2010–2023 Writings
by Michelle Margaret Fajkus

In 2020, I became an editor and continued to grow my freelance career in unexpected and delightful ways. I am also a writer, still, forever. This year, I’ve written over 100 blog posts for Homeschool Spanish Academy, edited over a million words for Scribbr, and done a slew of other writing, editing, translation, and (yes, even) Instagram posting for other clients. Editing is easier than writing. I enjoy the act of making other people’s writing better.

I’ve now been writing for Elephant Journal for over 10 years, although I’ve only published a couple of posts this year, as in two.

I realize I used to be a lot more vocal. Through blogging, social media, even email. I shared. I expressed my opinions, aired my ideas, and gave lots of (unsolicited) advice. I wrote all about yoga, mindfulness, teaching, learning, moving, living abroad, partnering, parenting, through the lens of my own lived experiences in the U.S. and Guatemala.

I have gotten quieter as I’ve gotten older. Does that happen to everybody, to some extent? We get more subdued, wiser, slower. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m 40. I’m not “that” old. (Whatever that means.) I guess I mean: I am in reasonably good shape. My body feels generally healthy and well, usually, especially when I drink kombucha, eat probiotics, avoid cheese and do yoga and take walks in nature on the regular.

I also realize I’ve been extra quiet this year—or since mid-March of this year to be precise, when the world went into lockdown and the Covid craze began. I turned inward. I journaled, some, but published less than ever on my personal blog. I did more meditation, spontaneously. I breathed more deeply, as a habit.

I live in rural Guatemala, and not even in a village but well outside of one. In other words, I am already isolated. So my life didn’t change all that much with quarantine. I easily became accustomed to spending almost all my time at home. So much so that when the lockdown finally ended and the curfew was lifted, I barely found motivation to leave the house. All my work was from home. I loved being a hermit.

Now, things are slowly opening up; there is more movement. Yet I am staying still. Frustrated travel plans have been my biggest personal issue this year. No celebrating turning 40 at Machu Picchu. No going to see my parents at their new home in Canyon Lake for the holidays.

I have begun journeying across the lake at least once each week for the past month. To San Pedro for dental work and Santa Cruz to work at the retreat center, which is closed still and like a ghost town but is expecting a fair amount of business from late January through early May, all things considered.

2020 has been quiet, reflective, curious, confusing, a conundrum. It has been a year of rooting, grounding, seeking security, protection, “shelter in place.” People have put on masks, and taken them off, worn them hung on their ear or slung under their chin. I find when I go around here at the lake, about 25% of the people I see are wearing masks. I sometimes wear one, sometimes don’t. It doesn’t seem to make any difference.

I am reading The Color of Water, a beautiful memoir of a black man and white Jewish mother. God is the color of water, his mother tells him, when as a child he asks whether God is black or white. It is a paperback book. I adore the look and feel of the tangible pages. Every hour and every day spent not looking at a screen is a blessing. Merely being offline feels like a personal retreat in a way. Yet I am grateful for the computer and the internet I use now, to type these words and publish this post. I thank you for reading it.

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