Lately I've experienced a great deal of mental tossing & turning, much like my sleep-life, unfortunately...
Thinking about the 4 months to come has me giddy, anxious and admittedly terrified (I'd rather keep that one under wraps, but let's just go with honesty for now). I'll be encountering the unknown from the moment I board my flight from DC to London...that airport will be the last scrap of anything familiar to me. And while I feel exhilerated by this thought, I simultaneously want to crawl into my bed with a certain giant stuffed monkey (which I'm not ashamed to admit still plays a large role in my aforementioned sleep-life) and not come out...ever.
Whle this range of emotions is expected and completely understandable, the one thing I'm battling that I genuinely don't want to take up residence in my mind is the inability to live in the present.
Because I'm leaving the country I'm having to make plans for when I return - nothing concrete, but certainly heading in that direction. This is causing me to look forward to December 21st more than I would hope to. My desire to jump to that specific date is not only so I can begin whatever my new life will look like, but also because I know how much transformation will take place while I'm away...I'm anxious to know who the Lord will shape me to be, what He'll do in my heart, etc.
Despite this tendency to look ahead, I'm trying to harness those thoughts and be in the present moment. This has manifested itself in so many ways, some I didn't expect. From simply soaking up these next few weeks with my sweet friends in my beloved Nashville...to trying to no longer dwell on the frustrations of being a 22 year old living my parents' home...to accepting different relationships as they are at present - not in a negative light or even a hopeful light for that matter, but just as they are.
Speaking of hopeful, I'm hopeful that despite my moments of mental time-travel I will be able to just be...to breathe deep, love well, and accept things as they are at this very moment.
As I've said to a couple people who have witnessed this tendency in me - and more importantly, to myself - first things first.
Last week I had the amazing gift of seeing one of my favorite artists at one of my favorite venues. Bon Iver...at the Ryman. Be still my heart.
I don't think I can really explain how or why (and whenever I try I end up sounding crazy), but Justin Vernon's music evokes an emotional reaction in me unlike any other artist I've heard. It's haunting yet bright, stunningly beautiful and even sad at times.
Maybe it's because so many distinct moments of my life are forever attached in my mind to his songs or it's simply due to his absurd amount of musical talents...either way, I found myself so wrapped up in the show that it sped by and before I knew it I was in the middle of the encore wishing it would never end (that hardly ever happens to me).
But I'm not going to ramble on about this forever because you either a) already know exactly what I mean or b) could easily listen to his music and quickly decide for yourselves whether you agree with me or think I'm out of my mind.
Leaving the Ryman that night I found myself repeatedly telling others that it was my "favorite show I'd ever been to." Which got me thinking...I've been lucky enough to see some pretty great stuff! So I decided to write a list of the top shows I've seen...some fantastic ones have undoubtedly gone forgotten and I'll kick myself in an hour when I remember them, but here it is anyway!
Top 10 (wait...11) Shows I've Seen
1. Bon Iver at The Ryman - July 2011
2. The Local Natives at Cannery Ballroom - October 2010
3. The Swell Season at The Ryman - May 2010
4. Fleet Foxes at The Ryman - May 2011
5. Ray LaMontagne at Chastain Park - August 2010
6. Sleeping At Last at Lincoln Hall - February 2010
7. Dear and the Headlights at Exit/In - October 2009
8. Andrew Bird at Austin City Limits - October 2009
9. She & Him at The Ryman - September 2010
10. The Local Natives at The Muse - January 2009
11. The Civil Wars at Grimey's In-Store - February 2011
Honorable Mentions: Ben Sollee at Grimey's In-Store, Coldplay at Bridgestone Arena, Avett Brothers at Austin City Limits, Kings of Leon at the Ryman, John Legend at ACL, and every Delta Saints show I've ever been to...
Hopeful List-Additions: Mumford & Sons, Sufjan Stevens, MORE Bon Iver!, Radiohead, Sigur Ros (or Jonsi), Adele, Maclean, Laura Marling, James Vincent McMorrow, Patrick Watson