1: to make new spiritually : REGENERATE

2: to restore to existence : REVIVE

3: to make extensive changes in : REBUILD

4 : to do again : REPEAT

I am still here, after a hiatus longer than I expected or wanted, but in these unusual times days easily turn into weeks and even months in a way it’s hard to keep track of. I am reminded of the passing of time with the notice I just received that my WordPress blog was up for renewal and to please update my credit card information (I pay a nominal annual fee to keep this going). Happy Anniversary! It said, and then, please pay up…  And I thought, do I really want to continue in this humble way of keeping in touch with a few dozen friends and family members (whom I am incredibly grateful for)? 

What is the point? I write this as an archive, and as a way to communicate and connect. It is a way to exercise my writing muscle, not in any boot camp intensive way that I used to write, but to the best that I can right now. 

With so much time without school or help for V, bite size activities that nourish is my survival technique.  I’ve been using the term self-nourishment rather than self-care because I am so burnt out from caregiving, and because nourishment covers so much: eating and sleeping and everything that helps keeps a person vibrant and vital, if only in time-limited doses. So I partake of a 2 minute stress relieving deep breathing exercise, a 3 minute gratitude list/prayer, 5 minute yoga, 10 minutes with the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) lamp while doing the mini crossword, a 15 minute guided meditation in my earbuds while walking Ruby. I can’t always get to all of it but I can pick a few and work them into the day.

This blog is another thing I’ll need to do in more bite size doses if I’m going to maintain it,  a matter of compromise and being realistic, (something I never used to associate with writing). I’m operating at best at 85/90%, and it takes a lot of vulnerability to hit “post” knowing if time permitted what I’m writing could be better.

What is the point? Each week the NYTimes has a column called Sunday Routine which usually features someone with an interesting job and a lot of freedom. I read these tinged with longing: for the people who get paid to do things they enjoy and have time to sleep in and go out for coffee; when they have kids or dogs they often can wait hours before tending to them.  They don’t wake up and immediately confront the must do’s of a ravenous teen who needs help with breakfast, an incontinent dog who must go out right away, a need for coffee within minutes of awaking so that these things can all get done.

But recently the column was about a first responder, a nurses aide who worked two jobs caring for others, long shifts with long commutes and showers in between but no breaks and an exhaustingly full day that made me grateful for what little respite or freedom I do have. I was filled with compassion and respect for all she had to face each day, and her resilience and perseverance.  I didn’t feel sorry for her because she didn’t let me.

That’s really all I’m after in writing this: to share a story that is different from yours, maybe harder and more stressful but not less than. Something you wouldn’t imagine or consider otherwise.  I wish I had the time to polish each sentence, to weed out every line that had any trace of resentment, exhaustion, or any other less graceful trait I exhibit simply by being human.
But this is what I have, take it or leave it, and I hope you will take it.  I’m going to try to be more regular and briefer, more focused and funny, to do the best I can with each word, story and reflection, to connect with any of you out in the wider world I miss so much.  So I reply yes, to please renew. Thanks so much for listening. 

12 thoughts on “Renew

  1. I’m glad you decided to renew Joan. And don’t think twice about clicking “submit”. I read all your posts and they are always poignant and thought provoking and your thoughts and emotions expressed eloquently.


  2. This is stunningly poignant Joan. And Yes! Thank you for voting to continue writing. From your readers and beloved community that you weave together with the words that bring compassion and love and insight and admiration. Who benefit from your way of truth telling, revealing the peace and pain of simple moments, the resilience and strength that graces some on good days. And the courage of perseverance. Keep on crafting this deep well, this window in, this brutally honest and healing space.


  3. Your community, even if far flung, hears you and loves you. And yes, getting a glimpse into another person’s life is valuable. We all struggle and staying connected is one of the few things we can all do. Keep on!


  4. Glad you pushed ” renew”. Always appreciate reading your posts. Continue however short and in whatever intervals you can manage. I always come away with a new insight.


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