Post #3287: The end of ’22 and making do

I have barely written a thing all fall. Not here, not in the newsletter (save for one issue), and not in my personal notebooks either. It’s been a wordless time for me, and one that I’m eager to break with given my need (in general) to say a lot of things.

The truth is, you can tell when things aren’t going well in my head by the lack of words here and elsewhere. Sometimes it’s because I’m depressed, other times it’s just the very bad brain fog that makes sentences feel too exhausting (or impossible) to form on the page. Lately it’s been a bit of both. Sickness, seasonal holidays, and mid-life health stuff have in no way helped matters either. I’m just very tired at the moment and my creative voice has gone flat as a result.

I was angry at myself about this the other day. Not long ago I was feeling very fit and creatively capable but somewhere between work stress and Covid, 2022 derailed me. The anger part was about how I didn’t immediately recuperate and bounce back to being “me” again, how I’ve been lazy and undisciplined for months, puttering in the textile studio instead of doing my “real” work (like the book I was working on through 2021 and into early 2022). Way to be unkind to myself, I know. And also not effective in turning things around.

After churning the self-hating hamster wheel for a few days something from deep in my meditation practice surfaced: that really, what I’m struggling with is impermanence. Impermanence of the body as it responds to and recovers from sickness, all while doing its perimenopausal dance. The flux and flow of external circumstances like work, which has impacted my mental state and steadiness. Not to mention the rhythm of other lives around mine, like my aging parents who have needed a lot more attention in the last year. This realization was helpful because it’s helping me understand that being angry with myself about what I’m not doing is really just being angry about the unchangeable fact of impermanence. That even though you get moments where you feel all sorted out in life, they are fleeting and soon replaced with the confusion one must wade through to get to the other shore, the next moment of clarity and purpose.

This is where I find myself at the end of 2022: wading in the confusion. At most I can say that the big stressors of the last year (a toxic job, renovating a house and moving my parents into it, and two pretty bad illnesses) have come to an end, but I am not sure I have the energy to advance any big plans in 2023 just yet (just looking at my list of goals last year exhausts me).

So instead of an impossible list, I am focusing myself on the theme of “Making Do” for 2023.

To “make do” has two meanings, both of which I can apply to my life at the moment. First, it means to use what one has on hand, and second, to persevere through less than ideal circumstances.

Using what I have on hand is a tangible goal in my textile studio, kitchen, and living space – that instead of buying new (or even secondhand) materials I will create using my vast stash of yarn, cloth, and other bits and pieces. In the kitchen it means eating whole foods from the pantry more frequently and purchasing less readymade food overall. In the household it means forgoing waste and want more generally.

The second meaning – perseverance – is more abstract but in general represents the slight grimness of attitude I need to push through the hard moments, not to mention the overall tension in our culture these days.

This isn’t the most aspirational phrase, but it fits where I am at right now, which is struggling to close out the holiday and ready to get down to some hard (but good) work in the new year. It fits with these inflationary times and my need to get a reign on spending. It works with my overall ethos of living my best possible life in impossible times. Making do reaches back into the ruggedness of my ancestors who lived long lives with few possessions at hand to make them easier.

This is the energy I will carry with me into 2023 – and I’m sure that inside all of it I will find moments of lightness and ease, confusion, determination, and struggle – for the path of our lives is winding and not at all predictable.

Love and light to you on this evening at the end of the year. For those of you in my life, I look forward to much gathering as we come together in mutual aid and support in these months to come.

2 Comments on “Post #3287: The end of ’22 and making do

  1. Megan, this is one blog post I can really wrap my angst around. This past year has been difficult for us to say the least but I did make it through. That’s not particularly virtuous of me, but here I am, nonetheless. Maybe I’ll make it through 2023. The odds aren’t great that I will, and I sure wouldn’t lay any bets on my survival, but there’s always some hope, slim as it may be.

    • I have followed along with your struggles online – and I very much do hope that you make it through 2023. If anyone has the right to their end of year angst it’s you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: