I’ve decided that, on mornings when I know I won’t have time to write or do any of the little quiet things I usually do, instead of being angry or resentful, or stressing myself out by trying to grasp even a few minutes of me time, to simply let it go.
I can’t write when I’m rushed and quiet time is useless when I’m in a bad mood, anyway. So, this morning I went on a nice walk again with my wife and the dog and it made all the difference. There will be more time for what I want to do later, but for now I can walk it out, get a new perspective and still find a sense of accomplishment.
We’re celebrating Mother’s Day today by stopping by my mother-in-law’s and mother’s house for a quick gift drop off and visit. We’re going to do our best to keep our distance and to watch what we touch and to wash our hands as soon as we get home.
I have a lot of anxiety about whether this is right or not but I know that eventually we are going have to find a way to see each other, safely. I don’t know if it’s time yet but when will it be time? This new coronavirus isn’t going away. We will have to live with it and for now I think making sure to keep our distance, not touch our faces, and to wash and sanitize after visiting is the best we can do.
Both visits went very well. I’m happy to see that all of our closest Colorado loved ones are still doing well and to get to talk to them face to face. It was a little jarring though. It’s been so long since we’ve been around other people. We’re not used to the noise or the energy it takes to have a conversation.
The visits drained me. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I only mean it in the natural and normal way. When I got home, I needed calm and silence again. I couldn’t do anything but lay in bed, eat snacks, and watch TV.
I keep thinking about what it will be like when I go back to work and hoping that the proposed idea of us working staggard shifts and short hours. I’m sure I’m going to need to ease back into interacting with people. It was exhausting already before. It’s going to be much worse for a while why I adjust.
I got out for another morning walk. The more I get out there the easier and easier it is to find the willpower. It was especially chilly out there and I was very tempted to turn back after half a block but I made it the whole two miles and before I was halfway through the sun was out and I was warmed up. When I got back in I felt really good. Proud, energetic, and optimistic, but things changed pretty fast.
By midmorning I wasn’t feeling so great. There’s a possibility I’m having a flare up my ulcerative colitis symptoms and I’ve been spiralling ever since. I’m not sure what could be causing it, but I have a feeling it’s the increased physical activity. Stress is a triggering factor and exercise I suppose is a kind of stress on the body.
It doesn’t really matter though. The issue is more emotional than physical right now. It took me months and multiple medications to get the last flare under control. I was in pain, and often house bound. I do not want to go through that again. Not to mention each flare seems to be worse than the last. The next flare could mean drastic changes to my medication and care regimen. It could mean hospitalization or surgery.
But I’m getting ahead of myself and doing the exact opposite of what I should be doing right now. I’m stressing myself out over unknowns and giving my immune system all the more reason to attack. So, after tonight, I have to relax. I have to rest, eat right, meditate, and think happy and hopeful thoughts only.
I have to play the wait and see game for a few days and sometimes that can be the hardest thing to do. The second hardest is admitting you need help. Admitting you have to take a step back, again, and that there progress you’ve made had been undone and now your health depends on whether or not you have the strength to face that.
But even that acceptance is a week away at least. For now, I’ll be watchful, caring, and gentle with myself for some time.
This morning was another rough start. I woke up still exhausted, though I don’t know why I should be. I fell asleep before 8:00 last night, a full two hours before I usually do, and I still woke up late and felt so groggy I skipped going on a morning walk with my wife.
A few cups of coffee, a light warm up work out, and the sun coming out from behind the clouds turned my mood around, and just before noon I was ready to venture out for a few errands. We started at the lawn and garden place up the street. Normally I love browsing this place but there were way too many people which made it very hard to maintain six feet of distance and made me so anxious I couldn’t enjoy the trip at all.
The other stores we had to go to were much better but seeing everyone wearing masks and waiting six feet apart in long lines to enter a store and to check out makes me feel like I’m living in a dystopian novel and all I can think about is when or whether the world will ever look the same again. It’s good to get out of the house, but it feels much better, and safer to be back home.
Not much else has been accomplished since. I spent the rest of the day updating post tags and catching up on old articles I’d been meaning to read. Boring things, but at least I tried not to pay too much attention to the TV. I’m alternating between sitting at the kitchen island and sitting at my desk in the “creativity room”. Very soon I’ll be back at work and the days won’t be my own anymore so I figured I better start practicing writing and reading in the evenings again.
This morning was a late one. I try to be out of bed by 6:00 though 7:00 is more typical. Today neither of the alarms roused me and I have no idea how long I would have laid there if my wife’s voice for the other room around 9:00 hadn’t startled me. At least I hit the ground running once I was up.
I went for a long walk this morning. I’m trying to get serious about losing my quarantine weight and getting back to healthier eating habits. These past couple of months have been awful for my will power and motivation, but I’m starting to get a handle on how to fix it. The first thing I need to do is start limiting my options. I’m going to try not to buy so many snacks and to change the ones I do over to healthier options. The other is to have a schedule and tracker going and leverage my reluctance to “break the chain” to get out walking and exercising more.
The afternoon was spent in the “creativity room”. I finally made some real progress getting through the mountain of notes and long hand drafts littering my desk. Half of them were tossed. The ones that were grocery lists or work related. I now have a neat stack of scrap paper to turn into proper blog post, essays, or poems. There was also a scattering of magazine scraps I’ve used in the past for collage art or found poems. I saved all I could find and I plan to remix them into new pieces.
For now though, I’m just enjoying having a little more elbow room to type freely. I’ve spent the last week or more trying to turn the couch or the bed into a workspace and they have been far from conducive to focus.
I’m feeling a little better today. There isn’t as much cleaning to do or projects to complete. There are fewer obligations competing for my time and attention and less guilt weighing me down.
I spent the morning catching up in my to-do list, logbook, and journal documents and setting some goals for the week. I also finished up a week of The Science of Well-Being, though I still need to work through the printouts. I have two new blog post ideas floating around and if I have the time and energy, I’ll get to them this evening but I have a feeling it’s going to have to be something I put off to tomorrow.
I was right. The entire afternoon was a wash. Lunchtime came sooner than I expected and next thing I knew I was in the bed, cozy and losing hours to sleep under the warm sun and the cool Spring breeze.
I want to regret it, but one of the best things about these warm months is the quality of sleep you get. There’s nothing like the speed and depth and duration to which you can sink into sleep when it’s just a little too hot outside. When it gets bad, I have bouts of sleep paralysis and no matter how awful that is I tell myself it’s only because the sleep is so good my body isn’t ready to leave it even if my mind has too.
Today is nowhere near as relaxed as yesterday. My anxiety has returned along with all my bad feelings about how much time I’ve wasted these past weeks and how little I’ve accomplished over my lifetime. Too much time in your own head can cause some pretty dramatic self-esteem swings, it seems.
I think it’s because I have a feeling my little corona-quarantine-staycation is coming to an end and I’m feeling a little panicky for a lot of reasons.
For one, I’m afraid. The novel corona virus hasn’t gone away and I haven’t seen anything that makes me believe we are past the worst of it. I’m dreading having to wear a mask all day too, and to spend so much mental energy of remembering to disinfect surfaces and equipment and not to obsessively worry that I haven’t. I’m also sad. It’s hard to admit because of all the suffering going on all over the world, but I kind of enjoyed this time at home. It felt like time outside of time, something I have been wishing for for a very long time.
Still, it looks like I won’t be working long hours and maybe not even every day. Summer might still be saved after all.
I didn’t get around to setting my goals for the week. I may not set them at all. I want to have a week of freedom from expectation, especially my own. Perhaps I need a break every once in a while from all the things I (think I) want to do. I want to do nothing. I want to not think so much or worry so much. I want to be a little more here an now, a little more focused on what is material and real, what I can control.
The upside is I feel like taking care of myself a little more. I’m walking and exercising more, eating better, and taking my meds. Getting up on time is easier and I feel less anxious about how I should spend the days. Moving, cleaning, taking care of things, this may be what I need most now.
Still, even if I’m not doing it I’m thinking about writing and there is a chance that that is the real goal. Maybe I just need to do more in order to create more and with so few ways to experience or explore the world I have to delve into dark corners of the yard and the basement and fish out what inspiration I can find there instead. It’s sad, but inspiring. There is a part of me that is trying to thrive even in these uncertain and confining conditions.
Today I am grateful for:
My new phone. It got delivered today, and it’s as awesome as I hoped it would be. I didn’t need it, but it’s been a long time since I’ve upgraded and this was a little congratulatory gift to myself for the promotion.
Overnight oats and chia pudding. I’m trying to eat healthier and while the snacks are a hurdle I have yet to overcome, I’ve got breakfast in the bag. When I’m not eating chia pudding (the oats are for my wife) I have fresh fruit and sunflower or almond butter instead.
Walking without my phone. I always want to take my phone on walks because I want to option of listening to music and I don’t want to miss any great photo opportunities but walking without my phone has forced me to be present, to look around, and to get to know and appreciate my neighborhood.
I woke to thick fog outside this morning as the moisture left behind from last night’s rainstorm evaporating in the rising sunshine. I started the day with a quick shower and rather than a walk I did a quick but effective warm up followed by a few each of lunges, squats, and bicep curls. I’m still taking it easy on my knees while I wait to order a second compression sleeve, but I’m trying to do some activity every day so I can get ready for a short hiking trip in a week or so.
This Sunday is a strange one. I don’t feel like doing my usual Sunday thing, so I won’t. I want to be up doing projects sround the house and cleaning out corners that haven’t been touched in years. I guess the season is really getting to me. Nothing feels more important than this house, not writing, not reading, and definitely not learning. I feel guilty for it but I suppose I would no matter what I did.
I think I just miss going work and taking care of the house is the closest I can get to that feeling I used to get after a hard but satisfying work day. It’s a funny thing to learn about yourself. That day job you resented and thought was getting in the way of your dreams and fulfillment iturns out to be the things you end up missing more than anything. Your hobbies are still your hobbies and your work is as necessary as love.
I was woken up early by the dog loudly announcing packages were being delivered. It was infuriating but effective.
My new compression sleeve came early this morning and before breakfast I was back out walking around the neighborhood. When I came home, I tried some squats and lunges and felt my other knee protesting so I think I will buy another and accept the fact that my joints are never going to be what they once were, not that they were ever what they should have been in the first place.
I’ve decided to do half of my weekend chores on Saturdays instead of being lazy all day and saving it all for Sunday and by the time the walk was done and all the cleaning too, I was too tired to do any real writing. I did manage to finally finish reading Borne by Jeff VanderMeer after nearly a month of struggling. I’m happy it’s done. I loved the message, but I struggled to suspend belief and fully immerse myself in the world VanderMeer had created.
I’m going to quickly finish a Penguin Little Black Classic or two to catch up to where I should be by now and then start a stint of women writers only for a while.
I thought Friday nights were getting depressing, but Saturday nights are even worse. I’m bored out of my mind and so is my wife. I long to go out somewhere and be among people so badly. Not being able to work is one thing. It’s a bummer, but it was still work so I’m not too eager to go back, but restaurants? Movie theaters? Bars? These I miss to my core.
It helps to change the scenery, position and perspective. So, we’re back in the bedroom watching TV and listening to a faint thunderstorm roll in and out around us. It’s soothing enough to allow me to forget.
Today is a productive one, but not at all in the way I thought it would be. I went to bed meaning to wake up early to write, but when I got out of bed, the last thing I wanted was to be trapped behind that desk. I spent the morning doing some cleaning and taking care of my pets and plants. It’s more fulfilling sometimes to see the fruits of your labor, to look around and see that you have changed something.
My knee is feeling much better, but I can tell already I’m overdoing it. I do this every time. As soon as I feel even a tiny bit better, I go and set back all my healing by pretending it never happened. I never have the patience my body needs and it never has the strength I wish it did. Obviously we working against each other.
Friday nights are quickly becoming the most depressing time of the week. The weather is so warm and all I want to do is have a few drinks with a few good friends on the patio of a packed bar downtown and instead I’m stuck inside binge-watching old episodes of Six Feet Under because there’s nothing else on.
It’s not all bad though, now. My wife and I had the brilliant idea to move the “creativity room” TV into the bedroom where it’s cooler and to pour a couple glasses of amaretto. My knee is propped up on an ice pack but not so much because it’s hurt but as a preventative. I’d really like to go for a nice long walk tomorrow.