Keeping the Lion Away

I’m going to be blunt: I’m not even sure why I’m sitting down to write this. I don’t know where this post is even going, and if I’m honest with myself, I’m a little scared by where it might go or what I might say.1 But I think I just need to get these thoughts out of my head and out into the ether.

The last few months, in the midst of the pandemic, have been mostly ok for me and my family. I’m privileged as hell: I have a job where I can work at home, care for my kids and my partner, and we’re all doing well health wise. I’ve even gone out to a few places, albeit limited, and it’s been OK.

There’s this looming feeling over everything though: we’re in a pandemic. I’m not sure we as a society really grasp what this means. There’s so much information – and misinformation – out there, and not everything is known or explained well. People are taking ridiculous stances on their feelings when we should be focused on science and reason. I’ve said it on more than one occasion that if we can’t pull this together, we have failed as a species and deserve every bit of what we get. And to be clear: you should wear a mask and wash your hands. Please don’t bother to convince me otherwise. Go ahead and lose my number if you feel differently.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been agonizing over the decision for sending my child back to face-to-face learning. I’ve communicated with our district superintendent for the first time2 and voiced my concerns with the plans laid out before the parents. I’ve lost so much sleep over this I don’t really even want to think about it. It’s constantly weighed on my mind, and I feel physically tired from it.

In speaking with my best friend today, we lamented how our discussions keep devolving into discussion of the current pandemic, how others are handling it, and how we are handling it. How we feel like bad parents and crazy people for continuing courses of action for months on end. My fight-or-flight response has been in almost constant engagement since this all went down. And I feel exhausted. But what the hell else are we going to discuss? Apps? Technology? More unimportant shit? Of course not. Because we have a fucking lion in the form of a pandemic chasing us.

I’ve been wanting to be creative for a while. I really admire the people who can be creative in this time. I had some push at the start of this, put out a few posts, and then… nothing. I hit a wall. I had been thinking of various posts over the past few months, but thought to myself none of this shit is important. And then I find myself doing other things. It should be no surprise that the single most traveled place in the past few months has been to the hardware store, masked and gloved, to get things to improve the house. I’ve learned some new things on how to hang a door properly, and how big a pain in the ass it can be. I’m working with my girlfriend to understand what we want to do the house how we want to make it our place. I’ve created an office space, and I’m starting on a new, more permanent one.

So when I think about it, I’m being creative, but in a more practical sense. I’m getting my house in order – my literal house – for the first time in a long time. I’ve made list upon list of what I want to do, and sadly, how much it’s going to cost me over time. But I know that in a few short years, I might be in a great spot with a house I’m finally proud of after 10 years of ownership.

I am, however, stifled when it comes to writing. My brain feels like it hurts when I sit down to type things out. My journaling has been hit or miss in the past few weeks, as has my general health routine. I’m feeling burned out. I’m feeling like I need a break. And so, I think I’ll continue to take one. This isn’t to say that I don’t have thoughts and ideas: I’ve created several mind maps to help me organize what I want to write about in the future, and ideas that I feel are worth sharing. But right now, given the current climate, I just can’t bring myself to sit down and really focus on them when so much else out there is important.

There’s a level of guilt that I feel when it comes to this. There are times where I think “I owe it to people to write and put things out there”. But I keep coming back to the fact that it doesn’t put food on the table. That it isn’t my day job and takes away from time with my family or my home. Maybe if there was incentive on my end to write, I’d do it more often and carve out the time. But until I focus on how to incentivize all this, I’m going to continue to write at my pace and figure out how to make it all happen.

I’ll get back to doing it eventually. And I’m hopeful that some of the ideas that I have in my mind are actually decent enough to share. Of course, I’ll be writing about things coming for the fall; maybe saving some of my creative energy for that is the best course for me. We’re all navigating this global pandemic differently. We’re all trying to do what we need to keep sane and healthy. And for me, that takes the shape of protecting my family and house by working and providing leadership, all to keep the lion away. The writing will have to wait for now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get a bunch more work done around the house. Enough procrastination. Time to do the work.


  1. I’m just going to write until I feel like I’m done, do some light editing, and then hit publish. You get what you get, people. 
  2. This was actually a very pleasant experience, and I feel heard. I have a direct line of communication and they are actively seeking counsel from others outside of the district leadership on how to handle everything. It’s a course of action I plan on continuing for my son, my family, and my community. 

The Payoff of Developing Foundational Journaling

I’m often asked what different uses I have for Drafts, my everything-text app of choice. I have a variety of core use cases which I use Drafts for every day: even with my posts and large reviews, journaling is by far the highest volume of content I create.

I’ve journaled for a while. And while I’m not perfect at doing it and frequently miss days because life sometimes gets in the way, there are some considerations I’ve made for my particular journaling solution. A few years ago, I created my own journal solution: this utilized Drafts + Dropbox + Workflow. That solution morphed into using DEVONthink To Go to save the journal entries, primarily because of security. I was also storing more information there at the time, so it made sense.

Then, in the midst of a pandemic, I started looking at a lot of the things in my life that were just adding to my least favorite thing: clutter. I started wondering where DEVONthink fit into my life. And aside from keeping the rare thing or two in it, I only used it for journaling. So while this solution worked – and worked well – it started to become apparent to me that I no longer wanted this as the solution.

Inevitably, as often these ear worms do, it sent me down a new path. How could I take my journaling solution and simplify it to use the apps and services I want to use so that I can streamline my process, or at the very least, make it easier to use and review later?
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Return to Form

I’m not ashamed to admit that there are many times that I doubt myself. I suppose that’s the nature of a parent. Or maybe I’m getting older and these are things that happen. Or maybe it’s a global pandemic and a global call to end systemic racism. Maybe it’s all of these things, and probably a whole lot more. But I find that in these times, I often end up finding my way.
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