The weather is really starting to warm up now. Just a few weeks ago it was snowing and now I have to keep all the windows open or the house is unbearable by the time the sun makes its way to the west windows.
I had hoped to walk again this morning but my knee is stiff and hurting again so I spent much of the day laid up on the couch instead. I’d hoped to get outside again or to do a workout at home, but an afternoon nap snuck up on me and I lost too much time. I’d hoped to end the month on a more enthusiastic note. I hoped to write something good today and to finish reading the book I’ve been struggling to get through, but I watched mindless TV and did some virtual window shopping instead.
But tomorrow is a new day, and new month, and after I am done here, I’m going to write out exactly what kind of day I’d like it to be. A new month is nothing but another fresh start, the same as a new year, or season, or hour of every single day. So, no guilt and no regrets, only resolution and resolve. Begin again, begin again, again, again, again…
I’m really scatter brained today. I have energy and motivation but my mind won’t settle anywhere and I can’t think of what I am meant to do. My to-do list is no help since I forgot to update it and now I have forgotten what I have forgotten. Oh well, a day to wander aimlessly though my thoughts sounds nice too.
My wife has been working more lately and if it weren’t for the fact that I just got a raise and I’m getting paid to stay home, my guilt over doing nothing would consume me. I’m jealous that she at least has some purpose and people who count on her. She has meetings, tasks, a schedule. She has some certainty. I feel lost. The freedom is overwhelming and in that freedom every minute becomes a failure of one kind or another.
I wonder sometimes, if two people live together long enough, if they start to become like one person, thinking each other’s thoughts and feeling each other’s emotions. My wife went for a late walk today, she rarely goes in the afternoon, and she invited me along, another rarity, and it was just what I needed.
The walk wasn’t a hard one, but it’s been a while since I’ve moved so much. My body is growing weak and soft in this new sedentary lifestyle I’ve cultivated and after just 20 minutes around the neighborhood I’m painfully aware that a change needs to be made. These walks have to become a daily routine. I did a few arm and ab things too. There is so much to tone and maybe, if I can get consistent, the weights can help burn off these quarantine pounds I’ve gained.
It felt really good to move. Perhaps when the mind won’t cooperate, it is trying to tell you to change your focus from what is mental to what is physical and give the brain a break, or give it something real to feel, to latch onto, to turn over. We can’t live in the imagination all the time. Something has to come from what is real, what is physical, what the senses can see, smell, hear, taste and touch.
Today was a good day, like, a really good day! The HR department is back in the office at work and my promotion has finally been made official! In addition, it’s very possible that the raise I will be offered will be much, much more than I had expected. I am ecstatic! I am elated! I am so happy and optimistic for the future and all the things I’m going to be able to do now I feel I’m about to explode! This is what I’ve been waiting for. This is what I’ve been working for and it’s finally happened.
I only wish I could go out and celebrate. This news calls for a couple dozen oysters, a bottle of wine, and a rich dessert. Instead, I’m stuck at home settling for whatever liquor we have in the cabinet and a bland dinner I planned a week ago. I know this lockdown is the best thing, the right thing, but damn is it a bummer.
Still, this is amazing news. I feel suddenly more validand worthy than I did just this morning when I woke up. I’ve known for weeks I got the position, yes, but to have it become real made me feel more real. I shouldn’t wrap so much of my worth up in my work, but I have been feeling so useless and so unseen these past weeks. I needed this and right or wrong it feels good and that’s all that matters.
Interestingly, as I was celebrating this momentous win and thinking about all the ways my quality of life was going to improve, I was also listening to Laurie Santos’s lectures in The Science of Well-Being and realized that the happiness I feel right now is temporary. Chances are, in a year or two, this won’t be enough. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not—it’s certainly a very human thing—but, if I could, I’d for it to be enough, or at least be exciting for a good while longer than that.
Something is changed today. I feel like I am starting a real week. I feel on top of my tasks and excited about the coming days. It’s probably just my body adjusting to the cold-brew coffee. Caffeine does as much for the emotions as it does for the body.
I spent the morning working on the most mundane task: choosing between this years employer based health insurance options. At least the offerings are much cheaper than any years past and I will see a significant saving over the next 12 months. Adulting can be exciting.
After so much fun I really needed to get out of the house so I accompanied my wife to her workplace to pick up a desk printer. She needs it for work, but I hope to use it to fill out the handouts for The Science of Well-Being course I’m taking. After that it was curbside pickup from Chipotle and a trip to my mom’s to drop off needles and thread for her to make some masks. I didn’t go in her house, but it sure felt good to see her and my little sister.
When we got home, I felt renewed and decided to take some time to work on cleaning my side of the “creativity room”. The mess is more than I could get through in a day, but a little work every day could do the trick. I’m thinking again about what else a little work a day could get me.
A long time ago I had a goal of writing an essay a week, 52 essays for the year. It’s easier than trying to get from the start to the finish of a piece in a day, but it still requires a daily practice. Maybe…maybe…
It’s my first Sunday without writing my coffee share posts and I have to say, it feels really nice. I miss the chatty nature of the posts and the change to purge my mind of the week behind me but the extra time I have now to relax, to brainstorm, to get a head start on my goals, it feels good. It feels more right.
I realized this morning that I hadn’t watched the news on TV in over a week—I’ve been catching up over social media (from trusted sources) and through podcasts—and thought I should turn it on to see what I have been missing. Within five minutes I understood why I have been avoiding it. Between the sensationalizing and speculating of the news and the advertisements trying to pull the heartstrings and capitalize on the pandemic, I could not maintain an optimistic or motivated mood.
Even after the world restarts and we find a new normal to live with, I won’t go back to letting the news play in the background all day anymore. There are ways to stay informed that don’t play with my emotions so much.
I got my goals for the week all spelled out and this time I am adding them to a little sticky note to keep on my laptop so I don’t forget. These past few weeks I’ve been thinking them up and thinking them through, writing them out and then promptly forgetting about them for the next six or seven days. That’s why I have been failing so miserably. I have zero focus and no way to bring myself back to the path.
The stay at home orders for my county have officially been extended through May 8th. I haven’t yet heard from my supervisors and coworkers about how that affects our plans to return to work in the coming weeks. Obviously our return is delayed, but by how long is the question.
Saturday continues to be my favorite day of the week. There has been very little to do any day of the week for over a month now, but on Saturdays there is even less. I wish time would slow down so I could enjoy more of it, so I could luxuriate in it.
I’m back in the “creativity room” though not much of substance is being created. The good feeling isn’t as simple or short-term as happiness. I’d say maybe I feel hopeful, or optimistic. Life feels promising and as long as my path continues straight forward from here, things can only get better. That doesn’t mean things are great right now, it just means the future feels bright.
Today was a bad day, but it wasn’t my bad day alone so I can’t share any of the details except to say that being isolated with no outside stimulation or social interaction magnifies every emotion especially the negative ones and being isolated together just doubles the ammunition and the inevitable explosion.
Things are better now, but I had to devote the entire afternoon to self care in order to move past it. I decided it was a good day to deep clean my dreadlocks and have a nice cold shower “beer” (I’m partial to hard ciders) to take the edge off. I feel refreshed and renewed now. The hurts and humiliations of before have been washed away and the evening can be enjoyed free of worry or distress…for now. It may take pizza and a glass of wine to keep the good feelings going.
That was all I could manage to do today, and even that took more effort than you could know. I’m proud of myself for not falling back into old habits and for not giving in to the urge to do nothing at all and wallow in self pity. I’m glad things turned around and I have feel confident that tomorrow will be so much better.
The late nights are starting to get to me. I’m waking up late again and my head is full of fog all day long. I took the first nap I’ve had in weeks today completely unintentionally. I was out for over an hour and I didn’t feel much better when I woke up. I’ve decided to impose old bedtime rules again as if I were working and to get back to waking up on time. It’s good for my health and productivity but it’s also in preparation of my planned return to work in a couple of weeks.
Despite the fatigue I somehow felt up to doing some cleaning and working on a Coursera writing assignment that has been plaguing me since last Monday. It’s just not possible for me to meet all the requirements of the prompt but today I realized that writing about how something doesn’t apply to you counts as writing about it and I also realized that if some aspect of the assignment doesn’t apply to me then that’s ok. It’s only me that that I have anything to prove to and if I know I did my best then as far as I’m concerned all requirements were met.
It might be a silly, insignificant online course, but you get out of anything what you put in, right?
I used writing as an escape today but not in a good way. I was supposed to be working on my course assignments but I wrote an Earth Day piece that I’m not sure I like. The problem is that so much of what I share has been free writing session with little to no editing beyond spelling grammar checks and rearranging paragraphs. What I’d like now is to spend some days on a piece without losing energy or focus.
I’m going to be returning to work in just under two weeks and I have to start thinking about how I can transition what I have learned, what I want, and what I have time now into what I will have time for when most of my day will be filled up with work and the needs and expectations of so many people.
Less time means my goals will take longer. It doesn’t mean they are impossible to achieve. I’ve had a chance to make a start and I don’t want to lose it to poor planning and foresight.
In a way I’m kind of glad I’m going back to work. I miss my friends and my routine and I think as much as both get in the way of my writing and my goals I think they also make both possible too. I need the inspiration and mental stimulation that comes from being with people and with doing things that have nothing at all to do with writing. It seems I need a life in order to have anything to say about it.
Today, in an effort to enjoy some social interaction outside of the house we met a close loved one in the parking lot of Chipotle to to enjoy a nice meal and some pleasant conversation from the safe distance of inside of our own cars. It was strange but it was nice too. I think this is a small taste of what the future will be like. Of course, it won’t be so extreme forever but this time and terror will be with us for years to come. I may never feel comfortable being so close to other people again.
Yesterday I lamented the possibility of my wife returning to work in the coming weeks and today I am stressing about the prospect of me returning to work too. My boss sent out a series of emails this afternoon asking who had a mask and who didn’t and if we’d be able to return to work the week of the May 4th.
To be honest, I’m freaking out a little bit. I’m not just worries about the virus, but the precautions we are going to have to take are really going to complicate my work. Training already takes weeks as it is, but I may have to maintain distance, do one-on-one training, wear masks and gloves, and disinfect equipment between trainees. Calss time will be doubled at least. The good news is I probably don’t have to worry anymore about my pay through the summer and I might be able to get the hold up over my promotion figured out.
This next part is going to be scary, but it sounds like we’re going to take it slow. I just hope that if things get bad the powers that be won’t let pride or even optimism get in the way to turning back to keep us all safe.