Sooo…some days, right?
I have generally thrived under “lockdown” or “quarantine,” or whatever other wholly-inadequate words are being used to describe the quite-reasonable advice for us to stay a safe distance from anyone who might have The Virus, since…that’s all of us. And keeping ourselves away from others keeps others safe, too. All good.
The first month of shelter-in-place (also inadequate) was truly life-changing for me. Stopping moving for a period, not having my usual distractions of other people (or drinks, or coffee in cafes, or errands, or, god knows, travel), has given me a time and focus that has allowed me to…
a) create and launch a new website, davidwattsbarton.com;
b) start a daily blog on that site (which you are reading);
c) write the long, complicated weekly entries for another new website, www.music1967.com, and post 18 of them so far;
d) do some freelance writing;
e) expand on my growing side-hustle of writing press releases, marketing content and web copy for other businesses;
f) workout daily and get into the best shape I’ve been in for awhile;
g) expand my social media presence so that I can promote my upcoming book, Japan from Anime to Zen;
h) deepen my relationships with friends through various media
i) perform and record a web-streamed concert on Facebook;
j) start a YouTube channel that I’m not keeping up, but at least it’s there;
k) make a very nice home, the first I’ve had since I left New York more than six years ago;
l) get into nature more than I have in a long time, riding the American River bike trail every day; and
m) keep in close touch with the people who matter to me, from my elderly aunt to friends in Italy and Spain and Berlin and, of course, Kyoto. And NYC.
Not bad for a “lock down,” eh? And yes, I realize that that’s a bit of showing off there, but I post it to a) show what is possible in a short period of time, b) encourage others, and yes, c) make myself feel better on days like this – when I don’t feel so great.
I know a LOT of people who are having the same experience; there’s something about this whole situation that has created a sense of urgency among a lot of my friends, and they are working hard, doing things they’ve put off forever, and discovering new things they didn’t know they cared about.
And that’s all good. Even though there is always more than could be done, and I beat myself up for that, strange as that is. Some times, it’s enough; sometimes it’s not quite there.
And some days…some days I just want to stuff my face, and I pace my (admittedly ample) cage, and then eat some more, preferably something that is in no way good for me. Some days, I ponder my mortality, think about what would even be left of me if The Virus were less kind to me than I expect it to be. Some days, I drink coffee and journal about the most ridiculous things imaginable. Some days, I wonder what this year will look like, and I struggle with my inability to know, and thus, to plan anything.
Some days – no, ALL days – I could really use a cuddle. And most days, sexting is not even close to satisfying. I would dearly love to get laid.
I was going to write today, a follow-up to my Monday post about maintaining my sobriety “in captivity,” a post about sugar and the difficulties of avoiding that, and my advice for doing so. Then that expanded, because for me, the problem isn’t sugar so much as just the anxious stuffing of my face. And the more I stuffed my face, the less I felt adequate to the task of giving advice on that.
And that led me to a simple conclusion: Food isn’t the problem. It’s the anxiety.
I feel as though my anxiety is well within control. I’m fortunate that I am financially set, to a modest but dependable degree. I don’t have money worries, which is a HUGE advantage at a time like this. And the people I’m closest, at least most, don’t have that worry, either. And I feel for those who do. I’ve been there before, and it’s the worst – well, no, health worries are the worst – but I don’t have those beyond what everyone now has.
But some days…the not-knowing really grips me, and I just can’t get anything done. I putter furiously, and I work through it. I get to a good place, where I realize that, although I’m really making the most of this, I really don’t have to come out of this with a new career, cash in the bank, new clients, perfect websites, or a killer dad bod. Coming out of it with my sanity in tact, my health assured, my friends and family health and my friendships solid ought to be enough.
I love the accomplishments, and on most days, I can get up, press the coffee, do some pushups and squats and get to work. Most days, I can “kill it.” I do that. I love doing that.
But some days…I can be kind to myself, read a book that has nothing to do with Japan or music or editing or social media, or read news pieces that have nothing to do with COVID-19, let alone what’s-‘is-name’s latest shenanigans. Some days, I can simply allow myself not to worry about whether I’m making progress, where I’ll be in three months, when I’ll be able to travel, or even when I’ll be intimate with someone.
Some days I’m just trying to let myself be, let myself relax, let myself heal from the traumas, many just below the surface of the conscious mind, those subtle traumas and anxieties that irritate and chafe my soul. Some days, I can just allow myself to just be quiet, to let myself hibernate, to let myself be goal-free – even if that means being accomplishment-free, too. Because as much as I hate to admit it, I need that.
Then I can go back to “killin’ it.” I want to keep killin’ it.
I just don’t want to kill myself trying to get there.
I hope you’re taking care of yourself. You deserve it.