Kara Gordon

Returnings

A fortnightly letter to the people going at 100 miles an hour. We all have the things that keep us grounded: to-do lists, morning routines, communities, and rituals to keep us sane. But when things get tough, they often fall to the wayside. Here's a reminder to refuel.

Unfiltered, Untethered, Unraveling

A couple of weeks ago, some friends challenged me to write 750 words a day for two weeks. For those of you who aren't familiar with the site, the premise is that you write 750 words—three pages of private, unfiltered, spontaneous content—every single day. It tracks how long it takes you to write and what you're writing about, to varying degrees of accuracy.

I journaled throughout Lent this year and found it a really wonderful tool for self-reflection, but stopped immediately following Easter. I was curious to see how and if this time would be any different, if it was something I could keep up, and what value it would provide to make an extra effort to write every day.

I wrote 13 out of 14 days: I missed the last one. It was the same during Lent: 39 out of 40 days, missing the final day. Both times I got distracted and forgot, then simply stopped altogether. Habits are hard to form. I learned just as much about how we form and create our daily rituals as I did about the subjects I wrote on.

Something I already knew but was reinforced: I am a deadline person. I started at about 11:30pm before I went to bed and hammered out 750 words in about 20 minutes. During Lent, I almost exclusively wrote on my phone during my commute. I do my best work under the wire.

Something I didn't know until I wrote about it: I really miss some of my friends in a punch-in-the-gut, makes-me-cry sort of way. My closest friends are all over the country and I miss them.

Something I already knew but was in denial about until I couldn't ignore the data: When left to my subconscious, my thoughts primarily revolve around my relationships between three or four people. A couple of days in, I started making an effort to write about other things but, inevitably, my relationship with one of these people would sneak in there. Part of me is okay with this: they are a necessary part of my story. Part of me wonders if viewing the world through the lens of your relationship with others is even remotely normal or healthy.

Some things I probably knew but needed to be reminded of: Writing—any form of making—is how you can actually make the space to process the world. If you write about something over and over again, you will eventually get sick of it, and I am convinced this is how you will defeat your gremlins.

Remember when I said summer and I have a bit of a contentious relationship? By the time August rolls around, my body is physically revolting against the heat and humidity with bouts of nausea and headaches, my patience has reached its end, and I spend half of my time feeling the need to kick something very hard and the other half desperately wanting to sleep. No matter what time I set my alarm, it is a herculean feat to drag myself out of bed. My morning routine has gone from a relaxed, hour-long affair to a 15 minute dash out the door. My commute routine has gone from reading to listening passively to music to staring into space. The alarm bells are going off: you're crashing.

My schedule is maxed out and I'm watching myself slip deadlines. I'm barely running. The past couple weeks I've fallen from two or three yoga classes a week to one, and I find myself canceling last minute with alarming frequency. I'm watching things come down the pipeline and I'm bracing myself.

Just hold onJust do today. Just do this week.

I want my slow mornings and runs on the river back. I want to wake up and actually wake up and I want to fall asleep easily at night again. I want to sip freshly brewed coffee and read and write and read some more.

They'll come back. They always come back. There's solid ground, somewhere.

All my love (always),

Kara

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