Today, I'm taking for me.
I'm going to disconnect. To breathe.
I'm going to play games with my kids.
I’m going to park my smart watch and dock my phone.
I'm going to enjoy standing in the kitchen and ever so slowly preparing a fantastic dinner without any care for how long it takes. I'm going to revel in the time and conversation I have with my wife while we're doing it together. I might even enjoy doing the dishes.
I'm going to put on my favorite music. Laugh, smile, maybe even dance.
Maybe two of the fancy glasses and a bottle of wine.
Everything else will still be there tomorrow.
The onset of the pandemic last year introduced me to a kind of anxiety I'd never experienced or really ever even contemplated before. For months it would come and go, sometimes rapidly, and often without warning, reason or explanation. It has eased since, but it's always there, and I can see when it's coming.
For months I reminded myself of how lucky I really am when I think about so many other people. I have work, shelter, food, community, family, support. I have a long list of people who would stop everything for me in a moment if I asked them to.
I did my best to ease my anxieties by ranking them in comparison to others’.
But comparing our struggles only serves to help us ignore, to mask, to diminish and to disregard the very feelings that make us, well, us.
2020 challenged my mental strength in so many ways, as it’s done for so many. Sometimes I’d triumph, and sometimes I would simply concede.
But what 2020 did provide for me is understanding and perspective into self. Into the unavoidable truth behind growth.
The very fears that cause anxiety provide the means to face future ones.
We simply cannot develop strength without enduring weakness.
So I suppose I’m grateful. And afraid. And happy. And anxious. And optimistic.
Sometimes all at once.
So, today, I’m taking for me. Everything else will be there tomorrow.