I recently realized that this blog post is its own personal holiday (of sorts). It's a harvest festival, of sorts, where I look back on the year and try to figure out what the big themes of this year were.
And this year I missed the anniversary! But I missed it on purpose. I was busy finishing a short story to the http://takingthelane.com/bikes-in-space/">Bikes in Space anthology about witchcraft, which I may not be published in, but at least I can say to myself: I did my damnedest. I got the story in on time. It seemed really good to make that choice, to get the story in, instead of clinging tightly to the usual rhythm.
Anyway, okay...year eight, 2020, like, what the fuck?
In 8 years of writing this, 2020 is by far the weirdest. No big surprise there.
I've been in my new position for about a year. I bought a house. I traveled SO MUCH, then I traveled NONE. I started a garden. A pandemic happened (is still happening). Everything got cancelled. My cat died. I learned to make pizza and started playing the guitar.
Travel is hard and amazing.
I learned what it was to travel A LOT. I learned how to pack very lightly, to keep my kit ready to go so the time lost for each trip and preparing was minimal. I had my airport food and business expense routine to a science. I had a looooot of time to myself and I saw so many cities, did so many things.
The last trip I took was to Miami, and on my last day there, I schlepped out the beach. I went to an independent bookstore, then I had a picnic on the beach, fending off seagulls. I stared at the ocean. I knew even then that there was a pandemic coming but I never thought for a moment that I'd be done with traveling for the rest of the year and maybe longer.
p.s. Amsterdam is magnificent.
Short, frequent blog posts are great
I made some plans around sharing a lot more often this year (re: writing) and while coronavirus chewed that one up, it was really productive early on and I'm trying to return to it.
Sitting still has challenges, too.
I picked Cultivate as my 2020 word of the year and you know, I've been cultivating the shit out of my home life. So much cultivation.
Last year I wrote about momentum and how scary and thrilling it all is. I was worried about travel burnout and not getting to stay home much. I went to Amsterdam, Brussels, Ghent, Miami, San Francisco, Phoenix, New Orleans. I spent a lot of time wanting to be home, experiencing our new house and living with my aging cat and seeing friends...and then...the travel stopped.
So I got what I wanted and now I'm learning about my craving for novelty. I thought I didn't need it, but I do. I need options and I need things to say no to. I miss museums, restaurants, book stores, I fucking miss airports. I miss having a reason to wear something other than pajamas.
I know I like these things and have always known that, but it's different to realize how much harder life is without them. I want to go to the zoo. I want to look at paintings. I want to go shopping for fuck's sake. I'm exhausted by the endless drudgery that is 2020, and even though I've done a lot to add new things to my life, it's just not the same. The body craves new locations.
I've worked a lot to keep my sanity. But it doesn't always work.
Turns out that all the sleep, all the meditation, all the time in nature, all the hydration -- still doesn't really fix the fundamental problem of living through a pandemic. Even when my own personal life is pretty okay, my job is going well, etc etc, there's still a lot of floating anxiety to go around. And I've been working on forgiving myself for having a bad day despite all the effort I put into not having a bad day.
It's my job to speak up, to say the thing, even if it makes people uncomfortable
That's pretty much it.
Do the thing that doesn't scale
So I started a new job in a mildly new field (community management) and one lesson I've learned is that it's important to do the thing that doesn't scale when you're working with people. You can't just hold off on everything until you've found a good system for automating it. Remembering someone's name and favorite food is just important no matter how hard it is.
Embrace the mystery.
You don't know what's coming. Nothing makes sense. Control is a false idol.
Look for the best. Find the good patterns. And embrace the mystery.