If We Were Having Coffee // Making Time and Mental Space

This morning is a late and slow start, as most Sundays are no matter what alarms I set, promises or threats I make to myself. I stayed up too late last night alternating between binge-watching two different show (a new low for me) and struggled to rise more than halfway out of a deep sleep.

In that zombie state I hit dismiss instead of snooze and lost an hour of daylight and since yesterday was such a lazy day, I now have twice the cleaning and writing to do. Every hour counts now. I was able to get moving fast when I got out of bed and I’ve already knocked an item or two off the to do list. It’s time to take a break and replenish my caffeine stores and catch up with you.

So, please, pull up a chair, though not too close, and fill up a cup. The sun is back out again and we are looking at very spring-like temperatures. I think winter has finally been sent firmly on her way, but here in Colorado we cannot be really sure until May. I have a new cold-brew coffee maker but I forgot to fill it last night so we’re still having the warm light roast from the French press with sweet and frothy vanilla oat milk to smooth and temper the brew. Let’s talk about last week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was yet another in a long stream of weeks spend holed up at home under stay at home orders from our Governor. I’ve been looking at graphs and trying to follow the cases and the deaths that way rather than watching the news and it seems the curve is flattening here and the Governor insists were on track to reopen the state within the next few weeks. I’m terrified that we are going back to normalcy way too soon.

It’s hard to put all my trust in the school administration, the local government, and the federal government, especially when you get the feeling that the longer the economy is halted, and people aren’t making money, the more putting people’s health and lives at risk feels reasonable. If I had to go back to work, I would worry the whole time about becoming one of the first to get sick in a new round of increased infections as all we achieved by staying home was undone.

Luckily, I personally won’t have to head back out quite yet. Since schools are closed for the rest of the year, I have another month at least before I might be asked back. I plan to continue social distancing until then and to keep a close eye on how the virus spreads through the phased reopening of the country and depending on whether cases increase or decrease I will decide whether I want to work this summer at all.

As scared as I am part of me wants very much to return to work as soon as possible though. I miss my coworkers and I’m anxious to find out just how much life will change once the world gets going again. There are already emails being sent from my supervisors about new protocols that will be put in place including one-on-one training which will result in a lot more work for me but guarantees a lot more pay.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that despite being isolated at home away from my friends and family, and an intense snow storm and record cold temperatures, I still managed to have a delightful birthday celebration.

My wife did everything she could to make it special. She made a big breakfast, and we had mimosas to go with it. We spent a lot of the day being lazy and watching our favorite shows and a few new movies until it was time to cook dinner. We made my favorite birthday meal, crap legs and artichokes, with plenty of wine and for dessert I had a delicious almond cake.

I got some pretty awesome gifts too. I got a bone-handled pocketknife with everything you need to carve your own design in the handle. I got a cold-brew coffee making carafe. I got a neat box of matches from Strike Your Fancy, and the gift I’m most excited about, my first longboard!

I’ve been wanting to learn how to longboard for years but I’ve been too scared to make the leap and get one, now I have no excuse! I have a small street and parking lot near my house to practice the basics and after that I hope this will be a new way for me to stay active and inspired to get outside more. I only hope I win’t look too stupid and that the critical voice inside me saying I am too old for such silliness is entirely wrong.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have made the tough decision to take a break from these weekly coffee catch up posts and this coffee share will be the last for a long while at least.

Sundays are just so full as it is and there is a lot more I would like to do with them but between writing this and getting the cleaning done there isn’t much space for anything else. I have courses I would like to focus on right now and in the future even after I have to return to regular working hours and I have a lot more writing I want to do and if I want to make time and mental space I have got to let something go. I’m sorry it had to be these posts, but since I’m already posting daily updates, I figure this would be a good place to start.

I won’t be gone forever and you will still get plenty of updates from me. I’ve already been posting daily-ish journal entries and whenever I really start missing these chats I will come back. Maybe every few weeks or once a month or so, who knows.

I’m incredibly grateful for the Weekend Coffee Share community and I will still be checking in on all of you and reading your posts. Coffee is still a daily staple and on Sundays especially, that will never change.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that lunchtime has come and passed and the slippery time of the day is already getting away from me. I want to try a little experiment today and see if time might re-solidify and start making sense if I tried getting off the couch and doing something new, something more physical with it.

I hope you are still safe and that you have been able to stay home for your sake and for the sake of others. If you are one of the many deemed too essential to quarantine, I want to say a most heartfelt thank you to you and to your loved ones for the risk you have taken for us all. We owe you all a better life after all of this is over.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If you enjoyed this post, why not buy me a virtual coffee?

If We Were Having Coffee // A Greater and Greater Toll

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

This morning is a big change from the summer-like sunshine and warmth we’ve been enjoying. By the time I woke up, the flakes were already falling and the air frigid. Being stuck inside is hard enough, but not even being able to open the windows or walk past the driveway makes it all the more miserable. Still, the day is off to a good start. I’m up on time (though I had hoped for early), my phone is in another room, the T.V. is off, and I am at my desk rather than on the couch. If I can keep this up through lunch, it will be a good day.

Here, please, pull up a chair, though not too close, and fill up a cup. I’d hoped to be switching over to cold-brewed coffee by now but the mornings are still too cold and clearly, winter has not been sent firmly enough on her way so we’ll have the usual instead: a bright blonde roast steeped in the French press with lightly frothed sweet vanilla oat milk (which is becoming increasing, and surprisingly, hard to find in stores lately) to pour over top. Let’s talk about last week.

“oh god it’s wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much”

― Frank O’Hara

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that time is a concept I am slowly losing my grasp on. The week flew by faster than any work week I’ve ever been through. Each morning I wake up and I have to spend an unsettling amount of time working out what day of the week it is and then attempt to orient the not only within the month and year but from the beginning of this isolation and to the estimated end, though that goalpost is fuzzy and constantly shifting.

Every week it seems my time away from work is extended farther and farther. This week I heard from the district’s administration that the transportation department personnel will not return to work until July, for our annual one-day mandatory meeting, and then not again until mid-August to start the new school year. In all, I will have nearly five months away from work. It’s more time than I know what to do with and already I feel like I am monumentally wasting it.

I’m trying to remember that no one is asking anything from me and it’s only my own expectations of myself that I am falling short of. I’m trying to remember that it’s okay not to do anything, make anything, or accomplish anything right now. It’s okay just to focus on taking care of my mental and physical health and to be honest that is a monumental task in itself.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the social distancing order is starting to take a greater and greater toll on my emotional wellbeing and this past week was the hardest one yet.

Monday started off okay. I had a plan. I had a goal. I was excited and confident. The weather was warm, the house was clean, and I felt happy to have so much time and so much to do but slowly day after day, no matter how hard I tried to begin again and again the good feelings slowly slipped away. I felt less and less excited, less and less motivated, and less and less happy about all this time on my hands. I missed my family and friends more and more and my anxiety kept getting the better of me. I started having nightmares and, because my emotions manifest physically as symptoms of an autoimmune disorder, I started to feel really cruddy.

By Friday I was ready to explode in a rage or to sink fully into despair. The problem isn’t being confined to this space. It isn’t being cooped up. It’s the lack of people. It’s the lack of distraction from the self.

I’ve made so much progress toward loving myself more and enjoying solitude and time alone with myself and my thoughts, but this is pushing all that progress to the limit and threatening to undo it. It’s not that I don’t like myself, but like being around anyone else, myself and I, we need to take occasional breaks.

Without time away from myself or I get irritated and angry. I start noticing all my own flaws and nitpicking my little mistakes. I start to really dislike myself without the perspective offered by a little time apart and a few friends or coworkers to reinforce what I know, deep down, is good about myself.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week wasn’t as great of a writing week as the one before. I got a few pieces out but then the words were harder and harder to find and so was my energy and my focus. Still, it feels good to have written anything, and it feels good to know that every day I can try again if I fail.

I have worked out a kind of routine that helps get me started. I start by waking up before 7 and before my wife. I need time to wander around the house and do a little thinking by myself. I get dressed, wash my face, and brush my teeth. I drink a glass of cool water and take my meds and supplements. I check on all the plants and take care of the pets, clean a few dishes and make coffee.

(I do not check the news during this time. I’m learning that catching up on current events or checking social media gets me out of the introspective mindset I need to be in.)

I do all the little things I know I am going to want to do instead of writing first thing so I won’t have to feel guilty and so I won’t be tempted to procrastinate then I head to the “creativity room” and do my best to avoid distraction for as long as I can. Obviously not every day is a good writing day, not even most but I am writing more and writing better so I know I’m heading in the right direction.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that tomorrow is my birthday!

Unfortunately, I won’t be marking it with my usual zeal. Most years I’d spend this time new tattoos, touring museums, exploring new restaurants, and seeing friends and family for celebrations all month long, but this year it’s just going to be my wife and I.

She did her best to make it special though. We have a few clusters of crab legs in the freezer and artichokes waiting to roast—two of my favorite foods! We have bottles of wine chilling and almond cake for dessert. I hear rumors of gifts hidden around the house and we have movies to watch and board games planned to play. I’m actually looking forward to this low-key observance.

So, today is my last day of being 34 and think I’m going to miss it. I’m not quite ready to move into the mid-30s and to be so close to 40 but time marches on and each age offers its own kind of wisdom and happiness in exchange for the one you are being asked to give up. I think 35 will be the first year I feel finally fully grown up. I have worked hard this last year not only to overcome so many of my little fears but move out of my comfort zone from what is easy to what could be better.

Yes, 34 was a good age to be and I will miss it but 34-year-old me set 35-year-old me up so well I know that only more good is on the way and I can begin another trip around the sun with confidence and peace.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rumbling in my stomach let me know it’s lunchtime and the rising fear of rambling on more than is pleasant or welcome are clear signs it’s time for me to finish my cup and go. It’s time for lunch and, afterward, I’d like to create a sense of normalcy by going about a pared-down version of my usual Sunday preparations.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you have been able and willing to stay inside both to protect yourself and your loved ones and to keep others in your community safe as well. I hope you have what you need and that you have found ways to cope, to feel less alone, to feel less afraid. I’m here if you need me.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If you enjoyed this post, why not buy me a virtual coffee?

If We Were Having Coffee // The Best We Can Do Is Nothing

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. 

It’s getting easier to wake up early again it the mornings, though my will power is still unreliable and my energy levels are unpredictable. I’m not sure if it’s my body or my mind that is the problem, which I suppose is just me trying to figure out whether the failing is my fault or not. I’m leaning toward not, but it’s still frustrating not only to be stuck inside but to be so lethargic too.

I managed to get up early today, but I only moved to the couch and laid down and then back to the bed to sleep again. There are actual things I have to do today, so I had to force myself up after a while. I reminded myself that not all is bad and that the day is not lost. The sun is out, and the weather promises warmth and the smell of nature coming back to life all around.

Here, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’m throwing the curtains wide and opening all the windows. I have a fresh batch of blond roast brewed from the French press and silky smooth vanilla oat milk to add a touch of sweet flavor. Let’s talk about last week.

“There is nothing like being left alone again, to walk peacefully with oneself in the woods. To boil one’s coffee and fill one’s pipe, and to think idly and slowly as one does it.”

― Knut Hamsum

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week like many before has been a hard one. Many of us are on lock down, stuck indoors and doing our best to stay well and sane.

I’ve hardly left the house at all these past weeks and though I’m coping the very best I can, but each day is an emotional roller coaster. One day I will be just fine bearing the bad news and the uncertainty admirably, and other days I feel like I am suffocating under my fear and anxiety. The bad days are growing more frequent as the news grows more dire, the warnings more insistent, and the long-term trajectory pushed further and further out.

This week it was announced that school districts all over the city will complete the remainder of the year remotely. For the people like me who work in transportation or other departments deemed nonessential to classroom to classroom learning that means an “extended stay-cation” as my boss put it in the email. The district has promised to pay all employees until the end of the school year, but there is some debate about when that is.

I know I’m still one of the lucky ones and at the very least I have months to go before I really need to worry, but I am planning ahead now. Luckily with the lock down comes reduced spending.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that another big change came this week when the CDC and the Governor announced recommendations that everyone who ventures out to grocery stores or anywhere that social distancing becomes difficult should wear a cloth mask or covering over their nose and mouth. Yesterday we had to run to the home improvement store and today I picked up some provisions for my mom to celebrate her birthday on her own.

Both times we wore our homemade masks and both times I noticed increased anxiety while it was on. I thought I would feel better with it on, more protected and I guess but it was very much the opposite. I felt even more in danger. I couldn’t breathe and I wanted to be out of the house even less than I already had to be. We’re thinking of postponing our grocery trip for the week as long as possible as coronavirus cases are expected to peak.

We don’t have a lot of food, but we can last a little while. My hope is that later in the week we can order essentials for delivery or pickup to reduce our exposure inside of the store.

The more I think about our circumstances, the state of the world, and everything that has changed in just the last month, I feel a sort of mental vertigo. I just can’t comprehend it. Mentally, I can only manage a very shallow examination of the present situation. Any more than that and I run up against disbelief, grief, and fear. I keep thinking how fragile everything turned out to be and how close to absolute ruin we all really are.

I want to believe it won’t come to that. I want to believe we’re all in this together and that no matter what there will be people to help my wife and I should we need it. I’m also working out how we can do the same for others while we are okay, but I think right now the best thing we can do is nothing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I miss my family and friends very much. I did not think it would be so hard when everyone is just a phone call or social media post away, but these digital half measures don’t feel anywhere near the same.

I miss going to work where, even though there was so much stress, there was also so much laughter. My friends were there and when I was sad or needed anything, they knew just how to pull me out. I’m lucky that I am not completely alone, but people need friends as much as they do their spouses. Life is good here, but we both need more.

It isn’t just that either. April is a special month for me and as hard as I am working to accept it the truth is still hard to swallow. I will be spending my birthday here alone. I still have my wife and we’ll still make it special together, but I can’t help feeling a little bummed about it.

And it isn’t just me either. My mother’s birthday is next week, and she will be celebrating alone too. I did find some way to celebrate her though. Today we picked up some food from a local brunch place that included a “mimosa kit”. We got her a cake and some flowers and a small gift. I quickly dropped it all off and left. I still have to limit contact and keep her safe. There is no way of knowing who the asymptomatic carriers are now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in the meantime I’m just trying to keep my mind busy and find a way to pass the days.

These last few days, and for the rest of April, I’m participating in the WordPress Daily Discover Prompts Challenge. So far I have been able to write and post something every day, though with the errands and this chat I’m not sure I will make it today. I’m giving myself permission and forgiveness to miss a day if I have to. I don’t want to stress myself over something that is meant to be a stress reliever, and I don’t want to ruin the fun either.

And it has been fun, or exciting anyway. It’s amazing how easily I was able to get back into my groove and find the ideas even if I couldn’t find the time to write them exactly as I wanted or the best I know I could if I had more than a day. But that’s okay too because I have realized something quite freeing and comforting about writing recently, you can write about the same thing more than once. I can take theses ideas and these half-cocked attempts and try again and again until I get it right.

So, this is more than just 30 days of blog posts, it’s 30 days of ideas and inspiration I am pulling out of myself, the hardest skill in writing to cultivate by far.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even in the midst of a global pandemic Sundays never seem to lose that old Sunday feel. There is still so much to do, even when there is nothing at all to do. Sundays around here are almost exclusively for cleaning. We’ve been out a few times, and it’s important to disinfect plus with so much time at home the clutter and mess seem to grow at twice the rate and if you let the mess grow to large, it can consume you. Cleaning is the most immediate cure for most woes, you know?

I hope you had a good week, but I know the reality is most of you probably didn’t. I hope you are at least well, that have been able to stay home, that you have been paid and if you haven’t, I dearly hope you can file for unemployment or that governments at all levels all over the world find a way to support you, their people.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Julien Labelle on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Holding My Breath

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. 

Sundays are turning out to be the hardest days of the week. The others run together now. I do nothing but what I have to and what I have the energy for, but expectations still exist on Sundays, expectations I can’t meet. I got up early enough, and I made an effort to take care of myself first. I’ve showered, dressed, and eaten, that’s more than I do most days now already, but what else should there be to the day? When Mondays are no longer Mondays, it’s hard for Sundays to feel much like Sundays should. Still, somehow, the chores and weekly preparations help, and copious amounts of coffee and a friendly chat will get me through.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining outside, but the air is still chilly. It’s not quite far enough into the spring to prompt the switch to cold brew so I’ve got the usual, light roast grounds (packed with a little extra caffeine kick) stepping in the French press and frothy sweet oat milk to smooth it out. Let’s talk about last week.

“Coffee meant something to people. Most found their lives were miserable without it. Coffee was a lot like love that way.”

― Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that every week this month has been harder than the last, and this past week was no different. 

The entire state of Colorado is now under a stay-at-home order. Not much has changed for my wife and I since we’ve been sheltering in place since the schools closed for an “extended Spring break” weeks ago. This week we had to go out three times, and each time it was healthcare-related. I had to be seen for severe pain. (Don’t worry, I’m okay now.) I had to go to the clinic for my regular infusion, and I had to head to the pharmacy to pick up medication.

Each time I took every precaution but to be honest it terrified me to be in what, to my mind, is the most likely place to pick up the virus. Thankfully, I should not have to go out again for anything healthcare-related for another month at least! 

Grocery shopping continues to be a source of anxiety. We’re no longer going on the weekends and instead are planning on trying to get what we need throughout the week. We’ve, thankfully, got enough toilet paper to get us through the coming week, but food stores are always only planned for a week out. I’m constantly worried we won’t be able to get what we need due to other’s panic buying or that the supply chain will collapse and there will be nothing for anyone to buy.

I’m a little less worried about my loved ones. More of them have been given the opportunity to work from home this past week, and some of those that have found themselves temporarily unemployed have been able to find work. They are all still feeling well too, but knowing that symptoms can take anywhere from 2 to 14 days to show after exposure means I’m holding my breath, playing the waiting game, and hoping that we all stay well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that figuring out how to spend my days, how to fend off boredom, restlessness, and irritability have become foremost in my mind.

I’m happy and thankful to have my wife and my pets here with me. I think if I had to isolate on my own, I would be a lot looser with the guidelines. I wouldn’t be able to help myself from going out, from seeing family, from the urge to be near people. I’m glad to have a home that is warm and loving, but the place isn’t very big and there are moments when the walls close in and suddenly we are on top of each other. It’s helped to make use of other rooms. It helps to wear headphones and escape. It helps to make sure the time we are together is quality time and not just time spent next to one another, but in wholly different worlds. 

I’m surprised to find that the longer this goes on, the more I miss not just my close friends but even acquaintances and strangers. Humans truly are social creatures and even those like me who consider themselves to be on the introverted side of the spectrum need to feel the presence and sense of peace and protection that comes from being around large groups of people. I miss work. I miss my favorite stores. I miss movie theaters and restaurants not for the places themselves but for other people frequenting those places. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that from day to day I am slowly developing a new routine, but it has been hard not to be dictated by cravings and mood swings. I’m had to go back to setting alarms to make sure I not only wake up early enough to make use of the day but to go to bed early enough that my circadian rhythm won’t receive too much of a shock whenever the world does return to normalcy and I return to work. 

Setting reminders to do things like eat or take medication helps too. It has helped not to wear pajamas all day, and to spend an hour or more unplugged and cleaning or completing projects. I’ve been taking care of my houseplants, re-potting, diving, propagating, and fertilizing them all in turn. They are all loving the attention and I’m seeing fresh growth all throughout the house. I’ve been reading a lot too. A few weeks ago the end of It by Stephen King felt impossibly far away, but today I have only a little over 150 pages left! 

I’m slowly making my way through all seven seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and re-watching some of my favorite movies to keep from obsessing over the news all day. For now, I’m allowing myself a quick catch up in the morning and I watch New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press conference, which I have found infinitely more informative and reassuring than anything the President has to say. In the evening I check in with our local news and hear any updates from our own Governor Jared Polis, who I think is doing a wonderful job leading our state.

I’ve decided that checking any other outlets or reading any other speculative pieces only adds to my feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and fear. I don’t need opinions or maybes right now. I want facts. I want a plan. I want to know what is being done and what I should be doing only. If you are feeling the same, I suggest you adopt a media diet like mine. It may be bland, but at least it’s nutrient dense.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that by the next time that we chat it will be a whole new month. Time is passing fast now and faster the longer we live in this isolation. It’s comforting, knowing that, come what may, we are moving quickly toward some kind of end. It’s terrifying too, for the same reason.

This morning Cuomo said that everyone is afraid, even those who must man the front lines and risk their lives to care for the sick and keep society intact. He meant to reassure us all that the way we feel is normal. He meant to make us feel a little less alone. We may be separated now but this worry, this fear, and this end, whatever it looks like, unites and connects us all.

I’ve been thinking, or hoping rather, that all this disruption, and fear, and death won’t be in vain. I’ve been thinking about all that has changed and all that could stay “changed”, if we wanted it to. I hope that when we finally begin to see the light at the end of this tunnel and are allowed again to return to each other, we stay as united as we are now that we have to be so isolated. I hope we remember not just what is important, but who. I hope we rethink everything now that the flaws in our institutions and economics have been laid so bare.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that doing nothing turns out to be the most exhausting activity of all. I’ve been allowing myself one short nap a day, should I need it, and it seems I always end up needing it after all.

I hope you had a good week. I hope social distancing hasn’t been too hard. I hope you have the food and necessities that you need and that you and your loved ones are well. I hope you know I’m here for you, and if you are one of the many deemed essential and have been asked to risk your own health for us all, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Until next time.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Dmytro Davydenko on Unsplash

If you’re looking for this week’s song, from now on I’ll be adding them under the “music” tag rather than in the Weekend Coffee Shares.

If We Were Having Coffee // One of the Lucky Ones

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.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If you’re looking for this week’s song, it’s here in its own post. From now on, I’ll be adding songs under the “music” tag rather than in the Weekend Coffee Shares.