I am not one to usually partake in online challenges. I remember the one that came out in a December a few years ago with three physical challenges for each day: Plank for this long. Squat this many times. Get ready for too many sit-ups (of which, in my experience, one is too many).
Carrie and I started this challenge and on December 8th, in the middle of our squats, I looked over at her and asked, “Do you really hate being fat enough for this?” She did one more squat and said, “No, I don’t hate it enough for this.”
And we quit. Right there, we stopped and went out for dinner to celebrate our apparent perfectly healthy self-esteem.
This particular challenge was proposed by Emily Waldon, a person on Twitter whom I don’t even know but whose story I am quite drawn to. She began her chemotherapy for breast cancer last week and her final treatment should be 100 days from last Saturday. Hence, she issued the invitation. She writes for Baseball America covering the Detroit Tigers’ minor league system and seems to be a genuinely positive person.
Since I have recently been feeling like a less than positive person, I thought doing a writing challenge might be my best option. Considering I work part time specifically to have more time for creative ventures, I shouldn’t let a little depression get in my way, now should I? Therefore, my goal is to write 500 words per day for 100 days. (I am a couple of days late to the party, but I’ll finish the job while Emily celebrates her successes anyway.)
Interestingly enough, January and February have traditionally not been difficult months for me, depression-wise. There are multiple factors playing into this year being different; right now, the leading candidate for the primary culprit isn’t even a mental health thing. But we’ll get to that later when I feel like talking about my uterus which, contrary to popular belief, isn’t a topic I typically strive to write about.
It’s so easy to lose track of yourself in the dead of Minnesota winter during the end of year two of a pandemic. This past weekend, I drove down to visit friends and my parents in Iowa and as I crested the top of the hill to escape my little valley, I realized I had not left the town of Winona since December 4.
It is beautiful here – I find winter to be even more so. I’m the weirdo who loves how bright and airy it can be on crisp, freeze-your-damn-face-off days. Lately, though, it has felt like I am trapped in one big hole in the ground and then two months went by. My drive to work takes seven minutes on a bad day and I would complete entire weeks without having ever deviated from that one path.
Indeed, one day there was a water main burst so I had to take a different route. Pretty sure – though cannot fully confirm – that when I thought, ‘Wow! This is new!’ was the exact moment I began to feel like I was a prisoner of nothing-to-do.
So I’m going to write. I’m going to listen to music every morning while I do it. And while it may not all be on this site (I have about nine unfinished novels to look at), it will be here more often than not. It is virtual support for a stranger and it is virtual support for myself.
As someone asked me this weekend, “Are you sure knowing what “the point” to life is would actually be a good thing?”
Point taken. Welcome to the challenge.