The Sound of Birds in the Morning and Crickets at Night
Reflections on the past, present, and future.
Wednesday, January 1st 2020
happy new year! finally. good things have happened, no doubt about it. but it has also been such a stressful year. so, i’m ready for change. i’m ready to get a job, pursue that higher education, take care of my mental health, be more social, travel and be with my family more, and god, i would love to go to south africa with ben again.
i know that i usually always talk shit about new years resolutions (it's literally just another day), but, for whatever reason, i just have so much hope for 2020, and so many goals that i am looking forward to accomplishing! you hear that? i’m full of positivity, even with a raging hangover. im gonna make this year my bitch.
Following this year-old diary entry, I proceeded to list all of my many resolutions. I wrote down the number of books I was going to read, the percentage of fat I was going to shred, how much money I would be earning every month by May, the number of short films I would direct, and the film festivals I would be presenting them in.
I talked about the house my partner and I would move into, and the time we would spend at the wildlife rehabilitation centre where we had first met. I calculated everything to precision. After a challenging few months, I was ready to take control of my life again.
Friday, March 20th 2020
heya. so, it’s been just around a week since i last went into the city. after the filmmaker event (which was so inspiring, i love those girls), and after all my classes got cancelled (“until further notice”), i just figured it would probably be best to just stay inside for the time being. especially considering how much that one girl was coughing. like, i would be concerned even if this virus wasnt going around.
ben’s work is moving to be from home pretty soon too. but that charity seems to be lowkey ghosting me. i filled out the form and sent them my picture, but i guess face to face fundraising is probably out of the question atm. but still, it's pretty rude they wouldn't contact me at all.
so, im back to square one. no job, no school, no social life:) at least we’ve still got a fair amount of toilet paper…? we are running out of pasta tho. god, i seriously hate these zombie hoarders.
The days between March 5th to 13th had been the best seven days I had had in a long time. I had gotten a job offer at a charity I believed in, I had just met the most amazing group of local filmmakers and overall began to feel like I was finally finding my place in the world.
And then, March 13th, the first life lost to coronavirus in Scotland was reported. Hands ravaged canned goods from supermarket shelves, cloth covered fearful mouths, and innocent throat tickles induced anxiety attacks.
And yet, the ambitious resolutions inside of me were still convinced that within two/three weeks, everything would be back to normal. Oh, was I naive.
Tuesday, June 31st 2020
It is currently the last day of June, and I am about to write my July manifesto. This month has had its ups and downs; Shania got sick, and we had to press pause on all podcast plans. BUT, I scored my first freelance deal, ⅗ of my Vocal publications have been Staff Picked, and I won my first ever grand prize for their Lifelong Learning Challenge (still can’t believe that), so I’m feeling pretty good!
There have been a few days were my anxiety has flared up quite badly, and I have struggled to do anything but lay on the floor and fall into a pit of futuristic worry. But after a lot of heartfelt consolations and honest conversations, the wounds are healing and I already feel much stronger.
Other than that, Ben and I had a lovely day at the park (first time we have been outside for more than an hour in like… 3 months? yikes). We also binged through the second season of The Sinner in like 3 days. I would say June has been a bit of a redemption month for this year, and I am pretty excited for what is coming next! I know this lockdown won't be over soon, so I just have to try and make the best of what I've got.
Mid-year, something happened to me and I started to realise why I had never clicked with resolutions before. It wasn’t because I struggled to be disciplined or thought it was stupid to believe that New Years Day was any different from the eve before.
It was because once I set those goals in stone, I became fixated on them, and any accomplishment I achieved that wasn’t exactly what I had written down were essentially worthless.
Sure, I may be the healthiest I have ever been in my life, and I finally love and honour my body after a decade of struggles. But did I lose the pounds I said I was going to? Can I squat eighty kilos? Do I have the jawline I envisioned?
And yes, I was published in print and won a competition! But was I able to earn a living from it? Have I been able to publish a freelance article every week? Do I have consistent gigs with publications?
I also started a podcast that introduced me to some of the most inspirational women I have ever met and allowed me to create a community for aspiring women in film. But do we have the number of listeners I “manifested”? Is it monetised? Is it in the Top 100 charts?
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, and no.
But take a look at those examples without the context of a larger goal. Those are pretty great accomplishments! Yet I didn’t allow myself the celebration when I reached them. The milestones in my notebook still stood uncrossed, and until that line of ink appeared, I simply hadn't achieved enough.
Monday, January 25th 2021
It’s quarter past four. The sun is slowly sinking, painting the sky with deep pink and orange strokes. The heat from the radiator is rising to my cold knees. A bird flies across my window—a squirrel rustles through the trees. My throat is a bit dry; I should probably drink some water.
Even though I might not be doing wildly fantastic things every day, I still feel like I am managing to have fantastic days. I have simply started to admire the details of my existence.
Like the way my body feels as I sit or move. The way my thoughts flow from one point to another. The ever growing leaves on my bonsai tree. The ripening of lemons as they cling to the Spanish stem. These are the small moments of beauty.
As I am sitting down to plan out this year, I will focus my resolutions on fueling the soul. No details, no extravagant and specific goals. This year is for my spirit, for healing, for life. I am opening myself to the opportunities surrounding me. Where they take me, I don’t know.
I want to have interesting conversations and read interesting books. I want to learn and grow; develop and expand my skills. I want to feel full of life, to feel this, right here.
I want to write on exciting projects; to reach out and share my stories with others. I want to collaborate and create; to write about what matters to me—not the algorithm.
I want to relish the light the sun casts on my walls as it is going down. I want to stare at the sky while it is blue, grey, pink, black, sparkling, thundering, raining, and clear.
I want to feel the cold winter air tightening my skin and blushing my cheeks. I want to feel the hot glaze of the evening sun run over my body as I take it all in.
I want to eat food that honours my body and memories; I want to dance in the kitchen and feel Mother Earth reviving me.
I want to listen to the sound of birds in the morning and crickets at night. I want to watch the leaves change colours before they fall to the ground and are reborn.
I am letting go of the future—are you?
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Evita is a Glasgow based writer and podcaster creating food for thought conversations on all things culture, trends, film and TV.
For more content, follow her on Instagram @MalinEvita, and listen to her podcast with filmmaker Shania Bethune, Making It: Women in Film, available on all major podcast platforms. Season two airs February 5th.