Just right.

Day 365 of 365

It is kind of surreal to me to write those numbers 365 of 365.

Today is my birthday, and I have come full circle. I have written at least a little bit every day, and some days, I wrote a lot. It has been a wonderful experience for me. During this year, I had some small successes as a writer. I landed a dream piece in Modern Farmer, but mostly, I either didn’t finish projects or got rejections. Thankfully, I think I am more in love with writing than I have ever been before thanks to this blog, yet I realize that I am probably not going to be a writer when I grow up.

I think I have finally decided that I am what I am going to be. This blog helped me realize this.

I have been teaching writing for 26 years. My PhD is in Rhetoric, which is this fantastic combination of philosophy, psychology, and writing. I know the value of writing to humans, but to have practiced it so religiously for the last year has had a fairly profound impact on me.

One of the best parts was getting feedback from readers. It helps to tell your stories and have people say they understand them. It makes you feel not alone. I am one who goes back and forth between being proud of my quirkiness and also worrying I am “too weird,” so connecting with people who find animals so fascinating has been good for my soul. Thank you for this.

One of the biggest perks of this kind of habitual reflection is that it should lead to personal growth. I think I grew.

I have always been chasing something, something I couldn’t define, but I struggle with confidence–like a lot. My whole life I just thought if I could have success at one more thing, maybe then I would feel better about myself. I remember thinking, “if I can get my PhD, I will be confident.” That, of course, didn’t happen. And my life has been a string of that. In the last decade, I have slowly started to realize that accomplishments are not going to “fix” me, but I think this year is the year I have come to understand this deeply enough to break some of my patterns of behavior. That’s pretty powerful, right? I think this blog has helped me get there.

But I realize I am probably not going to write a book anytime soon, unless someone wants to read a bunch of chicken stories. Really, really good writing requires time I don’t have right now. I have 38 chickens, 7 ducks (one still kind of injured), two cats, two Great Pyrenees, two fantastic children, and one wonderful husband. I also have a pretty fantastic life. I had better soak it up instead of fretting because my friends have written books and I have not.

We’ll see what happens. I’m just going to keep telling chicken stories to anyone who will listen because that’s who I am. I am a teacher in my bones, and I think chickens are fantastic. I feel compelled to help others understand chickens are fantastic.

But I’m going to find my middle, my just right. I recently learned about the Swedish concept of “Lagom,” which translates into “Not too little. Not too much. Just right.” I think this is something that has been missing from my life.

I spent way too many years trying to do too much, and if you have been following my blog, you know that didn’t work out for me very well. I got pretty sick a couple of months ago, and I am doing better yet am amazed at how much work it is for me to get better.

Still, I feel like I’m just almost there at finding my “just right.” I have had to let go of some things (I quite some work, put the journal on hiatus, and stopped some volunteer work), and for a bit, I felt like a failure. Now, however, it’s starting to feel good. I like my life with less to do. I enjoy it much, much more. It requires more frugality, but I am married to Thoreau reincarnated and have learned a lot along these lines.

I realize I am rambling. Maybe it just feels strange because I won’t write in this blog tomorrow.

I will keep writing though. I will keep telling you what is going on with Ruby, Rooster, Anna Maria, Bairre, Betty, and more. My plan is to write two to three times a week, so I hope you will keep reading because I love that other people love my animal friends too. I love that I get messages from readers asking about Ruby or telling me that they want Rooster for themselves. He is pretty fantastic!

Thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for reading.

Photo credit: Angele Kamp, Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Just right.

  1. in addition to all the animals you listed as being responsible for, you could list the jobs putting up food and marketing your farm produce. in addition to feeding everyone from your kitchen. give yourself immense credits!!!! and find that middle path to wellness, a journey many of us share with you, in addition to the love of animals n farming. thank you for the year of stories. i had hoped your blogging would inspire me to mine, but mostly it made me think about it (a local history of a particular people) and become aware of my personal history, my own prejudices, and need to grow a larger and open heart. so your blogging has helped me as well πŸ™‚ i look forward to reading more, but only as it flows comfortably from you. happy growing season.


  2. A big thank-you Crystal for sharing your chickens and pieces of your life over the past year. I looked forward to reading your blog each morning……..you enlightened me on chicken personalities, homesteading, the beauty of a perfectly stacked wood pile, the joy of spoiling/training a great Pyrenees puppy, how unique and gorgeous chicken eggs are and how we need to care for these wonderful animals that help nourish us.
    I too find great joy in watching a plant grow and produce food, looking at the stars, cooking for family, caring for animals and listening to my daughter play the piano. We have connected on many things. 😁
    I’m glad you will continue the blog part time…… you’re not finished.
    I wish you good health and time for your many passions. Be kind to yourself Crystal and thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

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