I have been struck, as is pretty usual for me, to do a recounting of this year and a planning ahead for 2021. But every time I start to think about this year I just stop. I don’t really want to go back. I keep thinking about the holidays for 2019 – MG’s first. She was sick from daycare and basically up all night for November. Then she was a bit better and she – and then all of us – caught HFMD for Christmas. I spent my birthday feverish in bed. By February she was better and we felt like we had survived a really difficult window and things were turning a corner. Her birthday party was probably the last time we had people in our house.
From there, it has been a total shitshow. WFH with her, the total fear and panic of living in NYC in March and April, the house fire, five months of living with parents and in-laws. When daycare reopened and we moved back home it was like reaching the promised land. There were a few rough weeks of transition but since then, our life has been stable and happy once again, even in light of occasional COVID quarantines, masks, no indoor playdates, etc.
But it was hard again for other reasons – I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks, the fear and panic of the election. I just feel so wrung out and tired, like I need three years to recover from this one. And we still had it easier than so many people. We have stable jobs that paid us the same amount even when we were doing childcare half the time, we didn’t lose any loved ones to COVID, we didn’t get sick ourselves. But it was so hard in so many ways.
I have been looking forward to 2021 but softly. Thinking about doing a weekly tech sabbath which I have been finding really restorative and a way to bring the pleasure of boredom back into my life. And I long, I honestly long for, a cold rainy weekend day when indoor play dates are allowed once again and the kids can play with trucks and the adults can have some pizza and wine and we are all warm and dry and safe. I feel thankful and I am filled with so much longing.
Week one of my Sabbath homework was deciding the following things:
- When would Sabbath fall into our weekly routine?
- What would be our Sabbath starting and ending rituals?
- What are nourishing activities (but not to-dos) that we could enjoy on our Sabbath?
R and I started to chat about this. Hear are preliminary thoughts.
1. Sabbath would be all day Sunday. So from bedtime Saturday (no working while asleep!) through likely the baby’s bedtime on Sunday. We’ll at least try that for now and see how it works.
2. Starting ritual would be lighting candles and a short meditation after the baby goes to bed on Saturday. Maybe a declaring of intentions? Or some sort of blessing could be nice. Sometimes we have post-baby dinner dates but we often don’t like to eat that late so I’m not sure we’d want to do that weekly.
3. Nourishing activities would include:
- Having friends over
- Eating delicious food (but not intensively making it…so making something in advance or doing prep in advance?) or just getting take-out?
- Both of us playing with the baby at once, instead of one of us playing and one of us doing errands
- Napping while the baby naps
- Long showers
- Taking a break from screens
- Taking a break from errands
We found a cool sort of online course where you practice Sabbath for 7 weeks and focus on something different each week. So these are our guidelines for week 1. We’ll see how the next few weeks go!
Most years, I make a resolution. Or at least more of an intention. I’m generally happy with my life, but I’ll try to tweak things in certain areas. I’ve been thinking about 2020 and what keeps coming to mind for me is the Sabbath. Creating Sabbath within my own life.
As a secular person, I do feel a bit weird about adopting a religious tradition outside of context. But I honestly think people with formal structured Sabbath are probably happier that those without. A forced rest – time for relaxation, away from the never-ending to-do list.
So what would I want a secular sabbath to look like:
- clear starting and ending points
- without my phone (I’ve been thinking about getting a sabbath-specific dumbphone so I can see people but not use the internet)
- a delicious activity: a meal with friends, a massage, a long shower with wine – something that nourishes
I want to some more reading on this…looking at this and this