Q: How are you feeling?
A: Much better. Thanks for asking!
Q: So what did you do during your hiatus?
A: I think of last fall as a sort of health sabbatical. I quit doing lots and lots of things and focused solely on self-reflection, meditation, and implementing the practices I’ve been learning over the last couple of years. A big part of what I wanted to accomplish was to reduce screen time. I shut down all my social media accounts. I’m no longer on FB, Twitter, Instagram, or anything else. (OK, I do still have a tumblr account I go to to look at illustrations/art. I like having a feed for pretty pictures!) I reduced my RSS feeds from over a hundred to a couple of dozen. I dialed my Google Alerts back to zero.
Q: Since you gave up screen time did you read any good books?
A: Nope. I gave my brain a break. I got a big stack of random comic books from an Ebay seller and that was the most weighty thing I read. Wait! It’s not completely true that I didn’t read any good books. I read a Robin Hobbs trilogy. And I also read Pema Chodron books (and listened to about a zillion Tara Brach talks). But I read very very little compared to every other year of my life.
Q: Was this just about mental and emotional health?
A: Nope. I did more for my physical health as well. More bike riding and more walking. I lost about 30 pounds in 2022. I feel physically better than I have in a long time.
Q: What prompted the hiatus?
A: Mid-life crisis. I’m 57 and was having a little trouble adjusting to the reality that so many of my youthful dreams would forever remain dreams. I had to find the identity of the person I am now instead of holding on to the identity I conjured up years ago that I was still clinging on to. A couple of collegues dealing with cancer caused me to reflect deeply on… well, not to sound too cheesy, but caused me to reflect on the meaning of life.
Q: What’s next?
A: Outwardly I’m not sure if anyone will notice much change. The last few years have been about learning to process a lot of internal stuff. I might do more blogging. (Blogging like it’s 2003!) I really enjoyed the pre-FB/Twitter era of blogging. And I have a creative project in the works, but I’m building it slowly and putting less pressure on myself about quality or completion date. My health remains my priority, so the creative project will probably move slowly. No different than before, really, but now I’m not going to be beating myself up over it.
The process is ongoing but I’m in a much better mind and heart space than I was at the end of last summer. And last summer I was in a much better space than I was a few years before that. I would say that my nadir was probably the summer of 2021.
Ok, enough retrospection. Let’s see what amazing fuckery 2023 has in store for us!