Salutations! (Thought I’d try out a new greeting.)
How’s your 2021 going so far? I’m gonna get really personal here, so bow out if you must. But first, I acknowledge everyone is wondering if Mercury might be stuck in retrograde. So this is by no means a “just me” thing.
I consider myself one of those glass-is-half-full chicks. Sure, it gets me in trouble from time to time, but mostly it’s remained one of the steadiest coping mechanisms in my Adulting Toolkit. I genuinely believe if you can’t find the hope in your day/week/year/life, your best bet is to stay under the covers until you come up with something. Anything. Is it above zero today? Winning. Has that zit on your back disappeared? Awesome. Did you get all the green lights this afternoon? The universe adores you!
However. This hope-seeking strategy is annoying for the realists in my life — “can’t you just come down to Earth for one quick sec” — and damaging for the people who are actually suffering and need my support — “I’ve been burned too many times before.” Accordingly, it seems my usual attempt to find the sunshine is rubbing up against the reality that sometimes, life just sucks.
I know you know this to be true, and here we all are, pushing ourselves forward another day. (Isn’t it amazing the world keeps turning?)
So this afternoon, I leave my cave to run to the kitchen and nuke a cup of coffee. Enroute, I pass the usual evidence of sloth that would ordinarily trigger me. Items piled on the stairs waiting to be ferried upwards. Laundry in a state of semi-folding, taking up most of the family room perimeter. Dishes from God knows when, begging to be transformed to their natural state of cleanliness. But the icing on the cake is the dog vomit. Impossible to ignore, and spectacular in its presentation.
I hop over it. Twice.
Then, with my heated-up coffee in hand, I head back to my computer and stare at the screen before me. I decide to count the number of tabs I have open. Thirty-eight — possibly a new record? I fetch a pen off the floor and write down the word motivation on my moleskin notepad. Circling it ten times makes it seem more in reach. Where did it go? I wonder. I glance up at my calendar and observe that it’s only Wednesday. And then, I cry.
In between finding out there may not actually be the chance to provide a life-saving chunk of my liver to someone I love dearly, and my husband spending the afternoon at emerge for his ticking-time-bomb heart, I seem to have lost my way. What I mean is, I can’t find the sunshine. And it scares me. Because I’m running low on effective coping mechanisms.
Almost three weeks ago, I made a decision to stop drinking alcohol in an effort to cleanse my liver and clear my head. I confess that wine has been the ‘other’ trusted resource I’d reach for when needing to shield myself from life’s suckage. Now that I don’t have access to it, I’m confronted with myself on the daily. There’s nowhere to run and hide. Everywhere I go, there I am. Same old me. Same old feelings. Same old reality. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens all wrapped up in some kind of Hope-Despair-Hope-Rollercoaster.
The thing is, that ride I’m strapped into tightly? It’s wreaking havoc with my motivation. And yes, I know, I know. January can be tough, as far as months go. But as a Capricorn, I don’t just value productivity, I demand it. In fact, I really love getting shit done in a day! Right now, I should be editing that Podcast I promised to have out to you all. Instead, I’m burying my head in ridiculous distractions. Yesterday, I chose to watch three shows on airplane disasters. What in the Sam hell is wrong with me? It’s like I’m seeking out curated misery to keep me company in my complete and utter lack of control.
Here’s the deal. I — we — must be kinder to the person in the mirror. We’re coming through a weird-ass time in history, I think it’s okay for us to behave a little weird-ass. (Read: do what you need to do to get through the day.)
So, rather than chasing that missing motivation, maybe we ought to recognize the victory that is getting up from under the covers. Instead of panicking because we don’t see any immediate signs of sunshine, maybe we can still chill under grey skies.
Maybe, we can even hop over that dog vomit and let it sit for a while.
p.s. It’s the night before my 47th birthday. I’m counting both the blessings and challenges in my life. I just want you to know that I’m right there with you. We’re all in this mess and it feels long, hard, repetitive, head-banging, daunting, confusing, uncertain and problematic. But we can do this. We are doing this.