A couple of days ago, I was relistening to an old episode of my podcast that seemed particularly timely, so I decided to repurpose some of the content as a fresh blog post. A lot of us have been in a rut for all or most of the past couple of years, thanks to the pandemic. Lately I’ve been feeling more energized and focused, so I wanted to share some tips for getting back into that mindset for those of you who aren’t quite there yet.
I’ve spent most of the past two years grappling with grief, depression, brain fog, and a total lack of interest in basically anything that used to delight or inspire me. So I’m well aware that there’s no quick fix for getting back to a place where you feel like yourself, and I don’t want anyone to feel bad if nothing in this blog post helps. We’re all on our own schedules, and everyone I know who isn’t devoid of a soul has been struggling with other Big Life Things while trying to survive the weirdest two years of our lives. Alongside the pandemic, I’ve had to contend with the deaths of several people I loved and my father having multiple heart surgeries in 2020 and 2021. Beyond that, I had a separate trauma occur that I wasn’t ready to look directly at for several months after it happened, a major issue with my apartment that lasted a month, and some other fun stuff. So, also, I want to acknowledge that the pandemic is not the only bad thing any of us is dealing with right now.
With that disclaimer, if you’re starting to feel ready to work on something other than survival, here are some things that have worked for me:
It has felt impossible to set or achieve goals the past two years. Only in the past couple of months have I felt remotely like the person I was prepandemic, and I’ve decided to celebrate with something I did every year in the Before Times: setting New Year’s Resolutions. Some of these I’ve adapted from my last list in 2020, as Pandi interfered with my ability to achieve them.
I haven’t signed into my Twitter account since June 4. “I need to be on Twitter” is one of the stories I’m testing out during my #40StoriesProject, a yearlong attempt to learn which of the things I’m telling myself are outdated. The plan for this particular story was to stay off Twitter for three months, but having hit that milestone a few days ago, I don’t see myself going back. I was better informed when I was doomscrolling every day, but about what? If I want to know what’s happening in the world, I get the important stories elsewhere—newspapers, texts from friends, even Instagram. I don’t miss being extremely online, and my reduced exposure to, well, everything has freed up a lot of space and energy, which I’m putting toward personal projects after a lengthy creative drought during the pandemic. Even the alleged value of Twitter for someone interested in a writing career seems largely negated by how bad being on Twitter makes me feel about writers and writing.
A few years ago I started going to therapy to figure out how to get my boyfriend to stop abusing me. I wasn’t the person in that relationship who most needed therapy, but I still needed it, and I was the person who was willing to go.
Anyway, even though my stated purpose for being in therapy was to deal with this specific situation, I found myself talking about work all the time. Good news for me: All of my issues were intertwined. I was letting a man control me through temper tantrums and gaslighting because I believed that, somewhere along the way, I had lost the right to manage my own life. And I had lost that right because, in my mind, I had become incompetent.
This week, I migrated all the posts from my old blog to this one, and in the process of going through my archives to make sure nothing was amiss, I discovered that, actually, I like a lot of my old writing! So I decided to make a post of posts. It’s like a fund of funds, except I’m not going to come to your Investment Committee meeting and explain what all is in it, I’m just going to share the links below.
Here are a few of my favorite older posts that should give you a sense of whether you’re going to hate-read or love-read this blog:
During the month of January, I did four things every day: studied French, studied Japanese, wrote in my journal, and did one new thing. I rewrote the beginning of a novel I started in 2018 so that I can query agents. I read (and this is embarrassing) 29 books.
I once told a friend who asked me how I get so much done that I spend half my time ripping through my to-do list and the other half drunk in a gutter. It was a joke, or at least more of one than it used to be. But I am nothing if not inconsistent. I don’t do “balance.” I’m either on the treadmill every day or “Exercise? I don’t know her.” I eat a fully vegan diet or one that is exclusively mac and cheese. I love both things and people wildly or not at all. That Carly Rae Jepsen song “Too Much”? Oh yeah, I do know her.
Today I’m chatting with psychotherapist and entrepreneur Kimberly Wilson about her journey as a multipassionate entrepreneur, getting things done while preserving your energy, and making space in your life for regular creative play.