my life, my thoughts…

so much about me, about  my life has changed… not just in the past 5 years, but in the past 3 months!
so i thought i would take a few moments to contemplate some of the major changes that have occurred in my life.

warning: this is a long post. you might want to read it in bit sized chunks of time.

one thing i noticed right away when we returned to the states is that my emotional energy tank is really small.  i’m positive i’m more surprised than anyone concerning the size of my tank!  i’ve always been known as a social butterfly.  however, as i’ve traveled around the world and back i have found that keeping up with all the relationships i’ve made along the way is hard work.  while on the east side we attempted to simplify our lives by sending out almost monthly letters containing snipits of our life overseas.  somewhere along the way we took that a step further and acquired a blog so that we could do a better job of maintaining an open line of communication.  however, with the responsibility of keeping it updated and our desire to share more intimate details via updates i suddenly discovered that i was neglecting the old fashioned kind of communication – email.  though this neglect has simplified my life on a variety of levels i must admit that i’ve lost the joy of receiving and sending personal notes.  and yet i can’t fathom how i can maintain so many important relationships any other way.  even so, i still feel divided.  how am i supposed to keep up with my many friends who have faithfully supported, encouraged and loved us on the west side while maintaining healthy relationships with both my american and foreign friends on the other side of the world?  in addition, there are many special people who entered our lives on the east side but now live on the west side… so while we’re here we’re trying to stay in touch with some of them as well.  furthermore, as we travel we meet so many interesting and wonderful people!  needless-to-say i’m convinced that even if my emotional energy tank was large enough for 500 intimate friends it still wouldn’t be big enough!  thankfully, a couple of years ago i came to a realization.  jesus, my living example, had 12 close friends and 3 of those could be considered his inner circle.  this “duh” of a realization allowed me to both accept this unusual position i’m in as well as accept that i can’t do any more than i’m already doing.  so for those of you still reading, this post should confirm one thing, you are not the only special person in my life being neglected!

another thought i have been having a lot recently is how totally weird that there is an east side jennifer and a west side jennifer!  it’s true, i have split personality… or at minimum, split lifestyle.  here’s a few examples:  on the east side i’m very low maintenance.  satisfied with what most americans would consider the bare necessities of life.  we own very little.  my clothing consists mostly of what fits in a drawer and several pairs of jeans.  on the west side, including my t-shirts and jeans, i also have slacks and dresses for various occasions.  on the east side my shoes are chosen for function.  on the west side, i’m still wearing those functional and comfy shoes but i also wear heels and shoes that feel feminine.  on the east side i assume that no one can smell the difference deodorant makes on my body, much less perfume.  on the west side i’m wearing perfume but careful not to over do it – ’cause everyone will notice!  on the east side i function happily with a shower head on the bathroom wall and very limited hot water.  on the west side i expect quite a bit more of my showering/bathing experience – such as unlimited hot water!  on the east side i am so much more aware of my surroundings, holding my purse close to my body and constantly on high alert.  i’ve even surprised myself on the west side by leaving my purse in the shopping cart while i step across an aisle to grab something off the shelf!  on the east side i would often bargain down to the lowest price i thought possible… or leave the item if i felt it was even a dollar more than i should pay.  on the west side i have found that i’m a bit more free spending, chalking it up to the fact that you don’t bargain here and the simple pleasure of having exactly what i want, even if the price doesn’t fit my preconceived budget!  on the east side i’m more intentional to make friends – wherever i go.  i’m intentional when i talk to people and always aware of my attitude and that i may be the only foreigner these people have ever met.  on the west side i’m not so conscientious when i meet new people and i very seldom accomplish my daily tasks with intentionality… or the desire to make a new friend.  on the east side i am all too aware that i stick out like a sore thumb.  being the only caucasian in a particular city can have it’s rare benefits but the reality of being an outsider, constantly being stared at and/or yelled at is enough to drive this girl mad!  on the west side i thoroughly enjoy being an insider and inconspicuous… for the most part!  on the east side i am a girl with a purpose.  on the west side i’m a bit at a loss as i’m constantly trying to figure out who/what to invest in, as our time here is so limited.  to be fair in some respects east and west side jennifer have some weird similarities.  on both the east and west side i miss the other jennifer!  on both the east and west side i miss the other place!  on both the east and west side i feel a bit out of sorts with the world around me.  and on both the east and west side i cling to the fact that this ‘place’ is not my home.

i’ve also noticed that since returning to the states with sterling i am quite absent minded.  however, not liking the negative connotation associated with being absent minded i have chosen to relabel my condition as: living in the moment… which naturally means that i don’t remember that i just asked you that question or what your answer was.  i also don’t remember that there is something called a future… and at such point, certain tasks and accomplishments are expected of me!  yes, i live very much in the moment!  and as far as being absent minded, when i do repeat myself or my question i (sometimes) wonder if i’m going crazy or if i am still in the biggest adjustment phase of life.  i said in an earlier post that we are now out of survival mode, but i wonder if my absent mindedness is actually testifying against me… or maybe i was always absent minded but it’s more pronounced now that my focus is on sterling and not whatever else was occupying my time… or maybe it means that i am doing a good job of living in the here and now, though i am not always adhering to my own rule of “be where you are” when i ask someone the same question a thousand times.  i can’t help but wonder is this normal?  will i ever be my mildly absent minded self again?  or is this simply a pathetic description of who i am, who i’ve become?  when all these questions bombard my absent minded brain i remember this – i am totally competent to care for sterling, i have yet to forget him!  and just like that i feel better about myself!  yep, i may not be with it on most days, but my lil’ sprout is getting a texas sized dose of his mommy… even if the rest of you are getting tattered scraps!  sorry jarod!

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8 thoughts on “my life, my thoughts…

  1. Love the post! You have expressed lots of what I have felt and experienced, but have been unable or have not spent the time to write down. Life is so different here in so many ways and the adjustment feels so different at times!! I am so thankful for the reminder that Father is in control of even this season of life. Love you lots!! I am thankful for blogs! I feel connected with you even though we don’t talk or write everyday!! Keep pressing on!!

  2. (Long ago) After 2 years of being away, I returned home and managed to acclimate to the US after about 8 months. During that time, I merged east and west in a good way and enjoyed life in the states for 4 years.

    (Recently) Last time we were in the states, I found that it’s hard to go through the merging process knowing that in 4.5 months I was going back east.

    What you’re processing is normal + healthy + good. Avoiding it all would be another thing!

  3. Amen and amen, what you are experiencing is definitely normal and I felt much the same way! It is such a different thing to live on the east and west sides. There are so many “hellos” and see-you-laters” in our lives that is gets flat overwhelming at times. And as to being somewhat absent-minded, I sometimes just call that “mommy brain!” Glad to read and catch up on how you are doing. And I, too, feel more connected with you guys by getting to keep up on your blog!!! Sending love to you 3…

  4. Jennifer, I so identify with this. Ha! If you’re absent minded, what am I.

    Sandra, it’s encouraging hearing it took you 8 months to readjust. I guess I shouldn’t feel bad that I’m not completely there yet.

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