THE LONG HAUL: Intentions for 2022
Courtesy of the author
Friends, we are all at the very end of our ropes. Emotionally, financially, practically, empathetically, it’s tough to hang on to any semblance of who we thought we were. This pandemic has changed me and my life forever, and I’m guessing that is universally true. I’ve taken the last week or so completely off of work, music making, and social media in the hopes that it would allow my brain some space to ponder over how I can move forward. While I always feel flat and dull when I’m away from creating art, I also have the space to observe what my brain reaches for, and what actually makes me feel good. With this week in mind, I’ve made a list of intentions for the upcoming year, and I thought I would share in the hopes that you’ll find it helpful.
Give up on plans
If there’s anything I’ve learned from the pandemic experience, it’s that life will laugh in the face of your attempt to take control. I imagined these years so differently, and now I’m not even sure where to start in regrouping. When I think back on it, there were actually many positive experiences in these past months, but most of them were ruined by the sheer mental anguish of plans destroyed. If I can get used to the idea of never holding too fast to anything, I may be able to enjoy the reality more.
Transition my brain intake from short form to long form
What many of us have gained from the horror of this pandemic is the gift of time. Empty time can be a short road to depression, but also an opportunity to observe our habits as we struggle to fill it with anything meaningful. Social media is the ultimate short-form intake: entire lives, perspectives, news stories condensed into seconds. Great art and true perspective take time and intention and layers of understanding. I’m going to attempt to minimize my short-form intake and replace that brain space with more books, long-form news articles, movies, visual art, full records, and poetry.
Support art and artists in genuine ways
There is so much pain and suffering in the world, and for me the only antidote is the creation of beauty. We all need art so much, and if we want to continue to enjoy it, we have to make a concerted effort to support art and artists in genuine ways because capitalism will continue to encourage us to take them for granted. This year I want to practice what I preach by purchasing records, merch, books, art pieces, etc.
Don’t start exhausting conversations
We are all a little out of practice socializing, and it’s all too easy to jump immediately into pandemic statistics or the latest political tragedy around the dinner table. These conversations are pure torture for all involved and leave everyone feeling worse and wishing they’d stayed home to watch Netflix. This year I’m going to try and bring up interesting topics that can leave everyone a little better: an amazing film I recently saw, a hike that I loved doing, or a fun question, like “What’s your opinion on color theory when it comes to bedrooms vs. bathrooms”? This honestly may require pre-planning, i.e., thinking of interesting topics to bring up before the dinner party or Skype call so that it doesn’t devolve into social hell, but I really think it will be worth it!
Try to find kindness and patience for everyone
I hate to admit it, but I am quick to judge and form an opinion about someone I meet. The past year has been humbling for me, as I’ve struggled with my mental health and have had to ask for immense space and understanding from the people around me. This year I want to pay that empathy forward and work on my capacity for sympathy for others. I know now how much I will never know about what others are going through.
I hope you all find some peace and joy this winter, and a whole lot of love and kindness for yourselves. It sure ain’t easy!