Thursday, September 5, 2019

26




It's birthday #26, and I've never felt so...calm?

Usually, I'm awash in the glow of Birthday Magic, 
but this year I just feel kind of relaxed.

This morning I opened a letter to myself at 26 that I wrote when I was 21. I was struck while reading it by just how much I didn't know. I guess that is always the case - how could I know what was coming? I had to learn the hard way, by going through those years. But I look back and feel now as if I have learned. That even though the person I was at 21 feels, in some ways, very different from who I am at 26, that both versions of me are valid and there will be other versions yet to come.

Like, even having this blog.

It's crazy to me that I've been able to maintain a blog for so long. Acoustic Erin was "birthed" in 2013, and I've been writing birthday posts since my 21st year. It's one thing to have journals, but to also have this blog, this record of who I am, is sort of like a time capsule. I kind of wish it was tangible, sometimes. That I could hold it and read it and put it on a shelf, because it's been such an important place to me for so many years.

So, welcome, 26!

Welcome, with all your level-headed calmness, and hope for the future. I don't know what songs I'll cling to this year, but it feels fitting to kick this year off with (what else?) Paramore's "26." I love when artists memorialize ages like that in their work. Adele's albums come to mind, and Switchfoot's "Twenty Four." Maybe one day I'll do that, too.

Old birthday posts can be found here: 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

Already hungry for birthday cake,
E

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Quiet Life



Sitting on the porch, listening to the birds' song, I realize: I want to live a simple life. This is certainly not the first time I've thought this, and it won't be the last, but it sticks. I want to have a simple life, moving quietly and humbly through the world. I want to rejoice in a thousand little things and put less weight on the trap of appearances.

I was raised this way, I was born to want this.

Maybe it was thrifting trips with my grandparents or spending time in nature at an early age. Maybe it was born from those days spent fishing with my childhood best friend, something that was both a ritual and a reset - but somewhere along the way, all of these little, simple things sunk their teeth in me and got me hooked. And I just want to live the "quiet life," as 1st Thessalonians puts it.

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you."
- 1st Thessalonians 4:11

The Quiet Life: Mornings like this one, spent on porches; cups of coffee and worshipping in community groups; trees, many trees; making a vision board; buying somebody's old stuff at a thrift store and calling it treasure. Iced green tea; novel writing and novel reading; a lazy record on a lazy Sunday; trips to the bookstore; writing by hand in purple ink; looking at old photographs; running, singing, dreaming. Baking cookies.

I have determined that I don't want much.

I am grateful that a life can consist of these simple things and somehow feel full. Our world may be broken, but there is still such a beauty to it. And a certain giddiness fills me now that it is September, arguably my favorite month of the year, with all of the goodness that it brings.

Reasons to love September (an ode):

Thoughts of fall; pumpkin spice lattes; an excuse to resurrect the sweaters in my wardrobe (if Florida will let me); my birthday; school supplies; etc., etc.
I rejoice in these little things.

I always try to write goals for the new month, and September is no different.

I feel newness, good things coming. This summer was a season of growth and change. I feel like fall is going to be about joy and victory. I want to claim all the good things God has for me this month.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."
- Isaiah 43:18-19

A song for your Sunday! Do take a listen if you feel so inclined. 

With joy,
E

Saturday, August 24, 2019

A Proper Dose of Nostalgia



I must say that I find myself missing people (and my beagle). I know that I am the type of person who is, and presumably will always be, fixated with the past. With retro things. With memories that others have long forgotten. With old photos, with the way we laughed then, with stories and songs I probably should have let go of a long time ago. It feels strange to me how much things can change decade to decade. 

And then, at the same time, there is something so magical about the present.

Because this place I'm in right now, this moment - these are the days I will long for when I get nostalgic in the future. So does it make sense to say that I always feel nostalgic? Even for moments I'm living in presently? Because I know that one day, these moments will fade out into memories, too. And I just wish sometimes that everything could stay the same and change all at once. That we could have both. 

But we can't, and that's ok.

That's the way that this was set up. If nothing moves forward, we can't meet new people, make new friends, sing new songs. And what would be the fun in that? Though I am always going to carry around these colors and these places and faces, they are a part of me, even if no one else knows it. Even if the people who are long gone never realize that they still walk with me, in the form of songs and stories and smiles remembered. You know, sometimes I dream about buying the old cottage that served as the backdrop to my sixth and seventh grade summers, and just living there forever. Even if it won't bring the memories back to life.

Even so, I will rejoice in - and hope for - the new.

Because at one point, everything in life was new. The best friends you have made, the coffee shops you frequent, even the music you listen to - there was a first meeting, a first finding, a first listen. So I can't be afraid of firsts. That's life.

I remember when I was so terrified of starting college.

On my first day, seven falls ago, I was literally shaking, trembling beneath the straps of my olive green backpack as I snuck into the back of my Creative Writing class. And now, all these years later, I am working full-time at the very university I attended as a worried little freshman. Students return to campus come Monday, and it just blows my mind. How could that have been me, not so long ago?

It makes me wonder, where will I be in another seven years?

Still working at the university? Working somewhere else? I guess I just don't know. Gosh, I'm glad I don't. If I knew in 2012 that I would be working in higher ed one day, I would have been so scared. I wouldn't have understood. How could I have? So, I guess I need to just let go. Which I'm not good at. Is anyone?

There's this Alvvays song that I love, "In Undertow," that is kind of the song of my spirit, and has been for a long time.

"Time to let go. There's no turning back." I think I've been afraid to let go and let God, to borrow a tired expression. Because the past is so good. The past is safe, it's what I know. The future is the thing with teeth - the great, big unknown.

In a couple of weeks, I will turn 26.

I remembered the other day that, tucked into the pages of one of my (many) old journals, I wrote a letter to myself. A letter for Erin at 26 to read, written by Erin at 21. Strange! I wonder what it says? I'm looking forward to opening it. She probably doesn't know what she's talking about, but I'm glad she chose to write. Maybe if I'm feeling brave, I'll post a snippet of it here. It's just odd to me how time passes. I'll have to write myself another letter to be opened in the future, once I do turn 26. Because I want to remember who I was, in this moment, right now.

Keep on,
E