I haven’t been able to read well for the last oh, I don’t know, year or so. I’ve done it, but it hasn’t been the same.
I usually have some sort of writing project that I’m working on each year too, but this year–nope. Not really. Not like I typically do.
This year, I lost most of my business, took on a pretty wonderful but sometimes overwhelming new full-time job, watched my eldest fly this coup faster and further than most her age do, watched my youngest return to it unwillingly when her college went remote, and then, decided it would be a good idea to add a second dog to our family. As some of you know, Winston is ten months old and already weighs 115 pounds (which is like 700 pounds in dog pounds, maybe). He also has allergies that require TWO shots instead of one shot each month because he is, as we’ve learned a “non-standard” Labrador retriever. He’s the sweetest boy you will ever meet though, and this is why I’m not complaining too much. Most days.
I really can’t complain.
Not one little bit.
Not when I am bearing daily witness to the trauma that so many of you are enduring. I’ve lost count of the friends and acquaintances who have lost their spouses, siblings, parents, and children to the virus this year. I’ve lost count of those who have lost their jobs, closed their businesses, or put their homes on the market. Relationships have shifted. Some have fallen apart entirely. And the world didn’t stop being as racist and cruel as it always was just because the CDC decided we all needed a long time-out. Life goes on in all of it’s awful, awesome, inspiring, and infuriating ways.
And like I told a friend last week, I don’t think anyone is competing for the role of “HE/SHE WHO HATH SUFFERED THE MOST” right about now.
Every bit of this mess has been a mess, and so, I couldn’t read as well as I once used to, and my own words were very hard to find–until January.
That’s because in January, I picked up this book:
One of you sent it to me, and there was no note. I don’t know who you are, but thank you. This book was a turning point.
And finally, this.
In January, some scary stuff went down in our country, as you well know. At the time, I’d planned a social media hiatus because my nerves were completely frayed, but gratefully, I found myself having deeper conversations with my most thoughtful and bravest friends in the very spaces where some chose to foment hate or simply, maintain the silent, screaming, status quo. Those open exchanges likely ruffled some feathers. They helped me set better and bolder intentions as a social media user, though. They helped me sort out my feelings about some things. They helped me open my mouth and close some doors, too. And that was a good thing.
All of this reading and listening and sharing complicated my life quite a bit. And suddenly, I noticed that my head–which has felt like it was packed with fiberglass insulation all year–was suddenly moving a bit faster, and my heart–which I’ve worked so hard to still–was suddenly pounding a little harder. My fingers were flying faster and steadier over my keyboard again. I started showing up like I used to across different social networks–you know–before. Only a bit louder.
Like many, I spent the first few months of this pandemic nursing my wounds and chilling out my fear. I listened to those who told me that I needed to slow down, seek peace, rest, and relax. I kept my fingers off the controls. I waited to see. I was hopeful.
I’ve just spent the first few weeks of this year doing quite the opposite, and while I’m not surprised to find myself reading and writing and connecting and feeling better now, I also won’t be surprised if I need to duck back down and get quieter again, too. This is how we do hard things, maybe–consistently, and then, not.
This week, I’m sharing a Sunday newsletter that is packed with the stuff that I am reading and watching and listening to that is complicating my thinking right now. I’ll share some take-aways from the books that I referenced up there, but there’s more. I hope it’s useful to you. You can subscribe here, if you’d like.
This month–every bit of it–has taught me that some complications are very good to have. And complicating others’ lives isn’t always a bad thing either.
I truly want to know: Who or what is making life a good kind of complicated for you right now?
I want to follow them.