By Julie Willstatter, LCSW-R
It was the time of year when endings become beginnings because the ball drops and the clock strikes midnight; demanding I face the reality of time passing. I’d nestled into the week between Chrismukkah and New Year’s Eve, when suddenly my internet went down and I couldn’t see the few patients I had scheduled, settling for phone sessions instead. I couldn’t play online Bridge, nor could I access Pep web or watch T.V. and I was tired of cooking. Restlessness crept into my body and heart. The fidgeting habits that gnaw away precious minutes of my life as I engage in mindless activity went dormant. I fretted, feeling as though fate had interfered with my indefensible retreats from mindfulness. Now here’s what happened next. . .
I have filing cabinets in the basement filled with a mix of necessary and useless paperwork. What a bore! This was the perfect opportunity to wade through the jumbled contents and sort through what to toss and what to hold onto. When I had my actual real office, in White Plains, I wasn’t as organized as I am now. Live people who used pens to sign pieces of paper took up more time and space in my office than they do on my computer. Automation has decluttered my life! Yet I held onto those requisite notations of yore and moved the putty-colored horizontal cabinets out of my beloved office in July 2020. Residing within I found some interesting reality, captured in real time, living in those documents. The way I thought back then; gee, I’m so proud looking back on those days. Was that really me who conscientiously spent weeks creating a power point presentation for the staff at Jacobi Hospital? At the time, I was so damn self-critical. Now I see, it was damn good. This is a useful perspective to find in a metal cabinet that was so ordinary, with no unique character. This average and uninteresting object had sheltered parts of my own character; hello Julie. Post pandemic me, meet pre-pandemic self and your hand-written history, in a drawer, waiting to be discovered.
Julie Willstatter, LCSW-R, is co-chair for the Diversity Committee at WCSPP. She has a certificate in Psychoanalysis from WCSPP. Julie Willstatter leads psychotherapy groups for women who are interested in meaningful growth and change throughout their lives. She has a private practice in Croton-on-Hudson NY and online. www.juliewillstatter.com
Thank you, Julie!
To think about the pre-pandemic life feels oddly like a lifetime ago. Our worlds have been altered. Your reflective piece makes me think of how perspective, perceptions, time and feelings blend in such surprising ways.