I am a serial list maker. I have 3 synchronous ‘to-do’ lists: ‘Do Today’, ‘Get done soon’, and the more liberal ‘Long Term To-Do’

I have been making the Long term list since 2010, without ever stopping to do the heavier Doing. With which end would I pick a mammoth that promises to be too big to fit my arms? So things piled: ASL, yoga, Photoshop…till I had myself a Long Term list so long that it would take a lifetime to just begin.

Then 2020 turned everything on its head and made me Rapunzel. It took away my coping mechanism of Escaping. I couldn’t run into the cozy arms of Pune cafes every time this family became overwhelming. It took away my mental reset buttons and asked me to figure things out from within. (Look how I talk now?) This brought to surface anger issues, unhealthy attachment patterns, and so many new triggers. I cried on so many work calls I could bathe babyR in my tears. I grit my teeth so hard, that it felt like cardio.

I took a sabbatical from work. Used my left-over ‘argh I don’t wanna do this’ energy to do Yoga and Pranayam, just the suggestion of which in therapy had brought 2018 P to tears. It taught me to work WITH my PTSD, not in spite of it. A better way of putting it is: I listened to my body-mind instead of pushing it to look and act Neurotypical.

When the pandemic happened, these neurotypical standards of survival dropped so fast. They were going to break the mold to make the new neurotypical reality fit comfortably. So, all classes were virtual classes and offered discounts for the world’s newfound distress. The same classes that the rural minority, disabled people could never access before were passed out like free candy. 2020 made therapy, fancy movies, comfy clothes, kind cosmetics, and pottery classes come closer. It was the only time in my life when the world didn’t try to squeeze me out of my tiny town for “better” opportunities. It helped me start on my Long Term list. I used the energy I earlier used to escape, calm the Neurotypical FOMO, and fight distress. So what was a demotion for neurotypicals, looked like thriving on me.

I, now

  • Learn Pranayam, meditation, and yoga. Have an Excel sheet for keeping a schedule. That’s how you know that you are an adult.
  • Can sign alphabets and basic questions in ASL.
  • Have a Harmonica on which I can play Amitabh’s Sholay tune.
  • Have found and read non-fiction. I even liked it.
  • (Finally) started working on my website
  • Left the bad associations with painting from my childhood and began drawing again
  • Cook
  • Write more, but not out of compulsion
  • Teach writing
  • Edit videos (I say J cut and L because I am superior)

The aim of this post is not to make anyone feel small or big for what they achieved or didn’t. I hope we don’t judge ourselves by our productivity. The point I am trying to make is that of accessibility. Can we please take these optional virtual classes, accessibility discounts, alternate modes of communication, and kinder parameters for success into the non-pandemic world? I promise we’ll do much better than we are told to expect of ourselves.

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