It’s ironic that this is the first time I’ve felt the urge to write in this blog since the eve of starting my new job in Chicago way back in June. At that time, I was amped up on the adrenaline of starting something new, of making real changes when I’d been feeling like I was going nowhere for such a long time. I thought the hard part — finding the job, making the initial jump — was over. But I was so, so wrong.
And now here we are, smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. When I carried my desktop monitor home on the L last week, I felt like maybe I was being a little extra. After all, I could work on my smaller laptop screen for a week or so, right? Turns out I was so wrong about how long this quarantining and social distancing would go on for, too. (P.S. I’m really glad I have that monitor, now.)
We keep hearing that things are going to get worse before they get better. And that’s how my summer got after the initial excitement of starting a new job wore off and I was hit full force with the pain of change. Long story short: It was a really dark summer. Change will do that to a person.
Now it looks like it might be a really dark spring, too. And yet, having gone through my own deep pain and coming out stronger on the other side, I feel better equipped to deal with this new period of change. And I have a lot of hope.
Here’s some things I’ve learned since I climbed out of my deep dark hole, and what I’m doing with those lessons in this insane world we’ve found ourselves in:
- Taking care of your health — mental, physical, emotional — is of the utmost importance. Work out. Eat nutritious food. Avoid or limit drugs and alcohol.
- Sure, I’d love to give in and stress eat right now. It would be so easy and it would feel so good … for a little while. But it would hurt me more in the long run. I’ve lost 40 pounds since October, when I started to see some light from the bottom of my hole, and I’m not throwing that work away now.
- The power to control your attitude, thoughts, and reactions lies within you.
- I’ll credit taking control of my health for this one. Is it easy? Nope. Am I perfect all the time? Hell no. Some squabbles I’ve had due to stress from these current times are case in point. Stuff gets the best of me sometimes. I feel awfully ashamed when I slip up, but all I can do is apologize, whether it’s to myself or others, and move on.
- Once you start loving yourself it’s a hell of a lot easier to love other people, too.
- I mean, I still don’t love everybody, but it’s easier to be understanding, forgiving, interested, caring and enthusiastic for the successes of others now that I have my shit much more together. My extrovert is dying a little at having to be alone in my apartment right now, but this feels like a great time to connect and reconnect with others. I’m hopeful that on the other side of this, we’ll have a greater appreciation for each other.
- Change, whether we make it happen or it happens to us, will be painful, but we can adapt and come out better on the other side.
- I feel like I’m living proof of that now. It’s not easy. It hurts. There’s a lot of self examination, sweat, and tears to be had, but it will get better. It got better for me as soon as I started taking control. And in a time that’s wildly out of control, I’m going to do what I have to for both the greater good and my own personal good. I’m going to look for a brighter future somewhere beyond. It’s better than giving up and giving in to fear.
Anyway, these are just my small, perhaps meaningless thoughts I’ve been kicking around in an unprecedented time. As a writer, I figure I’d put them out there. Because to someone they might matter. Right?
I guess that’s why writers write in the first place.