For your sweet dumb brain: New year, same old me
Thoughts on making intentions, following the seasons, and more.
Somehow, we’ve made it through the first month of the year. But, for me at least, it never felt like the month actually began. Thanks to an omicron-fueled COVID surge, January was full of false starts, canceled plans, and continued pandemic malaise. It was a month of exhaustion on top of existing exhaustion. By all accounts, it was a rocky start to 2022.
In past years, I’ve hit my stride a few weeks into the year—feeling settled and encouraged about the next 11 months to come. (Oh sweet, optimistic January 2020 child!) This year, though, I’m still waiting for that hopeful motivation. Will it happen?
The end of January, of course, means the beginning of February. For me, that means facing another year since Jamie’s death. This February marks five years since he died. Five years feels like such a milestone. But how do you honor a milestone when it’s for something so terrible?
These are the big questions I’m currently wrestling.
Before I look ahead to February, I want to reflect on the month that’s just ending. So much of January felt like a blur—waiting for that fresh-start feeling that never came—and it’s easy to tell myself that there wasn’t much to remember from this month. But that’s not true. Although Billy, baby, and I didn't do much, we still created a few magical memories. Two personal favorites, thankfully documented for posterity, were a nearly-empty nighttime visit to the zoo and witnessing my daughter experience snow for the first time.
One of the benefits of writing a weekly essay is that it becomes a unique way to track time. For the most part, I write about what I’m feeling and the thoughts I’m musing on at any given moment. And whenever I hear from you all (oh, how I love My Sweet Dumb Brain readers!), it’s another invaluable opportunity to pause, to consider a new perspective. The moment after I send my thoughts into the world and hear back from other people feels sacred: it’s a point of connection that reminds me I’m not alone.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a look back at the newsletter issues from this month, along with some standout reader replies. Perhaps this will give you an opportunity to reflect and feel seen, too.