me.
- Get good rest. Because I won't do a good job of accomplishing anything on my list if I'm running myself too thin.
- ENJOY exactly where we are right now.
All the best!