Archives for posts with tag: social distancing

I’m sipping my second coffee on a proper day off. I highly recommend taking the occasional actual day off from work (and yes, even from non-work routines). Real down time. Don’t check that email. Don’t answer those calls. Don’t participate in “just one meeting”. Be available for you, once in a while.

…There are very few things that feel reliably more luxurious, satisfying, and nurturing than having my own undivided attention for a few hours, a day, or a weekend… Just saying. Totally worth doing, even during a pandemic. Even if social distancing. Even staying right here at home. I like the woman in the mirror, rather a lot these days, and I enjoy her company greatly. (If you don’t feel well-disposed toward that human being you face in your mirror each day, well… it’s a great place to begin again, on better terms!)

It is a lovely autumn morning, well-suited to all sorts of things I might like to do with my time.

Autumn is already more than just hints of color, or occasional leaves found on the deck.

It is a chilly morning. Yesterday, there was even ice on the windshield of my car, well past sunrise. I enjoyed my morning coffee with my Traveling Partner. I took time to soak in the hot tub, watching the morning sunshine warm the dewy rooftops, steamy vapor rising into the air. I listened to the birds in the neighbor’s pear tree arguing over the not-yet-ripe pears, hoping they’d leave a few unmarred by pecking, but not particularly concerned about it. My mind wandered briefly to chores and housekeeping, and weekend meals, and I made some “mental notes” (promptly forgotten) about things I could add to my list. No pressure.

Today is definitely about “no pressure”, and that feels good.

The holiday season crossed my mind. Gifts to think about. Meals to consider. Guests to invite. No guests; there’s a pandemic going on. No, seriously – and it is serious – we’re okay here at home, and fortunate to enjoy each other in close quarters over a long period of time. (I sometimes suspect our military experience gives us an advantage; we “work as a unit”, even when we are aggravated with each other.) I know there are people who are frustrated with the constraints placed upon them by pandemic life. I get it. I just think it’s worth making the effort to be generally safe, generally respectful of the wellness of others, and generally fully compliant with the requirement to practice social distancing, to wear a mask, to avoid crowds. Yes, even close family crowds at important family events; those people will go home (and so will you), having shared whatever they’ve been exposed to, and to share what they were exposed to at the event. It’s not an acceptable risk, from my perspective. We see it play out in the news every week; a big gathering, a spike in new cases of COVID-19. It honestly just seems like an easy choice to me… so, since March, my partner and I stay home, except for a handful of difficult to avoid errands. It complicated house hunting. It complicated the closing. It complicated the move.

…Both of us remain well. Worth the complications.

We relaxed enough to allow my partner’s son (my step-son) to visit after we finished moving in. I regretted that more than a little bit, as much I enjoyed seeing him, particularly after he admitted to attending gatherings of friends, more recently than two weeks prior to traveling to see us… and… he did have to travel. He was here less than two weeks. Yes, it caused me stress to consider that with greater care – too late to change the planning. I am unlikely to make another exception as we head into flu season. I’d rather not even get the flu, or a head cold, and social distancing and mask wearing has definitely reduced my exposure to those risks! Win.

…But… Thanksgiving…!?! Giftmas??

Yeah. Thanksgiving. Giftmas, too. Fuck your Thanksgiving feast and holiday parties if they send half your family home to far away places with new exposure to COVID-19, and with increased potential of losing loved ones to it. I mean, seriously? Weddings too. Baby showers. Parties of all kinds. Music festivals. Worship. Celebrations. All of it. Fuck every minute of every “important life event” any one of us chooses to attend that results in the loss of someone else’s life. What right do we have, as individuals, to be callous with someone else’s risk of death?

So. Holidays will be simple this year, here at home. Cards. Letters. Calls. Merriment. A comfy holiday at home – intimate, joyful, and low-stress. Healthy, too, maybe…? (I am one of those folks who nearly always has a head cold, or is “just getting over” – or just catching – the flu, right around Thanksgiving or Giftmas – maybe not this year?)

I sip my coffee and smile. We’ve already figured out where the Giftmas tree will go… and there’s so much room for it… 🙂 Right now, that’s enough. I look at the time. The lovely day stretches out ahead of me. It looks like a good one to take a walk on an untraveled trail… or simply to begin again. 🙂

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. 🙂

I’m watching the sky slowly change from dark to dawn. I am, in a sense, “late to work”; I usually start earlier. This morning, it mattered more to start the day gently. I’m in some pain, and also feeling rather fussy in a vague way that persists, beyond my attempt to “troubleshoot” my experience. I mean… “everything” is fine, for most values of “everything”, and for most values of “fine”. Life in the time of pandemic is feeling a bit confining, at times, but my sanity project is keeping me sane, so… that’s working.

The RGB lights in my computer tower twinkle and chase merrily, over, around, back again. The aquarium light slowly begins to brighten for the day ahead. I am awake. It is a new day, well-suited to all manner of new beginnings. It’s a good place to start. 🙂

…Shipping delays make me feel vaguely impatient with life, generally… I breathe, and exhale, and let that go. This is not a unique experience. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity and resources to order this or that, and have it delivered. I sip my coffee and focus on my good fortune, my opportunities, and… the gratitude. Also a good “place” to start the day.

Life is a strange journey, is it not? One step at a time, down a path I can’t clearly see, to a “destination” that is simply an ending, eventually. How will I want to be remembered? What do I want the tale of my life’s journey to say about me, as a human being? Questions worth reflection, and a few minutes over coffee, on an utterly ordinary (for some values of “ordinary”) Tuesday morning, on a week in Spring time, in a year of pandemic.

…It’s almost daylight, now. Some time a bit later. Meditation. Coffee. Yoga. It’s unavoidable, at this point… I glance at the time. Yep. Time to begin again. 🙂

Talking Heads and coffee, this morning. 🙂 I find myself wondering if that younger me, that 1980 me, could have seen me, as I sit here now, even in her wildest imaginings. Could she have understood that anything like this fairly commonplace contentment and day-to-day ease and joy was even a potential outcome? Could I have gotten here, in life, sooner? I think about what that might have taken to achieve. Then I consider what it might have taken from me, to have achieved it “sooner”… I mean, timing has had it’s own results, actually. (For starters, I likely would not have ended up in the line of work I am presently, nor would I have met my Traveling Partner.)

YouTube stalls. I find myself both annoyed and amused. (“Oh no! What will I do without my digital media fix!!?” is a fairly insignificant thing to bitch about in the grander scheme of things, right? Read books. lol) I sip my coffee watching the lights inside my computer tower blink and flash and fade. Pretty. I run the network diagnostic on this computer. Everything appears fine “on my end”. I shrug it off as “gremlins” and try again. Everything’s fine.

How often is life like that? We have a momentary challenge, perhaps a moment of frustration, and we escalate into full troubleshooting “fight the system!” mode, without pausing even a moment for perspective… and that challenge melts away to the petty nothing it always was, at some point. Given a moment, that may have occurred much sooner…but being human, we often don’t give a situation that moment that it needs – a moment of real presence. A moment for perspective. We often put more emphasis (and value) on acting quickly than on acting wisely.  Something to think on for awhile, at least for me. 🙂

The music plays on. I sip my coffee thinking about perspective, and presence, and the value in taking a moment. 🙂

Days go by, even in this life in the time of pandemic. Social Distancing – still a thing. Yesterday’s sunny day brought people outdoors, probably too many, too soon. It makes sense to remain cautious, and considerate. I sip my coffee and plan the day ahead. I’m grateful for delivery services, “contactless”curbside pick up services, and streaming media. I sip my coffee, grateful for “sanity projects”, and a comfortable place to live.

This empty cup, and the clock on my computer, remind me it is time to begin again. 🙂

So… okay, we’re all human beings. This “social distancing” in a climate of anxiety about wellness, disease, economic downfall, shortages, and human mortality is draining, and tests my patience. (Yours, too, I bet!) Yesterday was punctuated with a bit of snarling, a handful of cross tears, some frustrated moments… Yes, it’s hard sometimes. I sip my coffee feeling fortunate, in spite of that; it could be much worse.

I take some time to watch fish swim.

Gratitude, perspective, sufficiency, and basic mindfulness are all great tools for getting me through stressful times. They do each require that I take that step… sometimes it’s “a step back” to gain perspective, or a pause for gratitude. Sometimes it is a step forward, and a considered reflective reminder that “sufficiency” is enough. (Omg, I can’t help giggling, it’s one of my favorite little aphorisms that is also a tautology.) Sometimes, it’s just a matter of moving from one moment to another, to sit down and seek yet another moment, of stillness, of breath, and then beginning again.

You know what it isn’t, though? It isn’t “easy”. These are not easy times, and I often feel “tested”. I have some coping practices that seem effective day-to-day, but I persist in being quite human, nonetheless, and sometimes that is complicated by sharing space with another human being. We are in this very much together, and somehow still also very much having our own experience, even in these close quarters.

He games… I watch fish swim. We help each other out with projects. We tackle projects on our own. We take turns choosing video content. We both interface with the world using our phones. We connect. We interact. We take a moment for ourselves alone. No surprises here; we’re enduring the challenges with the rest of the world. Similar frustrations. Shared difficulties. Common experiences among friends and neighbors and communities and nations afar… we’re all in this together. It’s gotten very “real”, though, hasn’t it?

I have another sip of my coffee, I pause for a moment of conversation with my partner. I look at the fish, swimming in the new tank next to my desk. I check the time; the moment feels timeless, unlimited, and not anchored to any calendar events. How will I know when to begin again? lol

…I guess when I finish this coffee. 🙂