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As the pandemic continues to wane in my bubble and where I live, I’m in a “taking stock” mode. What am I doing with my life? What will make me feel fulfilled? What will I feel proud of when I look back on it? We have had a year of slowing-down in many ways, being locked inside, being kept away, so it feels like there was a lot of time for self-reflection.

At the same time, I have lived feeling enormously anxious about COVID, especially in March and April at the beginning, and then feeling the sadness and loss in the spring of losing both of my in-laws who we could not be with at their time of death because of COVID protocols in the hospital and nursing home, and then feeling enormously upset about racial injustice when George Floyd was murdered, and then feeling some kind of relief about being able to be more open about that upset feeling through protests and honest conversations, and then feeling like I'm walking in land mines if I don't use the exact right words to talk about racial injustice, feeling anxious again about COVID when my oldest son returned in-person to his boarding school in July, all the while also feeling anxious about the civil unrest happening around me downtown where I live, and then the feelings of anxiety when I broke my shoulder in September and went through surgery and (am still) in rehab, all those feelings of hope/anger/anxiousness around the election. So much happened to me and many of it in 9 months' time. I think I was anxious a lot?

I spent the beginning of 2021 figuring out processing everything I lived through. That's how I work. I'm great in a crisis -- completely available, firing on all cylinders, going great, surviving, saving others along the way. It's when the crisis ends and the dust settles that I feel the space to process. I lived through a lot of business, and I feel like I'm finally coming out of that cave. The threshold is before me, but now what? What happens when I step out? Do I go back to that same terrain I've always known? Take up where I left off? Is what I left even there anymore? Or do I find a different path, a new campground?

That's where I feel I am today.

Today, I want to live a bigger life than I had been. I want to "make a difference." I want to volunteer and contribute my heart to more people. I don't know exactly where to place it yet. More searching required. And I have a passion for my artistic endeavors -- writing, filmmaking. Is there enough in me to do both, plus my family who is my first priority?

There is a tiny part of me that feels resentful that I didn't self-reflect enough in the past year to know what I want when I step out of this cave and know exactly which road to take next. But I shouldn't beat myself up. I lived through a lot. Self-reflect now, I suppose. I shouldn't need a pandemic to do that.


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