Well honestly, 2021 has been just as strange as 2020 was--at least for quite a few of us.

I can't tell you how many friends I've spoken with who've just told me they are 'exhausted.' Physically, emotionally, mentally--just soul-level tired. I feel ya.

Both 2020 AND now 2021 have been extra tough in a variety of ways. In addition to the obvious huge messes we've been dealing with (like global pandemics, for example), many of us are feeling the physical side effects of the stress and the emotional fallout in our personal lives, too.

What to do? Engage in self-care (like ACTUALLY--don't just talk about it.) Be kinder to others and to yourself. Eat well, get the sleep you know you need, meditate, pray, reach out to a friend... Whatever you do, give yourself a little grace if this year isn't going quite as you'd hoped it would.

Another suggestion? Spend some time with animals.

In my ongoing observances of "life with cats," they continue to teach me life lessons every single day--how to be at peace in the moment and how to not overreact to life's upsets.

Many of us had goals and plans this year and last that we may not have been able to accomplish. And I betcha not one of us had "deal with cantankerous political environment" and "learn to live with a global pandemic" on that list. 

Many of those plans have been put on hold as we do our best to simply get through each day with some semblance of normalcy. Even now, many of us feel we're playing catch-up.

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Although, I'm not a naturally super organized person--whether physically or in my thought processes sometimes, I do have a tendency to be a bit of a "rules-oriented" person-- despite my intentions to be more balanced in that regard.

So, once I decide I'm going to do something, set a goal, or make a plan, it can start to become wrought with a type of religious fervor to the point where, if I stumble, I become quite forlorn.

Can you relate to this? I can start to worry and even wake up with a sense of dread that I've not accomplished what I set out to do. Let's just say that lately, I've been using the morning chore of simply making my bed and a way to feel I've maintained some tiny level of control in what feels like a chaotic world.

Enter my overly-exuberant cat, Jasper. Perhaps he feels compelled to help me overcome my Pharisaical tendencies by becoming a little thwarter to my bed-making endeavors--or maybe he just wants to play. Either way, it's become a tradition every single morning:

Tara seeks to make bed. Jasper, no matter where he was, appears on bed. Tara tries to make bed around Jasper. Jasper pounces and thwarts and attacks Tara's hands until she gives up and collapses laughing at his ridiculous antics. 

Every. Single. Morning.

So what am I left with? A semi-made bed. Every day. It looks nicer than it would've otherwise. Though House Beautiful worthy, it is not. However, having come to accept this reality, I've decided to be okay with it. And that's been hard.

When you're struggling with how off the rails life feels right now, and now you're not even able to make your bed in the morning, it can make you nutty. But, I've embraced it. I think there's a lesson here.

When I walk by my bedroom I am reminded that life isn't perfect. I'll never be perfect. Martha Stewart won't walk by and give me an A+ on my bed-making ability. And even if she did, it wouldn't mean I'm able to somehow manage all of the chaos in the world through the act of making a perfect bed.

Yet, I am reminded of laughter, of play, of the joy in the messiness. Which we definitely all need after the year we've had. Life is messy, some years more messy than others. And sometimes it's full of sadness. But it's ALSO full of laughter, play, and joy.

I think that's more important than having a perfectly made bed. Or a perfect made life. We're doing the best we can. Embrace the messy. 

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