Archives for category: Relationships

We really are social creatures.

Yesterday, the afternoon got dreadfully noisy, irritatingly so, when a neighbor chose to rev an ATV in his driveway, for well a couple hours, and then also drive it back and forth in front of his house, a couple houses down the street, and up just past ours, then turning it around and doing it again, constantly revving the engine aggressively. He wasn’t going anywhere, just making a fuck-ton of noise. It was grating on my nerves, and also, very obviously, on my Traveling Partner’s nerves, as well. I was maintaining as much “chill” as I could (admittedly having to resort to deep breathing exercises). My partner paced, and snarled abstractly at rude neighbors and noise, generally.

…I got more tense and aggravated, as my partner got more tense and aggravated. It became harder to manage, over time. That was as annoying as the noise. Why should my successful effort to maintain some inner calm fail because my partner is visibly aggravated? Hardly seems “fair”, but then – it isn’t about “fair”, is it? It is what it is. We are social creatures. We exist in shared context with each other. We are “each having our own experience” – but we’re doing it alongside one another, within view, sharing the journey. Our mood may be “contagious”. We spread that shit around.

…Spread the good moods, please, and the harmonious states of being; we could use more of those. lol πŸ™‚ (I bet there are verbs involved.)

We got past it. The evening was lovely.

This morning I sit with my coffee quietly. I am facing a different moment of frustration (life has plenty of those to offer). I breathe, exhale, and work on letting it go, with limited success. So human. Again, it is what it is. Wishing it away, or railing against circumstances isn’t helpful. I allowed myself to get excited about something, and that excitement became implicit expectations in my head – and in my decision-making – and now, the timing is “off”. A whim of circumstance intervenes in my anticipated joy, and I’m… annoyed. Frustrated. Irritated. Waiting.

…I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let it go. I repeat this exercise several times. It’s harder to let go of it fully; I am anticipating my partner’s annoyance and frustration with it later, and that’s not helping. I begin again. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let even that go…

Things change. They change again. Change is. That, by itself, is a layer of complexity in our expectations – implicit or otherwise. I remind myself to be mindful, to maintain perspective, to embrace sufficiency. I sip my coffee, and begin again.

So much effort in keeping small things small, in being considerate day-to-day, moment-to-moment, in managing reasonable boundaries, in clear communication… all the things.

(It’s all worth the effort.)

Perspective – gaining it, maintaining it, and keeping it, is huge right now. I’m not any better at it, I think, than anyone else. More effort. A lot of deep listening. A lot of letting shit go. A lot of “taking a step back” and “trying to see things from another point of view”.

I don’t claim to have a lock-down on making things work. I often struggle with my timing, my phrasing, my “tone of voice”, my TBI, my bullshit & baggage – like anyone else.

Today is another fairly ordinary day of life in the time of pandemic. I’m at work, working. My Traveling Partner is also at home. So far it isn’t unpleasant. It does get “real” now and then. We manage it – probably as gently and skillfully as either of us understand how to do, or are able to.

Today, I don’t take much time for words. Seems like a day for actions. πŸ˜‰

…It’s time to begin again. There are verbs involved.

By now, you’ve probably found yours, right? Productive distractions that pass the time during pandemic “stay at home” orders, or worse yet, during actual quarantine. A productive distraction staves off boredom, and prevents looming chaos from overtaking everything. Mine has been my aquarium, generally, and books. My Traveling Partner has been focused on games and gaming, and tweaking the pc that drives that experience. For us, it’s been helpful that we each have our own “thing” to focus on, the result being we generally have something fun to talk about, any time.

Consideration matters so much right now, for those who are “sheltering in place” with or among other people. Tempers can fray so easily. Letting small shit stay small helps a lot. Mostly it’s all small shit. It’s the letting go that requires the verbs. lol

…My experience this morning “feels different”… I am typing on a different keyboard. My steady regular keyboard is badly in need of cleaning, and I disconnected it to do that. My Traveling Partner said “here, try this one“, and it remains in place, even this morning, loyal favorite forgotten over there, by the stack of things-yet-to-do. This one feels similar-but-different, softer, somehow. Tolerant of my heavy key-stroke, but quiet. Tactile, without being very “click-y”. The strike of each key is vaguely muffled. The “click” is more a “tap” than a click. The keys respond to my touch so fast that I feel as if I am typing “as fast as I think”. It’s nice. Also… the numbers on each key light up. (lol Why does that delight me so?) I enjoy the sensation of typing on the new keyboard. (How many millions of key strokes have I dropped on my old keyboard in the past 6 years of heavy use?) I decided yesterday to stick with this one, and programmed the keys to be illuminated in a lovely dark-ish lavender hue, which changes to a bright greenΒ  with each keystroke, quickly fading to teal as I continue to type. So fun. πŸ˜€

I am distracted by the novelty of typing on a new keyboard. It’s a pleasant distraction.

We meant to watch a movie together yesterday… we spent the day on our projects, and in between (and later on) watched tech videos of various sorts. It was a delightfully productive and fun day together. I mention it because, seriously, this “life in the time of pandemic” gets pretty fucking “real” sometimes, and it has made a lot of difference to my experience to find moments of joy and delight, and to savor those, rather than sit around staring into the maw of media talking heads regurgitating COVID-19 content. I’ve no idea whether we’ll watch that movie tonight… I know we’ll find something fun to share, whether or not it is a movie isn’t very relevant to the shared experience of joy and love. It’s just one way to get there.

What if I were alone, though, how would I “find moments of joy” then? Probably still in the pleasure of caring for my aquarium(s), and reading still more books, honestly. πŸ™‚ I don’t find myself all that complicated, generally, I suppose. Small things delight me (a new fish, a new keyboard, a favorite book), and I entertain myself pretty easily (books, writing, painting, gardening, aquarium keeping… it’s a long list). I fret for a moment, trying to imagine being truly bored right now, and what it would take to lift myself from that boredom. What would I do? I think I would still read books; I can’t really imagine what it would be like to be someone who “doesn’t read”. Lots of libraries are making audio books available for free, too… it is a great time to catch up on reading. lol Online learning? Plenty of that to be had, too. Online travel? There are some very interesting documentaries and streams of a variety of exotic locations. Museums have streamed walk-throughs of their collections, and those are available online, too. Not so interested in someone else’s words, thoughts, or perspective? Pen & ink, my friend – say what you’ve got to say. Self-publish on Amazon. Become the author of the narrative someone else will read. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee, taking a moment to appreciate the grocery delivery service that keeps me supplied, the farm workers who harvested the beans, the shipper who transported them, the roaster who roasted them, the distributor who supplied them to the grocery store… How can any one of us not recognize how interconnected we all are? We are all in this together (even though we are each having our own experience). Even our own individual experience is built upon more than the mere sum of our own individual decision-making; there is, too, the matrix of coincidences and circumstances that is the combined force of what happens, and what is chosen, out of reach of our own consideration, in every moment. It’s not all “about us”, regardless who we are. This is a great cup of coffee. In a very real sense, I did not “make it all by myself” – all I did was grind the beans, and pour water over them. A rather small contribution to the outcome, frankly. lol

I find myself appreciating how fortunate I am in these challenging times. I miss my friends, though. I miss brunch on Saturdays. I miss shopping together over a lunch break and laughing about something silly. I miss dinners out. I miss strolling a crowded farmer’s market. I miss “community”. Yep. Even me. I do miss the presence of other people. Part of feeling fortunate right now, is about simply not being alone in this. Again, I find myself feeling fortunate. I remind myself to write letters, emails, and send texts to friends. We really are all in this together, and distance is not always about miles. πŸ™‚

Another day of living in the time of pandemic. Another opportunity to begin again. πŸ™‚

There’s a certain “order” and “flow” to circumstances that sometimes requires a bit of waiting, of patience, of carefully and clearly resetting expectations, and occasionally, even that has to be revisited, reinvented, or repeated along the way. I sip my coffee and remind myself how effortlessly easy it truly is to wait for something – it is the impatience to reach the goal that is the hard part. lol Letting that go, and the waiting? Well, it’s just letting time pass while I do other things, right? πŸ™‚

Big things and small things, life has a lot of “wait for it” built into it. lol It’s neither a good thing, nor a bad thing – it’s just a thing to account for, to accept, to shrug off as one of life’s unavoidable, inevitable experiences. Rich or poor, we’ve all waited for something.

…Yesterday, I was waiting for a delivery of live fish to arrive on my doorstep. Today, I am waiting for a future moment in time. It’s a chill Saturday, well-suited to waiting on moments, contentedly, patiently, considerately, and even gently. The moment will arrive, and when it does, perhaps the waiting will have become “preparing”, “planning”, or some sort of desirable state of readiness, or another?

Aren’t we all waiting, right now? Waiting for the return of what we each understand as “normalcy”? Waiting for the moment we can meet up with our friends over coffee, or that moment we can host a big neighborhood barbecue (or attend one), or that moment when, through a crowd of strangers, we spot that person we know we love… so many moments are on hold right now. Vacations, journeys, endeavors, projects, group gatherings of all sorts… we’re all waiting. In the meantime, we’re all also living our lives. How’s that going for you, right now? πŸ™‚ I hope your wise choices are resulting in a measure of contentment and joy that makes it all quite bearable.

Oh, and yes, the fish did arrive. It was a peculiar afternoon of timely arrivals, actually. My Traveling Partner and I enjoyed an evening punctuated by timely arrivals, and moments of joy, and discussions of our future together – in a time beyond the pandemic. We enjoyed the evening we had in front of us, savored the depth of our conversation, the intimacy of our shared connection, and the commitment to a shared future. It was quite lovely. There is so much more to talk about and to share that pandemic-related content. lol

So… another cup of coffee, another new day. I don’t know what it holds, and I can’t see the future. Nevertheless, I’m waiting, patiently, and contentedly, for another moment, while I enjoy this one right here. πŸ™‚

It’s a lovely morning for gratitude. Yesterday, too. My Traveling Partner said something about it, yesterday, and it still resonates with me, this morning; we are fortunate. I can work from home, and still have my job. He’s here with me, and we’re sheltering in place and social distancing, together. We’ve got what we need, generally speaking, to get by, with reasonable comfort, day-to-day. The things we are going without, are endurable inconveniences. We’re very fortunate.

…This will be true even after the toilet paper runs out…

…Realistically speaking, a lot of that “good fortune” is a matter of literal “luck”, and timing as much as any specific planning or preparedness. I sip my coffee and fill up on feeling grateful; it could be so much worse. It is, for a lot of people (maybe you…). The economic impact is real. The impact to human wellness and quality of life is real. The convenient delivery services available to some, are not affordable for all. Some people don’t even have a roof over their heads, and are forced to “shelter in place” on parking lot surfaces marked out by tape. Some people are actually trapped on cruise ships waiting around for the virus to catch up with them. Scary times.

When I start feeling restless, cooped up here at home, I remind myself how much this matters, and how fortunate I actually am. I sip my coffee quietly, appreciating how much harder this would be, if the coffee ran out, if the water was shut off, if the power got cut, if my partnership was unhealthy or my relationship an abusive one… This is a morning for gratitude.

I’m also grateful for the artists, performers, entertainers of all sorts, who continue to do what they do, making it available on YouTube, or a variety of other streaming services and web sites. Grateful for the connectivity that puts those things within reach. I’m grateful for unread books, and favorites worth re-reading.

…I’m grateful for love.

It’s enough to be able to begin again.