The Remaking

I’m trying something completely new with this post.

This is a “post” I published on Instagram, in 4 parts, because you can’t put this many words into one Instagram post.

   

I was about to save these words in my writing archives as one complete document and then I thought “why not post this to my blog?”

The irony here of course is that the whole reason I choose to publish these ideas initially on Instagram was because, even divided into 4 parts, it's easier than publishing to my blog. Because I write such long essays (or whatever you want to call them) on my blog, so many ideas don’t get published and remain stuck in endless loops of “idea capture, draft, edit, edit, edit, edit….” Only a fraction of my ideas make it to the final publish.

This cycle bogs me down so I’ve decided to try posting to Instagram instead. Short is better than none.

But when I gathered all the words together I realized I had just written a blog post. Done.

Or not quite done. As I had to edit it a wee bit for blog format. But then it was done. And here it is.


As my blog publishing output has decreased (see preamble) I find it important to keep a toehold of some writerly output on my Instagram account. But I’ve been finding it hard to even do that with any consistency.

I just can’t seem to get “there”. “There” being the mythical place where I not only make (I’m good at that part) but also execute (not so good) all the plans.

This is not a post about how to become better at executing plans.

   

I’m in a time of remaking. And the uncertainty, excitement, and also privacy of the process makes me feel unsure about what to say.

Let’s talk about change for a sec.

Change can be something you slowly incorporate into your days. Starting a new habit can be like this. Just 15 minutes a day over time adds up.

Or change can be larger scale and more disruptive to your equilibrium. We might perceive this kind of change as good (a new job) or bad (death of a loved one).

And maybe there are other kinds of changes in-between.

I’m going through both kinds of change right now. Which isn’t unique or special. Humans are pretty much always in some kind of upheaval, individually or collectively.

I’m not trying to be grandiose or hyperbolic about it, but I feel myself going through a re-making. Not because I set out to do that, specifically, but because 1) life seasons naturally end and begin, landing us in new places 2) I’ve made decisions that bring change and 3) I keep evolving on micro-levels.

I’ve gone through break-down, crisis, and rebuilding after crisis. And this doesn’t feel like that. Thank Goddess. What this feels like is stepping into newness out of choice, interest, circumstance, and life stage.

I am curious to see what will come with me from the past and what will stay there, remembered but no longer held precious.

I find myself asking “who am I now?” with excitement, anticipation, hope, and growing confidence. I see glimpses of my new self in my studies, in my work, in my relationships, and in my dreams for the future.

   

I’ve gone through periods where I’ve asked myself the same question in deep pain; feeling lost and adrift.

I’ve experienced the confusion, sense of loss, and anxiety of major personal change. The dust has settled now on that particular upheaval. More will come, to be sure.

But out of that rubble I’ve built myself a new home with a new view.

And while that was happening, life continued to sweep me along in its inexorable flow. Most notably, the kids all exited their formative years and my roles and responsibilities have significantly changed and lessened.

Legally and relationally, their lives, their well-being, is not my responsibility anymore. (Leaning into this truth has been very necessary in helping me establish healthy relationships with my young adult, still living-at-home children.)

I am deeply honored to be active in their lives, to provide food and shelter (as is our choice & privilege to do so), to be their “safe person” in crisis, and also in joy. All that is true, as is their responsibility for their own life.

   

My husband has grown and changed. He has new interests where he invests time and resources. His individuality and pursuits independent of “us” & “family” adds richness, depth, and interest to my life. (I’m also pretty sure that novelty is a psychological pre-requisite for nurturing passion in long term, committed relationships. Check.)

After weathering an upheaval to our faith and some of the foundations of our relationship we have come out the other side with dreams and plans for our future, deeply committed to each other and our personal growth and development. And we still dig one another. It’s a good time to be married.

I have started myself on a path of academic-orientated learning which naturally re-allocates my time, effort, and resources. I am so excited and energized that this pursuit enables me to deeply explore and develop ideas related to my life mission of pursuing human flourishing and well-being.

I’m working for people who depend on my efforts (and even some expertise) and they pay me for my services. And with that exchange of value Damien and I can move towards achieving goals not possible when I was invested in homeschooling and raising our kids. (That was one kind of investment. Now it’s time to make other investments.)

I am committing time to learning French and rooting myself, for this next life season, in Quebec. Neural pathways are literally changing as I slowly acquire another language.

These are the brand new, and still relatively new, big changes to my life. And every week, certainly every month, brings the myriad small changes that are the natural undercurrent of our quotidian rhythms.

I haven’t even mentioned that globally we’re at the 1 year mark on a pandemic that has profoundly affected our collective and individual lives.

   

(Editor note: here’s where I speak specifically about Instagram, but similar thoughts apply to my blogging.)

I am remaking myself and I find it hard to post as often as I would like. I am a very visual person, and I want the images I share here to be 1) mine, 2) beautiful (my favorite sources of beauty are home and nature) and 3) related to ideas I want to express.

2 simple examples of how I struggle to publish to Instagram: how do you share an image that communicates your expanding worldview and life experiences when the actual view is not expanding… same apartment, same yard, same street. Or an image that captures the French conversation you muddled your way through when there in nothing particularly “French” in your day to photograph, except words themselves.

And perhaps most difficult for publishing is that I can’t share the stories and images of what I love and care about most deeply, because what I love is not a “what” but “who”, a few “whos” to be exact, and they don’t want to always show up here, obviously.

The overall tenor of this remaking has been good. I’m grateful. Not all the moments are good, some of it is so hard. But it’s going in a good direction. I can see that now.

But recently it has also left me word-less and photo-less many days as I attend to all the other tasks of living (including exploring and writing ideas in a more academic context).

Recording my stories and publishing ideas is very important to me. What will that look like for Instagram as I go through these changes? I don’t know. What will that look like for my blog? Don’t know.

   

I’m just going to live into the change and figure it out as I go, I guess. I’m pretty good at making plans, but I can’t execute all the plans. So I don’t think I’m going to plan it out too much, at least not yet.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening.

More photos and ideas to follow, as and when I can get the words out.

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.


How motherhood changed my theology (Coming out as an affirming Christian)

How motherhood changed my theology (Coming out as an affirming Christian)

My children cannot un-belong to me with poor behaviour, lifestyle choices, or even heinous actions. They are always my children. And I will always be here for them. Their choices might move them “away” from me physically or relationally, but I will never disown them, they are part of me, always.

Going to grad school

Going to grad school

About 2 years ago, 18 months before the end of our family's homeschool journey, I started to get serious about figuring out what I would do when I retired from homeschooling.

Going Solo (& other midlife experiences)

Going Solo (& other midlife experiences)

For the first time in our marriage, I've been figuring out a vision for my vocational future, on my own, and not related to family life. I've been finding my own spiritual support communities. And I've been solo-adventuring. I think they're all related.

As I drag myself out of the woods

As I drag myself out of the woods

The story of my experience, my state of mind and state of heart, as we end our homeschool journey during a global pandemic in a time of heightened awareness of racial injustice.

Finding home as a third culture kid

Finding home as a third culture kid

As with everyone, Paola's ideas of home - what feels like home and what defines home - is heavily influenced by her growing years. Which for her happened in three languages and three cultures.

A summer garden

A summer garden

Life can be disappointing, difficult, and painful. But also beautiful, joyful, and hopeful. Like my garden. Like this summer.