Post-Covid, it feels like we’re coming out of a protracted bender - like for the last sixteen months, we’ve been boozing nonstop, then blacked out, and have the hangover to prove it.
As I start waking up to the clear light of day, shielding my eyes, I can’t help but take stock of my life.
I mainly do this while “getting my steps in,” i.e., taking power walks like a suburban mom or mall-walker from the 1980s. This is hilariously foreign to me, since prior to Covid, I literally didn’t stop moving from 5:30am until well into the nighttime, running around the city with clients, projects, meetings, dates, and friends. Back then I must’ve burned about 80 million calories a day.
During lockdown, on the other hand, even though I was working out decently hard most days, for the first time in my adult life I was mostly sitting on my ass for the other 23 hours a day, and recently became aware that I put on close to 15 pounds over the last year.
That and my new obsession with clocking how many steps a day I’m taking aside, the pandemic time period, outside of its tragic consequences for humanity, was actually overall a good thing for me personally (solidifying already strong relationships with beloved friends and family members), professionally (“work from anywhere” doors opening as a consultant that I never imagined), and financially (paying off debt in a way that if I’m being honest, I didn’t think I would ever in this lifetime be able to do). I also went from being almost frantically active (and mostly stressed) to adopting a slower pace and really liking it.
But now I’m wondering where do I go from here? And I don’t mean whether to head uptown or downtown on my nightly constitutional.
Is there a happy medium between being calm, content and comfortable and the edge it takes (maybe that frenetic activity I used to embrace?) to keep propelling myself and my career and my life forward?
Because as we emerge into the world again, blinking hard against the bright light, I feel there’s a horrible stagnation setting in in all areas of my life...even though absolutely nothing is wrong and in fact so much is right. I have a steady job and consulting income outside of that. A lovely big apartment. The list goes on. But here I am again, itching for change.
I sometimes feel I am perpetually living my life perched precariously between here and there: being at a crossroads seems to be my personal comfort zone. Am I just one of those people, an overthinker perhaps, who is always going to experience at least some degree of inner turmoil, wondering what’s next or what the fuck am I doing with my life?
As I write that, though, I think maybe it’s not as existential as I’ve been describing - maybe it’s an actual, material thing I’m going through.
I have these huge lofty goals - I picture myself free and traveling and taking care of my family generously. Sending my nephews to Penn. Envisioning us all on a yacht in the Med together in a few years and then popping to Paris where I was able to afford to buy my dream apartment.
But even though I’ve made some professional and financial progress, especially recently, I still feel so far away from everything I dream of.
All of the experts say that it takes setting specific career goals to get us where we want to go. And I have those, too.
All the experts also advise taking small steps every day to achieve them.
Problem with that is, sometimes I’m not sure what steps to take, but worse and more often, I’m not sure how to muscle past my malaise and lack of motivation to actually take them.
So like I said, less angsty, in-my-own headedness and more practical. As in, how to follow all of the expert advice about getting what I want in life and then set forth to make that happen when more often than not I feel like shutting my curtains in the middle of the day to block out the gorgeous summer sun and curling up on my couch to read a trashy thriller.
In a recent morning meditation I did, the guide talked about taking “inspired action,” a phrase I love. But it made me sad and a little anxious, too: I might be moving more these days...but how inspired am I?