Archives for posts with tag: stay at home

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 this great cup of coffee, this morning, before work. The news is still focused on the pandemic. No surprise. It’s getting weird, though. The number of people frustrated enough by stay-at-home orders to begin protesting those is fairly astonishing. Seriously, People? Stay-the-fuck-at-home. Good grief. This is not about profit or economic measures of success, it is about survival. My suspicion is that most of the folks suddenly raising their voices in protest are being manipulated by business interests (in some cases filtered through politicians or pundits) eager to get back to making profits, and avoid the looming risk of having to actual pay substantial healthcare and sick leave benefits long-term, beyond this crisis. It’s too easy to capitalize on individual frustrations with having to stay at home. Some folks already live on the ragged edge of what they can afford, and they can’t legitimately afford to be either out of work, or staying at home. It’s uncomfortably harsh, and very few people have received any of the promised relief being discussed. Still…

…Stay-the-fuck-at-home, for fuck’s sake. Lives are depending on that. People you know and care about. People you rely upon, but have never met. Real people.

The weekend was lovely. This cup of coffee is excellent. This moment is calm and characterized by contentment. It’s the beginning of another work week. I take time for gratitude (I am fortunate to be able to work from home). I also take time for perspective (not everyone is able to work from home) and empathy (how scary to feel confined while resources run low). I consider the practical details (delivery services are available) and the people who make it possible for everyone else to stay at home – because they are out there working, for the rest of us (delivery drivers, cooks & stockers, warehouse workers, waste collection people, mail carriers, healthcare professionals…). Complex times.

I sip my coffee and think things over. My cuticles are ragged from stressful picking at them when I’m not aware of it. Fucking hell – the least I can do is not tear at my damned cuticles. lol I find some value in that thought; maybe that’s the “hook” I need on which to hang that change of behavior long-term? It’ll take practice… my results will vary, most likely… but it is a choice, and I can begin again.

A small change can really impact our quality of life – even during this time of pandemic. 🙂 A choice can become a practice. A practice can become a change, over time. We become what we practice.

…What are you practicing?

It’s already time to begin again. 🙂

It’s a lovely morning for gratitude. Yesterday, too. My Traveling Partner said something about it, yesterday, and it still resonates with me, this morning; we are fortunate. I can work from home, and still have my job. He’s here with me, and we’re sheltering in place and social distancing, together. We’ve got what we need, generally speaking, to get by, with reasonable comfort, day-to-day. The things we are going without, are endurable inconveniences. We’re very fortunate.

…This will be true even after the toilet paper runs out…

…Realistically speaking, a lot of that “good fortune” is a matter of literal “luck”, and timing as much as any specific planning or preparedness. I sip my coffee and fill up on feeling grateful; it could be so much worse. It is, for a lot of people (maybe you…). The economic impact is real. The impact to human wellness and quality of life is real. The convenient delivery services available to some, are not affordable for all. Some people don’t even have a roof over their heads, and are forced to “shelter in place” on parking lot surfaces marked out by tape. Some people are actually trapped on cruise ships waiting around for the virus to catch up with them. Scary times.

When I start feeling restless, cooped up here at home, I remind myself how much this matters, and how fortunate I actually am. I sip my coffee quietly, appreciating how much harder this would be, if the coffee ran out, if the water was shut off, if the power got cut, if my partnership was unhealthy or my relationship an abusive one… This is a morning for gratitude.

I’m also grateful for the artists, performers, entertainers of all sorts, who continue to do what they do, making it available on YouTube, or a variety of other streaming services and web sites. Grateful for the connectivity that puts those things within reach. I’m grateful for unread books, and favorites worth re-reading.

…I’m grateful for love.

It’s enough to be able to begin again.

This too shall pass. I sip my coffee and sigh, this morning. I’m groggy. I could go back to sleep, so easily. It’s a work day, though, and I will log on to my work laptop in a few minutes, and get started. The work day felt pretty short, yesterday (it wasn’t). Will today?

Yesterday’s moment of tension, between my Traveling Partner and I, is still on my mind. It wasn’t a big deal, and it wasn’t about him, or us. I had a moment of feeling “overwhelmed”…by circumstances, by demands on my time, by lack of cognitive bandwidth, by a sense that I somehow wasn’t doing enough to actually take care of myself, and I started weeping over the need to do one more thing in what had already felt like a very busy day. It didn’t last long, and once the moment passed I was more easily able to reflect on it (and take time to meditate, properly, for a few minutes). What was up with all that? I’m not sure, and I’m not sure it matters. If I were a younger woman, I likely would have called it “hormones”, just based on the way it swept in and swamped me, and then simply dissipated. I have a sip of coffee, and let it go. That moment has passed.

This coffee is good. My shoulders ache, an extension of the pain in my neck, and back. I breathe, exhale, relax… I go through all the physical therapy stuff, looking for relief. I go through my history, on YouTube, and remove all the COVID-19 stuff, all the Democratic campaign stuff, all the stuff clicked on absent-mindedly that I don’t need clogging my feed… maybe the content will improve? Small steps to improve the quality of my experience, generally. I glance at the time, reluctant to yield my consciousness or my soul to the work world, again, so soon. There is more to do, and to enjoy, with life’s precious few mortal years, and this morning I find myself more than usually resentful of having to maintain “gainful employment”. I’m yearning for “a proper rest”…

…Then it hits me; once source of background stress is simply the right-now reality of having to let, now, two little vacations go, over COVID-19. Restrictions on gatherings, closures of state parks, closures of many retailers not determined to be “essential”… I was really looking forward to a spring camping outing (and entire week out in the trees), but the reservation has already been canceled by the state park system, as a recent measure to limit the spread of the pandemic. I am “dealing with” the prolonged stay-at-home social distancing mandate pretty well, generally, but this morning? I also find myself seriously peeved about a vacation planned for May becoming… not a thing, after all. I could certainly still take the time off… but… how will it be any different than any day at home, right now? I sigh, and stare moodily into my now-cold coffee.

I breathe, exhale, relax… and let all that go (again). Another breath, another opportunity to let it go. Again.

And another breath. Another opportunity to let go. I make the effort to feel it effortlessly.

And another breath. Another letting go. Another effort. It amounts to practice.

We become what we practice; so I practice calm, and contentment. I practice non-attachment. I practice breathing. I practice letting go.

…I practice beginning again. 🙂