Well, this is awkward…
I haven’t written in almost a year. I know, I know… how can I call myself a “blogger” if I don’t even blog? Let me explain:
2021 was overwhelming in ways that I definitely didn’t expect. In addition to us living through the darkest timeline globally, I was also eyeballs deep in survival mode. Not just pandemic survival — I know all of us have been in survival mode pandemic wise (okay maybe not so much Texas and Florida, but the rest of us), but I’ve had layers of stress heaped on top of that. I’m mixing metaphors here, but I think you get what I mean.
In the midst of a pandemic, I decided that 2021 would be a good time to go back to school. Actually, I decided 2020 would be a good year to go back to school, but quickly changed course when Chris had surgery in January, the world went into lockdown in March, and I had to convert my home into my classroom and learn how to teach online. But this year… this year I committed to beginning grad school and earning my MA in English Literature with an emphasis in Gothic Literature (I knew the emo thing wasn’t just a phase). I’m nearly finished with my program and should be graduating in April. I’ll be a master of English Literature in April. I’ll have the documentation and astronomical student loan debt to prove it. Wow… my Imposter Syndrome is raging right now.
In addition to starting a fast-paced graduate program before the teaching year even ended, I also thought I’d set fire to all of my work-life balance boundaries by working 10+ hours per day, 6-7 days per week. Apparently 2021 was also the year that I had to pay for the bad decisions of weirdly-optimistic 2020 Pandemic Teacher Me. 2020 Pandemic Teacher Me decided that picking up an extra class to teach would be a swell idea. It was not. It was very not. So I spent the first half of 2021 drowning under the weight of teaching 6 classes new formats: distance, then hybrid, and both on a new block schedule. 2020 Pandemic Teacher Me thought that the extra income would be good, and that if I was going to give up my prep period to teach an extra class, I might was well do it when we were online since it would be easier… easier?!?! HA! I. was. miserable (a topic I’ll come back to at some point, but simply don’t have the mental or emotional bandwidth to tackle now).
Oooph. I’m getting anxiety thinking about it all again. I’m getting more anxiety thinking about that fact that soon I’ll need to go back to classes, both the ones I’m taking and teaching. Moving on before I melt down…
The bottom line is that I’m not kidding when I tell you that the past year has been an absolute dumpster fire for my mental health. I’ve had to shift and reassess my priorities, my finances, my future plans… there’s been a lot going on inwardly and outwardly, and something had to give. That something was my writing.
It wasn’t a conscious decision. I have about 8 drafts saved that I started over the last year, but I couldn’t find the time or energy to finish them or, truthfully, get very far past the headline. I lost confidence and momentum and, quite honestly, there was a good span of time when I lost interest in absolutely everything that precluded me from being a lifeless blob on the couch or bed. It got dark for a bit over here.
But here we are, on the brink of a new year!
A new year always feels like a good time to hit the reset button, and while I won’t be doing a total reset (there are some things from 2021 I’d like to bring with me into the new year), I will be doing more shifting and reprioritizing and resetting my approach to some aspects of my life. This year will undoubtedly bring loads of change, some good and some bad, but hopefully more of the former than the latter (please, God, please more good than bad), and I am somewhere between bracing myself and excited; I’m bracing for the unknown and excited for things I can control. One of those things is making more time to write, create, and connect with you more ❤️
I’ll write my annual goals and intentions as per usual, but if you don’t mind, I think I’ll skip the recap this year. Instead, please accept this holiday card and the knowledge that I promise *to try not* to abandon my blog and readership again.
One last thing…
If I was a smarter woman, I would have led with this, but I opened an Etsy Shop this week. I feel like I can’t let a mini life update go out without mention of this momentous occasion. I’ve been quiet about this, but for a long time I’ve been developing my own journal, and I finally put it together, edited proofs, and hit publish. I opened my Etsy and am selling the journals and coloring pages there. I’m so excited for the official launch coming up in January, and even more excited to see how this business expands and what opportunities it might open for me. I’m also excited to see what you think! Check them out and let me know your thoughts!
Thank you, love you, and I’m wishing you a happy happy New Year!