Archives for posts with tag: life in the time of pandemic

It is morning. I’m awake. I’m feeling sort of cross and irritable, and there’s no obvious reason for any of that. I sip my coffee and work on getting past it. Mostly just sitting here, at my desk, thinking thoughts, not even writing, just sitting here, quietly. It’s enough, at least for now, and nothing about just sitting here quietly makes me more irritated or cross, so… yeah. Good enough.

I take a deep breath, and exhale, and relax. I do that a handful of times. I feel myself begin to relax – notice that happening, and find myself cross all over again. Dumb. I begin again. It is what it is, right? I shrug it off, and give myself a do-over. The room feels peculiarly warm. Is it me? My Traveling Partner woke early, and complained of feeling ill… Am I coming down with something or other, too? Another breath. Another slow relaxed exhalation. Another beginning.

It is, aside from my crossness, a lovely morning. I slept well, and even slept through the night (that’s been rare since we moved in here, I usually get up at least once during the night, however briefly). My coffee is good. The moon was hanging overhead, above the deck, when I went outside for some air, first thing, waiting for water to be hot enough to make coffee. In all respects, a very pleasant morning.

…So what’s with my moody bullshit?? (Just a human being human, I guess…)

I promise myself a measure of gentleness and kindness today – I deserve that from me. I remind myself to be considerate and patient with the world – everyone involved in this adventure called life is wholly human, themselves. My Traveling Partner sticks his head in the studio doorway, then follows with his whole self. His presence makes me smile in spite of feeling out of sorts, generally. He walks away after a few moments of conversation about ants, packages, and hot tub water quality. I’m still smiling. Maybe it’ll be a good day, in spite of waking up grumpy? I point out to myself how often (and how easily) an emotional state is confused for being “reality” – when really it’s just a feeling. Nothing much to do with “reality” in any practical way, until we connect those dots and insist on it for ourselves. Our emotions are their own thing, their own experience, quite separate from the practical details of what is going on with and around us, and sometimes not rooted in some obvious cause, at all.

I shrug off being cross, again. I notice how pleasant the air conditioning feels. I hear my partners voice from the other room, and notice the joy and comfort I find in the sound of it. I pay attention to the way the changes in my desk, studio, and workstation arrangements support better posture, and result in less day-to-day pain. I make room to be aware, very specifically, that I am in less pain this morning that I might “ordinarily” be in. I even pause to notice (and reject) the use of the word “ordinary” to describe the frequency of my pain; the words we use matter, and language is often how we “encode” our perceptions of “reality” in our thinking. I’m in less pain this morning. I make a point to be aware of that, and avoid making it a bigger deal at all.  I sip my coffee and notice the feeling of contentment that gives me. I make a point to enjoy that feeling, and to be aware of it.

I breathe, exhale, relax – and begin again. Sometimes that’s enough. 🙂

The morning is off to a slow start. I don’t take it personally. I slept well, woke easily, and it’s a new day. I start the morning with some exercise, then make coffee. It is a work day.

I sip my coffee feeling grateful for how well my work-station suits me. My Traveling Partner has supported my needs with great care, and together we’ve chosen equipment that really appeals to me, and also suits my physical and cognitive needs. It matters. I’m fortunate, and I smile as my fingers float over the keys of this keyboard. During the work day, it matters, too; I can see the screen easily, and am less prone to spending hours hunched over my desk, squinting at my monitors. I feel relaxed, sitting here, with my coffee, as the day begins. 🙂

My partner put my needs ahead of his own, to get me back to work promptly after the move. He’s finally getting to spend time on his own needs, and getting his workstation set up, too. It’s been challenging to deal with shipping delays caused by the pandemic (I mean, probably?). It’s nice to see him getting to start enjoying his computer, again. When I look around, it’s clear that the last space here at home that is due for a real investment in time, effort, and thought to be wholly “moved in” is my partner’s study/game room. In all other respects, we appear to be entirely moved in, here, and simply living life. 🙂

Yesterday, things went a bit sideways at one point. His frustration (with some set-up details that were preventing him making use of his computer) exceeded his ability to manage it easily (frustration is my “kryptonite”, so I totally “get it”). His strong emotions began to overwhelm me, even though they were not at all “about” me – not his “fault”, or really any “issue” of his at all. That’s all on me. I wasn’t managing that very well. The moment of emotional badminton was a bit difficult for both of us. We have the tools for that. We managed to get a grip on ourselves, each of us, individually. I keep returning to a critical moment of success in my recollection; in that instant when I was teetering on the edge of a PTSD “flashback” and at risk of a full on meltdown, my Traveling Partner stepped out onto our deck for a moment to “get a grip” and take a minute to calm himself. When he came back in, although still stressed, he simply asked me “What do you want out this right now?”, with measured deliberate patience, and a very gentle voice. I took a breath and answered “I want a calm house, contentment, and to be able to simply converse, even when we’re stressed out”. His reply really got through to me, too. “Then work with me and let’s make that happen.”

So we did. And we lived happily ever after.

Well…okay… being real? We did, and it worked out well, and we were able to get back on track and really “be there” for each other. Heartfelt apologies were exchanged, hurt feelings were acknowledged, and each of us took unflinching ownership of our individual baggage and bullshit. It was pretty fantastic. 🙂 I’m proud of my partner’s ability – and willingness – to take a step back in a moment of stress and work together to improve an experience. It’s a shared journey because we don’t leave each other to carry our burdens alone. 🙂 It’s not always easy, and it is very human. That’s okay, too.

Love means us no harm. There’s value in treating it that way. 🙂

Happily ever after is not actually a thing. Let that go. The expectations and assumptions that infect our thinking when we chase “happily ever after” are definitely going to sabotage our joy in every moment that reality can’t measure up to the perfect romantic daydream of “happily ever after”. Trust me; reality can’t live up to our cherished daydreams. lol Let that go. We’re too human for that – and honestly, in its best moments, reality is quite splendid, after all.

I sip my second coffee. My Traveling Partner, now up for the day, drinks his first cup. I consider a dip in the hot tub before work… it’s a nice start to a busy day. 🙂

…Certainly, it’s time to begin again.

 

I’m sipping coffee on a gray Saturday. I enjoyed the first rain shower since moving, and delighted in the tickling spatter of summer rain drops in the morning chill. I sat down to write… but didn’t. I got distracted by the flowers of spring-to-come that aren’t yet planted in a landscape that isn’t yet supported by a clear vision. It is what it is; I enjoy flowers. 🙂

Other gardens, other flowers.

I’m not yet sure what I want of our wee front yard and garden space. Something like a cottage garden, I think, maybe…

Sometimes the simplest things bring great joy.

…or perhaps grand flowers in bold colors and formal borders…?

Plans are best supported with some sort of coherent vision… a direction to go…

Regardless of the eventual outcome of however many weeks and weekends of daydreaming and thought go into the eventual plan that puts me on the (garden) path to that future reality, there are choices involved. There is effort to be made. There is work, and care, and craft, and problem-solving. There will be, too, lovely moments to enjoy flowers, along the way. That’s sort of the point. 🙂

Those lovely moments… aren’t they nearly always “sort of the point”… of all of this thing we call living life? I mean… sure, we’ve all got problems, challenges, conflict, confusion… things to sort out, and things to resolve. That’s just real. I’m not at all convinced any of that amounts to “the point” of all of this fuss and bother that is “life”. Personally? I think it is “about” the moments, the joys, the collection of experiences that become our treasured memories, the relationships we build and share with other traveler’s along the way…

…And the flowers.

So, I’ve got some thoughts, and a wish list or two… and a day dream. With patience, it’ll become a vision, then a plan, then a course of action – a path. It seems so simple in the abstract. Life is about that, too; the complex and the simple, and how often they are the same thing, viewed differently, and how often a clear path changes the journey.

…My Traveling Partner comes in and more or less “takes over” this moment, and my writing, to make some useful changes to my workstation. 🙂 I think it’s time to begin again.

Friday morning. I’m groggy. Sipping coffee. Waiting for the dawn. One more work shift before the weekend. I am eager to sleep in. lol

All week I’ve been sleeping very well, restfully and deeply, but forced to wake to the alarm, and start the work day. By the end of an evening, all I am thinking about is sleeping. I wake in the morning, thinking about how much I want to go back to sleep. During the day, I am mildly distracted by thoughts in the background… of sleep. It would be funny if it weren’t so… “real”.

My dreams have been lively, detailed, and there have been a lot of those. Few nightmares, just dreams. My sleep is good, and this is fairly rare for me, and I am definitely getting both joy and wellness from the experience of good sleep… Damn, I really want to sleep in tomorrow. 🙂

How do I get there from here?

I sip my coffee and contemplate “sleep hygiene” and how little it sometimes seems to matter with regard to whether I am sleeping well and deeply through the nights. I think about the sorts of things that often wake me “prematurely” or “early” on a weekend day, and how little control I really have over those sorts of things. My mind wanders from there to how often I have set my sights on a goal, or destination, and found myself on a journey that could not possibly lead to that result or location, generally. As true of sleep as of anything, I suppose.

…At least I am sleeping well…

My yawn splits my face and I almost fail to stop the hand holding a coffee mug heading quickly toward that wide open mouth that is very much unprepared to drink coffee… disaster averted, and no coffee spilled, I stifle my laughter (silly human primate) to avoid waking my Traveling Partner, asleep in the adjacent room. I think about the days preceding this one. I think about the days ahead, and about life and love. I am content and joyful. It’s a pleasant start to a Friday.

I sip my coffee, quietly. The morning unfolds quite gently. Evidence of changing seasons appears as my reflection in the window, instead of seeing the sky beginning to lighten; it is still quite dark at this hour, now, already. “Summer is here” isn’t much different than “autumn approaches”, at this hour of morning. 🙂 I find myself wondering what autumn will look and feel like here… and yearning, ever so mildly, for the rain to come. It’s been several hot days, and I miss the rain. It hasn’t rained since we moved here, even though just days before we moved out of the duplex, it had rained steadily for many days. My delight that the rain stopped for the move has waned. lol The move is over… I’d like some rain, please!

I don’t control the weather.

I let the morning unfold with thoughts and reflections on how very much in life is beyond my control… and how very much is actually within my control… and how to make the most of the distinction between those. I think about missed opportunities to make a decision, and how those circumstances became “decisions” that altered the path I was on at that time, and beyond. I find myself grateful to be where I am, with the partner I have.

…Damn, I hope the entire day is as pleasant as these moments that begin it. 🙂 Unfortunately, I can’t linger in this that now… it has already passed, and a new moment is being lived. Another nice moment. 🙂 Another new beginning…

What will today be like? I guess I have to make that journey to answer that question. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee slowly. It’s still quite hot, and I’m not quite awake, yet. The alarm jerked me from a deep sleep with its incessant beeping, and I’m very groggy, and the tiniest bit annoyed. I definitely could have slept longer. My Traveling Partner is already awake, himself. I assume he is excited about the arrival of a package he’s been waiting on, but I didn’t actually ask. (Those first minutes, before either of us is fully awake, are generally a poor choice for conversation.) I make him coffee, and return to my studio. I catch myself smiling as I sit down to my desk. Love matters. 🙂

Yesterday was a pleasant productive work day that finished with a headache. Self-care really matters. I’d fallen short of how much water I needed to be drinking on a hot day, and I think I only had 1 cup of coffee, instead of my reliable 2 cups. That’d do it. Pollen count was also super high yesterday, and apparently “allergies” are a thing I may have, after all. lol “Get out of the city, they said…” 😉

Trees and sky… and pollen?

It’s definitely summer now, in this time of pandemic. People move around the community more. There are small very selective gatherings of people who feel safe with each other occurring here and there in the community, and in my neighborhood. Stores are open, but not crowded, and mask-wearing is not stigmatized (or avoided) in this community (which I appreciate). Small changes are evident everywhere – and not just the masks. The historic downtown area is closed to cars, to allow restaurants to extend their dining space onto the sidewalks and into the street. Social distancing. The entrance to many retailers has a prominent mask and hand sanitizer station (“If you forgot yours – take one of ours!”). Some businesses mark the floor with a “shopping flow” pattern and ask that customers follow that (Ikea-style) from entrance through check-out. Take-out, delivery, and curbside pick-up are super popular options these days. The way I plan errands has changed; I count on those curbside pick-up options, often, and that means planning the time those can take. We still avoid going out, generally. It’s too easy not to go out. Super easy to stay home. 🙂

Small details here at home change, too, as we move in, and get settled. It’s less a disruption than it is a refinement of lifestyle, over time. Yesterday, my Traveling Partner put a shade over the hot tub to keep me from getting sun burned. Small details. I was prepared to find myself much less resilient than I’ve been. It’s a pleasant observation to be able to make. Growth over time. We become what we practice. 🙂 I think about that for a few minutes, in the context of less-than-ideal practices (and characteristics), and sip my coffee while I reflect on becoming the woman I most want to be.

…I remember the new sprinkler my Traveling Partner got for me (I ran over the last one, quite by mistake, backing out of the garage), and I recall the day is expected to be quite hot. It seems a good time to water the lawn… and begin again. 🙂