Sunday, September 03, 2017

What I Learned | Summer 2017

Sharing lessons learned this summer in a linkup with Emily Freeman. What I Learned | Summer 2017 - A Simpler Grace

With every season of life, comes new lessons to learn. Some of them are good while others are difficult experiences but each is valuable in its own way. Today, I'm joining the lovely Emily Freeman (author and blogger) in her What We Learned writing prompt and sharing the lessons I've learned this season.

Here's what I learned this summer:

I have a big mouth. (a.k.a. Sometimes it's better to stop and think before I speak.)
I've always had a tendency to speak my mind. I'm a Sagittarius, for goodness sake, and word vomit is a real thing I struggle with. Lately, I have been doing ok in the speaking department, but texting is another story. One too many times this summer, I've typed out a blazing sentiment - sometimes with the intention of erasing it all after I've come into some common sense and sometimes actually erasing it, but more often than I care to admit, I've hit that send button. Once that text goes out into the digital void, there is no getting it back. Alas. This fall, I am definitely going to be working hard to think before I speak, or in my case, hit "send."

I enjoy a clutter-free phone.
So, I will admit that I fell down the iPhone app black hole this summer. I downloaded every new trendy app, including Sarahah, which, as suspected, was the biggest waste of time. I had five screens full of little icons, all bright and colorful and flashing red notification badges. As you can imagine, this type-A, minimalist, neat-freak had a heart attack every time I picked up my phone. After a major purge, I now have just a handful of apps on my phone. I don't allow myself to download anything new unless they meet the following criteria: 1) they are necessary to communicate with family and close friends, 2) they are required in order for me to do my work and 3) they serve a purpose that cannot be met using a desktop browser.

» Related article: What I Learned | Spring 2017

There is no point worrying about things I cannot control.
Sub-lesson in this: I cannot control everything. This is and has not been an easy idea for me to grasp. In fact, most of the time, I'm kicking and screaming because I want to control everything. That being said, I am unable to do so when it involves other people and situations I don't already have my finger on. I had a hard lesson coming to me and from this point on, I'll be practicing the act of letting go of the wheel and letting Jesus take control.

My tolerance for intolerance is very low.
If you live in the States, you know it's been the year of intolerance. Race, religion, gender, sexuality, political affiliation - it didn't matter what category, but if you were in an already-marginalized group, you were likely made to feel like poo this year. I, being of a Christian faith and believing that I need to love my neighbor as myself, as the second most important of the commandments states, have vowed to stand up for people, no matter what they look like, believe, or how they identify themselves. There is no room for intolerance in my world.

You can make new friends in very unconventional ways.
This season I made a lot of new connections and some of my older ones grew stronger. The other day, as I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that 95% of my friends are people I've never met in real life. In fact, some of my very best friends, I've made in unconventional ways. Several through blogging, a few through a large creative entrepreneur network on Facebook, a few through old school Tumblr blogs and one through a dating app. Yep, I have no shame in admitting that I met one of my best friends on Tinder. This is a testament to the digital age we live in and how it's easier to connect with people online that it is in person, but it is still possible to make those connections and have them be stronger than ever.

» Related article: What I Learned | Winter 2017

Sharing your own painful story can bring comfort to someone else.
This summer, I shared details about some very painful experiences I've gone through in my life and for so long, I'd been afraid of opening up about them. What I wasn't expecting was the overwhelming number of comments and messages and emails I've received from people who were encouraged by my story. It never occurred to me that I could be helping someone else by sharing, but I'm now inspired to open up and share some more.

You can have good cholesterol even when you eat cheese every day.
This might be inconsequential to most but after having some labwork done recently, it was determined that my cholesterol was "perfect" and my good cholesterol number was in the "ideal" range. These were my doctor's words, not my own. She could not believe I eat cheese every single day. I only bring this up because, as a perfectionist, I strive for excellence always and this will probably be the only time in my life that I hit it on the mark.

I'd love to know what you learned this summer! Feel free to share a comment below or if you've written a post, jump over to Emily's blog and link up!

The post What I Learned | Summer 2017 first appeared on A Simpler Grace. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends!


  1. This is a wonderful idea and I love to read about the lessons that you learned. As I reflected on August I also learned certain lessons. Here is to us both having a great September.

  2. Oh my gosh, i love cheese. I'm a Sagittarius too! Hypothetical high five for that one, i always get in trouble with my mouth. It is so hard because you think it then bam there it is just running out of your mouth and down the street. This was a fun prompt to read!

  3. I like these. They reflect a personality with values I respect.

  4. Cheers, Elise! Thanks for stopping by to read. :)

  5. Woohoo! Yeah, I'm really going to have to work hard to keep my mouth in check. :)

  6. Thank you, friend! Hope you've had a great weekend. :)

  7. I love making new friends in unconventional ways... this group has been so awesome.
    I also agree on the intolerance of intolerance. I get so tired of people who won't treat others the same way they would want to be treated .It's such a simple equation, if you think about it.

  8. Awesome list, and isn't it cool to have it all before you like this? Makes the summer feel fulfilled.

    I've learned a couple of things. 1) Where bad things happen, there are good people of all kinds coming in to help. 2) If we concentrate on hate, we foster it eventually. Why bemoan a minority of people who marginalize groups of people, when we live in a nation that, in the every day, people live in harmony to a huge extent? I'd rather celebrate the ways the majority of us take care of each other and find commonalities with than the fringe who will never be convinced of any other way of thinking.

    Also, I'm thankful to have found your blog through the Peaceful Posse. Talk about good stuff going on.

  9. Those are great lessons, Eli, and you're right - it does make the summer feel fulfilled. :)