(Example of how overloaded my brain is? I started writing this post on April 1st and it took 11 days to tie it up with a haphazard bow.)
What exactly to write about when the world is a strange and ever-fluctuating place? I’ve probably started ten different blog entries and I just disappeared from writing this post to go do a million little things that have poked at my brain since I sat down.
I’m holding a lot in my head right now and I know the reasons (COVID-19, my planner has been abandoned and isn’t holding my current brain right now, suddenly carrying different responsibilities in life, and doing it all within a very different schedule), but sometimes knowing the why isn’t the same as knowing the how of changing it.
So, in the absence of one giant, coherent, life-changing post to offer, I’m going to do what helps me on paper when my head is cluttered and I just need to purge: I’m going to do a brain dump.
Sometimes the best way to clear the clutter is to put it all down, including any internal expectation that I’m going to somehow recover from my internal mental jam without finding a way to reset.
Without further preface, the inside of my brain as it currently exists:
I miss my planner.
My planner has not been touched since March 11th and even as I’m writing now, I haven’t rectified this. When things go sideways, my planner is not always the thing that anchors me, and I’ve learned to allow this to be what it is. Sometimes I need to simply exist from one task to the next, to put down all of the momentum that was propelling me forward so that I can instead just exist in whatever hard left the world has just taken.
I want to invite you to miss your planner but also wait to reach for it if it feels like a stressor to re-engage. My planner is current sitting open on my desk after being crammed in my bag for weeks, and I can sense that tomorrow I’ll likely start to thumb through it and think about what my new relationship with it will be, but for now it’s resting quietly in view.
That’s okay for now. More to come. One day at a time.
This introvert is not in heaven right now.
Wow, have I heard a lot massive generalizing and over-simplification of all types of people in recent weeks. I’m an INFJ, sometimes called the “extroverted introvert,” and I find that right now I am a person who is in an environment where my extroverted qualities and my introverted nature have been stifled and it’s been very tricky to sort that out in a world where we seem to have declared that introverts are having the time of their lives and all extroverts are in deep suffering mode.
The reality is more complicated and it also requires that we think about the very different experiences we’re having based on career, finances, healthcare needs, available supports, lack of childcare, access to basic resources, and a million other factors that have way more influence on our current experience than our level of introversion/extroversion.
I am an introvert who is home a lot more but I’m also never alone in my house and I’m holding a lot of space for other people. It took me a minute to sort that out, but once I unpacked those factors, I realized that my expectations of myself needed to drastically change to accommodate my greatly lessened mental space. I needed a space in my home to be alone and that space had to be created, so a lot of time was spent on that project first.
If you’re someone like me, who’s home but not alone in that home, do you have a space? It’s been a major boost for me to have one.
Connections are my lifeline right now.
Here are some ways that I am trying to maintain connection right now. The balance of time spent hunting down my people and just taking care of myself has been an evolving one, but these are things that have made that easier:
- UNLOCKING THE DISCORD SERVER to allow unpaid access for those who just need a space to coexist online right now. This has allowed a few friends to hop in and easily access some shared space that isn’t buried amid problematic Facebook posts and doesn’t have to be created from scratch. If you need a space to coexist virtually right now, message me and I’ll get you up and running. Access to Soul Circle and other scheduled calls still requires a Patreon subscription, but you can access a LOT for free until further notice, including game nights, streaming movies, communal puzzles, and scheduled sessions with me for either coworking or just sharing live space together.
- THE FABRIQ APP – So, I had been working on a bigger post and review of this service prior to the major shifts with COVID-19, but then schools closed and life changed and I haven’t had the mental space to give this app/site the attention I wanted to. What’s cool is that discovering this app right before social connections became really important and harder to maintain was some really great timing. This app allows you to enter your key relationships of all levels, choose how often it’s important to you to connect, and it reminds you to connect, making it easy to do so and tracking the quality of the connections. I also really love the quiz on their site for determining your friendship style. Having a visual for who I haven’t checked in with and who might need a quick message of connection has really helped me to manage my end of several relationships. It’s kind of genius, honestly, and I think it’s made it easier for me to be the kind of friend I want to be with the level of consistency/frequency that fits each individual relationship.
- SHARED PUZZLING – I’ve been really enjoying spending time on shared puzzles with members of the Discord community. We’re sharing links to puzzles we’ve created over in the
#cowork-and-coexistchannel on Discord and we can even hop on live voice chat while we puzzle. We often have more than one puzzle up and running, so there’s always a size, complexity, or particular image that appeals to everyone. These can be as easy or difficult as you’d like, so simple puzzles can be created to work on with kiddos remotely as well.
- MOVIE NIGHTS / GAME NIGHTS – I’ve had one really enjoyable game night using Zoom to screencast a Steam installation of a Jackbox party pack, and I also streamed one of my favorite movies (Far from the Madding Crowd) on Zoom while chatting with fellow watchers in the Zoom chat area. Thoughts on this: much easier to watch a movie together if everyone streams it on their own and just starts at the same time. Jackbox games are a lot of fun and don’t require any prior knowledge to play, which was perfect for a Zoom game night.
- ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS – I’m there. I caved as of two days ago and I’m hooked and it’s just what I need right now. You need a Nintendo Switch to play (and good luck finding one if you didn’t already have one) and I’ve had a lot of fun hanging with a friend or two on Houseparty (available on iOS, Android, Chrome, and desktop – also a thing that currently has me hooked) while we visit each other’s islands and fish and find Bunny Day eggs.
Expectations MUST be fluid.
Not just now, but really, when can we have unspoken and/or unrealistic expectations of other people or ourselves that aren’t ultimately scheduling our later resentments in life? It’s always important to allow myself and others grace but the amount of grace I allow myself always reflects the grace I’m allowing others, and up until this week I was NOT giving myself a lot of grace.
Shit is complicated right now. People are who they are and that fluctuates based on stress, resilience, self-awareness, privilege… so many things, but especially (right now) global upheavals.
I may have been someone with certain routines and certain reasonable expectations of my capacity and others’ capacity a month or so ago, but I am no longer in possession of the same energy, time, clarity, and sound information about next steps.
I have never been so utterly grounded in taking things literally one day at a time, because my capacity is no further into the future. Last week I had a hard time allowing that to be true, and this week I’m clinging to it with every bit of energy I don’t have aimed somewhere else.
It took me ten days to write this.
Even brain dumps are coming out like molasses right now.
Since starting this post:
- I’ve open my planner and written in it, so I think for today it’s going to be okay.
- I’ve also cracked open my free Passion Planner and did a quick flip-through.
- I’ve moved ALL of the furniture around in my new home office at least three times.
- I’ve discovered that I need a more comfortable office chair.
- I figured out that dark teal walls make video lighting a nightmare, but that hanging a folding bamboo/paper screen that I already owned on the wall behind my desk was a super affordable, very quick fix.
- I’m unabashed drinking coffee again.
- I’ve only worn shoes twice.
- I’ve been craving plants for my home space like I can’t even describe and it’s got me pondering The Sill much more seriously than the non-quarantine browsing I’ve done while scrolling through Instagram.
- I’ve become a slightly better substitute for a kindergarten teacher and I’ve learned to let that be enough for now.
- I’ve leaned hard into Tik Tok and I’m finding a lot of joy in that space due to a personalized For You feed filled with leftist real talk, dancing, pet hilarity, and awesome memes.
What’s getting you through these days? What are you realizing these days? What’s gone completely out the window with our prior routines? Hop into the community if you need witnessing right now from a handful of others who are probably experiencing a lot of the same things.