Lately: A Few Favorite Recent Reads

Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels

Whew. What a week, huh? Now that we’re all taking a collective breath and a short hiatus from panic donating to various candidates and rage posting on social media, I thought I might share a few things I have actually taken pleasure in reading recently. Partly because I like sharing, and partly because my brain is still mush. Enjoy! 

  1. The vicious cycle of never-ending laundry”: as someone who actually likes doing laundry (yes, I actually fold it the same day it’s washed!), learning the history of it and the lack of advancement over the last 50 years or so was fascinating. Laundry is still an endless chore that we haven’t really turned into a luxurious experience. But my favorite line?  “I always think about the change that came with the advent of electricity,” says Jessamyn Neuhaus […]. “Electricity could ease the burden of women keeping house, but also when they turned on those electric lights, a lot of people were like, ‘Shit, my house is so dirty.’” 
  2. For now“: I love Nora and everything she writes, but I really felt this. Doing less, or at least not doing more, in the middle of a pandemic isn’t exactly a new thought during this time, but the way she lays it out is lovely. I’m ok doing less right now and not adding anything to my to-do list. 
  3. 22 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Into Your Own Weird, Perfect Holiday”: after a lot of weighing the pros and cons (and now, surging COVID numbers!), we have decided to stay home and celebrate Thanksgiving as a family of three. So I love so many of these ideas, especially those related to giving back and learning about who lived where we live before it was “discovered.” And though we’re probably ordering in for the meal itself (pulling together a full spread in a tiny house with a very tall toddler who can reach literally everything on counters and the stovetop sounds like a nightmare), I’m definitely going to make a few pies so we can do a little dessert competition.
  4. Tenisha Yancey Is a Michigan House Rep With a Felony Record—and It’s Helping Her Design Legislation“: I loved this interview, partly because I’m from Michigan and partly because I think everyone deserves a second chance, and this shows the power of doing just that. 
  5. The One Dish: Thanksgiving 2020 and How to Deal”: Another Thanksgiving article. I loved reading what various food folks and entertainers consider their must-have Thanksgiving dish, the one that makes them feel some semblance of home or normal, even when times are as weird as they are now.

Have you read anything you’ve really enjoyed lately? Share with me so I can read something other than the rollercoaster ride that is political news in the US!

Who I Am Right Now

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Who are you right now, in this moment?

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.

On Productivity and Not Wanting to Do Anything

You know Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song”? No? Well, if you’re not familiar with this 2010 pop gem, it goes a little something like this:

Today I don’t feel like doing anything

I just wanna lay in my bed

Don’t feel like picking up my phone

So leave a message at the tone

‘Cause today I swear I’m not doing anything

Yesterday, that is exactly how I felt. Except…I have a toddler. A curious, energetic, nonstop toddler. So it didn’t matter that I didn’t feel like doing anything – doing nothing is not an option when you have a small child in your house. Because even lying on the floor while he plays, is not “doing nothing” – believe me, I’ve tried it, and it’s more work than playing because I’m in defense mode, protecting my head and neck the whole time. 

Anyway. While my son naps, especially on weekends, my husband and I do have a few hours to ourselves. We usually spend that time cleaning, organizing, getting caught up for the week ahead, and then each take a little bit of time to relax (for me, that’s usually writing or reading in bed). But yesterday? Our house was a mess, there was a basket of laundry waiting to be put away, and I had a lot of unanswered emails, and I just…didn’t want to do it. I wanted to lie in bed and read. 

You might be asking, so what? It’s the weekend, do what you want! Which I would agree with in normal times. But we are not in normal times. We are in pandemic times, and our son is home with us all day, every day, with no breaks, so two hours during naptime (three if I’m really lucky) is all of the productive free time I get, no matter the day of the week. Because of this I often feel like I need to use up every second of it. 

But yesterday, I was just not feeling it. The productive “but you should…” side of me was losing a battle with the “but it’s Sunday, relax!” side of me, and in the end, I let the latter win. I told myself to take a breath, think about what would happen if I didn’t do those things (uhh, nothing), and channel pre-pandemic Heather, who had fewer qualms about squandering her free time on a Sunday. With that, at 1:30pm, I jumped in the shower, put on clean PJs, and flopped myself into bed with the book I had been trying to finish all week. And it was lovely! 

During this time of relaxation, my mind started wandering to my definition of productivity, and how I assume it means I always have to be on and doing, instead of simply being and resting. Because really, aren’t some of the other things I’m doing right now (not including scrolling Instagram), on top of taking on some consulting work, productive? Isn’t trying to raise a human being to be a good, well-rounded person productive? Isn’t doing something for myself, like reading a novel or working on my writing passion projects, productive? And isn’t simply resting productive?  

So yes, yesterday, I let myself do nothing. But I engaged my brain and was productive in a new way, not in spite of the fact that I was trying to rest, but because of it. Perhaps we would all be more productive, if we stopped trying so hard to be exactly that?