About a month ago I started writing a blog post that began with the sentence “Approximately four months into lockdown, I have run out of things to say.”
It sat there for a month, in fact it sits there still, in my drafts folder, taunting me, proving that I have, in fact, run out of things to say.
And not just on my blog, but in general. Like I have lost the ability to be interesting, assuming I had been interesting in the past, and conversations are a kind of struggle like I have never before known.
I had a hair appointment last week for the first time since February, much like everyone else, and while I was thrilled to be back in the chair in my friend’s extremely safe and secure salon, the words didn’t flow like they used to and even trying to explain something simple (like what colour I wanted my hair to be???) became an exercise in frustration when I started to talk and realize that my mouth just could barely form words, and when it did, they were the wrong words.
A few weeks ago I revealed on Twitter that I wasn’t tweeting as much because I have become just so very boring. What is there, honestly, to talk about? If I can’t carry on a conversation with my hairstylist, who is also a very good friend of 20+ years, what hope is there for me in any other realm?
At the beginning of the year, back in January when we had no idea what was going to transpire in this new year of 2020, I, like so many of us, wrote some goals and plans for the year. It seems wild now that a year could have possibly unfolded without a major global pandemic, but oh, how young and optimistic we were!
Typically I check in with my goals at about the halfway point in the year, but in June I just couldn’t do it. I fully expected to be dismally disappointed in how I fared (I mean understandably so, but still) and so I put it off until this past weekend.
I won’t bore you with too many of my plans but suffice to say many of them were writing-related: write more, blog more, finish that second draft, etc. my intentions were good and then March arrived and a lot of my writing plans, like most of my plans altogether suffered.
Then there were the financial goals to be more mindful of what I purchase and a little ditty called “Don’t buy things you don’t need” and HOO BOY did the pandemic mess THAT one up. Come for me, Instagram targeted ads, yes I do need whatever you are selling! A romper? A jumpsuit? Obviously these are necessary during a pandemic when I can’t even leave the house! Eventually the packages stopped coming to the front door, but for a time it was so extreme.
But there were a couple that actually seemed spot-on and downright scary to think they came out of my brain prior to this whole…thing:
- More kindness
- Commit to less; stay home more
I mean come ON.
Full disclosure, I make the “more kindness” goal every year and it’s one goal I know for sure I improve upon as time goes on. And honestly, if there is something to be learned from living in 2020 so far, it’s that kindness and giving the benefit of the doubt – to yourself and to others – can go a very long way.* The kindness toward myself is still very much a work in progress, but it is progress, and this will come.
Commit to less and stay home more definitely came from over-committing myself in the past decade or so and realizing that I suffer from doing so. Not intense life-threatening suffering, but, and I know it’s cliche, I am not getting any younger and I really wanted 2020 to be the year I checked out of FOMO and started saying no just a little bit more. And look where that got me! Nothing to miss out on and nothing to say no to! I should be thrilled.
And this leads me to wonder what next year’s goals will look like for me. “Go out more” and “Be less boring” will probably top the list, but I think concepts like patience and gratitude, flexibility and resilience will also be right up there. 2020 has been a learning curve of a year so far, and there are still months and months left with new challenges every week. And, if the experts are to be trusted (jk OF COURSE THEY ARE TO BE TRUSTED) 2021 may not look much different, and so it will be all about strength and resilience and making the most of a new kind of world.
I’ve spent the last few months trying to wait it out, waiting to get back to if not normal at least something like it, something recognizable. And now I know – or at least I’m willing to admit – that it’s not happening and it’s up to me to live my life to find a way not just to exist but to thrive, to soar, and to actually find the words again.
So maybe I won’t wait until January to set some goals, make some priorities for the rest of the year. September is as good a fresh start as any, maybe better if you, like me, always saw the beginning of the school year as the new year anyway.
I think it’s time.
*This kindness does not extend to (most) politicians. Because fuck those guys.