March has us all feeling some type of way this year. Tired, hopeful, bored, in disbelief, at our wit’s ends.
I personally feel all of the above. And while I’m trying to get past these and through them and acknowledge them and absorb all of these feelings, today I am also trying to find the glimmers of beauty and wonder in the mundane.
So today, I am grateful for our coffee pot that keeps the coffee warm without burning it.
I am thankful that Zingerman’s cinnamon raisin bread freezes so well, allowing me to pull out the loaf my in-laws sent us a few months ago to experience a little novelty in my breakfast routine, when nothing else feels new.
I am grateful for 60-degree weather that has my two-year-old running up and down the street and across our tiny city yard, chasing after bubbles and chalking our entire front porch in thick layers of blue, pink, and purple dust.
I am thankful for open windows that let the neighborhood sounds float in, even if they also let ants in.
I am grateful for books that zoom across the Internet and onto my Kindle as soon as another reader is done with them at the library, giving me a place to escape to when the outside world and social media are what I need escaping from.
I am thankful that the songs my son likes to fall asleep and dance to are not annoying (yet), and I don’t mind when they get stuck in my head when he’s not around.
I think sometimes the big things we’re thankful for – health, family, friends, jobs, roofs over our heads – are easy to rattle off and then ultimately take for granted. So today I’m attempting to see the trees rather than the forest, the drops rather than the ocean, the crumbs rather than the whole (Zingerman’s) loaf. I hope as you’re slogging through this home stretch, you can find the little miracles for yourself, too.
You know the Talking Heads song, “Once in a Lifetime?” I’ve been thinking a lot about the lyrics for pretty much the entire last year, because I often ask myself, “well how did I get here?” And logically, like stepwise, I know exactly how I got here. But when I zoom out, I am still stunned, and a little confused, at where I am. A little over six years ago, I was a single grad student who was a year from turning 30, cobbling together an income so I could live in a rowhouse in Columbia Heights with 3 other people, trying to date and find my person among a lot of self-important consultants and Hill staffers, and figuring out what exactly I wanted to do next. Would I stay in DC? Would I work for a big company? A nonprofit? Would I settle down with someone? Become the cool aunt? Should I meet friends for drinks or actually work out after my 8pm class ends?
Fast forward to now, and my life looks very different. I’m a married homeowner, I’m a freelancer for a large PR agency (formerly a Director, but…COVID made me re-evaluate a few things), and I HAVE A CHILD. I’m not going to pick up and move, I’m with my person for the long-haul, clearly I already committed to the kid thing, and if something starts after 8pm, there’s no way I’m going. Those big questions I ask myself are fewer and farther between. But once again, I am trying to figure out what I really, truly want to do for a living, how I want to spend my time and energy outside of my family.
So while I barely know how I got here, I also don’t know where I’m going.
But here’s the thing – as much as I want to feel like I have a unique perspective, I know that this feeling, this sudden rocketing forward into adulthood and then standing still, bewildered about how you got here and what comes next is really common. Many millennials spent most of our 20s trying to make the best of a bad situation, taking the jobs we could get in a not-so-great economy and trying to find love (or whatever) on dating apps. We worked hard, paid our dues (and the minimum payments on our student loans and credit cards), and laughed when anyone we knew talked seriously about buying a house. All while hearing how much society hated us and how self-involved we were in pretty much every major media outlet. People talk about millennials and our delayed adolescence, our earnestness, and our eternal quest for comfort and coziness, but we also have lived through our share of not-so-great historical events (and now two recessions, cool), so can you blame us?
That’s all we see and hear about, though. The flaws of millennials and how we can’t just grow up – even though there are a lot of us who are very grown up (some of us are almost 40!). We don’t hear about or see in popular culture the millennials who struggled hard in our 20s, and remember it keenly, but suddenly (at least it feels sudden to me) find themselves thrust forward into what looks like legit adulthood, all the while panicking that they are about to be found out. The ones, like me, thinking, “wait wait wait, what is this place? Do I belong here? Where did my entry-level job, my crappy apartment, and my questionable dating choices go? Is this my real life?” The ones who are incredibly fortunate and happy with where they ended up, but still feel a little lost.
I’ve struggled to find a perspective like my own, in what I read and watch – I don’t identify with the messy 20-something love stories involving either angsty artists or people about to make partner at a law firm at 25 (how? in what universe?) or the GenX 40-somethings going through mid-life crises. Where are the 35-year-olds who seemingly have their shit together, but are internally screaming because time is moving so fast and they want to make a decent living so they can pay down student loan debt but are also inundated with “follow your passion!” messages on a daily basis? Or if they do appear, why are they so often the annoying side characters, who are written to contrast the main character whose life looks a little messier from the outside? Where are the main characters who have finally passed the “just getting by” phase of their lives, who then start having existential crises about it? Look, this isn’t me starting a crusade to see representation of the millennials who made it after having a weird time in their 20s. I get that that might not always make for riveting story lines. But sometimes, I just wish I would see someone like me, who was the messy friend a few years before but now finds herself blinking in disbelief at the life she finds herself in now, the life with fewer material struggles than in her 20s, and more nebulous ones. I just wouldn’t hate having a guide is all I’m saying.
Like I said, I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know how I became a fairly successful corporate person with a happy, stable marriage, a child, a mortgage, and a financial planner today. It feels like I went in fast forward, like I got on a speeding train without knowing its destination. And then when I got off, no one would tell me how long we’d been traveling or where we’d landed. I like it here, but also…how did I pick this line, and when did I buy a ticket? This metaphor is getting pretty strained, but… I think you get it. How did I get here? How did any of us?
You know the fun little icebreaker, where people ask you to say something unexpected about yourself? I usually tell the group something about how I got to sing backup for a favorite mom crooner in college or how I randomly went to Vegas two days before Thanksgiving my junior year of college (I was very straightlaced and my parents were shocked and unhappy!). But one thing I always forget to mention is that once upon a time, I was a cheerleader.
While some might not be super surprised if they met me only at one point or another in my life, friends who have known me for a long time understand why this might make them laugh. But alas, the awkward pictures of 13-year-old me sitting amongst the blue and gold pom poms do exist, so despite the fact that it was a short-lived phase, and I wasn’t all that good at it, there is no escaping that it happened.
I was always an athlete (and I very much consider cheerleaders athletes, this post is no shade to them), but I was more of an individual sports kinda gal. Swimming and track were my chosen athletic pursuits for most of my life, because I got to be by myself and, aside from relays, no one directly relied upon me for their own success. I was a pretty decent swimmer, but still, not having that external pressure was part of why I enjoyed it so much. I also was incredibly shy for most of my adolescence, and talking to new people or being the center of attention made me blush and stutter. While I did end up being a theater/choir kid later in high school, that felt so different – I was either playing someone else or only the center of attention for the length of a solo I had practiced and practiced for.
Now, growing up, I always had friends, but I was never what you might call “popular.” These days, I’m pretty thankful for that, actually, but in middle school, I desperately wanted to be cool. Sixth and seventh grade in particular were tough as friends all around me were growing up at different rates – both physically and emotionally – and it felt like there was a major reshuffling of the social order. Being smart and having niche interests were no longer cool – but being able to do your hair, talk to boys, and make the latest Limited Too fashions fit into our Catholic school dress code were, like, the coolest. So my bespectacled, late-to-the-puberty-party self, who was terrified of the opposite sex but the proud winner of all spelling bees despite my classmates’ rolling eyes, didn’t know where she fit anymore.
In seventh grade, though, I had the chance to become a cheerleader. Blame all of the 90s teen romcoms we all watched, but I thought that this was my chance. I could reinvent myself, get the boys who played football to pay attention to me, and officially become cool. Friends, try to act surprised here, but that was not to be. I was still me, but now I had to wear a short skirt that only emphasized my knobby knees as I was thrown into the air (and dropped a fair amount, if we’re being honest) in our more impressive stunts, which made me even less confident about speaking to aforementioned football players on the sidelines. It was…not what I imagined it would be. I kept it up, since – often to my detriment – I refuse to quit things I hate, but I decided that cool just was not in the cards for me. I settled for simply making a few new friends before high school and continued on my nerdy way outside of cheering, winning spelling bees and showing off in English class.
Sometimes I still think about how I was sure certain things in high school and middle school were going to change my life, or at least my social standing, and I get such horrible secondhand embarrassment for teen me. Like cheerleading, like asking a boy I barely knew to freshman year Sadie Hawkins (he said no), like rolling my eyes at people in my honors classes who I genuinely thought were nice and interesting, just because the rest of our grade deemed them “nerdy.”
I don’t know why I was so convinced I needed to change (and I am really glad my “AP class mean girl” schtick didn’t last long), because I was fine where I was, the way I was. I wasn’t an outcast, but I marched to the beat of my own drum a lot of the time, and it just wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Few actively disliked me, but I was sort of a benign curiosity to folks outside of my friend circle. I was an athlete who was weirdly obsessed with 60s fashion, got good grades, and surprised everyone senior year by trying out for the musical and getting a lead role (“what’s that girl’s name? The one who can sing but I didn’t even know went here?”). In short, there was good, there was bad, but ultimately, it was all just fine. I didn’t have to endure the trauma of being mean-girled but also, sometimes people in my homeroom (that we shared for four years) forgot my name and called me Megan. And I wish I would have known that it was all fine then – that I was just who I was meant to be at the time. That I didn’t need to try so hard and that I could just like the things and people I liked. Maybe if I had known all of that, I wouldn’t have tried out for cheerleading and bruised my tailbone so many times.
I haven’t been writing as consistently as I would have liked this past month, but since we’re on the cusp of the new year, I did want to take a moment to reflect a little.
At the beginning of 2020, I decided that my word for the year was going to be more. I had big plans, and I was excited. I had survived year one of motherhood, was moving along in my career, and was feeling more confident in my own skin. But then…ah, but then. March hit, and all of our (the collective our, really) plans were shot to hell.
In some ways, though, I still did achieve more, albeit in ways I hadn’t expected or might not have considered achievements in the past. And in some ways, I really went hard, the opposite way, toward less. I spent more time with my immediate family, especially my toddler son, who seemed to change before my eyes. Since we didn’t go anywhere, we saved a lot more money toward future goals (despite me leaving my job halfway through the year!). I wrote a lot more, through various creative projects and journaling, and I read more than I had in years. And I was a lot more honest with myself about what I needed, and what was important for me and my family. Which really involved a lot less.
I quit my job, which resulted in less stress and anxiety around not being a good parent, if I was on the right career track, and what a year at home was going to do to our son. When I eventually started freelancing, I decided to take on less than my maximum capacity. I put less pressure on myself to figure it out and improve and be productive every second of the day. I started to care a little less about about what people thought of me – especially when it came to decisions about my career, speaking out for what I feel is right and against what is wrong, and about my creative pursuits. I started a blog (again), completed #The100DayProject (with really, moments to spare in 2020), and let myself try things even if I couldn’t finish them or they didn’t work out like I had hoped (not sure what I was thinking with starting a NaNoWriMo project in the middle of a pandemic with a two-year-old at home!). In doing less, I also cut myself more slack when something wasn’t achieved on my designated timeline – or at all.
If you’re reading this, you and me, we survived a terrible, terrible year. Not saying 2021 is going to magically be better, but we got through this one – by doing more, doing less, however – we made it. Maybe we learned something new – a new skill out of boredom or a painful lesson the hard way – either way, no one is leaving 2020 unchanged. I hope 2021 treats us all a little better, and that you have something on the horizon to look forward to.
You weren’t all bad, 2020, but I will not miss you a bit – Happy New Year!
We’ve all got those friends, right? The ones with an interesting POV or who always know the best thing to eat/wear/read or who are always out doing something incredibly exciting (in the before times) that you never would have heard of. The ones who seem 100% confident in their opinions and comfortable in their own skin. Do we think they know how cool they are? I’m sure some do, but I often wonder if some of my friends realize their level of cool.
I’ve been thinking about this because I have some really cool friends, and even though my communication hasn’t been great in 2020, they are still seemingly happy to hear from me when I do reach out. One friend has impeccable taste, and a witty, wry sense of humor I can only aspire to. Another is an author a few times over, and always has the best recommendations for making your home your favorite place to be. Another has such energy and zest for life, constantly completing athletic feats and randomly appearing on national TV on top of her full time job, that I really don’t know how she fits it all in. And that’s just a few of my cool friends! Yet, when I text or email, all of them respond with enthusiasm, expressing excitement about when we can get together in 2021 (fingers crossed!) or asking to make plans to Zoom.
To be clear, I am not a bad friend (at least usually, but who hasn’t had a not-great period of time or two?), or even the token weird friend, and this is not a post where I am going to wonder aloud, “wait, what if I am also the cool friend and I don’t know it?” I think it’s important to know yourself, and I am not, have never been, nor will I ever be, the cool friend. I am many things, but “cool” has literally never been a word anyone has used to describe me. Maybe fun, or thoughtful, or bookish, or talkative, or sometimes athletic, or easily excitable about kind of nerdy things, but, again, never “cool.” Which is why I think I’m still so surprised that cool people want to be friends with me, ya know? Sometimes I even want to ask them, “do you know how cool you are? Do you know how surprised I still am that you still want to be friends with me?!” But, of course, in the spirit of playing it cool (see what I did there?), I don’t.
This entire past week, I have felt terrible (not COVID, don’t worry!).
As someone who rarely gets sick, this was pretty jarring. I’m used to getting the sniffles, powering through, and then being back to 100 percent in a couple days. But this time, I was confined to the couch, living on Saltines and Vernors while trying to keep an almost-two year old entertained. Luckily, we ordered in on Thanksgiving, and my husband had a good chunk of last week off, but it was still quite the blow to all the plans I had.
I wanted to write more, make fun desserts for the holiday, clean our closet, do a little yoga, go for walks with my son. Instead, I can’t tell you how many afternoon couch naps I took or how many bad holiday movies I watched or how little I actually moved. It was like I was shutting down all functions that didn’t have to do with absolute survival.
But…this year, in 2020, I was oddly OK with it. Pre-2020 me would have been really upset, would have tried to go into overdrive the following week to make up for everything I hadn’t done while sick. But 2020 me? While a little annoyed that my plans were messed up, I kind of shrugged and am now moving on. Not going crazy trying to play catchup, but just…starting where I left off.
This year has been terrible for so many (and some much more than others), so I won’t tell you that we should all be looking for silver linings and lessons learned. But for me, if this year has taught me anything, it’s this: it’s OK to step back – in your career, in your social life, in your weird household organization ambitions, even in your holiday cheer. One year seems really long (especially this year), but in the grand scheme of things, stepping back for one month, one season, one year, in order to survive, in order to make sure that the necessary parts of your life are still functioning, is not going to be the end of the world. Everyone’s situation is different, but if you step back in an area that isn’t absolutely essential, you might even be better for it.
I’m not totally back to 100 percent over here, but right now, I don’t need to be.
I am a mom, a partner, a communicator, a freelancer, a daughter, a sister, an aunt. I’m a creative person and a writer and a reader. A curious person trying to soak up as much information and experience as she can, even when the world she is experiencing is rather small. I am an empathizer, a worrier, an anxious person who sometimes just needs to shut down to begin processing what’s going on around her. And right now, especially, I am uncertain.
I am uncertain about so many things- the future of our country, what togetherness looks like now and in the future, who I’ll be personally and professionally in five, ten, twenty years. I am standing on a cliff, and can’t be sure whether it’s safer to stay or jump, because despite the precariousness of what’s below, everything racing at me from behind is incredibly scary as well.
I wish I had a more definitive answer to who I am right now. I wish I felt firm where I stood, but the sands beneath my feet, probably much like that beneath yours, keep shifting. I am a person who, even after 35 years on this planet is still forming, still asserting and revising opinions, still adjusting the lens through which I see the world. In short, I am only certain that I am uncertain.
Who are you right now, in this moment?
As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been working my way through the “Name Your Anchors” series of writing prompts from author Molly Caro May. The post above is a result of one of those prompts.
I realize this is not a unique opinion, but I really, truly dislike multitasking. I have never been good at doing more than one thing at a time, and I enjoy the simplicity of focusing on the task at hand. I like to do the thing, while I’m doing it, and that’s it.
I’ve always been pretty sensitive to distractions, but I didn’t really think about it as not being able to multitask well until I hit adulthood, especially when it came to work. I never liked studying with the TV or music on (instrumental jazz or classical notwithstanding). I didn’t mind playing sports that seemed boring to others, like swimming and running. In fact, I kind of liked how “boring” they were, because I could really focus. When you’re swimming miles a day, the rhythm of your strokes becomes soothing, not dull. I also have always enjoyed studying alone (I suppose this is not the first time I’ve mentioned it), and reading is an activity I have always liked to do solo – doing both, I’m incredibly sensitive to the noise and comfort around me. It doesn’t have to be silent, but I like things to be a certain way, to be just so.
And then when I started working, especially in my communications/PR career, where the pace can be intense, I found myself attempting to multitask more and more. And things were never just so, the tasks at hand were never my sole focus. I felt constant pressure to do as much as possible within my work day, writing emails during calls and IMing with colleagues as I mapped out strategic plans. And though I worked remotely a lot of the time, whenever I had to work in an open-floor-plan office, I wanted to tear my hair out (another rant for another time). I already knew that I was a person who needed space and time to focus, but was trying to resist who I was at my core in order to get the job done, and getting really frustrated and flustered in the process.
Though studies have shown that multitasking does not, in fact, make us more efficient, it doesn’t stop people from trying to do it or from pushing the ideal of multitasking onto other people. But perhaps it’s time for everyone, especially those of us who are on the extreme end of being anti-multitaskers, to accept this truth and allow people to work within their natures.
Again, this is not a new or original idea! But it’s an important one. I’m not arguing for mindfulness here, exactly, but I don’t know that anyone is at their best when they try to meet the demands of two tasks at once. And honestly, sometimes it seems like more work, more for me to think about, in order to make my life that efficient. Yesterday, I unloaded the dishwasher, and that was it. It was silent, I was not listening to a podcast or music and I wasn’t on a call. I just did it. And thinking about, “oh I need to find my headphones and then turn on a new podcast” before I could unload the dishwasher or pick up stuff around the kitchen just seemed like it would have slowed me down. It wasn’t worth it to me to “maximize” what I was doing by learning or absorbing information while I did it. Sometimes, I like quiet and just not doing or thinking of anything else while I fold laundry or jot down my to-do list. And most of the time, there’s enough going on in my brain anyway.
Are you a multitasker? Or are you in the anti-multitasking club with me?
As a person who constantly overcommits, and then probably underdelivers (mostly to myself, since professionally, I unnecessarily beat myself up about what I’m achieving and who I might be letting down while still usually producing a good final product), I can tell you that I really wish I were better at following through. I set very lofty goals, and then when I fail to meet them completely, I struggle to stay motivated. This is definitely related to my all or nothing personality/outlook, but here we are. Below is an incomplete list of things I have not been able to stick to that, honestly, just hang over my head all the time.
A regular exercise routine. For a former personal trainer, I sure am lax about my fitness. Don’t get me wrong, on most days I move my body in some way – I do at least 15 pushups and squats almost daily, and I take my son for two walks around the neighborhood a day, weather permitting. But beyond that? It’s pretty hit or miss. I keep starting routines (full body workout, MWF! Two runs per week!), but the second I’m derailed by something like a busy day or a minor illness, it feels like I have to start over. I’m constantly battling between two selves: the one who has been type A and very regimented all of her life, and the other who wants to live and not lapse back into the unhealthily strict behaviors that plagued her throughout college and a good chunk of her 20s. Would I like to improve my cardiovascular health and feel like I could do 50 jump squats without being out of breath? Sure, but I also really would like to read this book while I have two hours of peace while my son naps, so….
A consistent writing practice. When I left my full-time job, I said I would set up a schedule to write every single day. But… it didn’t work out like that. Sometimes when my son was napping, I needed to get stuff done or run errands that I couldn’t do when he was awake. And sometimes, I just wanted to read and decompress for a bit while I had a break. And almost every day, I needed a minute to switch over from mom mode to writer mode, so I didn’t have the full amount of time I expected to have. I have journaled almost every day for the past year, but while I’ve gotten a few exciting ideas from jotting down my thoughts or daily happenings, sometimes it felt like I was simply going through the motions and not really writing the way I thought I should be. I have been able to write here a little more consistently lately, which I’m proud of, but I’m still working on what an ideal writing practice would look like.
Good sleep hygiene. I have always been a night owl, but I also really love sleep. Now, with a child and a job and a partner I want to spend time with, sleep has been less of a priority, even though I know getting more of it will improve my life pretty much all around. But I am always trying to squeeze in more hours to my day after we lay our son down to sleep at night, which results in me going to bed much later than I would like. I try to set up goals for myself, like “in bed by 10!” but then I get in bed and stay awake reading for two hours or looking at TikTok until I drop my phone on my face. To be fair, I haven’t tried the more extreme things like putting my phone in another room, but that’s probably where I need to go from here.
A long-term career. To anyone who has met me in the last couple years, I seem to have a career. I work in health communications and PR, and I’ve steadily moved up the ranks, even as I’ve had a child and gone into freelance mode a couple times. But this is not my first career (or even my second), and I don’t think it will be my last. I’m hoping I can make one move transition smoothly into the next, without having to start over, but I really have no idea what my “career” will look like five, ten, or 20 years from now. Knowing myself and my curious nature, I don’t think I’m ever going to feel like I’m in the one right career for me. But as I write this, maybe I’m OK with lacking follow through here.
Keeping up with friends. I feel like everyone feels this right now, though, right? We’re all socially (and physically) distanced, so our normal methods of seeing one another, whether it’s a couple times a year or a couple times a month, are not available. I had hoped, though, with the pandemic that I would find time to catch up with friends I had previously felt too busy to reach out to, since we were all suddenly video chatting and calling and texting more. And that happened for a bit in March and April, but then…we all got Zoom fatigue, and as we learned that the pandemic wasn’t going to be over anytime soon, I (along with a lot of people) started to retreat and turn inward. I felt like I had done that so much in my early and mid-20s, thanks to a long bout of depression (more on that another time), that I didn’t want to repeat it. But this pandemic is tough, and putting more pressure on ourselves for certain things isn’t worth it – it still bothers me that I wasn’t able to follow through on this one, though, because I miss people!
I’m not writing about this because I am asking for solutions (but hey, if you’ve been there and have tips, I’m open), but because I figure, aren’t we all struggling to follow through on one thing or another these days? And as much as I feel like I struggle with following through on certain goals and commitments, I’m proud of the things that I’ve been able to follow through on: a solid relationship with my husband (despite a pandemic, a toddler, and stressful jobs); my dedication to my role as a mother, even though I never felt a super maternal pull growing up, and I sometimes I take a few extra minutes when I run upstairs for “one quick thing”; and for taking the time to remember that I am a whole person, who is always curious and thinking of ways to bring more creativity to my everyday life.
Where do you struggle with following through? Or are you one of those people who meets all of your goals all of the time? (If so, what is your secret and are you human?)
Of all the things I’ve learned about myself during this pandemic, the most astounding is how much space I need. Though it shouldn’t be so surprising that I learned how much breathing room I require when the world of almost everyone I know has shrunk so significantly.
While some people have found more time to devote to leisure and side projects lately, around here time is precious. We now have a very active almost-two-year-old son at home with us full-time (and have since March), and any free moment we had during our work days is completely gone – part of the reason I transitioned to freelance work. Two adults working in high-pressure jobs while trying to alternate on childcare (and now attempting to teach colors and numbers and letters!) was tough. But even with a reduction in work hours (and a three-month complete break, which I was lucky to be able to take), time is scarce, and a two-hour window during naptime usually gives me just enough time to quickly clean up from our tornado of a toddler and write or work for 45 minutes. Of course, we’re not unique in having less time – I think every working parent who does not have childcare or does not feel comfortable using available childcare feels the same way.
And we’re also not unique in feeling trapped in our space. Before the pandemic, our 1000-square-foot home in DC felt like plenty of space – after all, we had the whole city to roam, with different neighborhoods to explore every weekend and what felt like endless options for culture and food. But now, with three of us at home at all times, it can feel like… a lot. Our bedroom is now a makeshift office, and the kitchen table in our one-room main floor is taken over by laptops, pens, and toddler board books (open concept is a little less appealing when everyone is home all the time). When our son is napping, we can each find our own space, either by heading to different rooms or one of us going on a walk, but the rest of the day, it feels a bit like we’re breathing down each others’ necks, especially when we’re not used to working in the same space, let alone with a child, no matter how happy he is. And if we have any visitors (very rare these days and only after they’ve quarantined), our house seems to contract even further, even though I love having people we’re close to around, especially in these times, which makes me feel conflicted and guilty and ungrateful.
I wish I had a solution for this space issue, but I really don’t. I share all of this because I know we’re not alone in feeling too much togetherness, too few moments to ourselves, too little control about… everything. After six-plus months of this, I’ve only come up with a few workarounds that keep me feeling like I’m hanging on by more than a thread. Things like…taking an extra five minutes when I say I have to use the bathroom, which I mostly use to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. Or making sure that, if nothing else, I at least do a few squats and pushups a day to get my blood pumping. Or not feeling as bad if I just want to lie down for an hour after putting our son to bed, because I want our fluffy comforter all to myself for a bit. Because the things that worked before – getting out of the house to go to the gym or get coffee, taking the occasional day off from work while my son was at daycare, meeting up with friends for a glass of wine – are no longer options, so I have to make do with what’s available to me now.
During this pandemic I have learned so much about what I need to maintain my mental health, my relationships, my productivity. Mostly because I haven’t had as much of it as I require to really thrive.
I need space.
To be my whole self.
For now, I’ll keep finding little ways to make space, but here’s hoping 2021 is a little more wide open. How are you carving out space and time for yourself right now? Is it working?