I managed to rise early this morning, though I felt reluctant to begin the day. A start means there will be an end and an end to Sunday means the beginning of another long work week.
I tried to keep busy. When you don’t want to move, the last thing you should do is stop. I cleaned out the rest of the cat’s old things. I’m trying not to feel like I am erasing her, but without the food bowl, or the litter box, or the toys and treats, it’s as if she never existed. It helps to look at pictures and to remember that she was part of my life longer than most people I’ve known.
There is a sense of reorganization happening in my life now. It started with the season. When the weather finally warms, you long to open up, clear out, and clean up all that clutter and stagnant air.
It’s also my birthday month and I am readying for all the ways aging is going to change me—has already changed me. Every year the truth sinks in deeper. I am a year farther from my birth, from both the old traumas that held me in painful patterns and from all versions of me I could have been.
I’m also a year closer to my eventual death and a year further into the decline that will precede it. My body already isn’t what it used to be, but I know that if I make some changes now, changes I will be grateful for this time next year I am sure, I could reverse or at least halt the damage. I want to, or I want to want to, anyway.
Existential dread aside, I am feeling pretty good about turning a year older. I certainly don’t feel old and I certainly don’t feel like time is running out. Life has only ever gotten better and better, but sometimes better is as terrifying as worse.
Venturing out of the house when the need arises is becoming more and more stressful as this pandemic wears on. We were running out of some basics and wanted to get provisions for my quarantine birthday celebration in a few days. It took two hours and trips to three different grocery stores, and we still didn’t get everything we were looking for. It’s pretty awful out there.
The good news is the shelves are looking more and more stocked and it’s getting easier and easier to find what we need. Today was only difficult because most of what we were looking for were items that are not basic or essential. I think much of the bulk and panic buying is subsiding, but there is still no toilet paper anywhere. Thank goodness we still have quite a few rolls left.
Wearing a mask is difficult for me. I feel like I can’t breathe in it and my glasses get fogged up. With all the people around, the inability to find anything, and the effort it takes to maintain a 6 foot distance between yourself and others makes for a high anxiety and an irritable mood and, if you can’t get out fast enough, an inevitable panic attack. Under the circumstances, my wife and I did well, I think, but it’s hard to tell whether it’s better for both of us to go or only one.
I’m back home now, but it is a bad writing day so I’m taking it easy instead. I’ve been fighting a headache since yesterday afternoon and I wasn’t able to get a good night’s sleep either. I kept having bad dreams. I would wake up drenched in sweat from one only to fall back asleep and have another. Each one was a different terror all its own. Each dream was so vivid, so real, that I woke up confused and relieved that what I had been fighting through was not in fact my real life.
I hope this is not a new trend. I have a feeling it’s connected to my increased anxiety, which is obviously connected to everything going on and all the growing fear and uncertainty around me. I’m considering seeking therapy but I keep coming back to the fact that I am one of the lucky ones and instead of feeling anxious or afraid I should be feeling grateful. I shouldn’t need therapy to get through this when so many more people are getting through it with fewer recourses and less support than I already have.