This is a continuation of Part I, but you don't have to read them both. I'm surprised you're reading this at all, actually.
5. Clean the fuck out of my house
Successful? Yes. I cleaned it all the way out, and moved into a different house.
The most unexpected result of the shutdown is that we left NYC after a decade of residence. It was originally a temporary move brought on by many quarantine factors (small apartment at a premium price, etc.). We had the opportunity to quarantine in the southern California sunshine and took it. Now we don't know how long we'll be here or where we'll go next.
Moving is always a good opportunity to purge belongings and I definitely did, but not quite as much as I'd hoped, complicated by the fact that it's hard to sell or give away items when everyone is afraid of touching anything. It felt like it took over a month to pack up and clean our the apartment we only lived in for 3.5 years.
Conclusions: I still feel unsettled about the way we left our home-- not saying goodbye to anyone, not doing any New York-y things one last time, and not having any clear idea on returning. I missed my city terribly at first, but mostly I think I just missed that life, but that life is in the past, never to be returned to or replicated. None of us are ever truly going back to "the way things were before", we never do. I'm interested to see where we land next, but will always love and miss New York, Brooklyn, and the special life that I was so lucky to live there for 10 years.
6. Post workouts and yoga practices online
Successful? Not really.
I just don't like social media. I hate getting my picture taken, much less making a video of myself to publicly share. It's uncomfortable and I can't get past my feeling that it's a fundamentally narcissistic endeavor. I'm also a very private person, so even if I did have anything worthy to update my small circle on, I'm not inclined to do it. But that's how business is done these days, especially in my industries, and my resistance to it is only my problem. I certainly posted on social media more often in the past few months, but the drive to keep it up waned.
Teaching online has its perks--no commute, less worry about how I look--but it's not ideal and not as gratifying. The fitness industry has changed permanently as a result of this virus; most independent studios have closed and even some bigger chains have folded under the strain of being forced to lock their doors but still pay rent and expenses. It's tragic. And I need to figure out what direction I'll go in next. Fitness and yoga was never a sustainable life path anyway. I wish I had minored in business in college. Or had pursued a more conventional, stable career. Not that anything is stable right now.
I'm still too self-conscious to post workouts or yoga practices. I also don't want to be judged harshly for not being perfect or attract the negativity that comes with a more public image.
I feel like I'm too late to the game and too unprofessional in terms of equipment (I have none) and aesthetic of the final product. I know I could try harder, but it also feels like all platforms are already saturated with it and I don't have the interest or drive to try to enter with a fresh angle. Nor do I have a fresh angle. I don't care enough and although I do recognize that a strong social media presence is valuable in my field, it's just not me. It's one of the reasons that I feel like I'm aging out of my industry.
7. Catch up on To-Be-Read pile
I brought half the pile with me across the country and still haven't made progress. I thought I'd be blowing through awesome books during this time, but 2020 has been a bit of a dud for me in terms of really great reads. Though I did start quitting books halfway through if I wasn't absolutely loving them, which is something I'd never do before and is quite liberating.
Conclusions: I'll probably never read the books in that pile. Life is too short to read books you're not excited about.
8. Catch up on this blog
I am all caught up for the first time EVER and writing additional posts, too.
I finished my first year of living by and writing about the Yamas & Niyamas and took a few months' break before diving into round two. I was always behind on this project but I was able to devote some of the endless unstructured time in 2020 to writing. Yay!
Conclusion: Unfortunately I'm also discouraged by this accomplishment because I think about those super-humans who write best-selling books in their free time, outside of working important full-time jobs and taking care of multiple kids and households. I guess I've always struggled with time-management, but I just assumed I'd get better at it when I became an adult. But did I? theorize that we will expand our chores to fill our time: a task can take 4 weeks or 3 days, depending on how much time we have to give it. I'm totally unremarkable in my tendency to procrastinate, so until I seriously focus on my time management and prioritize this project, I have little hope of ever turning it into anything other than a personal diary that eats up my time and doesn't even exist outside of my own awareness. It doesn't contribute anything to the world.
Biggest takeaways/things I hope I don't forget from this WEIRD time in quarantine:
--The silence and the birds. All I hear is birds! (Well, and ambulance sirens) And how peaceful Brooklyn is without all the traffic and people. It's lovely.
--Those 7pm cheer sessions in NYC! It was so awesome to see people stand on their stoops or hang out their windows cheering and making noise for the first responders and medical workers. Many of us were out there just to see some other people and enjoy 3 minutes of substitute socialization and merry-making. I absolutely loved it--it was the epitome of the spirit of NYC.
--Even with all the time in the world, I get about the same amount of activities and chores accomplished.
--How much stuff I have, that it's too much to go through, even with 2 full months of time. It keeps me weighted down, costs money to store or move, costs time to keep going through/organizing/moving and is simply not worth it.
--Running with a mask, yoga/meditation nearly every day, teaching online classes from home, drinking boxed wine (never again), having Zoom happy hours with near and far-flung friends.
--Moving to Los Angeles (temporarily?). Still to be determined if this was a huge mistake or a great idea.
--We are so adaptable, all of us. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is off the table.
Like everyone, my motivation and attitude fluctuated by the hour, then took a nosedive about 2 months into quarantine. I contemplated what keeps us motivated and how to strengthen those abilities. I managed to make some headway on this by following through on challenges I undertook without telling anyone, and making myself solely accountable for follow-through and achievements.
As I finally finish this blog post, it's January in LA where we remain in strict re-lockdown that feels like it will never end. I couldn't have fathomed this life. I can't imagine the future either, and I try not to anymore. The biggest lesson from all of this is that nothing is certain and although goals and plans are important, being too attached to them can bring suffering. The eternal question of the yogi and mindfulness practitioner is how to actively live our lives without being too bound to outcome, able to flow with the inevitable upsets.
Here's to a whole new year full of tumult and triumphs.