Dear 2020

Dear 2020,

We welcomed you quietly–one kid in bed, the other at a sleepover, watching a late night movie on the couch at home. It’s too quiet in this house without Electra. Losing her right before the crush of the holidays and the long vacation from work somehow hurts more. I found myself caught between moments of melancholy and just needing to keep busy so I could stop missing her so much, so I could stop walking into the living room or looking out in the yard and expecting to see her there.

I spent several days grief-cleaning. I vacuumed, dusted, and rearranged Henry’s room. I moved Cadence’s room to the old spare bedroom/office, and then decided to redecorate a new spare bedroom/office/writing space complete with fresh paint and new furniture (which is due to be delivered next week).

And I gathered all Electra’s leftover food, dog treats, blankets, dog bed, kennels, unused medications–anything that could be needed and used–to donate to the local Humane Society. I didn’t want all of Electra’s things to be gone, but I sort of needed them to be. It made the pain a little more manageable. And I’m thankful that Stevie has been so sweet and patient as I fumble through the grief.

The calendar page turns, and a new year always brings excitement. You double down on all the things you’ve been wanting to do, meaning to do, procrastinating. You start out hopeful, start fresh. I’ve never been one to go overboard with a fancy New Year’s Eve party or a detailed list of resolutions, yet it’s hard not to buy into the magic and promise of a fresh start. The excitement this year has been tempered by loss and the introspection it always brings. It has made me think a little harder about my priorities, about the balance lack of balance in my life lately.

I need to be better–a better wife, a better mother, a better friend. I need to be a better leader at work. I need to be a better human in general.

And I need–really need–to make time to write again.

I made the mistake of telling one of my colleagues (who is also a writer) about the 365 Project I completed a few (ahem, like 9) years ago, and he threw down the challenge that maybe it’s time to get serious about another one if it will help me shake off the dust (and we’re talking about a real one, not the bullshit I tried to limp along last year by just finding random photos and quotes and lying to myself that it somehow counted). I’m swimming in ideas and unfinished projects–it’s starting to drive me insane. And since I just spent half my holiday break setting up a brand new home office, he kinda has a point. It might be time to get serious and actually get some shit done.

I mean, if I really want to continue to call myself a “writer,” I need to be writing. Right? That’s sorta how it works.

But I gotta be realistic–there’s no way I can do a 365 Project blog again. Not now.

A blog a week? Now that I can probably do. But to be completely honest, the pressure of trying to write something I actually feel like putting out there in the universe for actual people (other than me) to read is a whole lot of pressure and anxiety I don’t need in my life. I always want what I put out there to be good (or at least a couple levels above shit) so if someone does read it, they don’t feel like they’ve completely wasted their time and burned off precious brain cells.

What I am committing to–seriously committing to–is writing every day. Just writing. A journal entry, a letter, a chapter, a scene. Hell, even a poem if the mood strikes. And who knows, maybe some of it will end up here, but a lot of it won’t. And I’m okay with that. What matters is I’m making space for it, and I’m holding that space sacred. That’s my gift to myself this year.

So here we go, 2020. I’m walking in with no expectations and no specific plans (because dammit that somehow seems to be what always works out the best for me). I’m just going to be here, doing the best I can and then getting up and trying to do even better the next day. And in this new decade, I promise I’m going to have more meaningful conversations. I’m going to connect with old friends and make a few new ones. I’m going to read more books, taste (and cook) new foods. I’m going to travel to a few new (and visit a few favorite) places. I going to live and learn and love, and I’m going to try like hell to fall into bed each night knowing that I’ve squeezed as much joy as I possibly can out of every day.

Sounds like a pretty tall order, but I’ve always sort of enjoyed a challenge. And lucky for me, I’ve got some pretty rad people along for the ride.

Day 152 – What darkness did you conquer?

So true.

What darkness did you conquer?

Day 148 & 149 – No cheating

You know, I thought about cheating…going ahead and posting yesterday’s post late but back-dating it so it looked like I actually posted yesterday when the truth of it is that yesterday was a really long day–up super early to be at work, then tapping out and going to bed early because I was so tired from work, and then getting up today to do it all over again.

But damn that just defeats the purpose of this whole write-and-post-something-everyday goal doesn’t it?

So instead of cheating, I’m just owning up to the fact that I skipped a day because I was too dang tired to even surf Pinterest for a fun meme or quote to use.

Such is life. And honestly I’m not going to apologize about it. Like I keep saying–my blog, my rules. And this whole blogging thing isn’t about punishing myself. It’s a way for me to stay balanced and think through things and put some of my thoughts out into the world to see what comes back.

There have been times in my life when my day job tore me away from my writing and I hated it, because I didn’t actually enjoy the job enough to feel like it was a fair tradeoff. These days, I’m lucky because that’s not the case. I love my job, and the fact that I get to make money and pay my bills doing something I genuinely enjoy is one helluva bonus.

But that doesn’t mean I can ever put the writing aside completely. It would probably be easier to give up breathing. And I’m definitely in a place right now where I’m struggling to find a balance. I’ve got projects sitting stale, waiting for me to jump back in. I’ve got new ideas simmering, but I need to find ways to carve out time to actually work on them.

It continues to be a work in progress.

But I’m getting there. And I just might be stubborn enough not to quit.

Day 148 – Your kind of crazy

So glad I’ve been able to find a few.

You know who you are. 😉

Day 146 – Remind yourself

Day 144 – The little things

You know, Dolly is one brilliant lady…

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