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Everything is changing so fast and in ways I couldn’t have imagined a week or two ago. I feel as though I’m living in shock, in limbo, and always on the edge of something worse and more frightening. Very little is within my control anymore, and life is becoming less and less predictable every day.

It’s hard not to be so aware. I’m trying to limit how much news and social media I consume, but not knowing what is happening every minute is hard to cope with. Watching my favorite movies helps, and finding tasks to complete. I did our taxes, made some phone calls, finished the laundry and worked on my to-do/logbook system and schedule. I still planned our meals for the week and I’ll prep our breakfasts for the next 4 or 5 days too. I’m trying to keep to some semblance of my old schedule.

Tomorrow I have a CPR Instructors class. I called the center today to confirm it hadn’t been cancelled and when he told me it was still on, I felt disappointed and a little afraid. Even with all the precautions, I’m still weary of going out. I know that for many the virus presents with mild symptoms, but not for all. I’m worried about catching the virus, of being hospitalized, of not being able to breathe. At the same time, I have every intention of attending my movie party tomorrow night, so I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective and priorities.


Update: My movie party has been canceled. The theater chain announced tonight that nearly all of their locations across country were closing down and even if they hadn’t the Governor called for all restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms, and coffeehouses closed for 30 days, anyway. I know why it had to happen, but I’m heartbroken. It was the one bright spot in the next two+ weeks of dystopian hell.

Goals // Week 12: Peace and Productivity

This week, despite all the bad news and the spreading novel coronavirus outbreak, will be a good week. Spring has arrived, the weather is sunny and warm, and I don’t have to work at all. I’m still riding the high of my promotion being made official and I have at least two events I’ve been looking forward to coming up, including a St. Patrick’s Day movie party at my favorite theater. I know I am supposed to be practicing social distancing and isolation, but I promise you I am taking all proper precautions. I’m looking forward to peace and productivity.

This week I will:

Read for one hour every day. I’ve fallen behind in my reading goals for the past couple of weeks or more, but now that I’m home for an extended Spring break I will have plenty of time to catch up. I had hoped to be finished or nearly finished with It by now but the book is so long and Stephen King is so long-winded in this one that I am finding it hard to keep up any pace at all. I’m over halfway through though and I cannot allow too much time to pass or for the time I’ve invested to be wasted.

Update: To be honest I did not read every day but instead I’m marking it done by counting my time through averages. There were days when all I did was read, and there were days when I didn’t read at all. I made a lot of progress and even though I’ve fallen “two books behind schedule” I know it’s only because this particular one is so long. I fully expect to start catching up in the next week are two.

 Write two blog posts. One for my personal blog here and for my other blog, Zen and Pi. I’ve been wanting to both write more substantial pieces here and to turn Z+P into a proper publication, but since I have been working my ass off to earn this promotion, I simply haven’t had the time. Well, I finally earned that promotion and now it’s time to find a proper balance between my day job and my personal pursuits. It’s time to pick a direction and do the work for me.

Update: This goal and all writing goals I have set for my blogs have been too big and too broad. Going forward I am going to start breaking them down into steps like: Choose 2 prompts or concepts to explore. Free write for one hour around these topics. Find key concepts and organize them. Find supporting quotes, ect. This week I chose a couple of prompts and I have spent time free writing on both. This will get easier!

 Walk at least three days this week. It’s going to be hard to practice social distancing and isolation and to cope with all the time away from work. To keep from going stir crazy, it might help to get out in the sun and around the neighborhood for a few minutes every afternoon. The extended forecast predicts warm temperatures through Thursday, and after that we’re looking at drizzle through Sunday. Better take advantage of the good days while you can so the cold and lonely ones won’t be so bad.

Update: I only managed to get out and around the neighborhood for one day and although there were a few days of frigid and snowy weather I could have done much better. I have to find a time that works for me. The mornings are preferable, but they are still too cold. The afternoons are warmer, but I am too tired by then. The closer we get to summer the easier this will be, but for now I still have to force it.

Get through my CPR Instructor’s course. I had thought that my class would be canceled but according to their website all classes are still on but extra precautions are being taken. I’ll be expected to wash my hands as soon as I enter the building and then to use hand sanitizer, alcohol, and gloves, and to keep my own personal mask and one-way valve. I was already nervous about the class itself, but now I’m worried about the virus too, but I can’t let my anxiety get to me. I can’t panic or let opportunities slip by.

Update: I really had nothing to worry about. The class was easy and enjoyable and getting through it really boosted my confidence in both my skills and my ability to teach those skills to others. I’m really excited to return to work and to start practicing the process of certifying others to help save lives.

Finish my taxes. I was supposed to have the forms filled out and sent off a month ago, but I’ve been doing that thing I always do when I’m afraid. I’ve been avoiding it, putting it off, forgetting it, and telling myself there is plenty of time, that there are more important things, that it can wait, wait, wait. Well, I can’t wait anymore. There are new goals and bigger milestones I want to meet financially and I cannot move forward with those goals until I get this done, taken care of, and paid.

Update: I got as far as I could for now, and I am happy to report that the damage is not any worse than I expected it to be. I was happy to hear the IRS has relieved some pressure on all of us and extended the deadline, though I still have every intention of finishing before April 15th. I feel better knowing where we stand and knowing that next year will be so much better for us both.

Limit access to the news. Yes, there is a pandemic happening and every day there is new information, guidelines, and closings I need to be aware of but staying connected 24/7 has really taken a toll on my mental health and I need to step away if I’m going to be able to make it through these difficult, confusing, and terrifying times. I have to unplug, step away, and redirect for more of my day. I have to focus inward, on the immediate, on what is close and what is under my control.

Update: This has been a lot easier to do than I thought it would be. I went from running CBS News all day and obsessively refreshing local news Twitter accounts to listening for one hour in the morning tops and checking those Twitter accounts only after 4 or 5 in the evening. It helps when you accept that between those times not much is happening or being reported anyway, and all you are hearing is either redundant or speculation.

This week I will not panic. Life as we know it is changing every day. More and more people are testing positive for the virus and more and more are undiagnosed cases are suspected. The stores are out of the essentials we all need and everyday social restriction grow tighter and tighter. This week, I will not let despair and worry get the better of me. I will not let listlessness and loneliness keep me from using this time wisely. I will not lose patience with myself. I will not try to control what I can’t. I will not forget that we will all get through this together, if separately. I will not forget there is light at the end of this tunnel, somewhere.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 11.

Photo by kyler trautner on Unsplash

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I spent most of the day in the “creativity room” drafting up blog posts and working on my new to-do list and logbook system. I’ve decided to use Google Docs rather than a simple text app to make it easier to open and edit across devices and platforms. Plus, Google docs allows you to add comments to the content. I’ve used it to create a legend of the emojis I’m using as indicators for to-do items, ideas and notes, and to keep a list of tweaks I’m working on like reoccurring items, action plans, and “time blocking“.

I am being careful not to put too much time into it. I don’t want to fall into the trap of planning becoming the ends rather than the means, but I am excited about the system and hopeful that it will keep me on track. I keep the document open and whenever I notice myself getting distracted I look at what I could be doing, should be doing, instead. I should be writing, I should be reading, or at the very least cleaning or going for a walk, anything but endlessly scrolling social media or consuming troubling news.

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Starting today, I’m severely limiting my access to social media and the news, especially any updates concerning the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. Lately I’ve been obsessed, scrolling endlessly on my phone while CBSN loops in the background. It’s become very unhealthy and quite detrimental to my well being. I’m going to spend this time reading, writing, and planning. I’m going to spend it resting. I’m going to spend it with my wife. We’ll watch movies, shows, rest, and maybe get a few house projects done too.

Even with a plan, it’s hard to know how I should spend the days. Most weekends I savor my time for rest. When you know you have to go back to work in the next few days lounging on the couch is a treat, a craving, a guilty pleasure and an essential part of self-care but when you know work is two weeks away or more, the burden of the foreseeable boredom weighs on you in the present and suddenly doing something, anything, becomes paramount in your mind.

So, we ventured out into the world to pick up a few things. Luckily, we aren’t in need of any real essentials. We wouldn’t be able to get them if we did. Instead, we just needed some soy milk and orange juice, snacks, some pasta for dinner, a bottle of wine and a bottle of whiskey. I think we’re set for the next few days with that. We’ll try for more on Monday when most people have gotten their weekend shopping out of the way and returned to work.

Many of the shelves were bare, but it honestly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was nerve-wracking to be out. Every surface is unclean, and every person is a potential source of infection. You avoid touching things or walking too close to others. You become hyperaware of what your hands and your face as you try to remember not to rub your eyes or scratch your nose. The air quickly becomes hard to breathe. I didn’t stay out long, I couldn’t, and as soon as I got home I washed my hands thouroghly and wiped down most of our hard surfaces.

The threat is in the house and outside of the house now and whether I am in or out I am afraid. I hope this all ends soon, but all indication and predictions say it’s only the beginning.

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Today is utter chaos! The information we received last night said all employees were to report to work at 7:00 AM which means everyone showed up all at once confused and agitated. There is precious little information available, especially about how we will be paid for this forced time off. It looks like I’ll be paid something but it won’t be as much as I would normally make if I came in. I’m not happy about it but something is better than nothing and certainly better than what others will ultimately get should thier job sites close. I’m one of the lucky ones.

My interview is in a couple of hours and I am experiencing a new kind of anxiety, something more calm but much more tense. Instead of the shakiness manifesting in my hands or through a facial twitch it’s somewhere in my core. I’m vibrating around the stomach and somewhere under the lungs. It’s much more uncomfortable but at least it’s less visible. I’m working hard to stay calm, finding other things to do and limiting my caffeine intake. At least I’m the first of the candidates to go in. At least I know anxiety will on dominate a small portion of my day.


It’s over! I think I did pretty good. I could have done better but I haven’t interviewed for a job in over 10 years! I kept my answers short and to the point since I know I have a tendency to over talk and then to trail off awkwardly when I lose track of my thought or can’t figure out how to end my point. I’m confident I got the position but there is clearly a lot more room for me to improve. It’s a good thing and nothing to be embarrassed or disappointed about. It’s something to look forward to.

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Beautiful sunrise this morning.

Being at work during this epidemic is stressful. I work for the transportation department of a very large school district and since we serve such a large swath of the city and surrounding area, it feels like the threat is closer and the stakes higher. Like an airport once an infectious disease hits our department it goes everywhere. Bus driver and assistants bring it in, pass it around, and then send it back out to other routes, other kids, and their families. We’re doing what we can but we feel helpless, afraid, panicked.

I’m trying my best to stay above the fray. I’m focusing on what I have to do. I have a resume to revise and an interview to prepare for. I’m surprisingly calm. I think I’m too tired to be anxious. I consider that both a blessing as well as a curse. Everyone keeps telling me not to worry. The position I am applying for is everything I’m already doing and everything I want to do. I am the most qualified and the obvious choice. I hear them, but I see all the ways I can fail too. I see how imperfect I am and how short I truly fall from their image of me. I see myself as an imposter waiting to be found out.

But, just as my failures are part of me, so are my successes and just as the way other’s see my is only half of the truth so is the way I see myself. I deserve this, that is true, no matter whether it is decided I will have it or not.


I just got and email and a text from the school district saying that the district is closing starting tomorrow due to the coronavirus outbreak. Spring break will not only be starting a day early but will also be extended by an additional week through March 30th.

It sounds like we’re all still to report to work in the morning to disinfect and prepare the buses and offices for our eventual reopening. Shortly after my boss called to tell me my interview was still on. She said they didn’t want to have to wait another two weeks “or longer”. I wonder if, after the 30th, if things are as bad as everyone thinks they will be, we might not be coming back then. I wonder if we are looking at the end of the school year now?

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I’m home from work again with a bad headache. It started late last night. I was up worrying about my upcoming interview and about the ways the world is changing so rapidly around me this week. My wife is still coughing too and to be honest I am really beginning to wonder if it is just a common cold or respiratory infection that she has.

She coughed all night off and on and even from her place on the couch I could hear her. She’d be quiet and still for a while and I would just start to drift off to sleep she would start again. I grew more and more tense through the night and the back of my head started throbbing and by the morning my whole head hurt and I couldn’t handle light or sound. I couldn’t get ready for work and figured it would be better for me to just stay home, relax, and get some much-needed rest.

My wife has a proper doctor’s appointment after work and hopefully she’ll get some additional medication and advice to beat this cough. She needs relief. We both do.