January 2021 Overview

The past few years there has been a number of life adjustments and I had some idea of the physical toll it was taking on me (judging by the number on the scale), but I didn’t realize how stress can impact even your physical makeup. Did you?

I’m an aggressive hair brusher. Always have been really, trying to get my brush through my thick, still-wet hair so I can end up losing as much hair in a good brushing as would make a balding man weep. Probably. I haven’t spoken to anyone balding recently so really, I’m just speculating. (Apologies to any balding men who are offended!) Anyway, cleaning out my brush, I noticed something that caught my eye — a strand of hair that went from brunette, to grey, to brunette again (at the root tips). And that kind of caught me off-guard. When had I started greying? And when had I stopped?

The body is amazing at how adaptable it can be. I realized, I’ve been so stressed out the past few years that I shut down some self-care to preserve/maintain what I felt mattered most at the time, like a triage of my psyche, attending to the crises of the moment and letting the rest fall by the wayside. It was unsustainable, as if my body was telling me, “You’re out of the red zone, but don’t stop now.”

The days leading up to New Years, I spent in an anonymous forum with strangers, all expressing their hopes that as we put 2020 behind us, that we could close the door on the pandemic and leave it as well. But the hands of the clock rolled over to midnight and nothing changed. We’re out of the red zone, but we can’t stop now.

It’s winter and I find myself seeking inspiration from stories of strong, confident women far enough back in time than their struggles don’t remotely resemble my own. I discovered clips of a Turkish TV series called Magnificent Century: Kosem and like a great book, immersed myself into the story of political intrigue of harem life in the Ottoman Empire. In a similar vein, I found myself watching TV clips of The Tudors, which similarly portrayed court intrigue, as well as Esther (2000), the story of the Jewish maiden who went into the Babylonian court and became queen while hiding her true identity. It’s not that I think we all have some great purpose like any of these women, but they do put my own past struggles very much into their proper place and offer me perspective, and for that, I’m grateful.

It maybe snowed once, twice, this winter, finally. It’s been grey, occasionally foggy, otherwise. Looking forward to spring, I spent a lot of time in January exploring the new Stardew Valley expansion. For the uninitiated, Stardew Valley is a life sim, that celebrates small-town country living and specifically, farming. The expansion saw the addition of new areas with quests to discover and as much as I enjoyed changing things up, my heart is still in the Southern Mountains along the coast, where my little virtual farm is located. It’s my counterbalance to the tumultuous times we live in (you American readers remember January, there’s no need to rehash it). So, whether it’s digging into some light agricultural gaming, or watching YouTube videos on off-grid tiny cabin builds, or just plain cute animal videos, for now, it makes a dreary winter day a little bit brighter, and that’s enough for me.

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