What I did this pandemic

So, Taylor Swift is dropping a new album tonight. Artist release albums all the time, of course (that’s what artists do!) but the catch here is that she wrote, recorded and released an album all during these 5 months of lockdown.

Now, I’m a big fan, so this is great news. The music-consumer side of me is delighted to have something new to listen to.

The musician side of me reacted with a noxious combination of resentment and guilt.

When the shit hit the fan in March and our lives were put on pause, many of us, in an effort to find a silver lining, made grand plans to use this opportunity to do something we had no time to pursue pre-pandmic. Maybe we could finally clean out our closets, learn Italian, write a novel, take that online art course, read to our kids every night, meditate, lose weight, bake the perfect sourdough levain. Many of us were ambitious.

The reality of quarantine, of course, was anxiety and inertia.

And the truth of it is that my closets are still a mess and my Italian hasn’t improved. I feel like I get lost in the fear and frustration of our current global situation on a daily basis, and therefore don’t get anything done. I feel like I’m not producing anything, not generating income, not acquiring a new skill, not improving myself, not taking advantage of “down time”. And at the same time, Taylor Swift made an entire freaking album.

Comparisons are useless, of course, but that doesn’t mean that our minds don’t go there. And when we do so we can’t help but feel lacking in some way. It’s at the core of my own constant struggle, of not doing enough, of not being enough. And it can send me into a tailspin.

So today I’ve decided to practice some acceptance and to treat myself kindly. To find contentment in the simple acts of getting up, making coffee, caring for Pinkerton, supporting my husband, being available for my friends. To keep my gaze firmly on the day that is front of me, my own day, the one that only I can live. To move from comparison outward to focus inward.

But of course, at its 12 am ET release, I’ll be downloading that album!

5 thoughts on “What I did this pandemic

  1. Bonsoir Maestra.
    Don’t worry with your Italian. You’ll make it through. Don’t forget that French, Italian and Spanish share the same root. Latin. A lot of words are almost the same. That being said I still confound my Italian and Spanish. When I see an Italian patient, I tell them them “Buenos Noces” instead of “Buena Serra” when I leave their home and vice versa when I see a Spanish patient. I don’t even do it on purpose but at least it make them laugh all the time (and they correct me nicely). One time I had to see an Italian who was known to be in the mob. I did practice +++ before seeing him just to make sure I would not mess up and ending with an offer I couldn’t refuse. I succeeded. Pfiew!
    Taylor Swift. I said to myself: “Who is that singer?” I then recalled who she was. She gave an interview to the tv show “Tout le monde en parle (Talk of the town)” a couple years ago while she was in Montréal. The show is based on a French concept from Paris and the national tv (Radio-Canada or icitele.ca) bought the copyrights. The interview was in French but she was answering in English. The questions were being asked in French and were translated in her earpiece. I’m gonna try to find and share the link. It was interesting, though. She is talented even if we like her type of music or not.
    This is human Sarah to compare with others. It is in the human nature. We all do this at different levels. I understand it is a difficult time but I know there is a beacon of light.
    Post scriptum: today was the birthday a my Haitian colleague lpn, Lynda. She asked me: “How old do you think I am?” I said to myself: “F… not again”. I was again the only man and there was 4 women. There were no dinner this time but just a question being asked. This time I recall you told me that 29 was a safe bet. I then said 29. She said: “I just turned 27 but thank you. I like the idea of being 2 years older.” Pfiew! Lol!


    1. chefdorch says:

      I confess that I’m a Taylor Swift fan – her songwriting is full of secondary meanings, thoughts behind thoughts. My Italian is still not great btw.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wayne Zelenak says:

    Sarah, First to comment on Sylvain’s blog, there is always an answer to a woman who tries to pin a man down with a question of How Old Do You Think I Am? That is a catch 22 situation because age is always a defining factor that all women are keenly aware of. Lyn Slater comes to mind, who was an aging professor at Fordham University, who at 64 she was feeling stereotyped by becoming invisible to younger men and women, who felt she should dress and act her age. Impressed by fashion, she wanted to create an outlet to express her inner feelings regardless of age. No one could have predicted that she’d end up in international fashion magazines, garner hundreds of thousands of social followers, or land a contract with Elite Models London. She became “The Accidental Icon,” an advocate for women of all ages

    She believed that her designer clothes released her alter-ego who was bold, vibrant, creative, and with a healthy attitude. The answer for Sylvain, when asked by a woman how old do you think I am, will always be “A true diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday, but never remembers her age.”

    I agree that comparing yourself with other artists is a recipe for disaster while being inspired by other artists is healthy. Like Lyn Slater, she focused on her inner needs, never compared herself with others, and became a trailblazer in the fashion industry; reinventing herself and finding self-worth and happiness. Avoid the ANTS in life (Automatic Negative Thoughts Syndrome) and concentrate on inspiring others which will also inspire you…

    Liked by 1 person

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