Between the endless chaotic news cycle and the ups, and downs of living through the past couple of years and its effect on families, it’s not easy trying to stay focused. Lately, I’ve been talking to people who say they have “brain fog.” It’s impacting their ability to think clearly, and to write. Besides, healthy eating and a good night’s sleep, one of the best ways to overcome the feeling of lassitude, according to the experts, is to stay engaged with life and create something meaningful for yourself.
From my perspective, it seems that we’re all a bit overwhelmed. Mindfulness, living in the moment, and not looking too far ahead served me well this summer. I needed to put aside the overload and take it one day, one step at a time. I realized that I could tap into some of the most beautiful scenery in the world right here in my own backyard, which I wrote about in this post, and do it spontaneously.
I explored nearby Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland from Wilmington and Winterthur—to Rehoboth and Asbury Park—believe it or not, I had never been to either town although I’ve lived in Pennsylvania most of my life. I published a book, And the Memory Returns, this summer, a turning point of sorts because who knows how many more books, if any, I have left. As anyone who writes knows, authors soon learn the book business is tough. You can go broke publishing a book, but I didn’t and I love how it all turned out. As you grow older, it’s easier to shake off the ego, and the possible failure and simply relish the little triumphs.
As Fall beckons, I look back on the loveliness of places I’ve visited this summer. Did I ever think that I was growing too old, cynical, or jaded to appreciate the windswept spray of saltwater against my face, the importance of learning about enslaved people and the Underground Railroad, the magical story of an impossibly young 31-year-old First Lady who brought history and grace to the White House, her legacy now exhibited at Winterthur?
My career as a journalist ended quite some time ago, the children are grown and the house has been stripped down to all but the essentials not counting the antique china and crystal inherited from my parents, in which my sons have no interest, yet I don’t have the heart to part with.
I remind myself of the freedom of not having to go to a job, of not worrying about graying hair, or even how many copies my book sells. I realize how much of my life is tied to the changing seasons. How many more will there be?
No, I don’t have to write a blog post every week if I don’t want. Yes, I can hop in the car and take that 50-mile drive to the Chesapeake Bay area or visit that history museum. Yes, I can move beyond brain fog. Yes, I can relish the small triumphs as summer comes to an end.