Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lessons Learned: BVS

The past three years of my life found their summation in attempts at comprehensive, story-telling playlists. This year refuses to be defined. No matter how I tried, the past year will not yield to a coherent storyline. Thus, this random list of lessons:

- I need much less and want much more than I realized prior to making $60/month.

- Man, do I like to travel and hate to pack.

- Things that are both cheaper and better than assumed alternatives:
- train travel (vs. economically and ecologically costly air)
- thrift store sweaters (vs. not-yet-broken-in new ones)
- @ home haircuts (vs. the always problematic SuperCuts)
- cooking (vs. fatty fast food)
- no TV (vs. shoddily written cable dramas)
- public libraries (vs. plastic-y bigbox bookstores)

- I am not built for cold-weather climates.

- The ritual and routine of living in community and offering hospitality occassionally offers a much-needed final string connecting me to sanity.

- The ritual and routine of living in community and offering hospitality also occassionally chews me up, spits me out, and kicks my introverted, solitude-loving self smack in the face.

- Newly discovered organization tendency: multiple post-it notes covering desk, monitor, shelves. Periodically condense and collate to make work manageable.

- Things I like, a lot: bacon and beer.

- The phone is no longer my enemy, but remains on my take-it-or-leave-it list.

- An astounding portion of my identity seems to be placed in personal transportation - try living without a car for a week, a month, a year. Independence severely curtailed.

- It is hard to actually subscribe to the idea that home is a mobile idea and not a geographic place.

- Life looks a little different when you celebrate Easter with the same people whose feet you washed on Maundy Thursday.

- Possible: to feed a family of 6 a vegetarian, non-processed, mostly wheat-free diet for under $2/person/day.

- Also possible: to eat an affordable, vegetarian, non-processed, mostly wheat-free diet for a year and still gain weight.

- Midwesterners are just as you picture them: good, practical, distinctly accented.

- Don't worry about your children losing their Jesus at a secular liberal arts school. Don't worry about them losing their Jesus during the course of the all-out brawl for faith that is the modern university seminary education. Worry about your children losing their Jesus when you send them away to work for the church. It's infinitely more likely.

- Porch swing: lifetime necessity.

- Cubicle flair makes for an excellent distraction from the realities of working in a modular workspace. Co-workers in neighboring cubicles willing to randomly launch soft projectiles at you are also helpful.

- Even though the flatlands make me feel nervous and exposed, sunsets on the plains are startlingly beautiful.

- Even communal living can be lonely.

- Learning the church turns out to be pretty hard. Being the church turns out to be nearly impossible. I think I'll keep trying.

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