We've all said it over the past few months. Time is meaningless. With quarantines and curfews and isolation periods and working from home, looking at a schedule is like trying to decipher Hammurabi's Code. I just can't. Someone can, but not me.
This year, a year with no resolutions because, frankly, why bother setting oneself up for disappointment, I'm opting instead to recalibrate my notion of time. This will be the year of measuring moments, one at a time, in decipherable, digestible chunks.
Don't get me wrong. I'm looking to the future and setting goals and doing the things we may not have been doing since the pandemic broke out, but I'm just measuring them differently. It's the year of the tiger, so ambition and aggressive change are in the air. I'm just not measuring it all like I used to.
My professional life beyond May doesn't matter anymore. A new teaching gig will keep me busy until them. I'm measuring that part of my life in semesters now.
My social life beyond the next engagement later this week doesn't matter. Let's book a show or an outdoor drink and meet and then go from there. Will you see me in April? The hell if I know. Let's get through the second week of January first. I'm measuring that part of my life in weeks now.
My family life is now a series of curated and planned holidays, where I isolate for a week before taking a test and then hopping the train home wearing as many masks as I can. Is it ridiculous? Maybe, but I've been to enough funerals in 2021. I'm measuring that part of my life in terms of the next big holiday now.
My free time is gauged by chunks of new chapters of books I read or write, or miles I jog, or cakes I bake. It's a simple existence, one that maybe resolutions to do weekly yoga or "get healthier" ultimately aim to achieve. Instead of setting un realistic expectations, I'm just doing things to mark time, all the things, any things, and taking it day by day. "Oh, I wrote 2000 words today. That's good." What more do I need?
If you're not living in a place like New York where the only conversation topic since December has been, "Did you get it?" you may not understand. Or maybe you have a loved one in the hospital and now you get it. Either way, the pandemic has changed the way time exists for me. It's less important to achieve and accomplish. Simply living and doing things is my M.O. now. Every moment is an important.
I saw a show. Great day.
I went for a walk with a friend. Stellar.
I had coffee in a new shop. Write home about it.
Keeping expectations low has always been a mantra of mine, but now it feels like it's the reasonable thing to do and not the oddball route. Maybe it's not the best path, but it's kept me sane and, moreover, happy.
Lots of little actions and many individual moments add up and this year, the sum of those things will be achievement enough.
I'm measuring 2022 that way now.