…and what have I accomplished?
Well, not what I intended to accomplish. Not any of the things I hoped I would do, thought I would do, wanted to do, or needed to do.
I can’t even feign surprise at this fruitless summer, however, since it’s just like every summer for the past fifteen twenty years. I set down an extensive to-do list – like the summer version of a new year’s resolution list – believing I have three months, roughly, to achieve it all – surely enough time – and then stare at the calendar in horror, on the 1st of August, wondering where the days went so fast, and why I haven’t done anything that makes the time look less wasted.
Now, I have had an unusual summer, completely different than any other. I have had gastrointestinal problems: chronic diarrhea, bloody stool, cramps – for months. On top of that, my insomnia has returned, along with day long fatigue. Two colonoscopies. Lost of appetite. Unexpected weight loss.
The chronic diarrhea isn’t new. It came and went in 2001-2002. Then it came back later. And went. And came. And went. But, this time… It lasted longer, compromised my personal and professional life, and was more painful. In fact, this is the first time it was ever really painful at all.
And, this is the first time I kept going to the hospital until I got an accurate diagnosis.
But, this is not the first time I haven’t reached my summer vacation goals. Summer vacation because May, June, July, and part of August are the months the students are out of class and off campus. Even though I still work fulltime on the campus, it feels like summer vacation to me. Always has. It’s one of the things I love about this job.
I had plans, good plans, great plans, and I don’t feel I am any closer to completing them than I was when the students were packing their things and saying their goodbyes.
Finish my novel. I can almost laugh about this. I am still not finished. I never understood it when I read that it took a novelist two or more years to finish their first novel. How? Why?
Pack up my things and find a new apartment. My two-year lease agreement expires this year. The new management company may raise the rent. They have been installing wrought iron fences, new mailboxes, new appliances (in empty apartments; existing residents don’t get any upgrades), hallway carpeting in the past year. They have also opened a new fitness center I still haven’t visited or seen photos of. So, it is reasonable to expect that they will want to raise our rent to pay for it all.
I am overpaying already. I have been in this apartment for over twelve years and nothing has changed. The same refrigerator, counters, oven (that doesn’t work). Nothing has been changed or improved, or updated and only the garbage disposal and front-door lock have been fixed.
I expected – I planned – I hoped I would have most of my belongings sorted, boxed, taped, and stacked before the end of august and that I would also have a good short list of potential places to move. Newer, cheaper one-bedroom apartments with dishwashers, working central heating and air conditioning – maybe even washer/dryer units or space and attachments for them. I’d like more space.
If I can’t get a cheaper apartment, I would like more space or amenities for the price I am paying right now.
I haven’t packed one box.
That is how bad my health got this year. It never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do before. I never took my mind off the ball.
What else didn’t get done?
- Beach body 2021.
- Two books a week.
- Three posts a week.
- Start a YouTube channel. It’s starting to sound like a joke.
- Promote the blog and the YouTube channel (that doesn’t exist).
- Start a new novel.
- Start trying to sell the first novel.
- Minimize. Throw out everything I don’t need, haven’t used, don’t want.
- Get a new job. Working from home. Writing.
This reminds me of being a kid or a teenager, facing the end of summer vacation with none of my self-improvement projects done. I wasn’t richer, cooler, better looking, or more accomplished. I was going to enter another school year no better than I was the semester before – having done nothing but read books, watch TV, play, daydream, get in and out of trouble, and waste three month that had been full of potential before they started. This year, the beginning of August 2021 feels the same way.