The last few days of the decade are nigh, and I just realized I haven’t made a single post here since January. How can a whole year have gone by since I heard the Strokes and made a post about it?
It’s easy for me, as a creator, to look back and feel lost in the memories. What did I do for the last year? Anything worth remembering? Worth writing? That’s not entirely fair nor entirely accurate, though. Admittedly, my writing has, in fact, taken a cozy spot on my mental back burner for the last several months. This is not, however, an indication of my life slowing down but the very opposite—I haven’t been able to get anything to slow down enough to reflect on it. Here I am, at a place still too timid to commit but somewhere safe enough to begin collecting memories from the year…
Starting in January, I arrived home from being abroad for several months. Right away I knew I had so much to reflect on but I never really got the chance to express it. So many lingering thoughts, poems, and journals sit as drafts here on my site and hopefully in the coming weeks I will have a moment to revisit and give those thoughts the preparation and articulation they deserve. Being abroad for so long alone was one of the hardest things I have ever done, especially given the context of my family situation and where I was, and there are certainly dozens of observations and revolutions I have yet to unpack.
So, It’s the beginning of 2019 and I am back in America, now what? I immediately am back to school and work. In order to pay off school (and, you know, eat) I had to work almost full time immediately. I took on a shift supervisor position at my old job and was rocking 30-40 hours a week pretty consistently until May. My studies, at this point, have accelerated in workloads ten-fold, I am working on two capstones at the same time (because I am an idiot but also could not afford to wait another semester to spread them out) and by God, they were hell. I was shooting for finishing two separate bachelor’s degree programs simultaneously all while working full time and trying to be a 19-year-old. Each capstone took a little over five months to complete and topped out at about 42 pages each. This is more academic writing than I have ever done in my life and one of my most proud, if not most influential, accomplishments that I have under my belt. It was waking up at 4 for an early shift before making it out to class in the snow until 6 and then writing until 11 and then repeating again, and again, and again. It was gruesome and if anyone watched me go through it, you would know I will never do something so silly again.
Okay, now it’s May. I have graduated with my degrees and I move to work full-time salary as an Assistant Manager to the store. You would think, “ah! Graduation! So much free time to write and create!” and you would be wrong. It took a lot of time to recover from the emotional and mental burnout of the last three months of my undergraduate coursework and I just felt brain dead. I took any extra time I had to be with Jake and love him dearly, be with my mother and support her in her new academic ventures, and just be. To exist so quaintly and to be nothing more.
Fast-forward to July and my manager leaves for bigger and better things. I am handed the key to the city, so to speak, and become the General Manager of my store. This was huge. I was just turning 20 soon and here I was, trusted to literally run an entire store of people, products, customers, money, and fruit. It became and still is soul-sucking and life-consuming. I do not have a work-life balance and I don’t believe it will ever be possible to have one managing in the food industry. I work hard to support a team of young, bright individuals and make connections and grow relationships with regular customers day in and day out. I am still struggling to find a balance that doesn’t wear me out, but sometimes the job is sixteen-hour days starting at 4 and then going to bed for a few hours before doing it again. I am certain there is a sweet spot, but as someone with no prior management experience, I am really playing it by ear. Seeing what works, throwing out what doesn’t, and making improvements as I go.
Today is December, Friday the 13Th and I just got off the shift from hell. Jake is rubbing my feet and it is warm and dimly lit in our home, candles burning close. I am still working on being a better manager, but I have finally steadied myself to a point where I am ready to work on becoming a better person. With law school in the distant future, I have time to just settle into mundanity. Enjoy the day to day and make the most of my free time. Write again, read again. It is so much easier said than done. I have encouragement and support from everyone I love, and I think I finally have the time and emotional wherewithal to get this going in a way I would like.
I told myself every month will be the month I start writing again. Every weekend I had free time could have been the weekend I posted something, a poem, a thought, a journal—anything. Despite still writing notes to myself in passing and short poems on my phone, I found I lacked inspiration more and more often. As time passed, I felt writing become more and more daunting. It became a low priority. I felt disconnected from myself creatively. Looking back, I didn’t have the time or energy to track my life in writing. I spent very little time reflecting and really just went with the motions. All of these huge life changes warrant journals of their own, and many are works in progress, displaying the nuance in my day-to-day, I just haven’t had the will power to sit down and work through them.
I bought a new typewriter last month. New ribbon, small portable little guy. I want to start creating again, documenting, thinking, feeling, typing again. It’s not just the production of content on a blog that no one really reads, but it’s the critical and creative analysis that I want to add to my life again. I feel like when I am writing about happenings in my life, I am processing and appreciating them on a deeper level. My life feels like it lacks substance, lacks value when I am not writing about it. So here I am, writing about it all over again.
2020 is quite literally mere days away. Is it worth setting literary goals? Writing or reading so many pieces in a week, month, or year? I don’t have a plan yet, but I know if I don’t start with this today, I never will. Here is to a year of hardships, successes, and monumental growth. With Jake by my side, we are starting the new year on good, solid ground. Here is to our future victories, coming soon.
Happy New Year, everyone. Here is to us.