Archives for posts with tag: love and lovers

I’m relaxed and smiling this morning. I’m happy yesterday is behind me. Though I had gone into it expecting the day to be in some small way “celebratory”, the day had something very different in mind for me. I spent much of my morning in a state of frustration (because, reasons) and grief (over my Mother’s death last summer), bouncing between tears, and a roller-coaster of (mostly) negative emotions of various sorts. It was hard on me, and hard on my Traveling Partner, who was, let’s be honest, having his own experience, too.

…Turns out grieving colors our experience, and socks that are too tight can wreck a potentially delightful day. Who knew? (Well, probably most of us, but nonetheless, we can all be taken by surprise over such things, and that is what is so unexpected.)

Once my partner and I recognized that I was struggling with grieving (and feeling fairly foolish about it, some 9+ months after my Mom died), dealing with my bullshit was easier. Dealing with his? I shrug it off, now, as “humans gonna be human”, but yesterday was hard for both of us, for a variety of reasons. At some point after I went to bed last night, he realized that his physical discomfort (see “socks that are too tight”, above) was wrecking his mood. This morning he was merry and comfortable, his usual loving self. I was over whatever (grief) was biting my ass, yesterday, too. Very different experience of each other. 🙂

Building a life characterized by contentment and sufficiency does not, ever, guarantee a smooth easy ride to the end of a happy life. lol There are verbs involved. Results may vary. We’re each having our own experience. Bullshit and drama are a very human experience. So. Sipping my morning coffee this morning, feeling infused with perspective, and decently well-rested (although short on sleep). Will it be a good day? No idea – but it is a new one. I get to begin again. 🙂

Sipping coffee on a Friday. Not thinking thoughts so much as relaxing and watching fish swim. I’ve somehow managed to start a second aquarium, on the work surface next to my desk, in my studio. lol I’m not unhappy with this, just sort of surprised that it a) happened and b) happened so fast.

…It started with my own “eagerness to please”, and my Traveling Partner’s purely observational comments about the peaceful community aquarium in the living room. I got the impression he wanted some specific change in type/color/size of fish in that tank, and I added a couple new residents with that in mind. It ended with the bullying that ensued; those new fish were not good neighbors/roommates for my peaceful community tank, and they were hassling the shrimp and the betta on the regular.

Tiny thug.

My partner and I started talking about “what to do about” those rude little bullies. Over a couple of days and several conversations, we settled on getting a small aquarium, and setting it up in my studio (where there is a place one could be set up fairly easily). The conversation had much of it’s basis, good-idea-wise, in the low cost; I had a spare heater, filter & pump, and light, left from upgrading the equipment on my peaceful community tank in the living room over the past couple weeks. Easy. Cheap. Why not? 🙂

Getting a new tank started, and preparing the water for livestock.

Yes, well… as it turns out, the small tank was easily set up, and the water prepared and ready to go quite soon… but it was so bare! So… I got some plants…

…And some shrimp…

…And a piece of driftwood…

…And a couple snails…

The view this morning is rather more like an aquarium, and less like a tank full of water. It’s a process.

…You know… that light I’m using isn’t really ideal for a planted tank (that’s why I replaced it)… so… (after some careful online shopping) the new light is on the way…

…and, um, damn, that filter/pump is pretty noisy… and takes up a ton of space in the small tank… and the heater hanging there is not all that aesthetically pleasing… so, I also found myself shopping for suitably small external canister filter-heaters. lol Oh, my.

…Looks like I have two aquariums! Each quite different, with unique characteristics (and residents), and individual charm.

Having this particular project going, while restricted mostly to life on the social-distancing-stay-at-home plan, has kept me from being “under foot” while my partner also explores his hobbies, projects, and long-term interests, himself. We each need that “bit of space”, even while enjoying the additional closeness and opportunity to connect more often, more continuously, and more deeply. We still need our “me time”. We still have our own lives. 🙂 It’s a challenging balance to strike, sometimes, but so far this feels pretty good. 🙂

I glance at the time, and at the aquarium, and then into the cold dregs of my nearly empty coffee mug. It looks like time to begin again. 😀

Another working day spent in the time of pandemic, another opportunity to connect with my Traveling Partner more deeply, with more openness, and greater… something, something, and etc. I mean, love still takes some work, and being my best self still takes real commitment to self-awareness, and practice (which feels pretty hit/miss sometimes, for results). We are each individuals. We’re in this together. Shared experience. Individual experience. All the overlap between. If we share nothing, we lose our connection, over time. If we share everything, we lose our sense of individual self and agency. There is a balance. In these days of isolation and confinement, it sometimes feels like dancing – the awkward, often self-conscious dancing of youthful uncertainty, which is a bit uncomfortable at times; we’re not kids anymore.

I worked a fairly routine day yesterday. Each time I took a break, I left my studio (which is also my “office”) and discovered some new thing had been done around the house. My Traveling Partner keeps busy with various quality-of-life-focused projects. It passes the time in a healthy way.

…He moved the furniture around…

You know, it could have been drama and bullshit, but honestly, it’s just furniture. If we don’t like where it is – and I mean either of us, over time, could decide it is a poor fit – we can move it around differently. We have that freedom. We have that power. Each of us. Both of us. I managed to find peace and balance with all of it super quickly, which was nice. No one needs my drama and bullshit right now, right? I’m unsettled by the quantity of small changes as the aesthetic of our home inches further and further from what I most ideally enjoy, myself, but there really are two people living here, and it is our home, not exclusively mine. It matters to be open to new arrangements of things. There’s so much joy in it when we both feel a comfortable sense of place. When we both feel at home.

The street is nearly silent outside this morning. These days there is very little commuter traffic through this neighborhood. People who can, really are working from home. People who don’t need to work are generally really staying home. A quick trip out for supplies revealed a world in which suburban men commonly work in the garage, or in their yards, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, building and making things to improve their quality of life, and that of their families. I saw a dad-aged man teaching a little girl to ride a bicycle… on a Wednesday. It was beautiful. It got me wondering, decades from now, how will we view this time of pandemic, looking back? Our perspectives are not universal.

Some people will remember store shelves stripped bare, and being unable to buy stable food items, and basic household items.

Some people will remember the profiteering, the incompetence and mismanagement, the heinous disregard for employee health and safety shown by some companies.

Some people will remember having to work from home, after years of begging for the privilege of being able to do so.

Some people will remember being sick, or supporting sick family members.

Some people will remember the anxiety, the chaos, the fear-mongering, and the uncertainty.

Some people will remember losing their jobs – others will remember being forced to work.

…And some people, who were children in the time of pandemic, will remember long happy weeks at home, with their parents and siblings, connecting over fun projects, entertained, loving, and they will, perhaps, look back on this time with real fondness, as a time when they enjoyed all the love and attention from their parents that they could ever possibly need. I like to think about that as a tiny pin-prick of an upside to all this COVID-19 stuff; some children will get loved more, by attentive parents who perhaps don’t realize that their efforts to stave off boredom, and keep their youngsters developmentally on track, is making some amazing memories.

Then, I frown over a news article pointing out how terrifying this time must be for people in abusive relationships, or households that experience domestic violence. 😦 Let’s don’t be that. We can each do so much better than that.

Be considerate and gentle with your words. It can really wear even your nearest and dearest down quite a lot, over time, to be in such close contact for so long. Social distancing can complicate that – you’re probably not hanging out with anyone else. The lack of variety may serve to highlight small things, which can make them appear to be The Next Big Deal Breaker. Doesn’t have to be that way. 🙂 Choose kindness. Choose authenticity – and positive intent. Be your best self, even though that definitely takes practice.

I’m saying it to you, because I’m saying it to me. There are verbs involved. Work. Effort. Commitment. Self-reflection. A lot of do-overs and new beginnings. A lot of practice.

I’m ready for another work day in the time of pandemic. I’m ready to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday’s aquarium project concluded quite successfully, with a tank full of obviously happy creatures, living their tiny lives in captive luxury. Sounds familiar. 🙂 Same of me; living life contentedly, quietly, at home – in my own case, voluntarily confined in this time of pandemic. I could use more variety in the news, sadly, COVID-10 more or less dominates every headline, every human interest story, even coloring all the political and business news, and creeping into art, science, music… yeah; likes, clicks, views, and subscriber counts remain the true, consistent, underlying point of all of it. That’s sad. I mean, I’m grateful for updates and good information. I’m also aware that “life in the time of pandemic” still has so much more to it than news related to the disease, the spread of the disease, how to reduce risk of contagion, and the potential impact on various elements of human experience. I skim the headlines. At this point, there’s very little new content, and a notable diminishing return on taking time to read the articles.

…Life is too short to succumb to click-bait, or to read the same words yet again, reposted by some other news outlet. So… I don’t.

Instead, I am spending lazy contented hours this morning just watching the aquarium. Happy fish. Lush plants, recently pruned. New aquascaping. It’s too eye-catching to allow the news to pull my focus with repeats of the same bullet points that were promoted with such earnestness and enthusiasm (panic?) days ago. The numbers of affected people and businesses continues to increase. Yep. That’s to be expected, and has been expected. Who does not know by now? Even the stories about basic human stupidity have already gone stale (seriously, people went to the beaches in droves for Spring Break… during a pandemic of a highly contagious illness… I mean… wtf??).  I contentedly update the wallpaper on my phone, instead of reading the news.

I smile every time I touch my phone.

Life in the time of pandemic is complicated. The easy part is the staying home, it seems. It gets more complicated figuring out what to do with that time. I’m fairly sure reading the news is less than ideally emotionally healthy, right now. Growing fat on the couch with 24/7 continuous streaming entertainment is probably also less than ideal. I find myself eyeing the bookcase with real interest; there are a couple books I’ve yet to read from cover to cover. (Very few of those, as I have a firm long-time habit of reading every book I own.) It’s a peculiarly suitable time to catch up on my reading.

It’s spring, now. I have my eye on some garden projects, too. There is most definitely more than 6 ft of space between the houses along this street, and gardening is definitely on my “to-do” list. It’s about time to begin laying out plots for planting, and sorting things out on the deck so that the new irrigation can be installed (I’m eager to prevent that mid-summer die-off that so often happens because I’m not at home when the watering needs to be done). This “social distancing” stuff most folks are wisely committing to isn’t all that trying, if I use the time well to further my own agenda in life. 🙂

My Traveling Partner handles things a bit similarly, seeking projects large and small to occupy his mind and hands. Household projects that improve our day-to-day quality of life are a favorite way to pass time. This weekend, he dived deeper into cherished hobbies and skills of the past, and spent time on personal development through self-paced study, too. It’s been pleasant sharing this time together. We encourage each other when facing some small challenge. We help each other when asked. We celebrate finished work together.

Life in the time of pandemic has its challenges, but also its opportunities. Spend the time well. (Or, hey, don’t – I’m not trying to tell you what to do.) This works for me… or… has so far. I glance at the time, aware that I agreed to wake my Traveling Partner shortly. …A nap does sound nice… and then? I’ll begin again. 😉

 

 

This morning I woke rested, comfortable, and generally contented. Problem moments of yesterday remain just that; moments, that were yesterday. Small things stayed small. My Traveling Partner and I had a great afternoon and evening together, enjoying each other’s company without reservations, or lingering baggage or bullshit, after the morning’s one sour note in an otherwise harmonious experience.

…Even great musicians occasionally play a wrong note, why would love – great or otherwise – be exempt? 🙂

I keep working on my ability to communicate skillfully and gently. One book, one practice, one experience at a time, I keep at it. Study. Practice. Learn. Repeat. Resilience takes time and practice to build. (And possibly more than one genre of music… 😉 )

Back to the office today, after a restful and pleasant weekend. I touch the small elephant pendant my love gave me at the holidays this year, and smile. There’s more in life to deal with, more to do, more to savor, more to enjoy, and more to grow and learn from. This moment, though? Quite enough just as it is.

I finish my coffee, and begin again. 🙂