Things I’m Learning and Unlearning, A Birthday Reflection

On my birthday this year, I found one more reason to live longer. I discovered three incredibly inspiring authors in the past month—all women, all full of faith and wisdom. One, in particular, has been making me laugh out loud in a train carriage full of exhausted working-class men and women just wanting to get home. I don’t care what they make of me; I found Anne Lamott. I need to live longer so I can read all her books!

Same time last year, I wrote about ten things I was learning. All of it still stands true to this day and I’m glad I can refer back to that post whenever I’m prone to drift away from my purpose.

There’s a shift in me this year—that to learn some lessons and to make changes, I must unlearn too in the process.

So here, get comfy, get ready, here we go—-my birthday reflections this year:

Things I’m Learning

I’m learning that when there are places in my heart that hurt and ache for known and unknown reasons, it is almost always a call towards the most profound need embedded in our human genetics—-the need for God. The pain is a reminder that God alone can satisfy the deepest longing of my soul.

I’m learning to be like Mary too, you know, the sister who has chosen to sit with Jesus and hear what he has to say while Martha loathes and resents in the background doing all the hard work, all the hospitable duties. To be like Mary is to be present in conversations, to glean from someone’s life story, to ignore the dishes in the sink, and to stop taking just one more photo.

I’m also learning to live this:

My rule is simple: my habits and choices in this online world must enrich my actual, everyday, head-down, in-the-trenches, roots-deep, real-deal world. The Internet is lovely and all, but it’s not my everything. It can’t be.” ~ Erin Loechner

On the other hand, here are the things I’m trying to unlearn:

Things I’m Unlearning

I’m unlearning sharenting. I would lie if I told you I had not read about this before because I did. But at that time, I was standing on an entirely different landscape. For a long time, my heart was hard, my pride high, and wasn’t everyone doing it anyway? I stayed up late last weekend reading this and this, and a guilty verdict landed on my heart. The fog has lifted. My view on sharing about my child has completely changed.

I’m unlearning raising my voice in raising a child. I’m learning to whisper-yell instead.

I’m unlearning pride in marriage and parenting, in family and friendships, at work and play. I will probably be unlearning pride for the rest of my life.

So, onwards—to more learning and unlearning for as long as I can breathe.

Thirty-eight is good and undeserved, a gift I will try with all my might to share wisely to this world.

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