Image via Instagram

I did a lot less in 2021.
I rested. On purpose.
I tended my 40 plants, I cooked, I read.
I slept and decluttered.
I walked and ran.

I wrote.

I refused to document most of it publicly, because I want it to become the norm. Honestly, that was hard. Social media has conditioned us to believe if we don’t post a pic or a reel or a TikTok of us posed as if we’re doing something — particularly something everyone else is doing at the same time, or something many others can’t do — it didn’t happen or is irrelevant.

I also dislike this “main character” narrative and energy social media supports. If I’m the star, what does that make you?

Instead, I finally came to understand what Coco Chanel meant in saying “Elegance is refusal.” In 2021, I refused to subvert myself in a way that is incredibly tiring, totally unfulfilling, and ultimately unproductive. If all I can control is myself, I won’t abandon myself to an endless, performative rat race that leads nowhere anymore. My energy is needed elsewhere.

A natural introvert, I found peace in complete silence, an empty calendar, in declining invitations.
My health flourished, for a change.
Instead, I chose to work on projects that have deep meaning for me, that challenged me but that also nurtured me.


But I prioritized rest.

Resting saved me from the overworking that used to make me feel needed, from the nonstop busy-ness that made me feel…worthy.

Resting saved me.

And as an unexpected result, I’ve done the very best work of my career as a journalist and writer so far. I’ve shed over 1,000 items and become more self-aware about my relationship with acquiring, saving, and wasting things. I developed healthier habits and am enjoying the best health of my life. But not because I overworked, dieted or shamed myself into being an exhausted, starving, tightly wound, profoundly unhappy perfectionist.

Despite my disconnecting from parties, projects, certain people, and other “opportunities” that I opted out of and after having lived in almost total solitude, I experienced genuine abundance and connection last year. I’ve learned that when I am rested, I have the capacity to do what matters most. To show up for the people who count in ways that are actually valuable. To feel joy, to be hopeful, to be present instead of posed for a photo, to create from a place that only I can access.

So yes: Meet the new me.

(Virtually, of course. Because, pandemic.)

-Alexis

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