I’m working on learning how to do the things I don’t much like doing.

Every day we are all expected to do things we don’t want to do. We have to make a living. We have to feed, clothe and care for loved ones. We have to live in a society. Every day we are all expected to look like and behave as if we are someone else entirely from who we are with entirely different wants and needs than we have.

More often than not it’s for the best, but more often than I realized before the pandemic, it’s at the expense of my mental and physical health. Still, the world is what it is and there is only so much boundary setting and advocating I can do against capitalism and culture. These hours aren’t mine. I am not mine.

Not a lot of the time anyway, but looking back at the way I used to complain and struggle, I wonder if it might be easier to just give up and give in. Sometimes the fastest way out of doing something boring, uncomfortable, undesirable or difficult is to simply do it and be done with it. Sometimes in trying to change something, you only manage to prolong your pain and stroke your anger.

Each of us, it seems, has to find our compromise with the world.

Goals // Week 01: There Is Time Enough

This week will the first time in months that I will return to something like my old full-time work schedule. I have been eager for a return to a time of more interesting and fulfilling work, but I expect the reality will remind me was days just like these, only longer and more tiring. Still,… Continue reading Goals // Week 01: There Is Time Enough

It takes actually getting up and getting to work. It takes turning off or at least tuning out the critical areas of the mind and letting your emotions, your instincts, your ideas run things for a while.

Stop being so damn rational all the time. Stop finding so many obstacles and excuses. Stop getting in your own way. Stop turning a blind eye to your own bad behavior.

Put the phone in another room. Make a list. Set a timer and do as much as you can before it’s up. Open your planner, your journal, and your notebook and mine the ideas there. Keep a notepad next to your laptop to write down the little thoughts and to-dos that pop into your head before they become distractions.

This is the way I would like to work and for a time today I managed it, but not enough to make the progress I’d hoped. Still, it was many times better than most days last year. I suppose that makes today a success. Of course, but before I could celebrate the accomplishment, my thoughts returned to tomorrow again to replace my pride with new obstacles and excuses, fresh failures and bad feelings.

This month it seems, at least until I’ve practiced the art of mindfulness and positive thinking, will be a long and hard battle with myself. I always have been my own greatest enemy. Maybe 2021 is the year I learn how to believe in myself? The year I realize the problem hasn’t been my lack of motivation or focus, but my lack of encouragement and faith.

The year is already moving much too fast for me. My mind keeps jumping ahead to tomorrow and from there it’s easy to start worrying over Monday too, and while there I may as well obsess over the rest of the work week, right? Once there the month is practically half over and with so much to do and fail at before mid-month today starts feeling like a good day to give up.

The calendar might only say the 2nd of January, but as far as my anxiety is concerned, it’s weeks from now and nothing at all is done, different, or better for it.

I can’t seem to stay in the present. I can’t seem to focus on today’s tasks and troubles alone and though my mind insists this jumping ahead is for my own good, I can see from the missing check marks and empty pages in my planner and journal, that way of thinking is killing my motivation and productivity.

More than that, it’s killing my joy. Why is it when I think about the future I can only see all the problems and all the ways I will fail? Why can’t I see good things? Why can’t I imagine success? Perhaps this should be another kind of mind shift for me: for every worry or failure you can conjure, imagine a victory. Imagine happiness.

I’m a realist bordering on pessimistic so I have my doubts that thinking one way or another can impact an outcome or future event, but what I hope is that it will help the present, and what happens in the present has a direct impact on what happens in the next hour, the next month, and over the course of the next year.

It’s been a slow introduction to the New Year this morning. It seems staying up to celebrate the occasion makes for a poor start to your resolutions. I should have known, though. Staying up late has rarely felt worth the loss in energy, motivation, or focus the following day. I have a suspicion this may be the end of that tradition, or I’ll at least establish a new one: the New Year’s Eve Evening Naptime.

So, I’m giving myself a day to do only the bare minimum and just the basics. Hardly any of my resolutions this year require a dedicated daily practice and the ones that do I have marked off already. I got my 10 minutes of mediation and stretching in before sunrise, and today’s journal entry is complete. All I have left is to write for so many words and read for so many pages before the end of the day.

THe greatest excitement today will be getting to fill in the first page of my planner and preparing for the first weeks of the month by scheduling my time and working out my “to dos”. This analog system feels good and my hope that having everything written down in front of me and not on my phone I’ll have a little more focus and with just a little more focus over the next 365 days, I think I can get a lot done!

My specific resolutions aren’t quite done yet, but that’s okay. I’m taking a different approach this year. I’m letting this 2021 version of myself become rather than expecting her to emerge today fully formed and perfect. This 2021 version of me isn’t sure who she is or how best to express herself or move forward, so she’s taking the year slowly and I’m giving her permission not to know yet and to change her mind when she does work it out.

I don’t have to start everything today, and it’s probably best that I don’t. That’s the fastest way to feel overwhelmed and the surest way for me to fail. The new year has arrived but I I am not arriving, I am growing.

Currently // December 2020: Never Be the Same

“It’s four in the morning, the end of DecemberI’m writing you now just to see if you’re better.” ― Leonard Cohen, Famous Blue Raincoat The end of December has arrived and with it the end of one of the longest and most horrific years in my memory. Thinking back to this time last year, it’s… Continue reading Currently // December 2020: Never Be the Same

New Year’s Eve is a strange day. It’s a day of preparing, of wanting, and of waiting and as that waiting goes on, and the body and mind fill with nervous energy you grow anxious, impatient, and quite feverishly, hopeful. You are simultaneously excited to leave the last 12 months behind and terrified to begin the next.

There are many hours left still before the end will come and the new beginning arrives finally. Here we are keeping our celebrations quiet and, most importantly, safe.

We aren’t marking the day as we usually do: with family or friends, drinking and partying. It’s just my wife and I softly ringing in the new year together and considering how much we’ve been through in these last many months, I couldn’t think of any way or with anyone I’d rather celebrate.

I’m practicing a lot of self-reflection and managing my expectations of what 2021 will bring. I remember New Year’s Eve before the start of 2020 I thought I was about to enter the a time of great joy and productivity. I imagined so many successes and experiences, and within months I the whole world was turned upside down.

I have no such expectations of 2021. I do not even believe it will be a better year than this last. All I hope for is that I will be better at coping with pain, disappointment, change, loss, and anger. I hope I will find ways to make the best of whatever I have and wherever I am. I hope to endure better, and that is all.