I sent this as a comment on a friend's blog post and wanted to copy it here. It seemed to fit.
We've had a crash course in surviving a pandemic, then to be sent back to "real life" from the before times must be so stressful. I had a zoom call with an old friend from high school. We've seen each other in recent years once or twice. But we had such a lovely relaxed zoom call that later I half panicked about not wearing a mask when I spoke to her. It happened a few times! Which tells me 3 things:
1) zoom is super normal now, so normal that a one on one call can feel "real"
2) mask wearing is a good habit I have now
3) it was such a nice engaging conversation I had with my friend that I felt like we were together. Thanks Courtney!
Pandemic life is weird.
As an addendum to that above comment, as I was writing this I thought about my blogger friends. I know I've been focused on documenting Covid Life every week, but what more have they been writing about. Is there more to blog about? Uh no. Because:
Yes, my GenX brain did just spit out lyrics from the Thompson Twins. Things are completely different from top to bottom and normal will not be what it once was.
I leaped off a huge mountain recently. By choice. Sort of like base jumping, but with a rough landing.
I'm now down in a deep dark valley, looking up. And breathing deeply for the climb that is ahead. Maybe there is a well cleared path and I just can't see it yet. For now I'm cutting my own path and damn my machete is dull.
But light will come, a way will open up.
I always have hope.
In yoga yesterday we held pigeon pose for a long minute on each side. That was uncomfortable. But I want to change, I want to strengthen and stretch my body, so I have to go there and stay there. Be there in that pose, feeling the stretch in my hip, checking in with my shoulders and neck and back.
I've read plenty of books and articles about "stepping outside your comfort zone" and how important that is for change. And I've done it on a small scale when learning new things (podcasting for example).
But what I never really took on, what I never explored was actually feeling uncomfortable. Feeling uncomfortable on purpose and coming back for more.
You have to physically feel it in your body.
This realization startled me yesterday. I felt so stupid, like, duh, of course you have to FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE to break through.
I haven't done regular yoga in about 15 years and started again in January. IT'S HARD! I'M UNCOMFORTABLE! But I keep going back because I know it will get better. (It already has even though I freakin tripped on my big toe and fell yesterday. Ugh. Uncomfortable!)
Goal for 2020: If you are not uncomfortable, you are not doing it right. (And you know I'm not talking just about yoga, right?)
(A picture of pigeon pose, but not a picture of me.)
I feel like 2019 was my graduation year.
I feel like 2020 is the summer before I go to the next thing. I'm thinking about what to pack, how much space there will be for my things. I don't need to take all my stuff, but I'm not sure exactly what I'll need. But that's okay. I'll adjust when I get there.
What I want is space. Space to spread my arms wide and dance or do yoga poses or walk all the way around furniture, or walk through a green open space from my front door.
For now I'll make do in my current space while I continue to form the next space.
I haven't written in a few weeks for a few reasons, Thanksgiving, other projects, etc. I am a bit disappointed in myself as I had made it a goal to post at least twice a week. But I forgive myself too. That's because during November I was signed up with National Novel Writing Month. I mentioned it early in the month, but didn't write more about it here because I like to tell you when I've DONE something more than I like to talk about planning to do something.
So I did it! I wrote Every. Single. Day. in November, and I wrote past the goal of 50,000 words in that 30 day period. Do things like "winners badges" make a difference? Hell yes. I'm still a 7 year old kid sometimes. GIVE ME THE WINNER STICKER!
There is much more work to be done on this particular writing project, so you'll hear more when I've gotten to my next milestone.
I think I didn't realize how tired I was after getting up between 4:30 and 5am almost every day, even though I would be asleep by 10pm most nights. Last night at dinner out with Kurt and Harper, I had two glasses of prosecco. This was around 6pm. I was SOUND ASLEEP by 9! I also slept in till 6:30 today and am taking a break from writing today. Back at it tomorrow!
Really really proud of myself.
We've been reading the Harry Potter series out loud to Harper. We have just finished Goblet of Fire. Harper asks us to read all the time, not just at bedtime, but before dinner and on the weekends. We love it.
The other day, before dinner she asked me to read. Harry and Cedric had been transported to the graveyard of Tom Riddle. SPOILER ALERT - Then Cedric died and now Voldemort was back and wanting to duel with Harry as pretense to killing him.
So - two things.
1) The whole time I was reading this very dramatic passage, Harper had been drinking a box of apple juice. As it got more dramatic, I wasn't really paying attention to her except that she was cutting up the empty juice box. I finally glanced up from the stress of Voldemort wanting to kill Harry and Harry with no one to help him and saw that Harper was making this fantastic thing:
I love it!
2nd Thing) When you haven't read Harry Potter (or seen the movies) in a long time, you forget the details. All I remembered about book 4 is that Cedric dies. What I didn't remember is that when Harry and Voldemort are dueling and they are connected by the golden beams between wands, ghosts start to come out of Voldemort's wands - Cedric, a couple others and then HARRY'S MOM AND DAD!! And they all come to speak to Harry, telling him to hold on, don't give up, they will give him time to run to the goblet/portkey to get back to Hogwarts.
If you know me at all, you know I'm a big CRYER. So at this point I'm a mess. Harper is still cutting away on her juice box crocodile and she looks over "why are you crying?" and I laugh and beg her for some kleenex, which she kindly gets for me, and say "His mom and dad are here and they are helping him when he thought he was going to die!" She shrugged and kept on with her croc.
When does empathy kick in for kids???
She loves the stories and I know she's paying attention because earlier in the graveyard scene Voldemort talks to the Death Eaters who have apparated in to meet their newly reformed master. Voldemort talks to Lucious and Harper says, "I think that's Lucious Malfoy!" and when it is confirmed, she is pleased to have figured that out. I was pleased to know she's been really taking it all in.
For Christmas I got Harper the Illustrated versions of Books 1-3. Don't tell her.
(Affiliate link below)
On Sunday I did a brave thing. I had two girls from Harper's grade over for a playdate. I was warned not to have three girls at a time-there could be too much drama. Well guess what? No drama! There was one moment, right at the very end of their play time when Harper had a hurt feeling. It last about three minutes. Whew.
They arrived around 11:30, played in Harper's room for a bit. Then I gave them luncheon: quesadillas, apple slices, tangerines and blueberries with a choice of apple juice or water. They also got a small slice of the mistake cake I had baked. (I was baking cakes for a friend's birthday that night and my first cake came out not quite right, so I started over. Bonus for the girls and Kurt. More about cakes and baking in another post.)
After Luncheon, Harper offered each of her guests a candy from her Halloween bag. Very generous. Then, as Harper said, they did "an activity". I pulled out paint and toilet paper rolls and they made thanksgiving turkeys. I traced feather shapes on construction paper and the cut them out. One of them wanted to freehand her feathers so I said, "Rock on" and she did. I, however, forgot to take pics of their turkeys. Here is Harpers:
That's a crown and a cape...
While they were working on their "activity" one of the girls got frustrated that it wasn't come out the way she wanted. I said that we had plenty of supplies so she could start over or get new pieces or whatever she wanted.
I said, "Practice makes perfect"
She whipped around and said, "NO!"
I looked at her and said, "No?"
"No. Practice makes better. Because nothing is perfect."
While the paint was drying they went outside to play on the chair swing and use the sidewalk chalk.
It got a little rowdy and I caught a couple of moments of the girls almost getting clobbered by the chair as it swung wildly. Fortunately none of them had to learn how to play safely the hard way.
It was a good time! And I'm pleased it went so well and I learned an important lesson from a seven year old: Practice Makes Better.
I am writing a novel. You should too! I joined up with National Novel Writing Month organization. They've been around for a while and this year I'm finally DOING IT. The goal is to write a novel (50,000 words) in the month of November. Totally doable! A draft is a draft.
Today is my 6th day in a row so I've earned this badge already:
My story came to me while we were in England this year. I kept jotting down notes and thoughts and ideas, expecting to get to it sometime. Then I was reminded of NaNoWriMo and signed up. So glad I did! I like keeping score, which is what the group and website encourage you to do, very motivating.
There are challenges. The actual putting words to (virtual) paper is not the hard part.
My challenge is switching back to freakin' Pacific Standard Time last weekend! (I write in the early early hours before anyone else gets up.) But since the time change, Harper has been getting up even earlier than she normally would have. UGH! And she comes right to me. This morning I had been at it for about 20 minutes (My goal is 1 hour) and she came in and sat on my lap.
Mama, I had a bad dream
I'm sorry sweetheart!
Can you read Harry Potter?
I then made her lie on the guest bed in my office and doze for about 1/2 hour! I wrote as far as I could before she started sitting in my lap again. And yes, I then read Harry Potter (we are in the middle of Goblet of Fire, FYI).
With all that, I have still written every day, can't wait to get my fingers back on that keyboard and continue! Hopefully she'll settle back into her normal sleep pattern and I can have my full writing time back.
Challenge yourself! You can still get started.
I can't say for sure what my main project is right now. There are a lot of sides projects going - and going strong!
I started designing some fun "merch" (as the kids say) and have it up for sale on a site called Zazzle.
I started with lots of wacky fun Halloween/Candy Corn/Sugar Skull items. And have now been updating with my Hashtag Home line. It's all a bit of fun and I love how the items are turning out!
CLICK on the images to see more in each collection. Then tell me what you think.
And in the header up thereyou can click on "SHOP" to go to the store and see what's new anytime!
My Menopodcast partner, Sarah, recently mentioned a book called The 12 Week Year. It sounded intriguing to imagine jamming a bunch of goals into 12 weeks instead of 12 months. I was curious (skeptical?) and had a free Audible.com credit so I got the audio book and started listening.
And I'm in.
I bought a hard copy so I could write notes, highlight sections, easily reread bits, and flip around for different sections. My key takeaways are to FOCUS ON ACTIONS, not results. Also to write everything out, build a schedule that works for me every day and STICK TO IT. There is an aspect of this plan that I love: Scoring. You have to score yourself each week-score yourself on tangible tactics and "to-dos" on the plan.
You also have to stretch and sacrifice and be uncomfortable because that is what change requires.
Some days it SUCKS. But one of the tips to get you back on track is to review your big vision. What do you want your life to look like in 3 years? I realized today I need to have that vision statement nearby my work desk so I don't forget what I'm working toward.
I'm in week 2 and have achieved a decent amount of my weekly goals set for week 1. I'm doing well so far here in week 2 (and yes, blogging is scheduled as it is part of a bigger goal.)
I won't review my goals with you now. I would much rather review what I accomplished at the end of 12 weeks. And even if it's not 100% - even if it's only 65%? I will be proud. Proud because I started now and will have accomplished something.
Stay tuned for the review of my first 12 week year. Coincidentally it ends on December 29.
Give it a shot!
Note: My links (and/or images) often connect you with Amazon Affiliates products. I write about things I love and use. I don't get compensated to write about them. (I'll tell you if I do.) However, if you do decide to click through and end up buy something, I'll get a little bit from that sale.