030 // Love to Lift Me

I’ve been feeling stuck again. I’ve been feeling lost and when I go in search of direction by retreating into my mind expecting to meet that old chatter of questions and conversation I used to hear nearly constantly, I’m instead met with near complete silence.

I cry out into that dark ether asking: Is anyone is there? Can anyone can hear me? Can anyone can help me?

In response, I catch only fragments. Parts and pieces of sentences and thoughts with no context or meaning I can decipher. I think all the parts and personalities I’m made of are tired. I’m physically, emotionally, spiritually exhausted.

And I am sure I’m not the only one. The pandemic coupled with never ending political infighting has left us all groping not just for meaning, but connection and change too. Something has to get better and in order for that to happen, someone has to give sometime.

We’d all hoped 2021 would bring the relief without requiring the usual work. We deserved it after all, right? I know I felt I did, but it turns out the new year has not meant a magical new me and certainly not a magical new life.

Of course I knew this deep down, but I will admit I expected at least one thing to get better. Instead, everything has only gotten worse and worse.

No, I don’t really think that’s true. I’ve just become far too focused on the negatives and blind to all the positives. I have so much love and support that even if times are a bit stressful and I’m turning into a bit of a mess, at least there are hands to hold the load with me. At least there is love to lift me back up.

024 // An Identity

Life is getting easier day by day. I woke up with more energy than I’ve had in weeks, though the various aches and pains are still present. I was able to mark a few things off my to do list, catch up in my journal and planner, and make time for a podcast or two.

Of course, it all took twice as long as I needed frequent breaks to rest and refocus my mind. This may be my new normal going forward, at least until I can get my physical and emotional strength back to where I was—or better!

Over the past weeks I’ve added and adjusted an extensive and strict schedule of medication, meals, and supplements that I hope will lead to not just continued but accelerated healing. It’s a lot to keep track of. It’s a lot of pills and powders. It’s setting alarms and timers and goals. It’s keeping track of every meal and ounce of liquid that passes your lips or passes out of you.

Chronic illness is has become more than a condition, or a burden, slowly, it’s becoming a perspective, a lifestyle, an identity.

023 // The Tranquility of Twilight

I had a bad morning, but I don’t want to write about that. I don’t want my whole day defined by it. A week, a month, a year from now I don’t want to look back and remember only what went wrong.

There is still good to find and still good to do. The blue sky is always there.

The core of the issue is my recent struggle to wake up with my alarm, before the sun and the rest of the house. Waking with everyone else means sharing my time and space and I like having time to call my own and space I can do whatever I want however I want.

But these hours of peace are actually about so much more than being in silence or being alone. These hours are made of more than intangible time, they are physical, solid, and substantial too. I can feel them as space. I can touch them, hold them, and run my fingers and my mind through them.

I’m in love with the tranquility that the morning twilight brings before the day’s activities and expectations begin and being away from it for these past few weeks has left me guilt ridden and, in a way, lonely.

Without those hours there is no time in which I can find to connect deeply with myself, the one who knows and understands me best.

022 // I Lost Someone

I lost someone I love very much yesterday. A woman who was greatly influential in the course of my life. A woman who, without that influence, I may not be here. Maybe not in this space specifically, and maybe not at all.

This woman, an only child who founded a family totalling in the several dozens at least in children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I was her first grandchild, and she was not ashamed to call me her favorite. I acknowledge the unfairness of my status and I admit fully the joy this privilege brought me my entire life.

This woman showed me the purest love I have ever known. It was a love that had no expectation. A love as close to unconditional as this world has ever seen. I could do no wrong in her eyes and somehow that only made me want to try harder to be good, to be better, to just be me.

I wish everyone could have that kind of love in their lives. I wish everyone could have a vibrant, wild, kind, funny, and wise grandmother like mine. I wish I could have felt that kind of love for a bit longer myself.

016 // Breadth and Breath

These past couple of weeks have been hard on me. The work week was more than I could handle and on top of new medications and new side effects plus returning fatigue and recurrent pain, there was nothing left of me for me.

It was harder to adjust from my light quarantine work schedule to full work days. I hadn’t done much past noon, or past Wednesday to be honest, in months, and suddenly I was being asked to stay later and do it all. I’m proud of myself for making it through with minimal mistakes or complaints.

I’m working on getting through tasks I find difficult, undesirable, or uncomfortable by just doing them and getting them over with. The longer I stall and the louder I complain I only succeed in prolonging the pain and proving to be a loathsome person to work with. No, it’s better to put on a smile, put one foot in front of the other, and focus on a job done well and quickly.

I think I succeeded in that goal at least, and now that the long weekend away has arrived, I can let the anxieties and grievances of the past five days go. I definitely deserve some “me time” but sadly there is very little to carve out today. So, I am staking a claim to these few and fleeting minutes to catch up on notes and to-dos from the past week and through the next.

There will be more time tomorrow and the day after that and in the weeks to come my calendar should lighten and give breadth and breath to life outside of work and rest.

008 // Less Like a Friday

I’ve never had a Friday feel less like a Friday than this Friday did. In fact, this Friday felt more like a Monday than most Mondays do.

All employees returned to work at once for the first time since the beginning of November and it was…overwhelming. Of course everyone wants to know how you have been, how you spent your holidays, how is your family, and how you have been coping. It’s fine if you have one, or two, or even 10 coworkers, but to have 50 or more stop you for the same stories is exhausting.

Thankfully, there are quiet corners to retreat into and solo tasks that keep me busy and keep the others at bay.

I’m feeling a little down on myself. Looking back over my journal and planner, I can see I’ve failed to meet a lot of my goals this week. It’s been hard with my health in decline again and with work ramping up. I know I shouldn’t have expected to be perfect, but I did expect to do better. I spent too much time on my phone playing games and doomscrolling Twitter.

And how could I not? After the week we’ve had in this country, I think it’s probably entirely understandable that I struggled to feel motivated or focused on my goals or my work. Of course, when the world is falling apart, your willpower and willingness decline. Your priorities shift. Your needs shift.

I’m trying hard to remember that even without the dystopian images on the screen and the hopelessness creeping in, it is only the first week of the year and no one is expecting me to work so hard but me. I’m trying to remember that there is more to life than check marks and time blocks and even if I didn’t read or write as much as I wanted, I did laugh and I felt loved and maybe some weeks that’s more important than the work.

007 // Still Reeling

A gorgeous Colorado sunrise this morning.

Emotionally, I’m still reeling from the news of riots in Washington, D.C. yesterday. I’m finding it hard to tear myself away from news outlets and social media platforms, as I feverishly seek out visuals and first-hand accounts in a quest to understand how and why this has happened. I’m trying to process how violent and vulnerable we’ve turned out to be.

I don’t think any of us should expect to be productive in any way today.

When my thoughts aren’t on yesterday, they are running ahead to tomorrow. I keep thinking it’s Friday and that I have no time at all left to prepare for the next work week. When I remember it’s only Thursday, I find myself disconnected and idling. The panic returns quickly when I realize I’ve been distracted and I scrabble again only to lose interest once I remember I’m getting a day ahead again.

It’s not exactly anxiety I’m feeling, but something more like excitement. Tomorrow all of our employees return to work as a sort of practice day before the kids return next week and while part of me isn’t yet ready to give up the peace and quiet, part of me needs a little more noise and chaos to feel alive.

I wish I was being given a little more time to ease into the return to normalcy. It’s been so long that it doesn’t feel like the old boring routine I once thought it was. Instead, I’m going to have to hit the ground running come Monday. It’s probably better this way. This way I’ll have less time to think, to worry , to find reason to object, to fight, to fail.

006 // Disorientation and Disbelief

I went to bed last night sure that we would lose both Georgia runoff races, our chance at control of the senate, and any hope of relief or progress for the American people. I woke up this morning shocked to find one race already called in the Democrats’ favor and the other very likely to go the same way.

I’m in such a state of disorientation and disbelief that I keep checking the results to be sure I haven’t read them wrong and that they have not changed.

It’s an exciting turn of events, but I’m cautiously optimistic. The Democrats have a history of squandering such gains. They hold all the power, but timidity and fear keep them from truly exercising it. In the time of unprecedented potential, we may only see the bare minimum from our elected officials.

I’ll be following the news and commentary closely today and celebrating while I can such a momentous victory. I’ll let myself hope for a time that these coming years will be a time of healing, compassion, and real progress for my country.


The events at the capitol this afternoon have me in a state of profound anger, fear, and exhaustion. I am angry there are supporters of such a hateful man and his message of cruelty, destruction, and misinformation. I’m fearful of what the next few weeks will bring as we move closer to inauguration. I’m exhausted by the daily pressure placed on us all to keep those who would subvert our institutions and undermine our ideals of justice from destroying our country from the inside out.

What I am not feeling is surprise or shock by today’s events I’ve been waiting for something this big to happen for quite a long time. The entire country has been living in a constant state of tension that has only grown more and more volatile since election night. I’m only surprised this act of terror and insurrection were not even more violent than what we saw.

I live many states away from Washington, D.C. but seeing how little the police did to stop these people from storming the chambers of congress has left me feeling very unsafe. I believe the cops could have stopped the mob…if they’d wanted to. I believe cops that would allow certain groups to inflict violence on certain other groups are employed in every city in every state in America.

What happened in the nation’s capitol today could happen in any city and to lawmakers at every level of government. It could happen on any street and any of us could be caught in the crossfire, or even targeted as the enemy, the other, according to the radical right.

Please stay safe out there.

Please stay strong.

004 // I Am Not Mine

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, anything to break up the monotony. Anything just to feel normal again.

This week will also be the first test of the daily habits I’ve worked hard to establish over the last few months of half work days and half work weeks. It was easy then to meditate, to read, to write, to drink enough water and get enough sleep, but from now on the life/work balance will be tipped back the other way. I’m anticipating less time to myself and a lot more stress to manage. I’m expecting good habits to fall by the wayside and bad habits making troubling returns….if I let them.

This week it will take focus and willpower to keep moving through the to-do lists and the assigned tasks, but more than that, it will take a little self-compassion. It will take encouraging and believing in myself and making this space safe to fail in. No more shaming and blaming. Instead, there will be nothing but praise, patience, and pep talks.

This week I will:

Read the introduction and chapter one of Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail by Frances Fox Piven. On a whim last month I joined a book club and according to an email I received last week, it turns out I’m actually expected to read the material and join a discussion in a little under two weeks from today. Bonus: Finish the current chapter of The Second Sex.

Meditate every morning. Cultivating a meditation practice is one of the very few resolutions I have made that are expected to be daily habits . I’ve done great so far and I’d like to keep it up through the end of the week. I have set my morning alarm 30 minutes earlier; I have reminders in my phone, and if it doesn’t get done first thing in the morning, it must be the last thing I do before bed.

Stay hydrated. Last month a few of my lab results came back with troubling numbers regarding my kidneys. I have been struggling with dehydration for months and now that I am finally seeing some healing, it’s important I give my body the best chance by drinking a lot more water and laying off the sugary sports drinks that have become a habit.

Fill in a page of my journal and update my planner every day. My journal and my planner are two out of the four keys to my success in 2021. The third is sitting in my office chair and the fourth is setting a timer. I’m easing into the productivity shifts and the start is simply writing down what I think and what I want to do about what I think.

Finish week two of Social Psychology on Coursera. I enrolled into an irrational number of courses last month in an attempt to take advantage of free certificate offers in subjects I’d long been interested in. Immediately upon looking at the number of lectures, reading requirements, and assignments, I felt overwhelmed found it impossible to even begin. This week I’m going to begin by taking each in 20 and 30 minute chunks at a time for as long as it takes until I’m done.

This week I will not get discouraged. There is time for the things you want to do, you only have to find it. It’s in the little breaks and the small moments between this task and the next. It’s in the space you give to too much TV, to the games on your phone, to social media and sleeping in. There is time enough to do a little every day and you have to let that be enough.

The theme of 2021 is slow and steady. Keep in your mind a vision of yourself 12 months from now all that might change and how far you might find yourself from where you stand now if you were to take just one small step every day. The step need not be perfect. It need not even be right. It only has to be forward. It only has to be done.


Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash