Today is the first day of 2022. It’s been about 3 weeks now that I’ve been ruminating on writing a blog post only to be thwarted by my own numbed-out apathy. If there were an award for ignoring that little inspirational spark that tries to light, I’d have that one in the bag. Hell, I might even be able to teach a master class in avoidance and procrastination, if, you know… I could find the desire.
Anhedonia, party of one.
I did make some progress on the attempting to write something down front a few days ago, though! Go me, I plugged in my MacBook and charged it for the first time in months. However, I never actually cracked open the lid to do anything with it. This whizz-bang, swanky new computer that my family gave me for Christmas last year is lovely. In fact, it is the very same one that brought a tear to my eye because I was so surprised by it when I unwrapped it. And, also the very same one that were I to sell it as a used car might be described as “adult-owned, with low mileage.”
I am a slug.
In previous incarnations of myself, a few fleeting milliseconds of inspiration could usually be enough to carry me through to maaaaaybe writing something. Not in ’21, honey. I just fell short. In every way. I wrote nothing. I took few pictures. I shared nothing. I talked to no one.
At the stroke of midnight welcoming in 2021, it would have been hard to imagine that the year to come wouldn’t be better than the one that preceded it. I believed that things would improve. I really did. But as we know, kids, we have no control over anything but ourselves. And what didn’t improve, was me.
Many people suffered through their own illness or that of their loved ones. Thankfully, my immediate family didn’t get sick. Others felt the pain of trying to navigate through loss of work, issues with child and elder care. Thankfully, we didn’t. On paper, I can tally up the marks in my Wins and Losses columns and unequivocally say that I came out a winner. And yet, I spent most of my year in a state of burnout.
Most of my mental exhaustion was the direct result of my work life. I’ve made some changes to try rectify that but my 2021 work year can still eat a bag of dicks and wash it down with a nice folding chair to the face. My job and the way I was committed to doing it, completely drained my battery.
Once I’d leave work for the day, all of the air was let out of my balloon. Talking to people, going to the store, cleaning, recreating, making a phone call – they all became like my Mount Everest.
When goodhearted, well-intentioned people would email, text or message asking how I was doing – even being able to formulate a courteous reply like a normal human being went by the wayside. And the more people tried to reach out to me, the less and less I wanted to talk to them. It made my skin crawl to have another person communicating with me – even if it was personal and out of an abundance of care. See: “I gave at the office.”
Sometimes loving someone means leaving them alone but that seems to be the hardest trick to learn. We don’t often see this as an appropriate response – it’s typically seen as a signal of not caring.
In the moments when I willfully chose not to communicate, I did so on behalf of my own wellbeing. It’s nearly impossible for the person on the receiving end of the withdrawal to understand this. In the end, when you close off to people, the why doesn’t seem to be quite so important, they only feel the end result. Yes, I’ve burned some bridges. They were the choices I was capable of making at the time. While I am sorry if people felt discarded, I needed to do it. And so I try to make peace with that.
It is strange to me that ’21 is my year that wasn’t, moreso than ’20. Life is nothing if not mysterious.
Here now on this first day of the double deuce, I’ve been contemplating what part of myself I ghosted last year. What did I lose or quiet in order to survive? And it struck me that I have forgotten how to see beautiful things. I don’t remember what it feels like to follow a whim just because. My fancy hasn’t been tickled in quite some time. I’ve poured all of my secret fun-time sauce into surviving and left nothing to slather on the bread of my happiness sandwich. No glitter. No silly. No fun for fun’s sake. Just existing. When did I become so afraid of being my authentic self even when no one else is looking?
What. The. Fuck. WHATTHEFUCK!?
What the hell kind of life is that?
At the risk of making any promises or plans that will inevitably set me up for failure with regimentation, my only goal for this new year is to try to remember that life is indeed full of weird, wonderful, beautiful things and experiences. And when I fail, to try to remember that if I want to, I can try again. I don’t need to explain my actions or inactions to anyone. The only thing that I owe is to myself ~ a shot at feeling happy.
Welcome to the New Year. I hope it’s a good one.