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Signs of spring 🌼abbyafricaabbyafrica
Recently, I’ve been replying to things late. Texts take days. Weeks. I turned 21 on April 1 and fini
Recently, I’ve been replying to things late. Texts take days. Weeks. I turned 21 on April 1 and finished replying to birthday texts earlier this week. I replied to an Easter message yesterday. Under normal circumstances, at school and in the bustle of life in Los Angeles, I am quick to reply. I am sprightly, nimble, and prompt. I have my schedule recorded and packed. Each morning, I put on heels and cream blush, pull back my hair and clip in my earrings. I listen to the daily news. Once on campus, I buy a coffee; the day builds itself.
Before this month, I misunderstood the impact of my routine on my energy and my ability to work. I’ve grown reliant on that coffee. For the last three years, I’ve trained myself to start my work by standing in the line and waiting for my name to be called. I breathe in the smell of beans roasting and balance my teetering drink as I stalk down campus to my favorite table in my favorite building on campus.
Now, I wake up between six in the morning or two in the afternoon. I usually fall asleep without washing my face and I wake up before class, forgetting the news — it seems to find me even though I don’t look — and only take showers when my hair starts to look bad on camera. I get my caffeine from the beaker in my family’s Mr. Coffee maker and set it in the microwave for a minute. I’ve reduced my makeup to a few quick swipes and ignore my under-eyes. I only wear soft, shapeless pants. My sun-filled walks between classes have been replaced with runs down an unlit staircase to the bathroom between Zoom calls. My room faces east; when I sleep in, I miss the sun.
Strange things happen sometimes. For the first few weeks of being home, going downstairs and trying to eat a full meal left me breathless and panicky. I’d run up the stairs to a well-made bed, green tea, and my room spray. Music would calm me down. So would calls with friends and, oddly enough, so would working hard. I took on a new project on second day home. I figured that I could hide in Figma.
But somewhere in the chain of meetings and calls I’ve become slow. I glaze over notifications. I’ve missed so many deadlines. My sense of urgency has disintegrated along with my routine.
And in the grand scheme of things, I’ve lost almost nothing material. I’ve kept my internship, my friendships, and my projects. When I wake up, there’s coffee, food, electricity, hot water, and a puppy who looks forward to greeting me. The most I’ve lost is nearness to friends and a routine, and I’m still slowing down.
So now I’m rebuilding my energy, searching for the elements of a new routine, and if I haven't yet, I’ll get back to you soon. Thank you for being patient and for being kind. I didn’t understand how to adjust when this all began. I’m creating sections in my day. I’m walking my dog. I’m stretching. I’m wearing pants with zippers. I'm trying to use my calendar and stick to it, trying to read, trying to breathe, trying to communicate, trying not to eat after midnight.
Perhaps symbolically, spring rain came this week. On the night it began, I heard birds at two in the morning, singing and chattering, excited about its arrival. And Thursday, when the clouds cleared, the sun reappeared in full, turning the clouds yellow, warming the earth. I went outside and laid in the grass. I leashed my dog and took him around the neighborhood, and he didn’t turn in home for forty five minutes. It made sense. The world smelled fresh and damp, all the trees had blossomed, and everything green was shining.
Thanks for reading — if you've been feeling similarly, I recommend learning about creative routines. I've been reading Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. You can find it on Amazon for around $9.