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My poor wife is at home sick. She had hoped to make it through the season unscathed but it appears no one’s immune system is strong enough to beat this bug. I had it a few weeks ago, and it’s made the rounds through most of my coworkers and friends already too. She lasted longer than most.

I left her at home so I could work today. I wanted to stay with her but I know she doesn’t really need me there. What she needs it time to rest and sleep and if I were there, I would only hover and irritate her. No, it’s better to be away for a while then come home to take care of her all evening then make sure she gets her meds and goes to bed early.

I imaging its hard to be sick right now without worrying what you might have. The symptoms of COVID-19 are so similar to a cold or bout with the flu that anyone with a little cough or the sniffle worries what they might have and those around them begin to panic. The chances that any of us have contracted the coronavirus is very low, but those numbers seem to be growing. I’m not nearly as afraid of the disease as I am of the panic building all over the globe.

So I’m staying away from people in general both to stay healthy and because I honestly tired of talking about it. I’m tired of the uninformed and irrational opinions. I’m tired of the constant updates on where outbreaks are occurring and how many more people have tested positive or died. I’m tired of thinking about it, worrying about it, and wondering if I am doing enough to prepare. I’m tired of the low level fear.

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It’s been a long week already and there is still a long way left to go but the worst of it, the hardest, most stressful and exhausting parts are now over.

Most of our schools will be closed tomorrow and Thursday and that means a lot fewer people and a lot less chaos. I expect to have an easy end to the week working on a few small projects and catching up on data entry, filing, emails, scheduling, and paperwork. I expect shorter days and a chance to enjoy the gorgeous weather on the way. I expect I’ll pretend it’s summer and spend the hours soaking up the sun and daydreaming instead.

This weather is a little concerning though. March is typically one of our snowiest months but looking at the 10 day forecast you’d think we were already into April. We have nothing but sunshine and mid-50s and 60s for the foreseeable future. I’m in heaven but I’m dreading what might turn out to be a rather unbearable summer on the way.

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All of my coworkers are freaking out about the Coronavirus. I work for a school district so any rapidly spreading contagions are a serious concern for us. There are now new chemicals to use on the buses to disinfect and there are bottles of hand sanitizer everywhere. It’s a good thing but I can’t help feeling like these are things we should have been doing all along.

A coworker is out with pink eye now. Flu goes around every year. We’ve had a throat and sinus thing going around for weeks. Earlier this winter we had a nasty stomach bug circulating too. Why is everyone just now washing their hands and cleaning surfaces? Why is everyone worried about vaccines and masks? Why are we just now preparing for a pandemic? I’m frustrated equally by the panic now and the lack of care before.

On top of it all I worry over whether I am reacting and preparing in the right way. I am trying to stay calm and rational. I’m CPR and First Aid trained so I have always been mindful about washing my hands and protecting myself for transmittable disease but I have stepped things up. I’m disinfecting more often and paying more attention to how often I am touching my face but that’s it for universal precautions.

In addition, I’m checking myself when I feel the panic rising and I am limiting my access to the news cycle. I advise everyone out there to do the same.

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It’s day two and I already feel like time is moving too fast. There’s a lot I’m anxious about and if I had it my way I’d simply avoid it all but these aren’t things I have much of a choice in doing and so the more time passes the more panicked I feel. Before the end of March a lot will have changed for me.

I’m coping by focusing on the day I’m in and only that day. It’s Monday and unlike the last this one is a bit busier, a bit more chaotic, a bit more stressful. I’m still teaching the new employees and every day something new seems to happen that prolongs my process. This is the one big drawback to working on a team. More people to mess it up. More people you have to redirect, remind, and rely on. More people to let you down and to make more work for you. Oh well, I’m paid by the hour and never opposed to an opportunity to make more money.

I wish I had more time for me though. I miss my podcasts. I miss writing. I miss having room to think! Soon, soon…

Goals // Week 10: We’re Going to Be Okay

This week is going to be much like the last few. I’ll have long hours and plenty of work to fill them with. I’ll have few hours left for me and even less energy to make much use of them. This pace is growing tiresome, and it’s getting harder and harder to fend off burnout but I’m trying to remember that when all else is out of my control I can still control my reaction. I owe it to my coworkers and more than them I owe it to myself to fake that enthusiasm and energy until it becomes real.

This week I will:

Stay present in the moment, do my best to maintain perspective, and practice gratitude at the end of every day. It’s going to be another long and stressful one, but that’s okay. I can make it. It’s not so bad. All of our problems are simply reminders of our blessings and I am grateful for the responsibility because it signals respect. I am grateful for the work because it means I can care for my family and provides opportunities to find purpose. I’m grateful for my conflicts and difficulties because it means there is room to grow. I’m grateful to have another week to make it through at all.

Read 100 pages of It by Stephen King. I had hoped to reach at least the half through these 1,150 pages by now but with this book being so big I can’t carry it around with me when I go out the way I have other books. That means reading time is limited, and it’s going to take me a little longer than usual to finish. That’s ok though. I have my Penguin Little Black Classics set and working my way through those tiny books is a much easier endeavor. If I make the time that is. Distraction has been hard to overcome lately. Mindfulness and limiting screen time are crucial this week.

Write for one hour every day without distraction. That hour can fall anywhere within the day, before work, during my lunch, after work, before bedtime, whenever, the point is that it must be completely distraction free. One tab with a text box for writing, a “lofi hiphop” Spotify playlist going in the background, and a timer set so that I won’t even have to glance at the clock. I’m shooting for one hour but I knw there will be days when that is asking a lot so, in the spirit of this year’s motto (Everything counts!) I will accept a half an hour as long as that is my best.

 Create a blackout poem. I have 3 pages of solid text torn from a magazine I’ve been carrying around for weeks I’ve been meaning to mine for new poems but I’ve just been too lazy and forgetful to look over them. It easy to put it off, to opt to watch T.V. or to find some chore or to-do item that’s more urgent instead, but this is my meditation. This is how I return to the present. This is how I slow down and give my mind and body a chance to reconnect. This is how I unplug. It’s as important as food, water, medication, and writing.

Drink more water! Who knew Gatorade could be so addictive? I can go a day or three without it but because water isn’t as refreshing or as flavorful when I don’t have Gatorade I often have nothing at all. I’ve noticed a dry throat and cracked lips returning and as someone with a chronic illness, intermittent anemia, vitamin deficiencies, and a suppressed immune system I cannot afford dehydration on top of all my other issues. One full bottle of water a day at least for now and no more Gatorade at all after the bottle already in the fridge.

 Not panic. Between the Democratic primaries and the coronavirus there has been much in the news to be anxious about lately and every day seems to get worse and worse. And the problem isn’t just online or just on the news. Every person I speak to has something to say about either or both and none of it is ever positive. It’s hard to think about anything else right now but what we can’t see is that though everything that is happening is very serious nothing is the end of the world, not yet at least. Chances are we’re going to be okay.

This week I will not let others pull me into their negativity, nor will I allow the actions of others to impact my mood, focus, or motivation. I will not be pushed to distraction, pushed off my path, or pushed to think or behave in ways that do not align with my values or goals. I can’t control other people and to be honest what other people do or don’t do, though frustrating and disappointing, has very little to do with me. All I can do is my best and at the end of each day that has to be enough.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 09.

Photo by Bailey Zindel on Unsplash

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New month new me, I hope. I’m actually sad to see February go. There was so much I wanted to do that I just couldn’t complete. I’m still working on my “Currently” post but with my energy and focus levels being the same as they were this time last month I doubt I’ll get it done. January’s is still sitting in my drafts folder too.

I want March to be better and with the temperatures increasing and the sunlight sticking around longer I think it will. I want to get better at managing my time. I had stopped checking my calendar and turned off my alarms and reminders. This month it’s all coming back. In addition, I’m using my pocket notebook more. I’ve had so many great ideas this month and I lost almost all of them because I relied too much on my mind alone to remember them.

This month I’m also moving away from using Google tasks for my to-do list and coupling my calendar to a simple .txt file instead. Right now I have one long to do list with rows and rows of overdue and failed items. It’s a pretty depressing place to be. I found this system from Jeff Huang in which you combine your calendar and a text file and create new lists every day with only the items you need to do that day. Anything you don’t get to gets rescheduled in the calendar instead of dying on the list.

This system also combines the to-do list with a logbook. Throughout the day, or at the end if you like, you add things you did along with notes and highlights you want to remember later. This is a crucial aspect I have failed to implement.

Part of me would like this to be an analog system but the truth is I doubt I have the time. Digital has the benefit of being faster and searchable even if it is rather rigid and boring. We’ll see though. Right now I just need to try something.