Dear Diary: Catching Up

Hello, hello! Once again, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated here—about three months, actually. Between going back to work in person, getting vaccinated (yay!), and the general business that comes with being an adult (gross), I either haven’t had the time, energy, or motivation to make any content.  But I’m back! Hopefully for a little longer than a few weeks this time!

During this little hiatus, I have been busy working on some other projects. I figured I’d kick off the (re)launch of my blog with a little update on what I’ve been doing since my last post.

If I’m remembering correctly, my last post was where I introduced this idea of a “Dear Diary” segment in this space. It’s also where I talked about my mental health being not so great. Things have been consistently rocky on that front; some days are better than others. Now that I’m back at work consistently, I’ve finally regained some kind of a routine in my life… and yet, I kind of miss those early days of quarantine—or even those first few months between work after moving to Maryland—where I could do whatever I wanted, all day long, every day. I’ve spent a lot of time lately listening to podcasts from 2020, wishing I’d done more with the time off that I had. I didn’t reach any of my ~quarantine goals~ and I’ve been beating myself up about it quite a bit lately, but I’m working on being kinder to myself. You can’t expect yourself to operate at 100% every day when the world is literally falling apart around you.

I have to give myself some credit, though. Especially over these last few months—I may not have read as many books as I would’ve liked, and I may feel like I spend more time on housework these days than anything else, but I’ve managed to accomplish some things.

When I first went back to work, I felt really insecure about it. I was brand new at my job when we shut down in December, so when I went back at the end of February I had no idea what I was doing. I have horrible anxiety when it comes to not being The Best at whatever it is I’m doing, especially when I’m doing something in front of people I deem smarter than me (read: most people). Those first few weeks of beta testing before reopening to the public were really stressful, and at times I felt like I wanted to quit, leave the museum world behind, and find another office job to pay for my rent and student loans.

Since then, I’ve made friends with so many of my coworkers, I’ve gotten compliments from my supervisors and visitors alike, and pretty soon I’ll be training in a new area of my department. I’ve made a lot of progress these past couple months, and although I’m often ambitious to a fault which leads to more intense anxiety and depression when I don’t reach goals fast enough, I’m feeling really good about the future of my career right now—even if I don’t know exactly where it’s going.

I’ve also been working on some creative projects. After staring at them for months, I finally invested in a Cricut machine and I am nothing short of obsessed with it. So obsessed, in fact, that I’ve been adding to my Etsy shop more than ever. I’ve had so much fun learning how to do iron-on vinyl projects and, most recently, paper flowers. I’m grateful to have a little space on the internet to share my crafts, and while I hope one day my shop will gain some more traction, right now I’m just excited that people are interested in my work.

You can check out my shop here, if you’re interested!

I still haven’t been reading or writing as much as I’d like, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this last year, it’s that you can’t force those things. If you force yourself to read when you’re not into it, you’re not going to enjoy it. If you force yourself to write when you’re not into it, you’re not going to write anything good. Sometimes we need to give ourselves space from things we love to avoid burnout, as ridiculous as that sounds. You can absolutely get burnt out from your hobbies, though, and if they’re not bringing you joy, sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a step back and come back when it feels right to do so.

The biggest thing I’ve been working on right now is giving myself grace. As I said before, I’m often ambitious to a fault. I tend to beat myself up when I don’t reach my (most times ridiculous, unrealistic, nearly unattainable) goals, and I’m trying to get better with that. It’s so easy to screw up and say, “God, you’re such an idiot.” It’s a lot harder to say, “That was a mistake, but we can try again and do better next time.” I’m always up for a challenge, so this is my own little challenge to myself; to be nicer to me.  

This is all a long-winded way of saying that I’m back, I’m ready to give this hobby a shot again, and that if I fall off the wagon for whatever reason, I won’t beat myself up over it—again.

But I am really hopeful for this go around! Now that I’ve got a more consistent schedule, it’s easier for me to keep on track. And since I’ve had some time to refresh my brain, I’ve got some ideas lined up that I’m really excited to talk about here. Will I be able to keep up with the 3+ weekly posts I’m aiming for? Who knows! Given my track record, I don’t really know—but I’m going to do my best and be happy with whatever comes of it.

So, now that that’s out of the way, how have you been handling the transition back to reality? Are you going back to in-person work yet? Or are you one of the many people who didn’t have the privilege of staying home because you were an essential worker? I’d really love to hear how everyone is handling this period in our lives because I’m still struggling with my own emotions about it! Let me know in the comments—let’s chat!

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