Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.
The days have been running into one another lately, and time has ceased dividing into recognizable or manageable segments. That is to say, I almost forgot today is Sunday and when I did realize, it took some time to remember what that means. So, it’s been a late start and then a slow start, but at least I started at all. Social isolation isn’t good for the mind, body, or spirit but virtual chats help, venting, unburdening, and sharing helps, coffee helps.
So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I have the usual: coarse blond roast steeping in the French press with frothed sweet vanilla oat milk to compliment the mellow brew. Let’s talk about last week!
“Take a shower. Wash away every trace of yesterday. Of smells. Of weary skin. Get dressed. Make coffee, windows open, the sun shining through. Hold the cup with two hands and notice that you feel the feeling of warmth.”
― Charlotte Eriksson, You’re Doing Just Fine
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was strangely both the quietest week and the most nerve-wracking I’ve ever had. My wife and I are doing our best to practice social distancing and have hardly left the house except to buy groceries or to walk the dog. It hasn’t been easy to be away from work or to be away from our friends but I’m grateful to have someone I love and like to spend this pandemic with.
For the most part we’ve been cleaning, or watching movies together. She’s had some work to do from home and while she works I sit across from her and try to write. I’ve been reading too and catching up on missed podcast episodes and new albums from artists I like.
It hasn’t been a time of perfect productivity or even self-care, though. I’ve been struggling to keep up anything like my usual schedule and failing to muster the motivation to create a new one. It’s hard to do anything with a threatening cloud of depression and anxiety hanging over your head. It’s hard to be productive when you feel compelled to check the news constantly. It’s hard to get out of bed when you miss your friends, and every event you had been looking forward to through the next few months has been cancelled.
Still, I know this is for the greater good and that makes it easier to bear. I know that eventually a feeling of normalcy will return to daily life, and eventually we’ll find a way through this so we can return to being the social creatures we naturally are.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that around the middle of the week I received an email from the school district with the news that this extended Spring break is being extended even further. Now I won’t be returning to work until at least Monday, April 20th now. However, the Governor made a statement the same day expressing that the likelihood of the school year resuming at all this year is growing increasingly unlikely. I believe that I will be away from work through the end of May at least, and probably through much of the summer too.
I’m glad I get to stay home, to keep myself and my family safe, and I’m glad I will be paid for this time, even though I can’t even work from home. There are opportunities to help out though, and I am considering volunteering to do something for the community. My district is delivering meals and books to kids across the city and they’re asking for help. I’m conflicted though. Many of my medications affect my immune system response, and my wife has asthma. I would hate to get sick and I would hate even more to bring it home to her.
We’re also exploring ways to help through monetary spending and donation. We’re going to continue ordering food for delivery to support local restaurants and businesses, and I’d like to contribute to Project Angel Heart and the Colorado COVID Relief Fund too. We’re going to do as much as we can, but I wish we could do more. It’s hard not to be able to fight something so big, something you can’t see, something so unstoppable. My heart and my deepest thanks goes out to those who are doing more. The medical community, the retail and janitorial workers, the journalist and other news staff, and even our elected leaders who are risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones to fight this for us.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that not everything was cancelled this week. On Tuesday I attended a CPR Instructor class. They took plenty of precautions. We were asked to wash our hands every time we left and reentered the room. We were then asked to use hand sanitizer and for the afternoon portions of the class we were asked to use gloves. We each sat 6 feet from one another and we could not share mannequins or any other equipment and at the end of the class we disinfected everything we’d touched with rubbing alcohol.
I was very nervous about the class itself, but it turned out to be a lot easier and a lot more laid back than I thought it would be. I did learn a lot, but I feel confident both in my own skills and my ability to teach adult and infant CPR, first aid, and the use of an AED. Now I’m only nervous about following the American Heart Association guidelines to keep my instructor certification. I have to submit the paperwork properly and timely, and I will have to be observed teaching as well—eek!
I was supposed to take a four day Crisis Prevention and Intervention Instructor class next month too, but according to the website all classes have been postponed until further notice. Oh well, it’s not like I’m working right now anyway and I know that as soon as it becomes possible I will get my certification.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even though we may not be able to go to the movies, or restaurants or out to bars with our friends we are trying to get out into the neighborhood as much as possible. The weather has been cold and dreary these past couple of days and on the first day of Spring we saw the first major snowstorm we’ve had in over a month, but there has been sun in between and the temperatures are forecasted to rise again this week. We’re taking the dog for long walks whenever we can.
My wife is getting out more than me. She goes in the early morning when it’s too cold for my liking, but I’d like to take my turn in the sun nearer the afternoon this week. I had hoped that we would be able to get some hiking in, but the Rocky Mountain National Park has closed and many of the trails close to the city are reportedly overcrowded and impossible to practice social distancing on. I’m still looking for a quiet place for my wife and I to to immerse ourselves in nature and forget for at least a little while all the surrounding terribleness.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that self-care is so important right, but it’s proving harder than ever to find the motivation or energy to remember what it is I need right now. It’s harder to remember to shower, to eat, and to take my medication than it ever was when I was working those long and stressful hours. It’s harder to go to bed at a decent time, to wake up early, to clean up and to stay off your phone.
I’m trying to shift my focus from being a working and productive individual to being a feeling and needing human being. While isolating myself for the greater good, I can’t forget to keep myself safe and healthy too. The old routines may be gone, and new ones may be hard to pin down, but time has to be made and effort given to the remainder of the basic human needs, if nothing else.
It helps to practice gratitude too and to find new ways to connect with people I care about. I’ve never been good at picking up the phone, but this past week I’ve tried a little harder. I am checking in with family and with friends who are still expected to work and as far as I can tell those close to me are safe and sound too. I wish more people could take off from work, and I wish more people could be assured financial stability the way my wife and I have been. I’m one of the lucky ones, and remembering that goes a long way toward keeping a positive perspective.
It helps too to remember that nothing is being asked of me during this time except to stay home and to stay safe, and if that means not asking much of myself either than that is what I will do. The days might be made of little more than some writing, some reading, some walking and a whole lot of rest and that’s okay. It’s okay to do whatever I want, whatever I need, and to do nothing at all too. It has to be okay.
We all have to remember that nothing is being expected of us right now. Nothing but doing our best to stay well and to keep each other well too.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the day is wearing on and the coffee and the chat have been helpful it’s reminded me of all my fears, frustrations, and failing. I’m starting to feel down, anxious, and overwhelmed. It’s time I return to distracting myself again. It’s time to zone out, to forget this pandemic, to fix myself a drink, and lose myself in a show or a book for the rest of the night. Tomorrow will bring more news and more changes and I need to be ready, emotionally.
I hope you had a good week. I hope you have been able to isolate yourself, to stay well, and to stay sane. I hope you keep in touch with your loved ones and never forget you are not alone. We are all in this together, even if we must deal with it apart. I hope you know I’m here for you.
Until next time.