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At the start of COVID times, recovery seemed just around the corner – end of April looked promising, then May, then the summer – surely the virus would disappear for a bit and give us a brief repreive? Instead, July ushered in new spikes and hot spots. Then wild fires erupted in the west, record heat settled in, and school started. It’s hard to map out a road trip when there are so many uncertainties facing us. This long strange trip can feel interminable.
In the meantime, at work we adjust to every twist and turn of public health orders to do everything in our power to serve our community while keeping everyone as safe as possible. Just when it seems that decisions about our operation might get easier, we have a community spike in cases or a staffing shortage. Just when it seems like we might have a brief lull in the brutal hours required to lead an organization during a pandemic, a new issue arises. Are we there yet?
These uncertain times are causing me to assess how the team is pacing our work on this long and winding road. People are overwhelmed and exhausted. It’s hard to be creative when brains are full and emotions are drained, not to mention all the difficulties people are facing in their personal and professional lives. We’ll be stretching out deadlines, reducing the scope of projects, and seeing what we can put on pause to give people some breathing room to rest and recover – a pitstop, if you will. While I see a light at the end of the tunnel for an eventual resolution of this global emergency, as long as we can’t answer the question, Are we there yet, I need to set a pace that is sustainable for this longer haul.
I’m taking this same approach in my personal life. After procrastinating for over a year, I recently engaged someone to help me refresh my site – to make it more secure, updated, organized and reflective of this new phase in my career. In our first conversation, when asked how long I’d been doing this, I said – oh about 2 years or so. Then I looked at my first post and saw it had been over 4 years. 4 years is a long time to do something I started as a personal challenge to learn how to blog. Am I there yet?
Time for a pause? I haven’t decided yet. I do know that no matter what I decide, I need to write and share. I don’t dance, sing, or paint. Writing has re-emerged as a key creative outlet for me at this stage in my life. It soothes and excites me at the same time. When I’m in the flow, it’s almost a transcendent experience. However, the long hours at a computer over these many months have taken their toll on my wrists and eyes. When every conversation at work is typed or on a screen, having a hobby that requires those same activities is causing me some literal pain.
Creativity and Quality
As with work product, quality and creativity can suffer when the tank is running on empty. So while my site is being rebuilt, I will rest my wrists and eyes. I feel a little silly – and more than a little privileged – spending money and time on this when I’m not sure of the outcome, but one thing I learned from a caring mentor was that sometimes when you don’t know what decision to make, get your next data point and set a deadline. When I see how my new site looks and operates – my next data point – I will see if this is still the platform I want to use to create and share. I’ll find out if I’m still on the road to fearless capacity.
Earlier this summer I pledged to explore more Black voices in media and literature. To that end, I am recommending Dolemite is My Name (2019)
When this movie started to play in my family room, I thought to myself, “what am I watching?!” Lots of F-words, which is usually a turn-off for me. But as the movie progressed, I was drawn into the story and characters. Despite the rough language and situations, I was amazed that I hadn’t heard much of anything about this movie. It feels like an instant classic. The characters, the setting, the utter originality of the script give me a happy feeling that lingers long after the final credits.
Progress of my work at home space:
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Donna R Walker