I remember there was a time, back in the days of yore, when I felt like things were going pretty smoothly, all told, and I wondered when they all might go pear-shaped. Because they always do, don’t they? Sooner or later, something always comes up that knocks you off balance, and it takes some time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue onward.
But man, the past two years have felt like one long series of blows from any and every angle, and I’m sure it’s the same for all of you. Regardless of your political leanings, between the 2020 election, COVID, vaccination debates, masking debates, racial protests, inflation, war in Europe, and now mass shootings, it feels like I’m getting way too much practice at resilience. We’re all affected by all of those, and anyone who says they aren’t is so deep in denial they need a flashlight and pickaxe to find their way out.
So there are times when I sit here in front of my blank computer screen, wondering what in the world I can write about now. How do I go from yesterday’s post about how upsetting the Uvalde shootings were, to some fluff piece about my top ten breakfast cereals? Things like that make so much of what I do, think about, and enjoy just feel like sawdust in my mouth. How should I be sitting around watching movies and playing video games when so many people are going through such hell?
There are a few ways I’ve learned to respond to it. First off, I take my responsibility as a parent seriously, and I try my hardest to create a home environment where my kids can be happy and feel loved. And that doesn’t happen by brooding non-stop about the injustices in the world. Not that they don’t know those exist, and not that they won’t experience some of those as they grow up, but I’d like them to be able to look back on their childhood and have as positive of memories as I can give them.
The other day, I was cleaning up my bedroom, and I came across a letter MC had written me toward the end of 2020. In it, she talked about how frustrated she was with COVID and all the mess that caused, but she also talked about how much she loved 2020. She got a dog. She had time to play games with me and her family. She played with her friends. We went on some family vacations. She had a great Christmas. There were so many things she could have focused on to say just how awful a year she’d lived through, but she didn’t do that. She acknowledged the bad, but focused on the good, and I think that’s a wonderful pattern to follow.
I’m not saying we should ignore everything that’s happening, and that we’re not all on the line to one extent or the other to try and fix things, but while we do that, we can also focus on the positive. Tomas was named Student of the Month today. A month or so ago, Daniela got that award at her school. Denisa took dandelion pictures with the girls a few days ago. We’re planning our trip to Europe. And yes, I’m watching movies and television.
I can’t live my life at a 10/10 anxiety level all the time. I will be worthless at the end of it all if I do that. So if there’s one thing 2020+ has taught me, it’s how to move forward in spite of everything that’s going on around me. How to take pleasure in the moment and plan for the future as best I can. How to build in time for myself, my family, and my friends. Being miserable doesn’t cure anything. Dwelling on depression only makes me more depressed.
So sure, I’ll take today to not write about my favorite Bill Murray movies, or the latest show I’m watching, but tomorrow, I’m going to get right back at it. Thanks for hanging around.
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