The New Normal

November. November? November!

Grueling, inspiring, humbling, horrifying. 2020–the year words fail to capture.

It had to be lived to be believed.

My work hasn’t changed considerably this year. As an emergency psychiatrist, mental health crises have continued and so I’ve just had to use my hands a lot more to communicate through PPE. Okay, there’s been a little more to it, but I’ve still been able to meet (!) new people every day of work, and feel valued and valuable. That isn’t true of many people, so I do consider myself fortunate.

I left NYC nine years ago now. Is it weird that most of my dreams still occur in my old apartments, elevators, or street corners there? Oddly, I never dream in Canadian. But one of the loose ends I left there was improv training at the Upright Citizens Brigade. As a weird quirk of the pandemic, however, they are now teaching improv online. Who would have predicted that a virus would allow me to re-connect with the Harold? It’s felt good though, to complete what I’d started ten years ago. I feel grateful for that.

And, speaking of improv, not only have I been able to do bi-weekly shows online with Oakville Improv, but I’ve been able to perform with people all over the world (India, LA, Hawaii), and even did a Maestro show with the Hideout Theatre in Austin, TX. Opportunities that I could not have imagined in 2019. Texas? Pretty cool.

But there is a restless, angsty anhedonia that has gripped me the last few months. I have found myself picking up and putting down books, wearing my carpet thin with pacing, endlessly googling things like “what should I do” as if Google is the Oracle at Delphi. But after some soul searching and staring at way too many eBay “research” purchases, I’ve decided to commit to writing the book that’s been haunting me for the last five years. And to do that, I’ve enrolled in a MFA program. Between extended deadlines and remote residencies, it’s an opportunity that I can (hopefully) make work. Surprising!

So, in these admittedly challenging times, I’m reminded that there is some awesomeness to be had.