08.10.2020

Good morning.

I’ve been thinking about it, and the cold, hard truth is that I’m really not a writer at heart. There was a time when writing for me was like breathing, but that time has passed. I think it’s probably healthy for me to jump on here and write journal-style, but to lay out an essay is just not in my wheelhouse anymore. It’s a bit disappointing, but sometimes I think you have to lay things down, and see where your heart has drifted to. Into new passions. Into new hobbies. Things change, and I’m just not the same person I was a few years ago. I’m not upset about that, but I think what writing gave me (for a season) was a community. I felt like I belonged, which is something I haven’t felt since then. I’m rambling. All of that to say that the Jason Weekly, weekly-column exercise has been canceled.

I am, for the 695th time (this year), trying to eat healthier. I’m just going to do my best to eliminate bad carbs (bread, chips, desserts, etc.). I’ll eat meat and dairy products and green veggies. I’ve felt scrambled mentally, and I think eating better will help that. As I’ve seen it said before, you’ve got to meet your anti-depressants halfway.

I had a (probably mild) panic attack last night. Just sensory overload. I went to bed before 8PM, and I’ll be honest: I feel pretty good this morning. I got up, cooked breakfast, drank some coffee, got the kids up for school, got them there, and made it to work. My wife helped, of course, but still. I’ve had worse mornings lately, where I sort of slink my way through things. It felt good to wake up in a more assertive mood. Not eating poorly yesterday no doubt contributed to that. 10 hours of sleep didn’t hurt. We’ll see. I can’t go to bed that early every night. Homework is back on the agenda, unfortunately. Time will tell.

I’ll try to write things like this going forward. Nothing profound. Just getting thoughts out. Thanks for reading. It’s okay if you don’t. Thanks for caring, though.

Later.

Jason Weekly No. 004

Sometimes I feel like this COVID-19 pandemic has been one long day. As the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, it feels like nothing is happening. People aren’t doing anything. We’re not going anywhere. We’re just sort of existing.

Furthermore, I’ve found that I don’t have many good days anymore. I don’t have many bad days either. Mostly, I just have these weird, almost ephemeral days that don’t really register anywhere on either spectrum. I wake up. I go to work. I get the kids to bed. I go to sleep. Rinse. Repeat. Day after day after day after day. Mostly devoid of any highs and lows. No mountaintops. No valleys. Just flat stretches of land as far as the eye can see. Much like my Mississippi Delta home.

Now, you may think that this sounds sad, boring, or something in between, but bear with me. It’s actually an amazing opportunity, because in the midst of this monotony, it’s become a little easier to see that I do have a lot be thankful for. When life takes on the characteristics of a flat line (as it will at times), it becomes a little bit easier to take inventory of our many blessings. When nothing moves the line, everything has a chance to, right?

For example, I have a wife and two healthy children. A fully-realized family. I have a roof over my head. We drive reliable vehicles. We have a computer. We have a TV. We have phones. All of our bills are paid. If I stopped counting my blessings right here, I would still have much more than I could have ever dreamed of if you’d have asked 12-year old me how he figured his life would play out. I never expected to have anything going on in my life besides watching sports and playing video games, if I’m being honest.

Man, if I’d only known.

And the sad part about all of this is that I still manage to wake up some mornings, surrounded by all of these blessings, as discontented as I’ve ever been. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to see my kids. I don’t want to do anything. I just want to mope around like my life is some unmitigated disaster that I’m doomed to simply survive, let alone really live.

That’s why it’s so important to keep an inventory of our blessings, and to check it regularly.

Life can get away from us if we let it. I’ve heard it said that life is rarely as good as we think it is, or as bad as we think it is. The reality is that we often find ourselves somewhere in the middle, and the only way to keep our chins up is to be intentional about recognizing what it is that we do have, and to not give our lives over to the constant desire for more. Either approach can become a habit.

It’s not always easy. I get it.

I just hope that in our constant search for more, we’re sometimes able to see that we’re already surrounded by it.

Jason Weekly No. 003

I want to be an enthusiast.

Actually, I just want the high. It’s like a drug. Losing oneself in something. It could be something random or seemingly inconsequential. You’re living your life, doing all of the things that must be done (eat, work, pay the bills, etc.), but then there’s that time when you get to do that special thing that you actually love. I don’t feel like I have that.

I take medicine to help me feel better, or at least process life a little easier, and maybe they work. I’m not convinced. I mean, sometimes I’m absolutely positive that they work, but other times I feel like I’m not even a person. Like, in easing my mind, the medicine has deadened it. Maybe I’m just throwing blame around to make myself feel better. I’m eternally optimistic at heart, so I always like to imagine that if I just change this or change that, everything will come together.

I think I’m creatively lonely.

I feel like maybe it’s easier to be enthusiastic about a thing when you’re not the only person who’s enthusiastic about said thing. I feel like I’ve overshared in my life to the point that no one cares what I have to say anymore. You can’t take that back, and starting a new weekly blog isn’t going to move the dial any.

I am just stuck in a hard place between really wanting to share the experience of a creative life with people and being too self-conscious to actually do it. Often I feel like I’ve already taken my shot, and this is just what I’m left with. I’m a blessed man living a blessed life, but I’m also sad, and I want more, but I’m too scared to take any kind of leap. I can’t afford to. I tried that last year, and it blew up in my face. I don’t know.

I should probably keep taking the medicine.

Jason Weekly No. 002

Good morning. It is my hope that this post finds you well—that you’re merrily surviving our planet’s latest pandemic. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? How we operate. We live our lives as if nothing could ever happen to us, and then suddenly an enemy stands up in our path. We’re five years old again. We don’t know how to handle it. It could be a pandemic. It could be a mental block. It could be an abuser. It could be literally anything. Then we remember the one base thing that we all default to when we’re in those situations—we run to people. We run to each other.

That is the beauty of life. It was never meant to be lived alone, and yet we often think we’re somehow able to. I’m the world’s worst. I’m an introvert to the core, yet even I can find myself reaching out for friends when I don’t feel well. In my darkest hours all I wanted to do was talk about it. All I wanted to do was throw my depression into someone else’s lap. All I wanted was someone to share the load with me. And yet, even now I can feel myself shrinking back into a corner. Alone.

I don’t know why I operate the way I operate. It could be a million little things. A million little moments that led me to this one. A single interaction can sometimes shape the entirety of a life. I’ve been a lot of places. I’ve been down a lot of roads. Some alone. Some with others. I’ve experienced the mountaintop. I’ve experienced the bottom of the lowest valley. I have loved. I have hated. I have wanted. I have resisted. The fullness of my human experience has been lived. And yet…

I feel like I haven’t even gotten started.

I feel like I’m a child, sitting on a bike, waiting for a grownup to push me off.

What is it about life that it can take us through the entirety of what it has to offer yet still leave us wanting more? Maybe we’re always that five year old child wishing we had one more Christmas present to open. I don’t know.

I’ll take solace in the fact that I’m not dead. I’ll take solace in the fact that I am not ready to stop doing things. I am depressed. I am anxious. I am sad a lot of the time, but I still believe that there are things that I have left undone. I still believe that there are important moments that I have yet to live. Shimmering wisps in the forest of my life that I am constantly chasing. Maybe I’ll never fully realize what they are, or why I’m chasing them, but sometimes it’s enough to know that I’m moving—to know that I haven’t given up.

I think that’s enough for me today.

Jason Weekly No. 001

Hello friends!

I’ve been meaning to try this for a while now. This is where I’m going to do some writing. My goal is to write one column a week.  I’m not sure which day of the week will be best. Maybe Wednesday. Maybe Thursday. Either way, I’ll try to have a new post up every week. It’s harder than it used to be because I’m just not processing as many things lately. This processing was the reason that I used to write so much. I was working through things. Trying to make things make sense. Big things. Little things. All kinds of things.

These days all I do is go to work and chase my kids around. That’s it. Sure, it’s mundane, but it’s anything but boring. Especially in light of our current circumstances. No school. No daycare. The kids are home all day long, and my beautiful wife has been busting her hump to get everything done every day. Fortunately I’m still going to work. I say fortunately because I know for a fact that I couldn’t do what she’s been doing. Working full-time. Home-schooling. Every other aspect of parenting. Every minute of every hour of every day of every week. It never ends. One day runs into another. I tell her every day that I don’t know how she does it.

Back to the column. I’m not promising a masterpiece every week. Not to you, and most of all not to myself. All I’m setting out to do is keep the cursor moving for a few minutes, turning letters into words, and words into thoughts, and thoughts into a few paragraphs. That’s it. I read my local newspaper every week, and I marvel at the columnists that are able to create content so consistently. They look at the world, and they tell you what they see, and they all have a powerful perspective. That’s what I want to tap into. I want to be brave enough to have a voice again. That’s what this is all about.

I’ll thank you in advance for reading the words that I write. I’m proud to have brought you this far into this first column. Here’s to sharing a bunch of words going forward.