I believe in kindness. Also in mischief.
Also in singing, especially when
Singing is not necessarily prescribed.”
– Mary Oliver, “Evidence”
I need a heads up. A road sign. A reminder.
Annual events, especially with the added chaos of the holidays or approaching family vacations–Spring Break or Summer Vaca–catch me off guard. I know, right? (Insert eye roll here). These dates happen every year, so what is the problem, Wallace? The problem is the cloud of malaise that arrives at the same time. The feelings of unwarranted dread, or coming untethered and in need of a shortcut back to solitude and my center.
I am fortunate not to suffer debilitating depression as many artists do, and aside from my own uneasiness, I continue to keep appointments, work schedules and birthdays, holiday gifts, etc. It’s just that when it comes time for planning or preparing, I can feel overwhelmed and joyless, instead of eager with anticipation.
My self-diagnosed “social introvertedness” means I walk the tightrope of loving to be with people, and needing solitude. Tip too far one direction, I’m exhausted; tip too far the other, and I grow lethargic.
Stephen King reminds us that we don’t create to live; we live to create (or something like that). The the underbelly of being a truth-seeker is that we tend to mine the world at subterranean levels. We can get myopic, driven and even stuck in places that can prove dangerous. [This is why I offer the up-close-and-personal care to others as a Writing Guide.]
I feel exhausted and can’t see clear to plan the next calendar block following hectic holiday seasons with all its revelry pig-backed to tight writing and editing deadlines and the needs of guided authors. January is absolutely the worst. Rounding into the new year, I can’t remember having ever been happy or successful. Ever. Each month of the year can feel like starting over. And as an independent contractor in the field of creating, I am in a very real sense starting over. And over.
I easily forget the year before. Sure, I look back at calendar pages and review tasks and contracts, but I often I do so with a sense of dread or apathy, feeling the weight of where I came up short, or full-on failed. Why didn’t I kept track of the wins as well as the work? On dark winter days, I can’t remember the sunshine and the thrill of those shining moments of coalescing clarity and delight.
Throughout the year, I write sweet cards, and sticky notes to friends and my daughter; so why don’t I write them to myself as well? I decided to remedy this situation and started writing encouraging notes to myself to read in advance next year, caring for myself like a mama would a child—in fact, I started saying what I often say to my daughter, “You’ve got this!”
This is not a planner, or tips for business management, rather I’m offering reminders and nudges during the most difficult seasons, as well as the bright and beautiful days of celebrations. I hope YOU, my dears, will find these encouraging as well. “You’ve Got This!”
Month-by-month inspiration and simple check lists
for living full and free in 2021: