New year, new nothing: 100 weeks of Covid
Progress is like a snowball that starts small but gains momentum, growing as it rolls
As I scrolled through Instagram over the weekend, I noticed a bunch of motivational posts featuring January calendars with daily plans of what to do. I couldn't tell you what any of them said because my thumb could not scroll past them quickly enough.
Just the idea of someone assigning me a task to do every day exhausts me. I know how demoralized I tend to get when I realize I've missed a day of getting something done that I was supposed to do. It makes me want to Edward Scissorhands the calendar. There must be people who, like those who quit a bad habit cold turkey, can pick up a good one by going from doing nothing to being consistent daily. But I don't think most people work that way. I think our progress is more like a set of waves that ebbs and then flows back a little, or like a snowball that starts small but gains momentum and grows as it rolls.
The "fresh start" aspect of ringing in a New Year is not lost on me completely. I like to pause and think through goals and bucket list items and how to make them happen. Obviously I'm a proponent of dreaming big and then watching God work in miraculous ways. This year will be the first year in more than a decade that it will feel like I have a career as I do all the marketing and promotion for my book, The Beautiful List, that will be published in October. (Cover design is happening NOW!) But I think Covid in particular has created a lackadaisicalness about planning and dreaming. So many schedules for nearly 100 straight weeks have changed more than they have stayed the same. Let that sink in. It was President's Day week 2020 when my family first wore masks on a plane to avoid some new Coronavirus from China.
In the past three weeks as we dealt with our son's broken jaw (another unexpected game changer), Covid thwarted our holiday travel plans and has now made this week a distance learning week at school. With so much pivoting and improvising required of us constantly, we're unsettled. I not only feel it in my own life, but see it in the faces of my friends on those rare occasions I see them: we're all stymied, reluctant to get our hopes up about any plans. It's past beginning to wear us down; it has done so and continues to grate our already raw hearts and minds.
I'm finding it impossible to maintain a stick-to-it-ive-ness in any part of my life: cooking, exercising, working, writing, homemaking, learning, racing, and research. There's an accepted haphazardness to life now that we're all adjusting to as normalcy. The schedules that are so helpful to so many of us have been ripped from our hands and thrown out the window, and all we can do is watch them float through the air and drift off into the wind, out of reach.
I think, with the state of the world being what it is, it is healthy for us to set small, realistic goals that take into account all the upheaval we continue to work amid. Changes in plans cost us time, energy and resources. Knowing that, we need to build in flexibility and opportunity for crap to come at us that we can't control. If we hope to work out more, 2022 is not the year to decide we're going to exercise every. single. day. (Which I'm not sure any exercise expert would condone anyway. Even God needed a day of rest.) Get on that Peloton bike, go to that gym class, or take a walk once a week in January. In February, try it again. And then in March, go crazy and work up to six times. If it's eating healthier, make a healthier meal choice one time a day, or when ordering take out, search for the healthiest option that sounds appetizing. Small changes lead to eventual habits and lifestyles. Eventual is a word we all need to embrace. I don't know about you, but at the moment, my brain can't handle the "your best life now" messages bombarding me.
The 2020s have so far been full of loss: lost loved ones, drifting friendships, lack of connection, turmoil, insecurity, hopelessness, tragedy and, the icing on the cake, Betty White's passing just 18 days shy of her 100th birthday. Her passing has also inspired a flurry of social media activity, but I found myself pausing on all the tributes to her. I think she was onto something when she said:
"It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver."
With that said, I'm coming at you, 2022. Not with a bulldozer, or a daily plan for greatness, but with an empty desk calendar, several piles of papers, resilience, perseverance, hope, humor, and an acquiescence to the current state of affairs and its very real limitations on what can be accomplished.
What are your realistic New Year's goals? Share in the comments!