Archives for posts with tag: social distancing

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. 🙂

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. 🙂