Is there ever anything quite so satisfying as checking things off on a list? After the hellscape that was 2020, it's really nice to think that we *might* be nearing the finish line. Rays of hope are in sight! Now let's not delude ourselves into thinking that life is just gonna pop back to normal. I think it's going to be a slow and incremental process, and I think it's likely that we'll be wearing masks for at least another year or so, but the we're getting there, I truly believe that.
In that same spirit of expectation, I have started planning out my year. Now I know that I'm a little behind, it is February after all (it's February?!?!) and I completely missed a month, but I've started! And ya know what? It's filling up fast. I'm setting deadlines for my manuscripts to come - realistic ones, ones that aren't going to fly past at supersonic speeds cackling mockingly at me as they go.
I've been able to plot out some events that I am doing and am hoping to do, and I'm also planning grace. Just because the light is starting to shine at the end of the tunnel, doesn't mean that we can start being unnecessarily cruel to ourselves. We are still experiencing a global trauma and none of us are functioning tip top. This is a period where we have to be able to forgive ourselves when we don't meet our own expectations.
I admit that there have been periods of feast or famine in terms of creative creation. Here in Philadelphia we've recently had two snow days on the heels of a weekend. I planned to devote those two 'bonus days' to writing, to getting ahead of my own schedule. I did a little rearranging in my study, I got all situated, lit a wonderful scented candle, opened the miniblinds and settled in to write. I took a look out the window and before I had any clue what had happened, three hours had passed - of me just looking out the window. I have no clue how that happened. I don't think I looked away that whole time. I instantly hated myself. I'd lost three hours of work from just staring away, I can't even tell you what I'd been thinking about! Which infuriated me even further. Where was my self-discipline! BUT that was three hours that was never actually planned on. It was three hours in a day that was already like a free space on a bingo card. And my mind surely must have needed a reset time.
Periods like these are going to happen. They happen everyday, and probably a little more frequently right now. We've got to allow ourselves to have those times of just being. And we've got to take care of ourselves, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. If that means going for a socially distanced walk, do it! If it means screaming into a pillow, do it! (Try not to scare your pet, children, housemates, ghosts or even your houseplants) If you need to binge watch some Netflix, do it. (I usually escape to Star Trek or the Great British Baking Show!) Read a book (I hear there's a great book called Opportunity out now [shameless self promotion]) And talk to someone. If you need to, contact a therapist, there is no shame in taking care of yourself! I'm not ashamed to tell you that I speak to a therapist twice a month. Don't let the ignorance of other stop you from making sure you're well taken care of. There is no more courageous sentence than 'I need help.' If you just want someone to talk to, not necessarily a professional, find a friends, someone you trust. Hell, I'll even listen. I can't promise that I'm always available to be back and forth, but I'm always happy to listen. And I can't promise that I've got any advice, but I'll listen. And your friends will listen, and those who love you will listen - because they love you.
This became a long rambling thing that I didn't plan on but, hey, I think it needed to be said. I hope 2021 is an amazing year for you, for me and for all we love. We're in this together, but from other places (which works fine for me. Like Frasier said, "I'm here for you. And you're over there for me.")
Which brings me to one other thing that I want to say in this random stream of consciousness. We've probably all seen the meme that says "Introverts have been preparing for this their whole lives." While there is some truth to that, that doesn't mean that we aren't struggling too. This is hard for all of us. Check on your introvert friends too. We all need care and love right now!
And above all, remember; you are seen, you are loved, you matter!