Trimming the Sails

Happy New Year! The new year is always a time for reflection, and sitting at home, waiting for the results of a covid test to see if I had a cold or omicron, gave me even more time to reflect and think about where I’m going. So let me post about what I’ve reflected on. Perhaps you can find some parallels to your struggles.

Last year everyone was so happy to put 2020 behind them. I kept wondering why they thought 2021 would be different. It wasn’t. More masks. More misinformation creating more division. More financial struggles. 

My personal year was a mixed bag. I started out with the high of planning to self-publish my first novel. I hired an editor and went back to work on the manuscript. Just as I finished that, I was suddenly forced to look for housing in the worst market in decades. I got lucky and found a place not yet listed, but because of the rushed need for a place to live, I didn’t look into things as well as I should have, and am stuck with a house which I love, but has some real problems that will cost me a great deal of money down the road. Money I don’t really have. It was an emotional blow.

The pandemic began to take its toll. I wanted to reconnect socially – have some fun and rediscover the joy of living. But every time I considered a solution, because of my work with vulnerable people, covid seemed to stop me. The desire to write seemed to fade away for the first time in my life and I decided to let it go.

A slide into depression followed. I felt disconnected, distrustful, defeated, exhausted, and hopeless. Little slights were magnified. I lost all confidence in myself. It isn’t the first time I’ve struggled with depression (I am Scandinavian after all), and thankfully I’ve developed tools to recognize and deal with it. It took time and there were more lessons learned from this battle. Even after the depression faded, I found it almost impossible to write, though ideas kept forming… niggling… speaking quietly that my calling hadn’t left me.

On the first day of 2022, the test came back negative. Despite my sniffles, I am once again free to move about without worrying about the consequences for others. I am now poised for action and while I can’t say I make resolutions, my time of reflection made me realize I do want to trim the sails on my boat and capture the wind to move in a different direction. 

One priority is my health. I’m starting out with a reset for my liver and taste buds with a cleanse. (I hate the click bait title, but the cleanse is great.) I want to eventually get the pandemic stress weight off and go back to where I feel good in my body. I don’t want to overwhelm myself with the end goal. I want to think about today and what needs to be done today.

Another priority is my writing. Yesterday I pulled up my first book and looked at the editor’s notes. There was so much positive. I started to edit again and felt the embers flicker into a small flame. The love is still there. There are several ideas I’d like to flesh out a little more and perhaps get started on them as well. I’ve realized that self-publishing is the way to go. I want two things. I want to write. And I want my stories to be read. Self-publishing accomplishes that, without the stupidity of the publishing industry.

And my last priority for 2022 is social. I have to find a way to reconnect. One barrier to that is the very, very thick walls I’ve constructed after years and years of hurt. This last depression revealed how easy it is to reopen old wounds and those walls do nothing to prevent that. I need to figure out how to take the walls down and find a way to trust, and I believe forgiveness is the key to that so that I can form closer bonds. I’m hoping that omicron will bring the end of the pandemic and make it an endemic disease that isn’t nearly so serious for so many. I want to get out there and have fun with people. Find joy, fun, spontaneity. 

With the sails trimmed, I hope my boat sails through whatever 2022 throws at me.

That’s my year in review and what I’m looking forward to. What have you learned from 2021? What do you hope to do in 2022? Leave me a comment and share your experience. 

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2 comments

  • Shastina

    I would say the fact you posted this is a wonderful sign of overcoming struggles. Since 2017 it has been a roller coaster for me so when 2020 hit I tried to embrace being a hermit as much as possible, which in a way helped with the deaths I experienced. In 2021 I had a few meetings with friends and family mixed in with Zoom calls. I feel like I’m gradually easing into the new world and hope 2022 is overall better for everyone. I know fixing health issues can take some time so I think being patient with ourselves and others is key.

    • Lynette Nelson

      When I see most writer’s posts on social media, they’re all, “I wrote 10000 words today! I got a response from an agent!” It’s always good news, and it’s not reality for the majority of writers. We struggle. We have insecurities about our writing. We get ignored in today’s popularity contests. Sharing those struggles seems important.

      I’m so sorry you lost people in 2021. I hope omicron brings the end of the whole mess. I think part of what frustrated me is that I didn’t get to be a hermit. I work a front desk in a pilates studio, and that made me be so much more cautious in my social life in an attempt to limit my exposure. So I was out there for work, but a hermit in my private life. All work and no play. Let’s hope 2022 lets us both get out there more!

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