As you probably noticed, it’s been a little while.
There’s no big or dramatic reason for this. My capacities are just really limited right now.
For the last six weeks or so—really, since the start of the new year—I’ve found myself saying “I can’t” a lot. It’s not even a choice, the “learning how to say no” stuff that so many of us are working on. It’s a limitation I can’t control, a scarcity of ability and energy that’s out of my hands.
This is interesting in the sense that it has forced me to narrow down dramatically what does and doesn’t get my attention. My yoga practice is flourishing in spite of how limited I feel in other ways. On the work front, I’m focused on my nutrition private practice and the editing process for my next cookbook.
In every other way, I feel incapable. All but the most important work matters are on hold for right now. I don’t have a lot of energy to talk or socialize—which is weird, because I entered 2022 excited to end my quarantine and see friends again. I definitely can’t answer the dreaded “how are you?” question over text or email.
My best friend has asked me about a short trip at the end of this month, and I keep stalling on buying a plane ticket because I have no clue how I’ll feel by then. I’m not even watching much TV. In the evening I work on my book manuscript, I message a little with a few friends, I do a short meditation, and I sleep.
For what it’s worth, it doesn’t feel like a depressive spell. It might be overwhelm or burnout—I’m not sure. Maybe it’s wintering. Maybe I’m processing personal matters more privately than I have in the past.
Whatever the case, it’s strange.
One thing I wanted to mention today—a reminder I always need, and maybe you need it, too—is that nothing terrible has happened while I’ve been in low power mode. There are no work catastrophes. My friends don’t seem to hate or resent me for needing some time to myself. Life is waiting for me on the other side of stillness.
If you happen to experience a similar phase anytime soon, life will wait for you, too.
I’m not reading much of anything, digital or print, so it’s not easy to collect links for these posts. But I do miss the connection of writing and being here with this community.
Thanks for presence, even when I’m not very present myself. And happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
I’ve never had much luck with vegan crepes. I think Alissa is about to help me with that.
Nothing like a big bowl of spaghetti and greens for supper.
I’ve never tried braising daikon before, but I really like the idea of serving it this way.
Speaking of capacity, homemade pasta isn’t even under consideration right now. But these butternut squash ravioli are made with wonton wrappers, and they do look really easy.
Red wine in chocolate cake is such an intriguing baking idea—and it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, too.
1. Abdul Alim, who was one of Pakistan’s oldest survivors of Covid-19, has died of natural causes at age 104. I was so moved reading about his efforts to keep others safe and well.
2. It’s distressing to hear about sea turtle stranding and the vulnerability that sea turtles face in these times. But it is very heartening and affirming to read about the efforts that human beings are taking to protect them.
3. A physician’s sobering reflections on having to deny a patient an extra blanket for her bed, and how that experience captures healthcare providers’ moral distress during the pandemic.
4. Loved this argument for steaming cabbage. I’m a big defender of steaming as a preparation method for vegetables generally, and cabbage is one vegetable that I think becomes especially sweet and lovely when it’s steamed.
5. Finally, I loved reading about Margaret Wise Brown, the woman behind Goodnight Moon.
OK everyone. Thank you for listening and accepting me as I navigate this season. I appreciate you.
I came across a snippet from an interview with the playwright Tracy Letts this week. In it, Letts shared a candid account of what his life as a writer has looked like in quarantine. It’s candid, a little sad, and very relatable. He says, I’ve made nothing. On four separate occasions, I arranged my schedule with [my wife] Carrie so I could have six uninterrupted hours a day to write. All four times, I emerged from my office after two or three weeks,…
I took a yoga class a few months ago, and I couldn’t help but notice the remarkable practice of a yogi on the other side of the room. He was taking every single advanced posture in the book, flowing between them with apparent ease—though I knew how hard he must have been working. He was on a completely different wavelength of intensity than the rest of us. I’m embarrassed to admit to having judgment in a yoga class, of all places. But I…
I’ve been casually saying that I’m in the home stretch of graduate school all year, because relatively speaking—relative to having been a dietetics or pre-health student since 2010—I have been. But now I’m really in the home stretch, sprinting across my last few weeks of classes. I had to laugh when I read this article about burnout, which described with eery precision the place I’ve found myself in for the last semester (and, if I’m being honest, most of this academic year). Apparently…
Happy weekend, friends. I hope that you’re enjoying some restful time. After a week of totally unseasonal mid-70s weather here in NYC, it’s finally cooling off today, and it feels like fall again. I’ve set this aside as being a quiet weekend, as I have my next round of exams starting on Tuesday. I haven’t had quite as much time to prepare as I did for the first batch of mid-terms, so I’m a bit anxious about getting down to work, but hopefully…
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Hi Genia. I’ve been going through a similar season in my life and it’s nice to read your experiences and thoughts around it. I’m low energy and yet my mind is brimming with ideas…until the next day when all I want to do is, well, nothing. I don’t know if it’s menopause or winter or going into the third year of a pandemic. I’ve followed up with my doctors and with medical tests, so things are fine on that front. So there’s nothing to do but just going with it for now: accepting my limitations, and taking care of my nutrition and sleep requirements while also keeping a space for hope for the future. I wish you wellness on your journey. FWIW I just discovered you because I was looking for a vegan bundt cake recipe. I’ll be making it this weekend! Chocolate definitely helps times like this. 🙂
Every one of your weekend reading posts resonates with me, Gena. You’re not alone in these ebbs and flows of energy/presence. Always here to read, when you get to posting or not – I will always appreciate whatever you share on here when you’re able to. I hope you know your words reach people in a way that helps us feel a little less alone (at least speaking for myself!). xoxo, Hannah (longtime reader, from provincetown…now in CA)
“Wintering” is one of my favorite modes of being, Dear Gena. And yes, it will all be there when you are ready to meet it again. Being quiet is so essential. I bow to you as you follow your instinct and care for yourself this way. Much love–and I look forward to reading about Margaret Wise Brown. Thank you xoxo
Thanks for sharing, Gena. As a long-time reader but first-time commenter, I just wanted to voice my appreciation for you. Thanks for always being so candid about your experience and for being vulnerable. As I read your posts, I often find that your emotions resonate with my own, which in turn heightens my own self-awareness (occasionally, these will be emotions that I was not even entirely aware of before reading). So, thanks for articulating what I often cannot name myself.
I really hope things get easier for you soon. Wishing you all the best.