Read, Write, Practice, Run
January 2, 2022
The last week was pretty depressing. After two years of being careful and following all the rules — vaccinating, wearing masks, testing frequently, etc., I got sick with Covid. It felt like a huge defeat.
I had a very mild case, but being sick caused me quite a bit of anxiety and disappointment nonetheless, as well as a feeling of incredible guilt as I had to cancel my plans to spend the holidays upstate with friends. My family also had to quarantine at home with me. So instead of enjoying the vacation and walking in nature or cooking and drinking champagne, we ended up at home, on the couch, watching Netflix (the Lost Daughter is excellent!). We even slept through the New Year.
On January 1, I felt better, got myself out of bed, took a bath, and started working. My daughter, too, began making plans, writing schedules and resolutions, and just the thought of a new year, a new beginning, brought us comfort and optimism. My friends helped too by sending me so many unexpected gifts! Food, vitamins, blankets, a brand new video, and a new website for our foundation in Bulgaria. All of this lifted my spirits and made me realize that I am lucky to be alive. I know this sounds very dramatic, but it is important for us not to let depression take hold of our lives in times like these.
So, instead of thinking about the inevitable pandemic darkness that is expected to continue through at least the middle of February, I will focus on the four things that matter most to me — Reading, Writing, Practicing, Running! I need to find places to escape, and the only way I know how to overcome darkness is by being super disciplined and making sure that I am devoting enough time to the things that matter.
I am currently reading “The Dyatlov Pass” by Teodora Hadjiyska, about the mystery surrounding the death of a group of hikers in the Ural Mountains in 1959. The book is well researched, and I can’t wait to see her conclusions. I am also reading Elena Ferrante’s weekend column in the Guardian, which she published for a year between January 20, 2018, and January 12, 2019. Each piece is thought-provoking, beautifully written, and like a mini-lesson in writing.
In March, I am going to a creative writing seminar for which I will be workshopping excerpts from a book I have been writing. During the early days of the pandemic, I signed up for a virtual workshop and loved it. However, writing is not much different than playing music — it needs practice.
This leads me to the third thing I will do — I am going to join Hilary Hahn’s Instagram challenge #100daysofpracticing and post about my “process” of learning new pieces and keeping in shape every day. Today, I will practice the Bach violin sonatas, which I am performing with my husband later this spring. I also need to work on a bunch of songs.
Last but not least, to battle the sedentary lifestyle of lockdowns, I began running last year. I usually go out 3–4 times a week for about 45–50 minutes on weekdays and longer on Sundays. I love the Hudson River Park. The photo I am sharing above is from a long run on a cool, clear fall day to Battery Park City.
Here’s to a New Year of hope, new challenges, and never giving up.