It’s February. I’m writing and sending this newsletter because I am determined to send one monthly this year… or at least, for now I’m still determined. We’ll see how long this keeps up. (Fun fact, I drafted this four days ago and just forgot to send thanks to the hazy the brain fog that is this month.)
In all honesty, I don’t have a ton to say. It’s February, and I think it’s generally accepted wisdom that February sucks. I’m sure there are people who disagree, who love February, but I don’t think I’ve ever met one.
February is the shortest month, thankfully. It’s cold and dark. Yes, days are trending longer now, but not yet long enough to make a huge difference. It’s also been cold and dark for long enough that there’s no longer an edge of fuzzy intrigue to it. In November, the sweaters and steaming mugs of tea sometimes feel novel and cozy, as you’re hunkering down for winter but still looking forward to the holidays. By February, all of that’s gone. My company doesn’t give us a single day off until April.
That’s another thing! I always start the new year feeling refreshed and optimistic, like each new year is a fresh beginning. February is not actually that far into the year, but the sheen has worn off. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself more tired and cranky, and less motivated to do things that sounded exciting back at the beginning of January. Which of course makes total sense. I hadn’t thought of it like this until recently, but since I’m someone who pretty reliably has the last week or two of each year off, of course I’m starting the year feeling good. I’m rested! I’ve had a chance to spend time away from the stress, to read and write and watch movies and play video games. I’ve had holidays and fun and seen friends and stayed up late and slept in! It feels glorious!
Well, now I’ve been back to work for a full month. I generally like my job and don’t have a ton of reason to complain about it. It’s engaging in the right ways for my brain — enough of a challenge that I’m never bored, I get to help build a whole variety of stuff, the people I work with are cool and reliable and supportive. Even so, it sure doesn’t take long before the daily grind feels like, well, a grind. I’m someone who prioritizes having solid work-life boundaries, who clocks in at 8:30 and out at 5:30 and always takes my hour-long lunch and does not check email after my computer’s shut down for the night, and it’s still a grind. I feel like I need all of Saturday to lay around and recover before I have the energy to do anything creative… or any of those pesky life chores that have to be done (taxes, I’m looking at you).
So that’s where I am now. I’m still working on my manuscript, nearing the end of my semi-final-ish draft, even though it feels a lot harder now than it did in December when I could devote so much more brain power to it. I’m reading more than I did last year, at least for now; I’d love to keep that up all year long, rebuild the reading habit that I lost to the mess that was my 30s, but that also requires energy and brain power so I’m trying not to feel bad about days when I just zone out and stare at a phone game for four hours instead. I’m swimming again, after a little break brought on by sudden knee pain (and hopefully this week starting some physical therapy to address said knee pain).
Days are getting longer. I’m planning fun stuff for the summer and looking forward to it. February is a short month which means it will, eventually, end. Then it will be March, and daylight savings time will kick in, and while the grind will still be a grind, it hopefully won’t feel so crushing.
In the meantime, for no other reason than it makes me happy, here are some photos of the Giant New Desk I bought. My old desk was cute but tiny and my job requires me to have not one but two laptops aside from the person computer on which I’m currently typing; and gosh I forgot how nice it is to have lots of drawers to put things in. I had to completely rearrange my room and I’m super happy with the results.
Why yes, that does mean that my background for all of my many, many work Zoom calls is now that pretty painted rainbow accent wall. When I say I love color, I’m not kidding.
Anyhoo. That’s it for now. I hope all of your Februaries are short and easy and that spring comes early.