Corona Chronicles: Revelations 2020

Early in the pandemic, a lot of people asked what we had learned. My initial answer was nothing. But that’s because we hadn’t been experiencing a COVID-19 society long enough for me to have learned anything. Eventually, my life was just as troubling as everyone else’s. With that said, I won’t lament on my perceived loss, but I do want to share what was new or revived this year, with a few explanations.

  1. Watching a funeral on Facebook Live is both weird and convenient and it’s not something I think I would’ve ever participated in had it not be for COVID-19 (the funeral wasn’t COVID related).
  2. There are a lot of ways to connect with friends and family, like playing a virtual game. I would share the host’s site, but she has a bunch of grammar errors and I feel strongly about that. Instead, here’s a link to virtual games you can play with others: Games to Play on Zoom.
  3. Traveling by airplane during a pandemic isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
  4. States’ rights mean different states have vastly different rules, and I was able to see this firsthand. For example, Michiganders (and others in the Midwest) seem to think they cannot catch COVID-19 if they’re outside. No matter how many friends try to explain the logic of a virus dissipating in air, it just doesn’t make sense to me. But hey…I’m no virologist.  
  5. A road trip during a pandemic is actually a safe way to change your surroundings.
  6. Josh’s red blend is superb. It’s made with a blend of fruits, not wines (which is something else I learned to differentiate this year).
  7. Participating in 10,989 Zoom meetings is not fun. Okay. That’s not true. I only participated in like 9,989, but they still were annoying. What’s funny to me is that I spent a bit of time three years ago trying to convince my job that it was okay for me to Zoom into a meeting. Now, it’s pretty much expected. Isn’t life funny?
  8. Reconnecting with high school friends because of Zoom has been fulfilling.
  9. Slowing down helped me to clearly see friends’ and family members’ personalities for the first time.
  10. A pandemic seemed to have helped people reveal their whole selves for the first time.
  11. I need more peace and quiet than I thought. I always knew my husband was a morning person and I was a night owl; however, I didn’t realize just how “ready to rule the day” he is in the AM and how talkative he is throughout the day…until we began working from the same home space. I use my noise cancelling headphones when I need to concentrate.
  12. My body holds on to stress no matter how much reading and yoga I do. I came to this conclusion when I developed a rash that took up the length of my left arm. It’s healing, but it’s been there since May or so. A biopsy showed that it is lichen striatus. The only explanation is that it’s genetic and stress related. What can I say?
  13. I can only tolerate stay-at-home orders for three months.
  14. Escapism is my go-to when anything gets uncomfortable. I wrote about reading before, but the reality is I’ll go through great lengths to feel as if I’m floating, rather than feeling tethered to an awful reality, like a pandemic, social unrest, California on fire, stay-at-home mandates, nail-biting election results, etc., etc., etc…
  15. Trauma sparks my creativity. I’m not sure how I feel about this, except to say: it is what it is. This year, I’ve written quite a bit, not only on the blog, but also for other places, which I hope to be published in 2021. It’s probably another way to escape. I mean, I can go inward pretty easily; writing is just another way to do that.
  16. There’s only so much T.V. I can watch. I watched more television than I’m willing to share. I totally blame COVID-19 for this. My favorite finds were Twilight Zone (Season 2) and Modern Love, both are on Prime.
  17. More than ever, Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed to be about noticing and giving thanks for what’s in front of me, instead of what I hoped for.
  18. Others’ opinions have no place in how I feel. If I’m uneasy about something, then I should honor that feeling.
  19. Eating out has been more enjoyable. Mid-year we frequented some restaurants, and whether it was due to fear or the 50% capacity rule, there were fewer people, which seemingly improved service because the chef had time to cook food and the waitstaff had time to serve it.
  20. It’s okay to order all of the things online.

I think that’s about it. Although I’m happy to have learned, re-learned, or engaged in these experiences, I do hope that 2021 includes COVID numbers decreasing and the earth healing in multiple ways. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough.

Until then, what has 2020 shown or taught you?

~kg 12/26/20

Monday Notes: A New Way to Create Resolutions for the New Year

Every year since I was about ten-years-old, I’ve made New Year’s resolutions. Goals have ranged from losing a specific amount of weight to attaining jobs in my field. But last year, I resolved differently.

For 2018, I resolved to remember five concepts. I typed them out and hung them on my mirror to recite daily.

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#1: Anything is possible. Instead of being tied to a pre-determined outcome (e.g., I will appear on Jacksonville’s morning show to discuss The Unhappy Wife), I focused on believing that anything is possible. This turned out to be helpful. I had no idea that the editor of an anthology I’m apart of would ask me to represent the book via Tampa’s morning talk show. Nor did I conceive that I would be asked to participate in a book reading in Boston. With this reminder, I was open to any possibility, not just one that I thought was best for me. And it seemed to work.

#2: What you see is a manifestation of your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. I’d learned long ago that however you feel on the inside will show up in your daily life. If you feel sh*tty, then your home, job, and other activities will reflect sh*tty circumstances. However, two things you absolutely can control are your emotions and your thoughts. With this resolution, I vowed to pay more attention to when I was excited and fulfilled. For example, though presenting my work isn’t new to me, when I attended a national conference in April, I admitted to myself that no matter where I’m employed, I’m a scholar and I enjoy this part of working in the field. Several months later, I was asked to chair a special interest group for a different national conference.

#3: Take nothing personally (AKA Agreement #2). This was the hardest but most useful for me. Many times things will occur and I tend to personalize it as if someone was trying purposefully to hurt my feelings. This surfaced when Dwight and I visited his parents. On their wall, is a six-foot blanketed image of his brother and his family hanging on the living room wall. How could I have personalized this? Well, immediately I was a bit jealous. And with that feeling, I became mad as if his brother intentionally made and sent his own father this gift to not only poo-poo on us, but also to one up our family. I’m not proud of this feeling, but it happened. I talked myself out of these made-up emotions and realized that his brother did what he wanted to do for his father. This had nothing to do with me.

#4: Be positive. This is self-explanatory, I think. But I will add this: Don’t be a Negative Norman. Think positive thoughts prior to entering a situation. I promise this will affect the way you see the actual event. In essence, don’t just hope for the best; actually see the best outcome.

new_year_2019#5: Follow your instinct. My intuition about people and circumstances is very strong. But sometimes I still second-guess those feelings and engage with others whom I should’ve left alone long ago. This resolution reminded me to follow my gut when people showed me who they were, whether it was the umpteenth or the second time. I stopped asking friends and family if they thought the person’s actions were disrespectful or uncalled for. I stopped needing second opinions about how I felt when interacting with others. Instead, I made decisions healthy for me. This resulted in de-friending a former high-school boyfriend from social media, pulling back from a one-sided friendship, and creating clear boundaries with my newfound biological family.

These 2018 resolutions worked best for me and I’ll continue with them in 2019. Nowadays, people tend to denigrate resolutions, but not me. Tell me if you still create resolutions/goals at the beginning or any part of the year. Are they more concrete than what I’ve described? Is this process history for you?

Six Ways to Maintain your Goals

By K E Garland and Mek

2016It’s a new year! You’re ready and rearing to go with several resolutions. There’s just one problem. How will you maintain them? Whether you’re a traditional New Year’s resolutionist, or a general goal-setter, Mek and I are sharing six ways to maintain those goals. Each is a method that we personally use. We hope these help as you’re re-shape life.

Visualize your goals: Visualizing successful outcomes of goals is a powerful tool. To begin with, take some time to imagine how your life will positively shift once you’ve achieved the goal. Is it health, wealth, more fun, a de-cluttered house? If you have a tangible outcome that is clear in your mind’s eye, then you’ve partially accomplished it. Furthermore, envisioning benefits will give it added weight, increasing your desire to stick to it.

Keep your goals visible: Now that your goal is at the forefront of your mind, try posting it somewhere you can actually see it. For me, it’s my bathroom. I list each goal on a single sheet, print it out, laminate it and then stick it to my side of the mirror so I have to face them each and every day. Not as Type A as me? Create a digital note and make it the background for your cell phone, laptop or tablet. This will ensure that you consistently see what you’ve committed to doing.

Create mini-goals: Your goals are on your mind and on paper. Now, create mini-goals. Think of these as resolution subcategories. Did you promise yourself that this is the year you self-publish and market a book? What will it take to do this? Once you’ve determined the steps, then you’ll have your mini-goals. Here’s what they might look like:

  • Scout editors.
  • Create a blog.
  • Find someone to create a digital cover.
  • Read Stephen King’s On Writing.

Prioritizing your mini-goals is key. Reflect on which ones best serve to progress your major goals so that you can decide where to best use your time.

IMG_3334Determine Milestones: We know what some of you are thinking. Those mini-goals could be major goals. You’re right. Different resolutions require different timeframes. That time could be a year, three years or a decade. It depends on your overall objective and priorities. Either way, clear milestones will help you manage time, maintain focus, track your journey, and build in celebrations. In order to avoid burn out or let time pass you by, be realistic with your milestone dates. For example, if you know your schedule doesn’t allow for book reading, you might consider separating it into a chapter a month, thus allowing yourself an entire year. Also remember, milestone dates can differ for each mini-goal. Setting this timeline takes a little extra effort and research. But it will be worth it in the end once you’ve actualized your dream.

Seek out a support system: You didn’t think we wanted you to go at it alone, did you? Networks are very important. Therefore, share your goals with supportive people. Begin with individuals on a similar path. For example, if you want to write a mystery novel, then join the mystery-writing novel group at your local library. It is a great way to create a personal cheering squad of like-minded souls headed in the same direction. Sharing your goals with others will keep you accountable and add incentive to stick it out, with your personal integrity on display. These groups of people will also genuinely ask about your progress. If you’re unsure where to find an organization, then join an online group centered on the subject, or blog about your goal using relevant tags and categories.

Revise the goal: You’ve visualized. Your goals are posted. You have mini-goals with appropriate milestones. And your cheering squad is ready to help. Now what? Mek and I are both working women with families and other daily priorities. We understand that a lot can happen between January and March. Maybe you’ve switched careers. Perhaps you’ve moved into a different home. Either way, life events sometimes make it close to impossible to achieve the goals that you’ve set three months prior. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, just reflect, and then revise the goal. This could mean that you’ve set up the blog but have found daily maintenance too taxing. It’s okay. Revise the goal! Instead, post once a week until time permits for more frequent blogging. Trust us. These are your goals; revisions are allowed.

Have you tried any of these? Would you add another? Let us know in the comment section. Best of luck for a happy, healthy and fruitful New Year realizing your dreams!

~kg and Mek

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