Archives for posts with tag: don’t forget to take care of yourself

I’m home sick with a head cold while the media feeding frenzy is feasting on COVID-19 stories. Grim. It is what it is. My Traveling Partner and I seem reasonably well-set-up to endure long stays at home. The pantry is well-stocked. Bills are paid. I’m fortunate to be easily able to work-from-home.

I woke early this morning, head stuffy and having difficulty breathing comfortably. It’s a head cold. Just a head cold. I sat down at my desk, with my coffee, and reluctant to work “too early” (which, when working from home, often leads to working “too long” as well), I put on a video, headphones on. It was strangely muted, which I attributed to being Macbook “gremlins”, in my pre-coffee state. I turned it up. Turned it up again. Finally gave up and just listened with greater care. After a couple of false starts, changes of video, and just giving up altogether after awhile, I noticed that my headphones were plugged into my personal laptop, not my Macbook Pro from work… First thought? “Huh, I wonder how it did that?”, thinking somehow my laptop was picking up the digital signal from the Macbook… O.m.g… definitely pre-coffee on a “working while sick” day. It took me a minute, but I finally got to that “you couldn’t hear it well because you were listening to it play into the room, through the muffling of your noise canceling headphones!” Shit. Embarrassing.

I hope I didn’t disturb my Traveling Partner’s sleep… or wake the neighbors. 😦

Like a lot of things that go a little bit wrong, I let it go and move on, ideally with new knowledge and deeper wisdom… often not so much. lol

Just keep swimming.

Here’s hoping my experience of the day improves from that moment, to the next, in a daisy chain of contentment and calm. 🙂 Maybe it does… maybe it doesn’t… there will likely be verbs involved. Questions to ask – some even to answer. One step down the path, following another.

The house is quiet now. I’m reluctant to make a second cup of coffee, feeling a vague sense that I’ve “already made enough damned noise”, and not wishing to disturb the peaceful quiet that now envelopes the morning, I make an instant hot apple cider. I watch the fish swim, awhile, as the new lighting creates a “sunrise” progression in intensity. Beautiful.

Getting back to work feels natural enough. I’m sick and feel ineffective, and drained. I focus on the routine tasks that are least likely to go awry due to the cognitive effects of being sick. One at a time, I complete them. I move on to the next. Maybe I’ll get an entire shift out of this…?

Either way, or, perhaps, regardless… it’s time to begin again. 🙂

I enjoy the thought that my Traveling Partner and I are sharing this journey, walking a shared path. Now and then I am reminded that it is, however pleasant, an illusion. We are each having our own experience. We walk our own path. Survive our own hard mile. We endure our own dark night of the soul. We, each, alone care for our innermost heart, and nurture our tenderest wounds. The reminder was powerful, and I am so grateful I was merely a bystander to two paths that suddenly diverged on a Saturday morning. I don’t know if this is a sad story or not, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t – certainly it is a story of change.

I was having coffee with a friend. We get together now and then, on a Saturday morning, and catch up on life and things. A couple, strangers, came in shortly after we sat down, and sat near us, sort of off to the side, definitely within our view, and close enough we could not avoid hearing their conversation, which I’ll share as accurately as memory permits…

He held her chair. This ordinary looking man of apparent middle-class means, allowed his companion to get seated, and they ordered. She thanked him for picking her up from the airport, and for taking her to breakfast. How thoughtful. She smiled. He shifted uncomfortably before speaking.

“So… welcome back..?” He laughed uneasily. His smile was fleeting, and somewhat nervous.

“Are you okay?” she asked, without looking up from her phone. This seemed somehow significant to her companion, and his posture straightened, and the look on his face became resolute, and more sure of himself.

“Yeah. So, about that. I’ve decided to end our relationship.” She laughed with a bit of disbelief, then looked into his eyes and her face sort of… froze. “I wasn’t sure how you’d take this, so… the least I could do was take you to breakfast…”

“You wanted to be in a public place so I couldn’t make a scene!” she hissed, leaning in close. Her face was tight with tears she was fighting. He… was still calm.

He inhaled deeply and sighed. “You’re right of course. I’m sorry. I needed to feel… safe. This is hard. Hard for me, too.”

“Why?” she demanded with a quivering voice, “someone else…?”

“No.” He sounded sad, and lost. “I just… there’s a lot I want to do for myself, to explore on my own. I just… I want to be myself, no compromise, no obstacles, no negotiation, and I haven’t felt able to. I’m sorry.”

They both sat quietly for some time, just drinking their coffee. My friend and I sat drinking ours. Occasionally looking at each other in a soft, sad, “what the fuck?” sort of way, each in our own thoughts, about our own partners, our own paths, our own lives.

Eventually, the man at the nearby table busy quietly breaking up with his partner spoke again. “So… I’ll need the keys to the apartment before I go. I … um… I had your stuff packed up and put in storage while you were out of town, and… um… yeah. I don’t want you to come back to my place, at all. I packed your clothes and things and they’re in your car… I’ll… I’ll just pay the check and take a car service home… is… what I planned.”

She sat looking astonished, helpless… I sensed that it might turn to frustrated fury at some point, and hoped that everyone would keep their heads, and find that calm center in their storms. “Is this happening?” she said quietly, in a child-like voice, as if disbelieving. “Five years, and then… this?”

“Yeah.” he said, “It’s happening. I’m going to go now. Please don’t call, I’d like this to just be… over.” He hands her an envelope, and her numb hands accept it.

“What is this?” she asked.

“It’s an inventory of your things. Please email me if I missed anything. Also… I, uh, paid off your car. I mean… I bought it, but, um… it’s yours.”

“You’re not taking it?” she accused, almost snarling the question.

“No. Why would I?” he asked patiently, “I don’t hate you. I’m just… done. Okay? I mean… I hope we’ve over this really fast, and we both move on with better… other things. …I’ve got to go.” He put his jacket on, and looked around as if he did not expect to see the place again, ever, and left.

The woman sat quietly, staring into her coffee. The other customers seemed also uneasy. Conversations seemed quiet, muted, as with a respectful silence. I know I was, myself, uneasy. I sat with my friend, each of us taking a turn at small talk, both of us thinking about two people – any two people – at any airport, seeing each other again, after some time apart, and suddenly, one path takes a sharp turn for a very different destination. Now and then I glanced her way, although I don’t know what I was trying to see.

My friend and I finished our coffee. We hug and agree to “do this again soon”. We both know we don’t really want it quite as it was, this time… I walk away feeling introspective, and a little bit blue. What if it had happened to me? What about you? What would that be like…? What would you do? I sigh, as I unlock the door of my car, ready – so ready – to return home to see my Traveling Partner, again…

…My “Traveling Partner”… nonetheless, we each walk our own path. We’re fortunate, any of us, to share the journey for a while, aren’t we? It’s not likely we’ll share the journey “forever” (that’s a child’s fantasy, I suspect). I spend the drive home contemplating love, thinking about what it takes to build, maintain, sustain, and nurture love. Thinking about what I’m good at love-wise, and what I still need so much work on. I think about all the things in the world I would like to see and do and be and experience along the way… and I think about sharing it with my Traveling Partner. I think about not sharing it with him. Would I love life any less if our paths diverged? I like to think not…but it would be so painful to find out. I put myself in her shoes, imagine myself sitting with my coffee, alone unexpectedly, no plan, no place,… I breathe, exhale, and relax, grateful that my path, for now, is different. No assumptions. No expectations. Aware that change is a thing that can happen unexpectedly, to anyone, at any time. Firmly, studiously, I am not taking love – this love – for granted. There are verbs involved. Choices. No map.

I took comfort in arriving home to welcoming arms, and a chance to begin again.

I’d been growing progressively more irked with myself over my lack of motivation in the evenings, after long, busy, cognitively complex work days dense with new information. By the time I got home each evening this week I just… couldn’t. Not even. Not at all. So… I didn’t. Mostly.

Last night I happened to arrive home and sit down at the computer to alert my Traveling Partner I was safely home for the evening, feeling a little low for no reason I could pinpoint. The phone rang unexpectedly – my partner calling me, spontaneous, out of the blue, no agenda; he was on his lunch break from work. It was good to hear his voice, and I felt considerably “lifted up” by it.

The called ended just as a recently-discovered-favorite DJ began a live set on Facebook. Yay!! I said a silent thank you for Chromecast technology as I cast it to the stereo. The hour passed so quickly, and with so much energy! I spent that hour dancing, and chatting with friends who had noticed the share on Facebook and also checked him out. Even my sister – which surprised me, and made me smile so hard my face hurt. It felt connected, shared, and it was fun.

I must have really needed some wholesome shared fun with friends. I mean, like, a lot. 😀 I’m still smiling.

When the live stream ended, my energy didn’t. With a smile and no sense of fatigue I tackled a bunch of small shit from my to do list that had been silently mocking me. (Take that, housework!!) I went to bed still feeling mildly burdened by “all the shit I’ve got to get done before I head out for the weekend” and a little anxious about it.

I woke this morning still carrying that around with me, and annoyed by swollen eyes and stuffy sinuses (hoping, hoping, hoping that I do not wake up actually ill tomorrow – I’ll be so fucking pissed off if I do). I sat down with my coffee, and a willingness to begin again, and decided to take on my anxiety-driving concern head-on; too much to do? Let’s see about that, I thought to myself, and opened my task list.

I made a short list of things my Traveling Partner asked me to bring down for him. I made a short list of the things I wanted to get done, because I don’t want to come home to having to do them. Neither list was actually all that bothersome. Totally doable to complete them in an evening. Is all this stress really to do with work? Could be; there’s a lot going on, and more than typical performance pressure. I take a deep breath and let it all go, queue up some music (the track linked above, actually), and sip my coffee feeling less pressure, less anxiety, and a reduced sense of urgency. I open up my blog, and start writing. Much better.

Perfection? Nah. Just perspective. It matters. Do I have a lot to get done tonight? Not as much as it felt like in the abstract. I just had to take a step back, get it on paper, and consider it differently, and (for me) in a more organized way. It’s where the work-related anxiety comes from too; I work in a distraction-rich environment that results in constant interruptions of work processes that benefit from not being interrupted. lol I need to take more breaks – that don’t become interruptions of their own, by taking those breaks as moments of quiet, without actually pumping even more information into my brain (which actually needs a proper break). I commit to treating myself better in the office, and make a second coffee. 🙂

It’s already time to begin again…