Seasons of crazy, seasons of growth.

Seasons of crazy, seasons of growth.

I’ve had a very busy spring.

My calendar has been packed full with obligations both personal and professional. It’s not exactly been crazy (at least not most days) but it has been full. I haven’t had the margin to tackle those things that are important but not pressing.

On my weekly planner (I use a planner pad, but I’m eyeing a passion planner for next time) I keep a list called “personal development” of things I want to do to develop my skills: take a course, read a book, master a tool. I see it every time I look at my planner.

I see it every time I look at my planner, and yet—I haven’t actually done anything on this list in months.

In years past, that would have driven me bonkers. But this spring it’s been okay, because I’m learning to trust the rhythms of my life. Every time I saw that list in my planner, I would tell myself that I was in a season of production, but it would soon give way to a season of growth.

This is my rhythm, and I don’t think it’s peculiar to my own life: there are seasons (weeks, even months) of flat-out, intense, hard work. I don’t have much margin. I am just working really hard. I’m still learning during these seasons: I’m still honing my skills, simply because I’m using them every day. But this isn’t my season to explore new challenges—unless they are absolutely crucial to the work in front of me.

An intense season of work is regularly followed by a spell when things are more relaxed, when the calendar isn’t packed and the deadlines aren’t looming. This is the season of growth: it’s the right time to learn new skills, try new tools, and take on a personal challenge or two.

I enjoyed my busy spring, but I couldn’t be happier that the deadlines are met and the intense season is over. I’m eager to tackle that list in my planner, the one I’ve been eyeing longingly for months.

For me, that looks like:

• Take a photography course. I love the video-driven courses from Shoot Fly Shoot. Their 101 course taught me how to shoot in manual. I think I’m finally adept enough with my camera to tackle their 102 course.

• Learn how to use Lightroom. Shoot Fly Shoot has a course for this, too: I bought it this morning because all their classes are 50% off for Memorial Day only.

• Watch the scrivener videos my writing partner told me about forever ago, and maybe sign up for a Scrivener training course. (Know any good ones?)

• Do some long-term travel planning/dreaming with Will. We want to take the kids to visit cousins on the West Coast, to another city closer to home, and eventually to Europe. I am fascinated by the travel hackers (because any trip with a family of six is a Big Trip) and want to read Frequent Flyer Master, which I got forever ago on NoiseTrade.

• Catch up on various courses and classes I’m signed up for, including Tsh’s Upstream Field Guide, Mandi Ehman’s LIVE course (I’m on for July!), the Nester’s cozy minimalist course.

• Re-read Renovation of the Heart, again, and maybe do some journaling about it.

I’m curious to hear about your own rhythms: do you go through seasons of production and seasons of growth? What do those look like for you?

P.S. Planning for visual types, and 3 time management rules I wish I’d learned 10 years ago.

24 comments | Comment

24 comments

  1. Cynthia Carlson says:

    Yes I agree! I’ve finally learned at 50 years old, to listen to what my body needs instead of what my mind pushes me to do. Right now I’m in a slower season of thought, prayer and contemplation because that is where my heart is. I tell my brain to hush itself, that time will come.

  2. Victoria says:

    I’m in London so if you’re planning your Europe trip I’m happy to give you pointers! The fountains outside Somerset House in summer for the kids to play in (even grown up ones!) or the skating rink there in winter.

    After two years of intense change, heartbreak and emotional growth, I’m ready for a different pace. Not necessarily slower but more fun learning doing than “have to”. I’ve started baking again, crafting and design for fun. And begun tackling projects that were meant to be fun but had been dragging at me since I never started them. I bought the Shoot Fly Shoot 101 so looking forward to that. It’s nice to know you found it useful.

    • Gwyn says:

      Victoria….I read your comment and thought “wow” I think we are on the same path! I too have had quite a journey the last two years and am ready for a new pace and direction!

  3. Breanne says:

    I love the idea of writing down areas of growth and trusting that seasons of growth will come. Right now, I’m full on motherhood and in the early stages of basically every other area. I don’t have a lot of margin or mental space for learning new things except reading and a little writing. But I have lots that I want to do. Thanks for this and for speaking to the seasons.

  4. Gwyn says:

    Hi Anne: Wow, in my opinion this post goes hand in hand with the epilogue of Happiness for Beginners. I can’t thank you enough for recommending this amazing book that has truly touched me! As of today I am refocusing my life. I’m about to turn 57 and am so excited about my new journey! I am itching to get in the kitchen to bake this morning and signing up for the online photography course you suggested. Would you go in to more detail why you are choosing Passion Planner? I am currently shopping for one for 2016. I am currently using Erin Condren but not sure if I am sold on this one or not. I appreciate your input or anyone else reading!

  5. Anne says:

    I’ve never heard of a passion planner. Sounds neat.

    I’ve learned a lot about how to take the newborn season easily. Won’t be cleaning the basement during that time! I’ve learned to adjust my expectations.

  6. Katia says:

    I’m in a season of growth right now. I have been clearing my calendar to the best of my ability, and provided that my family obligations allow me to do so, in order to make more time for myself. Of course, this doesn’t mean I have endless days of freedom to do anything I please. It does mean that as soon as the children are in bed, I steal downstairs to the living room sofa that is calling my name and plant myself there for an hour to cross stitch while listening to a podcast, or to read. Now that the weather is warm, we also spend more time outside, which inevitably leads to growth.

  7. I gave up on Scrivener. Never, ever got it after tutorials and all. Each time I would export a draft, it would come out differently than the last time. Just not intuitive for me. BUT so many people swear by it. I’ll be curious what you think!

  8. Brittany G. says:

    I signed up for Joseph Michael’s Learn Scrivener Fast course and loved it! It’s the reason I finally felt comfortable switching to Scrivener 100% and abandoning my previous favorite writing software, the one I swore I’d never give up. It’s definitely worth checking out!

  9. Jamie says:

    Yes to this: “learning to trust the rhythms of life.” We’ve been in a season of productivity as well. (Is Spring always like this?) I’m also rounding out a two-year season of a mental/emotional/spiritual push. Summer stretches ahead of us with a more relaxed rhythm, the ability to team up with my husband on parenting & goals, and having fun. I, too, am interested in learning more about photography with a hand-me-down camera from my dad. Also: watercolor painting and creating online collages. And more writing. It all sounds so lovely!

  10. I am reminding myself that right now is a season. New babies are always intense, but he will grow up, just as his brothers and sister have. I will be able to work longer hours again soon enough, including those big picture thinking hours that are just not happening right now. It bugs me that they are not happening now but they will. Someday.

  11. Melodee says:

    I really like this reminder that life goes through different seasons. And thank you for the heads-up on the shootflyshoot sale! I’ve been intending to purchase a class for over a year, since I heard about it from you. This was just the push I needed to do it! (Plus, I’m expecting my first baby in a couple months and really want to be able to take good pictures when she arrives! 🙂

  12. I’m (hopefully) about to come out of a season of crazy, and I am so happy. I’m managing, and haven’t dropped any super-duper important balls, but I’m definitely feeling at the end of my juggling ability!

    Bring on June…

  13. Thanks Anne for bringing this topic up. There are times when I don’t feel I’m getting anywhere but now I can view this as a season of work. I’m hard on myself so this topic you decided to write about actually brought my heart much peace, if anything. Thank you! And I do go in and out of seasons now that I think about it! Just never realized it!

  14. I absolutely believe that living fully engaged in the current season of life (production, growth, emotional, or just plain temperature) provides the soul with much needed connection to the activities the body is involved in.

    I love this post for the honesty and encouragement to simply reflect on production versus growth – not put it off – but accept the rhythm.

    Yes, rhythm is good, and it is everywhere. Cheers to you, Anne, for finding your own beat.

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