One Day at at Time…

I’ve been in a funny mood all day. Yes, times are strange, we’re in a pandemic, we’ve been home for months, and things will likely never be the same as they were prior to this. It’s unsettling. But today, in particular, I felt strange:

  • I watched youtube videos of gospel music. I’m not religious.
  • I did some work because all of a sudden I’m employed after months of only being beholden to myself, and found it utterly exhausting.
  • I watched a neighbor stand in his driveway to celebrate his high school graduation as a parade of his friends and family drove down the block honking and shouting. It was beautiful but unnerving.
  • I tried to take a nap thinking that would recharge me. Couldn’t sleep.
  • I finished a weeks-long craft project, but felt uninspired by it as if I hadn’t done it at all.
  • I cooked food and found no joy in the creation or consumption.

At the start of quarantine I told myself I would write prolifically on this blog, write more meaningful and vulnerable pieces. But I had to let go of that expectation of myself. I had to let go of any expectation that I was somehow going to use this time to produce a masterpiece. Instead, I take each day as it comes, going from moment to moment and letting that be enough. And that has made each day a small victory. But today, the little things didn’t do it for me.

I’ve lost track of time, as everyone has, but the marking of graduations, the start of the summer term, the reopening of states, feels like being snatched out of this world I’ve created for myself and back into reality. And because I don’t know what this new reality holds, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing.

I’m not even sure what I was doing before all of this happened. 2019 is a hazy, distant memory, and what I did over the last 12 months was a struggle to  recall…

This time last year I was at my 10-year college reunion, feeling stunned that so much time had passed since I’d been a student there, since I’d seen many of my classmates, feeling awkward about how to respond to questions of what was going on in my life now…

I was getting ready to travel alone to Indonesia for a yoga retreat, transiting through Qatar where I would go on a night tour of Doha during a 14-hour layover in the midst of Ramadan…

I would come back from that trip after being fully detached from my computer, email, and (mostly) my phone, with a new habit of being untethered to technology, ready to quit facebook. I’d also come back feeling broken open and exposed and confronted with a mountain of emotions…

I spent the rest of the summer in turns sitting in silence and weeping, grieving relationships with other people, grieving the unhealthy relationship I’ve had with myself, consuming books that would shift my outlook, returning to making art after a decade-long hiatus, and avoiding working on my PhD and both of my paid contracts…

I started dating again after being in a 7 year relationship (4 year marriage) with the same person, and it was–different…

I dealt with academic setbacks in the form of rejection letters, restructured my entire thesis, realized I really have no idea what I want to do once I finish this degree and that I was terrified at that realization that I was no longer content to just go along a certain pathway because it “made sense”…

I lost family members, permanently to illness, and temporarily to broken relationships after choosing to value myself and set boundaries instead of enabling their chaos…

I came back to the joy of cooking and baking and growing plants…

I allowed myself to think outside of the box, to expect more out of myself and my relationships, to dream bigger than my self-imposed limitations, to speak those dreams out loud even when they felt stupid, to take chances and reach out to people, to walk away from things that no longer served me, and to not know something with certainty and go forward anyway…

I couldn’t remember most of 2019 because it wasn’t marked by a litany of discrete accomplishments that I could check off a list and say “I did THAT.” It was a year of feeling my feelings (for once) and letting myself be still (for once).

I, like many others, thought 2020 was going to be the year of action: new year, new decade, new me. I was going to take all those lessons and self-discoveries and start again–be bold, take leaps. And then the unexpected deaths started trickling in. First the freak accidents–Kobe’s helicopter crash and the the Mardi Gras floats that ran over two people on two different days. Then the reports of Coronavirus, which initially felt so distant but was suddenly on our doorsteps.

100,000 lives lost in the U.S. alone. In only 3 months.

The numbers are unfathomable, and they’re only going to get worse with our premature re-opening and reckless, if not violent, system of governance.

I had a plan. Life changed. What currently brings me joy doesn’t pay the bills. What pays (some of) the bills leaves me mentally drained and emotionally exhausted. I don’t know what’s next. So I lean on the consistency of birdsong in the morning and bug chirping at night, and let the rest of it go. One day at a time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.