Currently // February 2019: Failures Will Have to Be Accepted

“Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?” 

― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

New Year’s day might fall on January 1st, but February is when the year really begins. It’s when the shock of the calendar change wears off and the work can begin. It’s when the year begins to become itself, what it will be and not what we had hoped or wished it would be instead.

January was squandered while we recovered from the holidays but come February 1st, we all got a second chance to begin. All you needed was the courage and resolve to do so. But if you didn’t, those resolutions may feel long gone and failure may have firmly set in now that March has come. Some of those failures will have to be accepted. The time for do-overs has passed, but there is time yet to change, to adjust, to begin anew now, if you want.

For me, there have certainly been failures already. There is a lot I haven’t started yet and plenty I suppose I’ll never start now. At the same time, a few small steps were made and I’m exceedingly proud of what I’ve done and still resolve to do this year.

In fact, through March my plan is to keep on doing what I’ve been doing, only now I need to work on doing it a little more, and a little better, and with a little more courage.

But before I do, here is what I am currently…

Writing my journal entries, every day, but not much more if I’m honest. February was a bad writing month but not from lack of want. I just had too much else to do. Those daily journal entries may not be much, and they may not even be very good, but I am proud of myself for writing them. They’re better than nothing at all and they’re already beginning to add up. I am working on a real piece for Zen and Pi that I’m pretty excited about and I’m thinking again of writing a book.

Making the most of my time. I’m working on mastering the art of “deep work” but scheduling more than a couple of hours of creative focus at a time while working a split shift at my day job has been difficult. I’ve had to examine closely the ways I use social media and my phone in general and accept hard truths about the kind of work I want to be doing vs. the kind of “work” I have actually been doing. I’ve removed time-sucking apps from my home screen and replaced them with apps that rouse my brain cells, feed my curiosity, and inspire me to write more. I’ve started using timers and I’m learning to take my ambitions seriously. I’m making progress.

Planning a wedding! I’ve been planning my wedding for quite a long time now but this month I finally took the first concrete steps toward having a wedding. We have a ceremony site, a venue for our reception, and we settled on invitations and colors. We’re terrified and regretting the decision not to elope but we’re doing it and it’s going to be wonderful, and even if it isn’t wonderful, we’ll still be happy because we’ll be married which is all we really want, anyway.

Anticipating Springtime! It’s in February that I first start to feel the first hints of the change to come though I can’t tell from where the feeling comes. Nothing looks any different. The weather is still as cold and dreary as it was last month, but I no longer feel as though the frozen abyss will go on forever. I feel a slow vibration building beneath the leftover layers of snow and ice. I know soon something beautiful will grow there and I’m eager to meet it.

Reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. February was not as good of a reading month as January was and I think it’s because I read so much in January that I have slacked off. I think I burned myself out. Not only that, but those last few books were pretty easy and these two are really challenging me. I’m slowly finding my groove with Garcia, but Dickinson is testing me every step of the way.

Watching the third season of True Detective on HBO, the last season of Shameless on Showtime, oh, and The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, all three of which I highly recommend but besides that, I’m trying not to watch much else. TV has been taking up a lot of my evenings and I always feel guilty for wasting so much time. I’ll always watch my favorite shows, and even binge-watch the ones that interest me the most, but I won’t put on just anything to pass the time. All time is valuable and must be filled or used intentionally.

Feeling left behind. For the past few years many of my closest and most inspiring coworkers, people I consider friends, who motivated and encouraged me and who I tried my best to motivate and encourage too, have all been finding bigger and better opportunities while I have continued to go on doing what I have always done. I do like my job, and I am good at it too, but I long to find some big new opportunity too. I long to follow a dream and to be able to say to the world that I made it.

Fearing a lot less than I have in the past. I wouldn’t say I’m more confident but I’m certainly less concerned. I’m developing a “so what?” attitude. So what if it’s ugly? So what if I’m unworthy? So what if I fail, look stupid, or even get a little hurt? So what? I’ll move on and at least I’ll know. And, to be honest, at this point whatever it is I’m afraid will happen is no worse than to go on living life as someone who never even tried.

Reflecting on this Ezra Klein podcast in which he interviews Kate Manne, professor of philosophy at Cornell University, author of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, and my new favorite person. Manne argues that we should define misogyny, not as something men feel, but something that women experience. This simple statement, this simple change in perspective is exactly what we need to take the fight against not just misogyny but racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of discrimination and oppression. It’s the mind shift that people who participate in those systems need to take in order to move from a place of defensiveness into a place where they can acknowledge, accept, and change their behaviors without the people who experience discrimination and oppression having to expend any more emotional labor than they already have.

Needing more writerly friends. I’m shy by nature and paradoxically more so online. There are tons of writers and creatives I follow across quite a few social media accounts but I have no idea how to approach any of them. I don’t know how to start a conversation or how to add to one already happening. I’m star struck by them all and I don’t feel like I deserve the attention of the ones who bother to follow me back. I long for people in my life who are on the same journey as me and understand the difficulty and the importance of what I dream of one day doing.

Learning all about social norms and social change on Coursera. The course is offered by the University of Pennsylvania & UNICEF so, besides learning about expectations, sanctions, and choice, I’m also learning more about real-world practices, attitudes, and motives behind child marriage, female genital mutilation, and open defecation. I’m looking at my culture differently and adjusting my perspective not so much on some of these deplorable practices of other cultures but on the people who practice them. Human society is exceedingly complex, and harder to change than we imagine. I’m looking forward to beginning Social Norms, Social Change II next week and learning even more!

Hating the common workplace practice of putting more work on people who have shown excellence and enthusiasm simply because they can handle it, especially in workplaces where that added excellence and workload don’t translate into additional pay or benefits. In my experience, these uneven expectations often hurt women more than men, the latter often assuming that what is hard for them to do isn’t as hard for others. If you ever hear yourself saying someone else should do something rather than you because they “know more about it” or because they are “better at it” please stop for a moment and consider whether what you are doing is fair or right. Take a moment to consider that it is you who should do better, try harder, and live up to the expectation you have of this other person instead.

Loving love. Most people I know either hate Valentine’s day or they think it’s stupid. Many of my friends are single or they’re long-term couples who forego celebrating the season of love because they believe it’s a shallow expression of emotion and it conveys a superficial understand and what it means to spend your life with another person. But I—a hopeless and eternal romantic— cannot resist. Of course, romantic love between two (or more) people should be acknowledged, celebrated, and strengthened every day but I still love having one day a year to celebrate love not just with my partner alone but with couples all over the world, together.

Hoping for an opportunity to present itself soon. I need a break, a sign, a chance to take a leap. I need a little validation, something to show off, something to be proud of. I know opportunities like that don’t just drop into a person’s lap and I know if I want to go somewhere it’s me that has to do the moving, but still, wouldn’t it be grand to be one of the lucky ones? I’ll do the work, but I’ll go on hoping for a miracle too.


So, yeah, all in all, February was a good month. I got to go on a trip. I got to celebrate love with my love and a few friends who are in love too. I didn’t do as much as I’d hoped but I did a lot more than nothing. I’m proud, or at least I’m content, and I’m ready to move on, to leave February behind, and to greet March with enthusiasm and pride.

But what about you? How did February treat you? Did you celebrate love with a special someone? Are you as tired of winter as me?

Let me know in the comments.


The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love

Photo by Michael Hacker on Unsplash

059 // Simply Unfair

The weather may not be sapping my energy today, but other people certainly are. I feel let down and taken advantage of. I feel unimportant and at the same time, I feel like everything is being put on me.

I don’t want to complain though. I can’t control other people. I can talk to them, sure, but I may have to accept that some things are simply unfair and focus on what I have to do rather than what others are not doing.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

058 // Tired of the Season

I struggled to match yesterday’s enthusiasm but there was still measurable progress made. The week has already gotten away from me though and I’m not sure I’m going to meet those writing goals I set for myself but it isn’t from lack of trying so I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

I couldn’t resist watching Micheal Cohen testify before the House Oversight Committee today. Part of me wishes I had skipped it and done more writing or reading instead, but another part felt that this was too important a political event to miss. I was a wild ride and not a moment of it felt like a waste.


I’m especially tired tonight for no good reason at all. Sure, I didn’t get the best sleep last night, but not the worst either. I didn’t spend the day working too hard, physically or mentally, and there was plenty of coffee to drink and I even took a nap mid-afternoon.

Still, I came home feeling drained and disoriented. I couldn’t hold a thought in my head and I kept forgetting what it was I wanted to do next. All I wanted, more than food, more than my TV shows, more than even a shower, was to go straight to bed.

I blame the weather. I blame the frigid temperatures and the depressing fog that hung around the city all day. I blame the threat of over the coming weekend and the way winter has exhausted me these last few weeks. I’m simply tired of the season. I can’t take much more.

But, tomorrow is the last day of February and there are just 21 days left until Spring now. I think I’ll make it though it will be hard.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

057 // Small but Measurable

I took today for myself and when I did I promised not to waste it. I did all the things I wanted to do until each little goal was met, and then I did no more.

I did one day’s worth of Spanish lessons and didn’t concern myself with being top of the leaderboard. I watched one day’s worth of videos for Social Norms, Social Change I and I didn’t try to complete the whole week at once. I read exactly 50 pages of One Hundred Years of Solitude so there would be time left for writing, and worked on a draft of my next “Currently” post without the pressure of trying to make it perfect right away.

I’m practicing chipping away at things. I’m doing less of each thing per day so that I can accomplish more in the long term. I’m not rushing, or pressuring myself, or feeling guilty and because of that, there is no reason to be afraid, to be overwhelmed, or to procrastinate.

Today wasn’t perfect but I learned that it helps to use a timer and to schedule my time on social media. It helps to set a clear goal for each task and to decide before you begin exactly when you will stop. It helps to turn on some music and to have a plan for when you get distracted, stuck, or tired.

I feel good tonight, and proud. I wanted to keep the momentum going so, I turned off the TV early and made time for a short walk, a long shower, and one more chapter before bed.

I look forward to some small but measurable progress tomorrow.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

056 // Spreading Things Out

I’ve been thinking about what I wrote yesterday, about trying to do too much on Sundays because I don’t know what Sundays are for. I realized that Sundays are not the only days I overload this way. I do the same on Mondays and Fridays too.

The core of the problem is procrastination. I schedule too much work for the future so I can do nothing now, and then when that future arrives I’m astonished to find that several day’s worth of work will not fit into one. So, I fail, and I give up. I get nothing done and I still keep doing it again and again.

This week I’d like to try spreading things out more. I’m going to chip away at the big goals by doing a little every day, and for the weekends, perhaps spending half of each day resting and the other half working each day would suit me better?


Excerpt from a Slowly app letter I wrote today:

“I get what you are saying about everything being predetermined. I feel the same, as if as all my thoughts or actions originate from somewhere inside of my mind just out of reach of my conscious. The thought comforts me rather than anxiety though and I have no desire to fight it.”

“I read somewhere that our free will is limited by our ignorance of the choices available to us. The best way to maximize choice and control over your life is to gain knowledge. Knowledge of the world, of history, of people, and of yourself. Just something to think about, or something you’ve made me think about, anyway.”


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

055 // I Never Get Sundays Right

My problem with Sundays is I expect too much from them. I do nothing on Saturday, that’s my “rest day”, and then I expect to wake up early, write three blog posts, clean my whole house, exercise, cook a big dinner, spend quality time with my girlfriend, watch all my shows, and then go to bed early. I rarely do even half of that, and even less is done well. Today was no exception.

I suppose I’m just not sure what Sunday’s should be for. Are they for rest? Are they for fun? Are they for working and planning? I keep trying to do it all and I never get it right so maybe it’s time I do Sundays another way?


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

054 // A Whole Lot of Unproductivity

I woke with grand plans this morning but lost the battle to myself and the couch early on. In my defense sleep has eluded me all week. I’ve been overworked and filled with worry. I’m still off my medication and my body is responding in strange ways including a persist and headache and joints that ache in turn. In my defense I was defenseless.

So, today I rested and I ate, and tomorrow I’ll get up and try again.

Wish me the best of luck would you?


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

053 // Human Lies

It hurts when the people we care about lie to us. Trust is broken and a small part of the world we thought we’d figured out is given over to the unknown and chaotic around us. Things we never thought possible become very real fears, again.

But a lie doesn’t have to be the end of the world. People lie because they are hurting. They lie because they are ashamed. I should know, I used to lie all the time. That’s how I know that people lie when something in their lives or their hearts becomes severely and painfully broken. Sometimes that pain is a bigger issue than the lie itself.

And sometimes, if the lie is not very big and if the truth comes to light from the one who spun the untruth first, if we trust in what we know of their heart we can put our hurt aside to find the path past the unpleasantness through honesty, sympathy, patience, and understanding.

Lying is a human thing, and not necessarily evil. The lies we (all) tell exist on levels and some are less severe, quite understandable, and worthier of forgiveness than others.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

052 // Troubling Signs

I’ve been feeling good lately, physically at least. The longer I am off my old infusion medication the better I feel too. I’ve lost weight. I’m happier, more motivated, and enjoying the random bursts of enthusiasm I have for people again. I feel good, but there are troubling signs too. I’m afraid without the infusions to control my ulcerative colitis plus all the stress I’ve been dealing with, a flare is imminent.

It figures that when my symptoms are under control the rest of my body would feel like crap, and when I get my gut under control, then the rest of my feels cruddy. Sigh.


Tonight we secured the wedding venue and our date, and we settled on wedding invitations too. Three decisions down, about a thousand more to go. I am finally feeling more excited, but I’m also feeling a lot more anxious and doubtful. I can’t shake the fear that we are now locked into something over our heads and financially foolish. I can’t help doubting we can pull it off or that any of this will be worth it or as wonderful as we dream.

I just try to remember that at the end of all this I will be married and that, more than any of those thousand little decisions I’ll have to make until then, is what matters most.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

051 // Never as Bad as I Think

Woke up late this morning and then laid in bed longer than I should have trying to decide if it was worth seizing another day for myself by calling into work. As nice as the sixth day in a row of relaxing would have been, I decided I didn’t need the guilt and made my way reluctantly and riddled with angst to work.

I was sure it was going to be a bad day but if I’m honest, it didn’t turn out even half as bad as I feared. I think waking up early isn’t easy, and with all the extra work and the last-minute schedule changes, I’m just feeling extra anxious and pessimistic. Plus, I’m returning from a not-long-enough-by-far vacation and I’m missing some of my favorite coworkers who have left for brighter opportunities.

Day-to-day things are hard, but they aren’t bad. I just need a new groove, that’s all.

And the truth is, there was a lot of good today too. I made progress on all fronts including blogging, wedding planning, reading, and in my social norms course. I also realized that even though I don’t consider myself much of a morning person there is a part of me that kind of likes how I feel after I get through that first “getting ready for the day” stage.

It’s possible that is my most productive time and I never knew it until now. I’m working out how to use it to my advantage considering normally I’m working hard at my day job then.

Anyway, my point is that nothing is ever as bad as I think it is or will be and I actually enjoy a lot more of my day-to-day life than I like to admit.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren