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How to Measure Your Life

June 11, 2014

As much as I often loathe how technology has changed and how my life revolves around it, I also love how it allows me to track my own life and keep up with those around me.  A few weeks ago my friend Dana told me to download an app called Timehop.  “Cynthia, it’s super cool, you can see what you did in the past year or two or three or more!”  I downloaded the app, and a few pictures and twitter statuses came up.  It was interesting.  So over the past couple weeks since I’ve had the app, I check it once or twice a day (it updates daily) to see what I did on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram a year, 2, 3, or more ago.  Timehop has served as both a joyful and painful reminder of some of the choices I’ve made in the past, and it’s let me relive a few events.  I can’t say that I’d die without it, but it’s given me a chance to reflect a bit.

In my Timehop on June 8th was my blogpost from a year ago, How to Measure a Year.  I remember writing the post.  I remember what I was thinking.  I remember what I wanted.  I remember where I had been.  And I don’t want to go back in time to that version of myself.  Why?  The past year has made me a stronger person and I’ve learned and grown more than ever.  But I love the rhythm of the post and I love what it stands for.  So I’m going to do a mirror post; in italics is the post from a year ago, with my current post in bold (in case you want to skip the old post).


The year isn’t even half over and I’ve already been on tons of trips.  I’ve taken lots of pictures.  I’ve been to more rock concerts than in my whole life.  I’ve seen a few action movies.  I’ve worked four jobs. I’ve flown to Florida, St. Louis, and Boston.  I’ve driven to Pennsylvania three times, Maine once, Atalanta once, and countless places in Virginia.  I’ve run a 5K.  I’ve started teaching private violin and viola lessons.  I’ve read a couple books.  I’ve hung out with my roommate. I’ve fed a baby goat.  I’ve been to three weddings.

The year isn’t even half over and I can’t count how many trips I’ve gone on: planes, trains, cars, boats, and by foot. I’ve taken too many pictures. I’ve stayed local for a lot of decent shows. I’ve seen a handful of movies.  I love Maleficent and I love Frozen and I love how they convey what love is.  We are broken beings and search every day for love and if we go to bed without it, we wake up thirstier for it than we were the night before.  We go to great lengths and make many sacrifices for love, often at the expense of others.  I’ve flown a bit this year: to Boston and to Miami.  I don’t have any flights planned currently, and that always makes me feel claustrophobic, but I’m starting to get comfortable in Fredericksburg, and I’m ok with that.  I’ve driven to a few places in VA, most notably to Sandbridge for the first time.  I love the beach.  I’ve run a half marathon.  I’m teaching at least twice as many students as I was this time last year.  I’ve read a little bit.  I’ve hung out with my roommate(s) even more.  I’ve held a puppy.  I’ve been to two weddings.

And the year isn’t even half over.  I still have more pictures to take.  I still have more rock concerts to go to.  I still have more action movies I want to see.  I still have a new job I’m starting in July.  I still have more places I’m going to fly to.  I still have lots of places I’m going to drive to.  I still want to run another 5K, or maybe even a 10K.  I still want to teach more students the violin and viola.  I still have tons of books I want to read.  I still want to hang out with my roommate.  I still want to feed other animals.  I still have at least two weddings to attend.

And the year isn’t even half over.  I will take even more pictures, go to more local concerts, see more movies, keep my job, fly to Boston again and maybe Miami, drive to more cities or towns, run more races, teach more students, read more, hang out with my roommates, hang out with more animals, and attend more weddings.  

The year isn’t even half over and I don’t know how to keep track of everything I’ve been learning.  I used to think that the more I did and the more people I talked to, the more meaning my life would have.  I used to think that if I could show people that they mattered, my life would matter.  I used to think that if I never said no, people would see how much I cared.

The year isn’t even half over and I don’t know how to keep track of everything I’ve been learning.  The emotional distraction that I was letting take hold of my life no longer has a grip, and I feel set free from such a burden.  I’ve taken what I’ve learned in the last year and moved forward with even better boundaries. 

And the year isn’t even half over. I’ve been learning that talking to less people for longer means more to people.  I’ve been learning that all the desires of my heart have been met.  I’ve been learning that it’s OK to say no.

And the year isn’t even half over. I’ve been learning how to do life better with people.  

The year isn’t even half over.

The year isn’t even half over.

This post feels like a take on the song ‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent.  How do you measure a year?  In cups of coffee?  In miles?  In strife?  No.  You measure a year in love.  You measure your life in love.

Earlier this year at the Jubilee conference (that I wrote about earlier), I got to meet and hear Bob Goff speak. Bob’s book, “Love Does,” is an explication of how love isn’t an emotion – it’s a decision.  This past weekend with my friend Lanae, I listened to a pastor give a sermon at a wedding about the same idea.  Love is not a feeling.  Feelings and emotions come and go, but deciding to do something, that’s different.  Deciding to love someone is hard. Deciding to follow through with something you don’t want to, but that you know is right, is hard. But ultimately choosing love is what’s right.  So I want to measure my year in love from now on.  Not just how I love people or how people love me, but how I see God loving me.

I’ve spent countless hours and days feeling unfulfilled in so many ways, when all the needs of my heart have been met.  Before a rehearsal the other night I was reminded of it, and felt like I still couldn’t wrap my head around it.  I have a need for absolutely nothing.  I have everything I could need or want.  So why isn’t that enough?  Why am I choosing less than I deserve?  Why am I choosing something less than the love I deserve?  Possibly because I don’t think the love I deserve is there.  Maybe because sometimes it’s easier to settle.

I don’t want to settle.  I don’t want to settle for anything less than love.  I don’t want to settle for anything less than the joy that I know I can have in my life.  Even when things are hard, there is always joy.  How do you live your joy in love?

Trying to live a #nunlife in love. 

This year I’m measuring things by joy.  And by relationships.  And love.  I’m trying not to settle for anything less than the joyful #nunlyf.  I’ve had to tell people hard things and make decisions and choose to love people.  I know I’m a stronger person and I know that I’m learning from it.  The second half of this year is going to be even greater.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

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