New year, new…sletter
Changes to POA and me for 2023
Happy Near, friends! I write to you still amidst our young-adults-home-for-the-holidays fog. I’m seriously delighting in their company (70%). We’re cooking together, revisiting favorite neighborhoods, laughing a lot, and even broaching some deep subjects. I’m also fingering the edge of anxiety (30%) that is baseline parental worry + a disrupted routine. (Both/and.)
So far, my second year of empty nestitude has been characterized by ambiguity. My surprisingly smooth start is in the rear view mirror and now I’m operating with decidedly less visibility.
Mirabai and I talked about this when I visited her last fall for Parent Weekend. Her freshman departure was a rocket ship blast to the stars, but her second year of college has been more complicated. Perhaps we’re both going through our own versions of the Sophomore Slump?
Granted, more has changed for me than my parental status. The biggest was managing my Mom’s move from my childhood home in the Bay Area to a retirement community here in Portland. There is so much in this single experience to unpack — as a daughter, as an only child, as one still grieving the loss of my father, as a wife, as a parent, as one stumbling through my own reinvention. It’s hard to know where to begin.
Helloooo, Big Picture Asha? It’s me, 2023 Asha! Where are you? A little help here?
I write this first newsletter of 2023 from the vantage point of joy without a lot of clarity. Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), this is awkward. In 2022, I took a sabbatical, changed my social media habits, went on a transformative road trip, worked with a therapist, read, walked, journaled. I even took some college classes. It’s not like I’ve spent the last year in a cave. Things are good, for the most part. So why hasn’t the fog cleared?
Action leads to clarity
Lo and behold, a rather embarrassing truth has come into focus that’s so obvious I’m giving it a megaphone and all caps:
📣 ACTION LEADS TO CLARITY.
When you can’t see through the fog, take a small step. Then pause, notice how you feel, and take the next small step.
Instead of obsessing about the fog, focus on the road.
But what if it isn’t the right step? What if I go the wrong direction? How will I know?
You probably won’t know, but that’s okay. It’s just one step. Trust yourself. You can always course correct with the next step.
Hold up, 2023 Asha! I’m pretty sure you know this already. Didn’t you co-host a whole podcast about the power of baby steps and course correction?
Sigh. Point taken, Big Picture Asha.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Some things need to be learned over and over.
Clarity…fog…they’re not opposites. They’re transitory states; weather patterns that come and go as we make our way through this big, messy life.
I’ve given myself grudging permission to not know and to keep experimenting with this newsletter’s cadence and format. So if it’s okay with you, let’s just keep going. I’m committed to this journey, and I’m excited to spend the next year together, wherever it takes us.
More in the archives: Newsletter & book updates