The past month I have been thinking about belonging. What does it mean to be a part of something larger and how should I actively participate in that?
In our very long drawn out place of transition, it was more survival that was on my mind rather than belonging. I knew in that season that there were people whom I belonged with and that with those people my belonging was not something to be earned, but previously existed from years of navigating life together--family and friends at home in Long Beach.
As a side, it is interesting to me that if there are just one or two places where I have felt like I belonged during a time of survival, it has been enough to keep me grounded and somewhat sane, even if I haven't felt like I belonged everywhere else.
Being in Seattle, I find myself and my thoughts shifting, opening up dusty (and sometimes locked) boxes in my heart, realizing more with each day that I am safe and that it is time to pull them out again. I want to belong here, with these people, in this place, and to feel like my contribution is welcome.
And I think I am actually ready to jump off and dive in completely.
My diving is actually really ugly. TJ tries to give me pointers every time, and every time my knees bend and it results in an almost belly flop. Even knowing that the dive won't be anything worth looking at, other than for amusement's sake, I still try to go for it because at the end I will be in the water, and in the water I am the most happy.
This is what I have to keep reminding myself of in a new job, new city, new relationships, new home, new obstacles, and new conflicts:
You have been waiting a long time to dive in, Lindsey. This is the moment and the water is beckoning.
Tomorrow I turn 30. I feel so young and so old all at the same time. It is funny to me that everyone in their 30's tells me it is better than their 20's.
For the past few months as 30 got closer, this was a comfort to me. Until, of course, I started thinking about it more and realizing that it is very possible that those in their 30's are also trying to make themselves feel better with that comment.
Even if that is the case, I do hope it is true. I've been holding on to that the past year, and hate to be disappointed. I'm counting on you 30...no pressure.
Since I was young, I have had an unusual love for trains. It could be attributed to asking for a train set one Christmas, and never getting it. Or the association of trains with my childhood during Christmas--the train that would twist and turn through the snow in the Christmas village on my grandparents white grand piano, or that much of "White Christmas" happened on trains.
Whatever it is, it is has been tucked in my heart as a dream to travel by train. To participate in a piece of history while seeing the places that only trains and those on them can have access to.
As I have approached turning 30, I have felt this sense of urgency to not waste time, to do things I have always wanted and to stop making excuses for not doing them. TJ has been the best in holding me accountable to this, and even planning some of them for me as surprise adventures.
This past weekend, as part of my actual birthday present, I went on a train. Twice.
I was completely surprised and seriously acting like a kid the whole time, jumping around, obessively waving at anyone we went past telling TJ each time, "You see TJ? Everyone loves trains. Wave! It will make them happy."
People waved back. I was ecstatic.
And I got to thinking about belonging again. People want to be about something. Maybe more than actually feeling that strongly about things, it is that we want to participate in what is greater than just our individual selves. There are beliefs that we hold on to tighter than others, and interests that vary, but in the deepest, quiet places, we want to belong.
As I enter into a new decade, I hold this idea gently in front of me. How can I be one who invites those in my sphere of influence to belong? Not just to belong, but to thrive, exactly as they are created growing into a more whole version of themselves. Where will I go to find belonging and to thrive?
I have lived quite a bit of life, but there is much more to experience. I want to look back on my 30's and to be thankful for the risks that I took, the ugly dives, and the (sometimes) annoying waves I've given to those along the way. Taking those risks means that I am swimming in the deep, blue waters and riding the train through the secret beauty that can only be discovered by jumping off or hopping on.
But it doesn't stop with me. It is about extending the invitation to you. We are in this together, and we belong.