So 2020 is over and it’s time to start over again. Although I kind of feel like that’s the story of my life, starting over again and again.
What about physical fitness? In October 2019 I tried to start running again until a hammer toe on my left foot started causing me pain and in 2020 I had that toe corrected, but never really recommenced my running. Will I run this year? I see runners every day as I drive around. Some look like they were born to run. Others are a little slower and a little chubbier, like me. Maybe I can try again. Maybe I will try again.
What about books? I’m always going on and on about my love of books, bookstores, and libraries, yet last year I can count the number of books I read on one hand. I read one French book, one Harry Potter book, one faith-based book, one memoir, and one science fiction book. How many books will I read in 2021? Should I set a goal or just hope the other people in the house will silence themselves enough each night for me to read a little? Maybe I’ll just listen to white noise on my earbuds and focus on the words in front of me. My mom has read more books than anyone in my household this year.
What about work? This past year I got connected with vocational rehab to get a little help getting back in the workforce after more than a decade absence. It’s been a slow process, working with counselors, filling out paperwork, and so on. Lots of paperwork, a psych evaluation that proved that I couldn’t do just any kind of work due to my emotional disabilities. That hurt a little. But what can be done? My counselor and I settled on retail because all jobs revolving around books or French (the subject I majored in) would be too hard to find. A bookstore job like the one I had at Borders back in 2006 would be a dream come true! But Borders is long gone and bookselling doesn’t have a high turnover rate. I’m left with retail. And Social Security has bought me new interview clothes. I just need to write a killer resume about how I’ve been a caregiver for my parents these past few years (which is true, off and on, when I wasn’t writing my memoir), but I still have the skills necessary to complete tasks required to do retail work. Yes, retail. A girl takes all that time to earn a degree in a foreign language and ends up behind a cash register. It could be worse. I could have given up writing.
I almost did give up writing until my dad suggested we do a memoir trade off. You see, I have a draft of my memoir already written that I’m quite satisfied with. It’s 85,239 words and 44 chapters long but after I wrote it I kind of stepped back from it for a while. But I decided to take Dad up on his deal when he said said how ‘bout we trade chapters one by one. I’ll read and mark up your chapters and you can read and mark up mine. I agreed to this little trade off and it’s going well. Dad marks up my chapters, and I just read his because I don’t know how to improve upon them. I’ve never been very good at dulling out criticism. But I am very adept at accepting it. And although most of his corrections have to do with the placement of commas, he has helped a bit to figure out how to make the French in my memoir more accessible to English speakers, for example. And he’s always encouraging me, giving praise where praise is due. I truly believe my memoir has greatly improved because of his edits.
I need to write everyday if I’m to call myself a writer, but I haven’t done that. No, instead I’ve let the days drift by, not even wanting to get out of bed at times. My psychiatrist tweaked my medications but it didn’t increase my desire to face the world. The worst was lockdown when my usual escapes (movies and coffee shops) were taken away from me. Then naps were my best escapes because sleep meant dreams and in dreams I could be anywhere. Then the dreams stopped being about me. They became movies about other people’s lives, people I’d never met in waking life. I wished to see my friends in my dreams, but it didn’t happen. A few of my friends talked on the phone with me, but that was it. Otherwise I was trapped with my family. I suppose it could’ve been worse.
Sometime in the late Spring, Mom and I adopted a puppy and I never knew taking care of a little puppy could be so challenging! But she’s finally getting better at knowing when she needs to go outside. She could improve on learning to come when called. I took her to puppy school and she did well there. It’s just remembering to practice what we learned that can be difficult. But she’ll do almost anything for a treat. And for all the trouble she’s caused me, she’s awfully cute. She’s a pug, you see, and come January she’ll be 10 months old! (Her birthday is March 6 of last year.)
So here’s to 2021! May it be a hell of a lot better than 2020!