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Bad Case of the I Don't Wannas
I should be on vacation
I should be on vacation. This week just about every year, my family goes to Florida (where I lived a chunk of my life) to my favorite beach in the world. I’m not going to tell you where it is so it doesn’t become overrun. (Kidding, it’s in St. Augustine.) I love that place. I’ve been going since I was a kid. In the ‘60s, my grandmother used to get up early, fry a whole chicken, pack a picnic basket and send her five children (including my dad) to this beach to get them out of her hair. It’s quiet and there’s miles of sand and there’s a Publix nearby and I miss it.
We are not going to Florida this year for… reasons. Some personal. Some political. Some personally political. That’s not the point of this newsletter.
This week the literary agency where I work is traditionally closed because usually we’re all (and most of publishing) is on vacation. The French get all of August; we get the last week of it.
But I am working (it’s ok!) and I have a ton to do. I was sick last week so I’m behind. There is general life stuff that always needs to be done. School starts soon. We have other family stuff this week. I don’t have room to be sad about the beach.
So instead, I have a bad case of the I Don’t Wannas. I don’t want to write this newsletter and I don’t want to do that contract on my desk and I don’t want to fold that laundry or think about dinner. I don’t wanna attend to the 200+ emails in my inbox. I. Don’t. Wanna.
But I will. Not only because I have to do these things (…..dinner will be take out) but because it is not the tasks that don’t want to be done. It’s just a feeling. I am having a feeling, a normal end of summer feeling, and it will pass. I will feel better doing some things, not because productivity = self worth, but because NOT doing them will make me feel worse (and, um, piss off my clients etc, lol).
I’ve felt this way before and the fix is to set reasonable goals everyday, even if that means smaller to do lists. Rest when I need rest, but also make sure to exercise because it SUCKS how much that actually improves my mood, dammit. Try to do something fun each day, even small. Basic self-care, mundane, obvious stuff. Nothing revolutionary. No big tricks or hacks.
The real key here, that I’ve learned over time, is to not spiral. I am not a failure because I’m off my writing schedule. I am not worthless because I am not excited to do the job I love. I will not let shoulda woulda coulda drown me. This is just what it is right now. It will be different later. I am overall ok. Of course I would rather be on the beach.
The don’t wannas you’re dealing with might be more complicated than mine. I’m sorry. That’s tough and unfair. You don’t need some literary agent with an MFA to tell you have to take care of your mental health. I hope you have some strategies, even small ones, to help you feel better. I’m rooting for you.
If you have run of the mill don’t wannas, and you’re not an old hand at them like me, just remember this won’t last forever. Feelings are just feelings, not reality. Chip away at what you can and then rest. You’re still you (a good thing!!!) regardless of what your to do list looks like today and what it looked like yesterday.
Next week is September. Let us send summer off with well-wishes and greet the fall.
Next year, in St. Augustine.