New Year, New Direction

I think this post will be sweet and simple. But this is my second time having to write it out, because my laptop spazzed, so let’s hope I get the right words back.

I’m sure you saw, heard, or read how m__ this last year was, and, to this I relate completely. I look back in envy (will explain below) at how much I worked, how many poems I spat out (Uh, hello publication of Resolutions), how much I studied [but just enough to pass], how I pushed myself at the gym and placed at my first powerlifting meet, and so on. Last year was a blur, and for good reason. I became addicted to the business, honestly. I realized that I was the type of person who thrived, or tried to thrive, on the hustle and bustle and little more hustle. It was to the point where on days like Saturday, where the to-dos list didn’t need be checked (thank God — literally — for a day of rest), I found myself off balance and restless — unsure of what to do with the free time.

Although I never “let myself go” in the usual understanding of the phrase, I certainly did in the way I let go of control over things — letting myself be led by 4 work schedules that never let me sleep, cat naps that distracted away from homework, a caffeine addiction that worried my mother, but more importantly, it led away from true rest in Christ.

It’s a new year, though, right? I started the year in Oregon with a couple less jobs and few more hours of sleep. I say New Year in Oregon, because I quit two jobs and jumped on a plan halfway across in country in less than 48 hours, and I woke up that Saturday feeling so incredibly refreshed — less burdened, less worried, less tired. Waking up to see the sun rise across the coast didn’t hurt either. I spent the break with a little more free time than expected and, i’ll be honest, I didn’t do much with it. I spat out a couple poems about the heart soars and breaks that happened when I didn’t have time to write them down, hit some new PRs in the gym, drank a lot more matcha (or just less espresso), made stronger connections with my Starbucks family, and slept in more some days. My Honors Thesis was (and still is) looming, and I was able to spit out a couple pages and research. It probably sounds productive, but I really felt off, almost out of place without the extra need for work.

Fast forward to the first week of classes and I am drowning in . . . wait for it . . . free time. I forgot that I had set up my work and school schedule so that I wouldn’t have to worry about working on the days I was in class. Rather, focus more on my scholastics and get stuff done. I was assigned to read all of Hamlet in a day, which is a typical feat, but one I wouldn’t have been able to do last year — and we got it done. Cherry on top is being such a Shakespeare fiend that you can help lead the 3-student class discussion. I even had to drop a course, due to not having to take for another semester or two, which led to less credit hours, too. It’s wild. When God wants you to change your course, you will — mine took a complete 180° turn.

Last year was definitely a year of hustle for me — constantly moving, rushing in one door and out the next. At the end of it all, I was exhausted. As much as I loved the rush, the business; as much as I flaunted the idea of “working 5 jobs while going to school and the gym”; as much as I thought I could do it all . . . the truth is I couldn’t do it all, and none of it was good for me. I stretched myself so thin, transparent isn’t even the right word, and stressed is an understatement. (Do I sound redundant yet?)

By the grace of God, my school and work schedule have been flipped around and I have found myself with real time to study, to read — to sit in Dwell and write this blog with a Honey Oat latte in hand. Not to sound cliche, but it’s amazing what God does when you’re not even looking. I mean, seriously, y’all. I got eight hours of sleep last night and I don’t feel incredibly jet-lagged. WHAT IS THIS. My skin even cleared up, but I atone that to a couple great face masks. Or maybe lack of impending stress. Your pick.

I came across a word that really caught my attention, because I am sucker for words that don’t have an exact English translation. Hygge is “a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special.” ( It basically means to be still — to be present in the moment; to be content and secure. I contrasted it with hustle, because rushing and sitting still are definitely anonymous.

Along with working on my time management skills, I aim to incorporate more hygge into my life and spirit; to be present in the moment — fully aware and absorbing. I think we all spend so much of our time letting the moment wash over us because we are either so distracted or so rushed that we miss it completely. Every moment is meaningful, in some way or another, if you let it be. This isn’t a resolution for the year — it’s goal for life (because I really don’t want last year to repeat itself in any future).

2018 certainly was not what many of us thought it would be. The lessons were learned, so let them lie. When you feel rushed, take a breath — take in your surroundings and cherish the moment. Be content in your surroundings, in your self-security.

Here’s to a better year.


DeAndra Merrills