Aiming for focus… and getting to frazzled, instead

I was hoping to write about my word of the year – focus – and my, well, concept of the year – finding my true north – at the end of January and beginning of February.

And instead I felt like I got on a treadmill and someone turned the speed up to 10. Let’s just say that things got a bit crazy the last few weeks, with the run up to the semester starting, then the actual first week of the semester last week. It’s made me more frazzled than I like to admit. It seems a bit more out of control this year, probably because I also (stupidly) scheduled my review for the beginning of the semester. Nothing like adding a bunch of updates and document preparation to my list…

But everything seems to be calming down a bit now, and I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that we’ve made it to February, even though it’s shaping up to be another hard year. As much as I had hoped for some semblance of “normal” by summer and fall, these new variants are really worrisome. I can only hope that the new administration – and its emphasis on science – is able to respond nimbly and quickly. I know we’ll get through it – we have so far, right? – but it’s going to take longer than anticipated.

It’s times like these – when my brain feels like it’s on a hamster wheel of thinking-thinking-thinking all the time – that I remember how much MORE important it is to focus and center myself. So I’m focusing on what I can – the amaryllis that a friend sent me that not only lived (woo hoo!) but also bloomed. The beauty of a fresh new snow. The full moon the other night, veiled by clouds. Random music that I sing along with in the morning. New tea flavors. A really good soup that I made yesterday. My students, always. Knowing that my parents got one dose of a vaccine and are scheduled for their second. Friendships that are growing stronger, somehow, despite distance. And new poetry and essays.

I hope that you are surviving and thriving in this winter time. I’m looking forward to another good class today and – hopefully – some sunshine. And I’m reminded of my mother’s favorite quote – an oldie but a goodie…

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

4 thoughts on “Aiming for focus… and getting to frazzled, instead

  1. Sounds like “focus” is exactly the right word that you need to guide your this year.
    My year started a little crazier than I would have liked, but hopefully, that means we’re getting closer and closer to more normalcy from here on out.

    1. I think I need the periodic reminders that focus takes, well, focus. And yes, hoping that craziness of this early time of the year means a calmer, more (dare I say) normal end of the year?

  2. This winter is truly horrible… and while there is hope in the vaccines, I personally can’t see that there will be any return to normal this year (mainly because of the very slow roll-out of vaccines, I do believe scientists will come up with solutions for new variants), I haven’t lost hope yet but also this year, for myself the main thing is still to live in the moment and to focus on what gives me joy and inspiration right now. When I think too much, then I lose focus and get into low mood. By the way I’ll go and practice some guitar now… one of the joys in life.

    1. I agree – ‘normal’ is not coming anytime soon. My parents are starting to talk about travel and getting together with friends (admittedly, all of them have been vaccinated given their ages) and, well, that’s just not going to happen for me for at least another year. Thank you for the reminder to engage in the joys of life to counteract all of the worries.

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