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We’re almost there!
It’s not news that 2020 has been hard. The week before Christmas, I did a super-informal poll on Twitter asking how everyone was doing. About half selected “pretty good, considering,” 37% said “just OK,” and 11% are “really struggling.” No one chose “great.” Really, how can any of us be “great” when so many are suffering, even if everything’s pretty good in our own home?
If you’re among the struggling, I’m sending warmth and support your way. If you’re feeling like you can’t do this, know that you are already doing it. Most people (well, me, anyway, two decades ago) at mile 20 of a marathon feel like they can’t finish. And women laboring unmedicated often scream during transition (transition is the stop in hell right before the birth) that they can’t do it. But the runner and the new mother, like all of us stuck in this pandemic, are most of the way there already, even as we may want to throw up our hands. That doesn’t make it easy, but it does mean we’re about to come through on the other side. Hang in there.
The Latest: Organizational Goodies
January 1, 2021 isn’t magic, of course, but it’s a clean page to turn to, and a great time to channel some fresh energy into our lives. (Really, it’s so dark outside that I say any time is a good time for fresh energy.)
Here are four little boosts that avoid the whole resolution thing:
- This TED talk on procrastination is so much fun. My 15-year-old watched it at school (well, online school) and put it into my hands. As someone who used to regularly try to cajole my college roommates into keeping me company with “A Paper-Writing Party!” the night before my papers were due, I GET THIS. Tim Urban shares the key perspective we all need to avoid getting sucked under by our own “instant gratification monkey.”
- This falls into the so-small-maybe-it’s-silly category, but I’ve been loving the native Notes app on my iPhone for daily tasks. This year I learned both that 1) the Notes app can scan documents (tap the camera icon at the bottom of a note to begin) and 2) you can create checkable to-do lists where the checked items drop down to the bottom of the note (tap the checkmark icon at the bottom of a note to add items). So useful, so satisfying!
- Line-a-day books (like this). These books are mini-journals that allow for only a sentence or two each day. No pressure to be wordy! The cool thing is that they cover five years on each page so you can see what you jotted down on that date in previous years. I’ve been keeping one for two years and my 10- and 13-year-olds are each excited to start one this January 1. Use it as a baby journal, a gratitude practice, a reminder of small details of life, or however you want to spin it.
- 20 for 2021. Instead of resolutions, writer Gretchen Rubin suggests choosing 20 things you’d like to do in the coming year. They can be anything from a fun outing (I put stand-up paddle boarding on my list last year) to a nagging household task (say, replace that odd-size burned out lightbulb). I like this approach, because there’s no pressure to do everything but there is a little priority-clarifying structure.
The Latest: Reader Tidbits
I love hearing from you! From those of you addicted to subtitles like me to those who’ve also found clarity in crisis, it’s so much fun knowing we’re having a conversation here.
- One reader tried veganizing the peppermint patties and reports delicious success, hooray!
- Which reminds me that I owe an update on the amount of chocolate: A little less than 24 ounces did the trick for a whole recipe.
- Another popular dinner game that I forgot to mention is “highs and lows” or “thorns and roses.” One reader plays it this way: High Low Buffalo: probably goes by lots of names, but “high” is the best part of your day, “low” is yuckiest part, Buffalo is anything else you want to talk about. She also suggests themed variations: movies, books, virtual school vs in person, etc. Fun!
I’d love to hear how you’re closing out 2020, looking ahead to 2021, and anything else you have in mind. As Ted Lasso would say, I appreciate you!
p.s. I nearly forgot! I have a new essay out in Your Teen. Who would have thought I could miss an 8-hour road trip? But it’s true.