“Staying Sane in 2020”
Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham
2020, in many respects, has been a year of insanity. I won’t rehash that which we already know, but the negative energy from it is something we cannot allow ourselves to be inundated with. As a man of a certain age, I have learned much from my 90-year-old mother from her life and her wisdom, and the importance of self-care and staying positive, otherwise the negativity will have an adverse effect on my health, my spirit, and my writing.
Today, I’m reflecting on some lessons learned this year to stay focused and find that positivity within:
One of my Twitter colleagues named one of the ways succinctly: stop watching the news. It’s one thing to watch just enough to be informed, but being inundated by it day after day, hour after hour, is simply toxic. I have better things to do with my time than being given a daily injection of gloom-and-doom news.
Prayer and meditation are essential to my inner being on a daily basis. It keeps me centered despite everything going on around me. When my mind is calm, solutions to challenges come easier. It took time to learn this, and it’s an ongoing process, yet by seeking guidance from a power greater than my own, it makes handling matters easier.
The more grateful I am, the more things I find to be grateful for. Since I can only live one day at a time, what do I have to be grateful for today? It can be what seems like the littlest thing, but it’s all a matter of having gratitude for it. Since I’m flirting with 70, when I take the time to focus on it, I have much to be grateful for. Take note: gratitude does not include a “Yes, but.” If there is something that has bothered me today, I must acknowledge it. And then let it go.
I must find and do things that I enjoy. In this time of COVID-19 and sheltering in place, that can be difficult for many. As a writer, writing is something I already enjoy. Looking out at nature, walking, reading, listening to music, and watching classic movies are other things I enjoy. When it comes to said movies, I have my public library readily available to lay in as many as I can check out on my library card, as well as novels. Additional novels are available to me at the touch of Kindle Unlimited. And Shaza and Fiji, my self-appointed feline Muses, are always somewhere beside me while I’m writing the kind of novels I enjoy reading.
Connecting with relatives and friends outside of home has changed, so it’s always good to hear their voices, via phone, Skype, or Zoom, and know that they’re all right. It’s time to support, uplift, and encourage one another. What we give is what we receive. Finding a way to bring something positive to someone else’s day makes a difference in my day, and it keeps me from becoming overly self-absorbed.
Finally, I must remember that despite adversity, there is hope. Looking around myself, the hope is there. It has always been there. One of the sayings I’ve heard many times is, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”
Yesterday is a canceled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. How are we spending the cash of today?
Believe in dreams and never give up!
© 2020 by W.D. Foster-Graham. All rights reserved.
W.D. Foster-Graham is an independent novelist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received a B.A. in psychology from Luther College, and he was an original member of the multi-Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Sounds of Blackness. He has also been recognized by the International Society of Poets as one of its “Best Poets of 2003.”
His tastes in writing run to family sagas and M/M romance, seasoned with his own brand of African-American flavor—at the end of the day, it’s all about the love. He shamelessly admits to a love of romance novels, whodunits and classic movies of old Hollywood. He was also inspired by the late novelist E. Lynn Harris, who believed that an author should write the books he/she wants to read.
Current works in development are a continuation of his Christopher Family Novel series: Never Give Up, a blend of historical novel/family saga /whodunit, and two M/M romance novels, The Right to Be and To Thine Own Self.