Boy, 2021 is certainly off to some start, isn’t it? Yeah, I don’t know that any of us logically thought things would just snap and get better with the start of a new year, but maybe we were at least hoping for not worse?

Now, I have not lost hope in the new year. Far from it. The beginning of any year is seldom predictive of its end. I mean heck, look at last year. It’s almost surreal to think of what life was like in the early part of 2019, before we fell into the shadow of COVID. So I’m convinced this year can go the other way. 

But it sure looks like we have a rocky road to traverse first. I wrapped up my Christmas break, like anyone, sure I was a little reticent to get back to work, but also feeling optimistic and energized to tackle a lot of things, both professional and personal, this week.

Well, the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley (often go awry). Monday I set reasonable goals and did pretty well, thinking I’d build on that Tuesday and Wednesday. For some reason, I was dragging even more on Tuesday than I was on Monday. It got some of my list knocked off, but not quite all of it. Well, there’s always Wednesday.

Ah, Wednesday.

As I’m sure many people experienced, the day started off just fine, and then I spent most of the afternoon watching a real American tragedy take place in DC. It is really hard to get work done promoting concrete when your country is tearing itself apart and is in crisis. 

I remember being similarly glued to the TV on 9/11, but on that day I had the fortune of being unemployed. I had moved to Chicago just a couple weeks before and was getting ready for a job interview on 9/12. I didn’t get it.

Anyway, I got sucked into this and much of my to do list went aside on Wednesday, thanks to a bunch of reckless, poorly dressed insurrectionists terrorizing the people’s government and our very way of life. Thank goodness that order was eventually restored, but people were hurt and killed. I was rattled, I admit. It was an awful thing to see, and it got hard to focus on anything else.

Last night, I had trouble sleeping, haunted both by the events of the day and also by the mental chorus of all the things I had meant to do this week. I started to get down on myself. Dammit, I was supposed to come into 2021 with a new head of steam. I realized that every day this week I meant to start a 21-day habit-building exercise and every day it fell off my to-do list. Not being able to build the habit to help learn how to build habits struck me as both kind of sad but also, let’s face it, a little meta-funny.

But after having time to clear my head, I have been able to take many deep breaths, take a nice long walk, and refocus myself. On Thursday, I got a heck of a lot done and gained a lot of ground back that I had lost earlier in the week. Yes, I still had an eye to the news, but today it was less engrossing. 

I’ve said it many times in this blog…we live in strange and challenging times. I sometimes have to remind myself that on occasion, expectations need to be adjusted accordingly. I came to realize that the reality is this was a week that was both rough for coming back from break, but also for experiencing a national trauma with so many of my fellow citizens. Times like this we need to be a little more forgiving of ourselves and recognize that productivity is a fluid thing, and just because one day doesn’t go as we want to, that doesn’t mean we can’t turn the page the next day.