Questions, Conclusions, Solutions, Resolutions.

Have you ever had times in your life, when you know you have it so good, yet you feel like something is missing, or something isn’t quite right? I have wondered too often in the past months why I’m feeling this way, despite the many blessings I’ve been given: my job, friends, family, home, health, and so much more.  On top of that, this last period of life has been the quietest and calmest I’ve ever experienced. No longer is every day bursting at the seams. If I plan to meet someone for coffee, I can offer at least several mornings/evenings per week when I’m free. This is the calm I have craved and daydreamed about for the past 8+ years. So why the feelings of restlessness and even sometimes, if I’m honest, anxiousness?

I realize something about this is completely wrong. Have I become a selfish and ungrateful person? After trying to push these feelings away, and berating myself over them; I finally decided to start asking some questions, in order to draw some conclusions, find solutions, and create some resolutions. I think this formula has some value to it, which is why I would like to share it.

I. The Questions:

  1. Am I in my comfort-zone (The one Pinterest tells me IS NOT where the magic happens)? Am I taking myself too seriously to take a few risks?
  2. I am grateful and aware of my blessings, but am I taking full advantage of them? If my blessings are people, do they know how important they are to me? If the blessings are things, am I sharing them, and allowing them to multiply their reach? If the blessings are opportunities, am I putting in the effort to learn as much as I can from them, so I can share that too?
  3. Has my perspective become too narrow? Too self-focused? Am I lacking an eternal perspective? (Just to explain what I mean by “eternal perspective”, as a Christian, I believe that life on Earth is temporary, and that my actions and choices here should reflect my mission of sharing and telling of God’s love and what He has done for every single one of us.)

These are the questions that immediately popped into my head, however, I think the initial questions are different for everyone. This means, of course, that no one will have the same answers. Each of us is unique, after all.  

II. The Conclusions:

  1. Yes, I am in my comfort-zone. I can’t remember the last time I took on a challenge, or tried something new.
  2. I appreciate the blessings in my life, but I internalize this appreciation when I should be externalizing it.
  3. I like to think that I am open-minded and do things based on an eternal perspective…. buuuut I can’t really point to many specific things I’ve done lately that showcase these things.

III. The Solutions:

  1. I need to try something new, and exciting, and even *gasp* a little bit scary!
  2. I need to be intentional about acting on my appreciation for the many blessings surrounding me.
  3. I need to turn my focus outward, and broaden it. There is (obviously) more to life than my life, so my actions need to reflect this knowledge.

IV. The Resolutions:

  1. Accept the opportunity that has been scaring me (I’ll DEFINITELY be talking more about this soon).
  2. Do little things that show the people I love, that I love them. Bring my sister coffee at work, make my mom’s lunch for her, etc. Make a conscious effort to do at least one thing like this per day.
  3. This is definitely the hardest solution for me to pin-point a specific resolution to. I’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes, because I can’t figure out how to put it into words. For now I can think of three main things (I know these are vague and resolutions should never be vague, it’s a work in progress): First, prioritize my relationship with God. Secondly, explore different options for my future that are based on purpose, and how I can serve others. Thirdly, diversify the content I am absorbing to learn more about the vast world I live in, and the many stories experienced by different people and cultures.

I am certain the solutions and subsequent resolutions are not the same for all of us. But I do believe the most important thing to do when feeling this way, is to ask yourself the hard questions you know you need to ask. Only then can you draw the conclusions, create solutions, and stick to new resolutions. Don’t brush off the way you feel. At first, I felt guilty about my feelings of “meh”, but now I realize, they are there for a reason. Consistent negative feelings are evidence of something in our lives that needs to be explored and solved. For some people the solution could be a change in mindset, for others it could mean a move to the other side of the world, and for other others it may mean signing up for tap dance lessons. Even if you can’t find an all-encompassing solution (which is likely, I don’t think life is usually that easy), start with small steps and they will gradually build on each other. Also, don’t be scared to try out a few different solutions.

The most important thing is: don’t keep the bad feelings inside and learn to live with them. Acknowledge them. Make changes. If you never try, you’ll never know. I believe in you!!!!!!!

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown. What a book.

Essentially, it’s about a small town in northern Sweden, that is obsessed with hockey. Everyone in the town is either obsessed with hockey because they themselves love it, or they are dragged into the hockey chaos because someone close to them loves it. I went into this book with the same mindset as most readers probably do; “Why are they so obsessed with hockey, it’s only a game…”. This question was quickly met with an answer- the town is dying. However there is hope. If the juniors win the finals, and have the best junior team in the country, it would mean that the next big Swedish hockey academy would be built in Beartown. This academy would put Beartown back on the map- and bring their economy a boost that they need desperately. All of the town’s hopes and dreams are therefore heaped upon the backs of the hockey team and their coaches. This gives the star players an immense power, a power that is misused by one particular hockey player in a terrible way.

How will the town cope? How will they draw the line? Who will step forward and become heros of justice?

There were so many amazing characters in this book; Amat, Maya, Benji, Peter, Kira, Bobo, Ana, David, Sune etc. etc. Usually I have a hard time with this many characters, I cannot keep them all straight, and they all kind of blur together in my mind. Not in this book. Even the minor characters are painted in such a vivid way and manage to develop very well. The lovable characters are extremely lovable. The antagonists make my skin crawl and my blood boil with rage.

Two themes that stood out to me in particular:

  1. Dedication. The majority of the characters show an immense amount of dedication to one thing or another. Granted, because Beartown is a hockey town, for many characters that dedication is given to hockey. It’s hard not to admire and feel lazy in comparison to the daily, consistent efforts of Amat, Kevin, and Filip. Then there are the coaches, Sune and David, who spend more time on the rink than off the rink. There are also the characters who are dedicated to their families and their children.
  2. Justice. How can each person personally stand up for what they believe is right? What are the implications of going against the grain, in order to do the right thing? So many characters had to make challenging decisions in Beartown. Some seem smaller than others, but all have their significance. A striking example in Beartown, is the boy who goes to school early one morning to wash away a cruel word that was graffitied. Small, but not insignificant.

Beyond the amazing characters and the important lessons that can be learned; this story is told in such a captivating way. I had the hardest time putting this book down and finished all 415 pages within 30 hours, which is relatively unheard of for me. Without a doubt this book gets 5/5 stars from me. I am already looking forward to re-reading Beartown. It would be the perfect “cold, winter night” read.