Three hundred and forty-seven days ago, I started my “Me Project,” which meant committing to spending the year before I turned forty doing something creative every day, exercising every day, drinking more water, getting better sleep, eating less sugar, and not drinking any alcohol. Two hundred and eleven days ago, my two kids came home from school and haven’t been back.
Since then, the job my husband had fell through, and we decided to close our small business, I’ve been teaching first and fourth grade, and after five months of furlough, I’m also back working at the hospital part-time. In addition, I’ve been calling and letter writing on behalf of the Democratic candidates in this upcoming election, learning how to be an anti-racist white lady, and trying to convince others to join me, and I accidentally started a book club online that’s over 4k women strong and it’s become kind of a haven on the internet for a lot of people looking to examine social conditioning and find their bravery, their voice.
I’ve also built the first draft of my novel. My hope was to have it edited and polished, ready to snag an agent and a publisher by the time my 40th hit, but I’m eighteen days out and, alas, it’s not gonna happen. If my book were a house, it’d be the First Little Piggy’s. It needs to be more substantial before any Big Bad Wolves or agents can see it without just blowing it away with ease. And I need time and focus to lay those bricks. Both time and focus are hard to come by right now because…see above.
So…how am I doing on this Me Project? I’ve stuck to not drinking and I think my depression and anxiety have been better through the pandemic than they would have been coupled with booze. I’ve been *trying* to walk or do yoga most days, and I meditate frequently. I’m drinking more water, but haven’t made any ground in the less sugar or more sleep departments (Related? No, shut up). I overall feel OK about how I’ve handled the year and my first pandemic so far.
When I am uncertain or afraid, I try to gain control over and grab onto concrete rules and roles. If I KNOW my place and what my duties are, its reassuring. But…there are very few things right now that are controllable or clear, so I’m doing my best not to panic, just to breathe and keep up with my goals of peace and slow progress. Also, rigid roles with rules is comforting to me, but often doesn’t actually serve me.
We don’t know how we’re going to get through the next year of this pandemic. How we’re gonna finance it, where we’re gonna live…and I keep trying to figure out WHO AM I NOW? I was a PA, and then wasn’t. I was a business owner, and then wasn’t. I was a writer, and am still not…fully. I’ve always been a mom, but not like a 24/7 MOOOOOOOMMMMMM mom, you know….so who am I? Is that me now? How do I define myself? I’m trying to find some peace in the movement, in the uncertainty, staying bobbing in the gratitude of what we have, not pulled down in the current of what we don’t, or what we don’t know.
It’s hard, but I’m trying.