Archives for category: more than a little bit of bitching

This too shall pass. I sip my coffee and sigh, this morning. I’m groggy. I could go back to sleep, so easily. It’s a work day, though, and I will log on to my work laptop in a few minutes, and get started. The work day felt pretty short, yesterday (it wasn’t). Will today?

Yesterday’s moment of tension, between my Traveling Partner and I, is still on my mind. It wasn’t a big deal, and it wasn’t about him, or us. I had a moment of feeling “overwhelmed”…by circumstances, by demands on my time, by lack of cognitive bandwidth, by a sense that I somehow wasn’t doing enough to actually take care of myself, and I started weeping over the need to do one more thing in what had already felt like a very busy day. It didn’t last long, and once the moment passed I was more easily able to reflect on it (and take time to meditate, properly, for a few minutes). What was up with all that? I’m not sure, and I’m not sure it matters. If I were a younger woman, I likely would have called it “hormones”, just based on the way it swept in and swamped me, and then simply dissipated. I have a sip of coffee, and let it go. That moment has passed.

This coffee is good. My shoulders ache, an extension of the pain in my neck, and back. I breathe, exhale, relax… I go through all the physical therapy stuff, looking for relief. I go through my history, on YouTube, and remove all the COVID-19 stuff, all the Democratic campaign stuff, all the stuff clicked on absent-mindedly that I don’t need clogging my feed… maybe the content will improve? Small steps to improve the quality of my experience, generally. I glance at the time, reluctant to yield my consciousness or my soul to the work world, again, so soon. There is more to do, and to enjoy, with life’s precious few mortal years, and this morning I find myself more than usually resentful of having to maintain “gainful employment”. I’m yearning for “a proper rest”…

…Then it hits me; once source of background stress is simply the right-now reality of having to let, now, two little vacations go, over COVID-19. Restrictions on gatherings, closures of state parks, closures of many retailers not determined to be “essential”… I was really looking forward to a spring camping outing (and entire week out in the trees), but the reservation has already been canceled by the state park system, as a recent measure to limit the spread of the pandemic. I am “dealing with” the prolonged stay-at-home social distancing mandate pretty well, generally, but this morning? I also find myself seriously peeved about a vacation planned for May becoming… not a thing, after all. I could certainly still take the time off… but… how will it be any different than any day at home, right now? I sigh, and stare moodily into my now-cold coffee.

I breathe, exhale, relax… and let all that go (again). Another breath, another opportunity to let it go. Again.

And another breath. Another opportunity to let go. I make the effort to feel it effortlessly.

And another breath. Another letting go. Another effort. It amounts to practice.

We become what we practice; so I practice calm, and contentment. I practice non-attachment. I practice breathing. I practice letting go.

…I practice beginning again. 🙂

My news feeds have blown up with pandemic stories of the shock and outrage variety. Apparently, quite a lot of people do not actually “get” that social distancing means… wait for it… maintaining social distance. You know. From other people. I would have thought that was so basic as to be unavoidably understandable, but no… there are apparently a notable number of people who think that if the group of people is smaller than 5… and they stay away from other groups of people that size, you know, by about 6 feet, that’s “good enough”. It just isn’t. Seriously. Stay home. Try solitude. It’s not that scary.

If you’re “going for a walk”, but bringing along 4 or 5 family members (or worse yet, strangers off the internet from nearby communities), you’re really not helping.

Stay home.

Seriously. Mostly just stay home. It’s not that complicated. (Seriously – how can you be bored already??)

I’ve been finding a variety of mindfulness practices helpful, myself, and, admittedly, I’m fortunate to be in a relationship with someone I actually enjoy spending time with. No kids to distract or entertain. A fondness for reading has been helpful, too. I don’t think we ever turned on the TV yesterday, at all, choosing to spend our day, instead, working on various individual projects, and reading quietly. I spent more than one delightful hour just watching the fish swim.

Every bit as entertaining as broadcast media.

I get that with various hits to the way our economy works, it’s getting complicated to order things for delivery (already), and maybe you don’t have all the things on hand to easily do some particular task or hobby. It may be hard to get parts, tools, supplies – but the nearly-infinite inventiveness of human primates has kept the species going for quite awhile. I bet you’ll think of something, if you give yourself a chance, and stay open to the possibilities. 🙂

Just stay home, though.

I’m not saying that “life in the time of pandemic” is easy. Clearly not. I’m just saying some small details aren’t that damned hard, and we can all choose more wisely, and show greater care and consideration for our fellow human beings, with improvements in our decision-making. I’m not pointing a judgmental finger, either; I could do better, myself. The once or twice I’ve gone out for things could likely have been wrapped up in a single trip out and back, with some foresight. Less interaction face-to-face with other human beings in the community is the literal goal, here.

I finish off my morning coffee with a sigh. Another day at home, and I’m over the head cold I had last week. It’s a routine workday, and lacking the morning commute, time easily gets away from me…but… there’s also very little pressure (for me) to comply rigidly with a specific start or end time (in my role, currently). This first cup of coffee was delicious… and, it’s already time for work, a new day ahead of me, and time to begin again. My lovely “stay-cation” that turned into “staying home sick” morphs into “working from home”… and all of it feels fairly similar, right now.

…That’s even okay. I’m content with it, working, living, loving, within the confines of social distancing is okay, too. It just takes practice. 😉

 

So… maybe you’re “stuck at home” practicing “social distancing” during this pandemic, and potentially feeling a bit bored or restless or feeling cut off? That seems entirely within the norms of human experience, doesn’t it? Are you there, yet?

Not me. I mostly don’t expect to be. Succumbing to boredom isn’t a major concern for me. I could say “because I have an internet connection”, and while that’s definitely helpful (games, news, entertainment, and even shopping… all right there), it’s not actually what my contentment rests upon, where avoiding boredom is concerned. For me, that’s about something so “old school” that it rather amusingly escapes many people’s attention as an option. I’m talking about the humble book.

You heard me right, People. I said it. Read a book. Read several. Become immersed in worlds you never previously imagined. Tackle those “hard” books you’ve dodged for years. Slog through something you’ve always felt you “should” read, but just… haven’t. Read out loud to each other, if you are “stuck at home” with a loved one, or a room-mate. Seriously, though? If that’s not enough – write one. You heard me right, People. Reading doesn’t interest you? How about writing your story? Yes, you, Human. Why not? Got a story in your head? Head over to the computer, sit down, and begin typing it out to share with the world. Self-publish on Amazon. How quickly can you call yourself an author while you’re socially distancing yourself during this pandemic?

No, I’m not joking. I’m just pointing out how silly boredom actually is, if  you haven’t read all the books, if you haven’t taken time to write your memoirs, or a story you made up in your head that you just keep coming back to, or even a cookbook of those family recipes you cherish. Seriously.

I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just saying, you have options. Don’t want to read? How about tidying up? Work off some of the tasks on that to-do list that’s laying around. Fix that drawer that sticks. Clean the garage. Get the spring garden started. There is a lot to living life that doesn’t require constant companionship or crowds. 😉

Well, damn, look at the time! Already time to begin again. 😀

Yesterday was… interesting. Yeah, but… not in that “wow, what a day!” sort of interesting day, filled with unexpected delight. Nope. Just… “interesting”. Human. It started delightfully enough, with shared coffee with my Traveling Partner. A chill, connected, contented, moment together is a wonderful start to a work day. The work itself was busy, and largely satisfying. Definitely within my abilities. The commute – either way – wasn’t particularly bad, but it is there, in those vehicular moments that I began to take note of how interesting this human experience so often is. It was in the peculiar, occasionally wholly inexplicable, decision-making of other drivers on the road… quite a few “wtf?” moments out there on the city streets. (Drive safely – surely someone would like you to arrive at your destination free of injury?)

So…work. Then home. I made dinner. It was good, satisfying, maybe a bit much… still. Dinner, made at home, enjoyed in the company of my Traveling Partner. It was a pleasant evening.

I found myself exceedingly drowsy after dinner, and figured I’d “lay down for a minute” – plenty of time, it was fairly early, and my partner was engaged in a game, and likely would be until a bit later. We had plans to share some favorite content, a couple hours later on, so… a nap? Sure, why not? Probably wouldn’t actually sleep

…My partner woke me in time for the show we had planned to watch. We watched it. I pretty much just went back to bed after it ended…

Painful stomach cramps woke me. Sometimes the awkward challenges and discomfort of this human form are worse than inconvenient. I got up after sweating a few restless uncomfortable minutes, expecting that tummy trouble might signal being sick. Yeah… symptoms at both ends kept me up awhile longer. Unpleasant. Fairly gross. Very human. I got back too sleep after the worst of it… um… “passed”. (lol) I even slept well. The morning, this morning, feels very routine in most respects… and rather less “interesting”, so far.

Ups. Downs. Twists. Changes. Success. Failure. Progress. Setbacks. Fair weather. Foul weather. Illness. Health. Romance. Heartbreak. So much human experience to cram into a single lifetime, that we routinely express such things as simple dichotomies – opposites on a gradient we generally ignore. Easier that way, isn’t it?

I smile and sip my coffee. It’s a good morning to begin again. 🙂

I noticed the peculiar balmy quality to the air this morning, on the way to work. It persisted through the day. Warmer weather than is typical for January. The air is soft and very still, and the scent of it hints at summer storms. Decidedly peculiar weather.

I enjoyed the commute home more than I generally do. It felt easy. Effortless. Unfettered. The sky looked stormy, without looking anything like winter, somehow. The temperature remained quite mild, even into the evening. I went for take-out, for dinner. I went to the store a bit later. I had the energy to do this-n-that – maybe borrowed from the stormy sky. Still no rain falling, just the scent of the hint of a promise of rain… later. I smiled as I drove home. I smiled as I drove through town, first on one errand, then on the next. I pulled into the driveway smiling.

The weekend is here. I’m still smiling.

The amount of pain I am in is every bit as uncomfortable as the worst winter I’ve ever had with my arthritis. Something like 30 years of pain-filled winters; every winter feels like the worst one, ever. I wonder for a moment if, in fact, they’re all quite similar, and I simply lack the capacity to recall it with clarity. Sitting here in pain tonight, I kind of appreciate that possibility. It is what it is, though, and bitching about it as endlessly as I experience it doesn’t help with the pain, and doesn’t improve the experience, so… I let it go. Over and over again, I notice the pain, with a breath, with a movement, with the completion of one task or another, or just a change of position. I notice it. I let it go. When it is too much to bear, at all, I fall back on a pain reliever. I try to get by without them. I don’t find them something worth counting on. I’m frustrated with the song and dance involved with every refill, every new doctor, every change of health coverage; most of the time, I’d rather be in pain that deal with any of that. Sometimes, it’s too much to argue with, and I reach for relief.

Here’s the thing, though; I’m enjoying my life, generally, in spite of the pain. That seems an important detail. I hold on to that for a few moments. I make the effort to focus on that, more than the pain.

My sleep has gone to crap, again. No idea why. I remind myself it’s a thing I’m aware I deal with, and have since… yeah, I don’t have a memory of a time in my life without sleep disturbances of one sort or another. I shrug without thinking, and feel the pain in my spine flare up, in this new place I don’t remember hurting before quite recently. Annoying. I take a deep breath and coax my shoulders into relaxing once more. Tonight? Yep. I took a pain reliever. Are you kidding me? Pain sucks, and also, I’d like to hurt at least enough less to sleep a few hours, if not deeply, at least straight through without waking. Goals. lol

All of this is so… human.

I listen to the last of the rush hour traffic whooshing by, on the street. I think about the trail I plan to walk, tomorrow, and wonder which turns to take, and where I’ll turn around and head back for home. There’s a longer loop trail near by, and extension of another familiar walk. Maybe I’ll take that walk, and push past my recent distance, for a grander goal? I feel twinges of pain mocking my intentions…

I shrug all that off, quite deliberately, and imaging an obscene gesture at my unseen enemy. “You don’t tell me!” I think… I’ll just begin again. 😉