Hi, my name is Sara Kelm.
I used to blog here on occasion. I mostly wrote about nerdy television shows and books and dealing with sad things and letters to towns. But then graduate school started and I completely lost my mind. In a good way…I think.
Then it was Christmas, a time that would have been perfect for writing. But instead, I was quite busy sitting in one particular chair in a Calgary living room, reading a book about Yiddish policemen, watching old episodes of Friday Night Lights and advance new episodes of Sherlock, and eating pretty much everything in sight (which were all carbohydrates, because we are a German family).
And then I went to Oregon and spent hours upon hours in a coffeehouse called Chapters, where I saw half of the town, before moving (often in the same day) to another coffeehouse called Coffee Cottage, where I saw the other half of the town. I spent time with nearly all of my beautiful Oregon lovely loving people, and I remembered how much I loved and miss them. I also remembered how good it is that I’m doing what I’m doing.
But I didn’t write. Honestly, I didn’t want to reflect on 2013. The whole idea just made me feel so…tired. And thinking ahead to 2014? Also tiring. I was just so tired.
It was a privileged sort of brain tired, not a new mom sort of tired, or Chilean miner sort of tired. It was just mind tired, and while my body was lazy, my mind was recuperating—in some ways, healing. So it wasn’t lost time, not in the least. I just spent very little time reflecting.
So, now I’m reflecting, in this brief lull as the semester begins and the stress has yet to fully hit. Now’s the time to think back, so I can think forward.
Every year, I choose a word or two to represent “resolutions,” or ways I want to think or behave in a slightly altered way in the year ahead. I find I feel more accomplished and more successful at the year’s end by avoiding goals with numbers on them (also, by making resolutions three weeks into the new year! Highly recommended strategy!).
Last year my words were “yes” and “savor.”
2013 was a year of settling and then leaving and trying to resettle. It was a year in two separate parts.
Part 1: I became ever more ensconced in my town and my church, my two-sometimes three-sometimes four jobs, my circles of friends, my book group. I loved it all; I loved it to my core. But I felt that nagging (the Holy Spirit? My unconscious self? My inner guide?) that said, Hey, now’s the time. You’ve got to move now.
It was kind of like in the movies where the hero says, You’ve got to do this now, and the daft woman (usually) says, Why? And he just says, You just have to trust me.
So I trusted and I went.
Part 2: I left my beautiful home of grey and green for the foreign land of Texas. I still don’t completely know why. Other than that overdramatic voice in me said, Move now if you want to live. I did want to live, so I moved.
I said Yes.
I said Yes a lot this year. Part 1 meant Yes to book club retreats and conferences and grad school offers. To speaking in front of a congregation. To getting involved and trying new things. To going to a big city with my favorite women.
Then, to quitting a job. Moving out of an apartment. Selling my furniture. Packing my car. Yes Yes Yes.
Then in part 2, I moved to Texas and I said Yes over and over again because to say No would be to close a door and I don’t know what doors I might need someday.
By saying Yes and taking chances, I’ve made some incredible, beautiful friends, and I’ve eaten some really good tacos, and I’ve gotten connected with some brilliant minds. And I’ve said Yes to change and going and moving and trying. It’s been more challenging than I can even comprehend, but I think that’s good. Because if I think about how hard this year has been, I get tired.
When you’re tired, it’s hard to say Yes. And it’s hard to Savor.
Here’s the thing with Savoring: when you say Yes, when you take those chances and try new things, you make memories that you then have the opportunity to Savor. To store up in your mind when a bad No is all you can hear, and to remember that you have been brave and sometimes New—springing from either Yes or No—can be good, really beautiful and good.
I know a lot of people are glad 2013 is over. Really glad. They look back and see many times No was said, by them or others, and not the good kind of No. The No that buries dreams and blocks paths and changes everything. The No to health and to love and to hope that they found themselves saying, or others saying on their behalf, when all they wanted to do was say Yes.
Well, it’s a new year. It’s time for Yeses again, the most glorious freeing Yeses possible. Who knows where they’ll take us? That’s part of the fun.
The slates are clean. I hope we get to write Yes on them.