Nearly two full years into the pandemic, I’m starting to tap into regular moments of non-attachment. I am not trying to front that I’m some millennial mommy Thich Nhat Hanh, but this is basically the only way I’ve found to maintain a tiny tether to sanity. In terms of planning, I’ve decided January is a blank slate, there is very little point in creating too many expectations of what I’ll accomplish or how anything is going to go, this month, or ever? I will live in this pause, and maybe my new year will start in February. Or maybe it won’t. Despite my acceptance of my lack of control of my life and general circumstances, Here are some vague sketches of professional plans* I have for 2022:
- I plan to expand the research, reporting and storytelling in this newsletter to be broadly about the forces that shape family life in America, with plenty of attention paid to some of my obsessions like community building, the underrepresented experiences of mothers, and new models for how we build a better future. There will be economics, public policy, sociology and radical feminism thrown in. I would like it to be thought provoking and essential reading to a wide audience. If you aren’t on my list yet, subscribe here.
- I think I have a book in me. It feels both vulnerable and somewhat presumptuous to say that, partly because my efforts at writing a book wound up in a cul-de-sac in 2020, but I’m feeling a pull to revisit this with a totally new idea. I may* restart my efforts to find a new agent, and learn my way around the book world clubhouse.
I expect my nuclear family will get Omicron in the next two weeks. We are vaxxed to the max of our eligibility and are committed to taking basic precautions and to test responsibly to avoid spreading it to others. I don’t think it will be enough in the face of a variant this contagious, and of the things we are unwilling to compromise on, like in-person school, or going back to a March 2020-like lockdown. I’ve come to accept there is no gold star for getting through this untouched by an invading virus. In case there is lingering doubt, contracting COVID is not a moral failure. There are things we can control, like getting ourselves vaccinated and boosted and things we cannot, like the failure of the vaccine trials for under 5s. Or the failure of global inter-cooperation of virus management, or the rampant cancer that is misinformation. I have moved to endemic thinking. I try to stay off social media. I am not an epidemiologist, so I am not going to pretend that I know if this is actually the best guidance, but I am personally relieved that quarantine is now only 5 days if you are positive but not sick. I am accepting the things I cannot change. I am accepting the odds game that my unvaccinated toddlers are going to be OK. I am accepting that every day that is not a crisis is a bonus.
I’m finding new wide-eyed delight in anything going “according to plan.” I know how many people’s holiday plans were totally gutted this year. I know how unfair it is and how it could have just as easily been us, so it adds to my awe and appreciation. Yes, we got to have a seven fishes dinner with Dr. Liz’s family who we podded with over the holiday for Christmas Eve. Yes, we had grandparents over to open Christmas presents, and yes, there was a lot of child delight with toddlers in Santa jammies saying “oh wow!” It was unseasonably warm over New Years weekend which made for easy outdoor playdates. At this moment the sun is shining and today I had quiet time at my computer after a two and a half week school holiday. It is hard in these moments to let them unfold or relax enough to enjoy them -- I guess this is the non-attachment practice. Tomorrow there will be a 2 hour delayed start to school due to what passes for winter weather in North Carolina and I will feel like crying when I think about how much YouTube my oldest son watches.
We’re planning to be back with a Double Shift episode in the next month and some more announcements about our future plans.
Thanks for reading,
*Who the fuck knows what’s going to happen and it’s probably a laughable joke to even be talking about goals or plans, this is the over-achiever in me refusing to give in. Maybe I can have goals without being attached to them?