My last blog post occured three months ago. The irony of the last entry’s boastful title “I am a Writer” clasps its searing claws around my throat. What does my silence say about me? After all, I AM a writer. And yet, I have not written. Open up my journal; it screams inactivity. My writing is mine – it isn’t an assignment with a looming deadline. Why, then, do I feel guilty about not sharing my thoughts with the few people who read my blog? The shame comes from not following through on a promise I made to myself: to write – to create a gameplan for life – to share my resiliency in an unfair universe – to teach how to seek joy even amidst chaos.
For the last few months, instead of turning to the laptop or pen to sort through my emotions, I have kept them in my head, processing during my long daily walks or my frequent baking episodes. Along the way, I have listened to a gazillion podcasts, mostly Brene Brown’s “Unlocking Us” and Ferne Cotton’s “Happy Place” – seeking connections with others who often feel like my best friends – women who approach sifting through life with passion and curiosity – always working to be a better version of themselves.
2020 has definitely posed challenges, and yet, it has not been the worst year of my life. The silver linings are too great; they outweigh the challenges of the pandemic. The ability to work from home as well as the scheduled fall sabbatical have offered me the gift of time, especially time with my daughter fighting stage four brain cancer. I have had time to walk 4-5 miles a day, seeking the lessons the universe wants me to learn.
Sometimes, the days feel heavy – too complicated with obstacles. I cannot just pop into the retirement home less than a mile from my home to visit my dad. I cannot slip to Indianapolis to have dinner with my son and his girlfriend, and I certainly cannot drive to Ohio to spend the day with my daughter and her fiance. And yet, as I have folded into my thoughts and my heart, I have learned so much about who I am – what I want – where I am headed.
And so, if it took a hiatus from writing – from being extremely social – from a life that used to feel normal – to discover these important parts of myself, then I won’t trade it. I’m still sorting through emotions, especially the fear of what awaits. And yet, I am more sure than I ever have been that I can handle whatever the universe throws at me, especially if I stay in the moment and realize that I have made it through difficult times before.
The greatest gift of the last few months has been the recognition that I cannot truly appreciate and find joy in the small moments of life if I do not expereince the pain and sadness of life. Yes, I am a writer, but sometimes, writers need to take a deep breath, observe and experience life in order to take up their pen again.