Nice to see you again.
Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon…
Have I opened with that line before? Probably. If so, forgive me. Staying at the Wolff family homestead always brings out the Prairie Home Companion in me. Yes, Dennis and I are staying here for...now. TBD. Suffice it to say, we're getting in plenty of wooden chair time.
In all seriousness though, it has been a quiet week – and I’m guessing the same for you.
How are you faring? How are you staying busy? How are you staying sane?
I don’t know about you, but I’m losing track of days. I’m working from home, as are so many others, which means that my Monday-Friday is pretty monotonous: do 30 minutes of movement in the morning, take a shower, eat breakfast, and plop down in front of my computer from 9-12. Try to get outside during my lunch break from about 12-1 (which usually means walking the perimeter of my parents’ two giant fields on their 11-acre property), then back in front of the computer until about 5:30, sometimes later.
I’m over it.
As we laughed over in a work meeting last week, it’s tempting to want to keep track of days prison-style – one etched line on the wall at a time. But why would I cross off days? What am I moving toward? It’s not like anyone knows what’s at the end of this. We’re all going through our days the best we can, taking it one day at a time because we can’t really plan for much besides food and toilet paper supplies.
We’re living in limbo.
Though we’re in it together, it feels all the more strange because we’re socially distanced. We’re all floating in our own little limbo bubbles, unsure of where the ground is or of where the sky is or of where our own bodies and minds are. When we connect, none of us really knows what to say. We might discuss COVID-19 updates, because that’s pretty much all that’s in the media. We might ask each other how our days were, but that lasts about two minutes, because 1) most of don’t really know what to do with ourselves, and 2) it’s not like we’ve had any adventures, other than perhaps going to the grocery store, but that inevitably leads back to...COVID-19.
We’re all living in a limbo matrix, and it’s one big isolated, apocalyptic bundle of weird.
But I don’t need to tell you that, because you’re living it, too. So, in the spirit of sharing reassuring words...here’s my attempt this week, inspired by the three people with whom I'm living for the foreseeable future:
Flip-Switches That Have Helped Me Stay Sane
#1: Trying to be present
Papa is the Ultimate Presence Master. He's all about enjoying the moment and savoring everything, no matter how small. It’s a much more enjoyable way to go through life – and through this particular adventure – than simply waiting. Again: no one knows what’s going to happen. So, we might as well be present. We might not always enjoy the present, and that’s okay. A lot of feelings will arise, so notice them, identify them, and consider where to go from there. There’s no right or wrong way to experience emotions, but greeting them openly and curiously and honoring them will help you be with them in more helpful ways.
No matter your feelings, staying present can help you appreciate what you have, tune into yourself and what’s going on around you, and get you out of your head in beautiful ways.
#2: Staying busy
Mama is the Ultimate Busy Master. That woman is always doing at least one thing, and on the rare occasion she actually sits down and “relaxes,” you just know that her mind is thinking about all the things she has to and/or could possibly do. Since I’ve been home, she has spent approximately 60% of every single day worrying about whether or not we have enough food and how we can prepare. I’ve learned to reassure her as often as possible that it will all be okay...and then let her do her thing. After all, she needs something to do and something to worry about, and (over)preparing makes her feel good. To each her own!
If you have more time than usual, or you’re feeling disconnected from other humans, consider how you might use this time in ways that feel good.
Dennis is the Ultimate Master of Making Me Laugh. Thanks, in part, to the IVF-med cocktail I’ve been on for the past few months, I’ve been in a pretty “meh” space – quiet, a little withdrawn, not as positive or quick to laugh. Now, a week off the meds, I finally feel like I’m emerging from this gray haze. Through it all, Dennis has been able to make me laugh, whether on purpose or just by being his passionate, ridiculous, own-drummer self. It always makes me feel better and takes me out of myself.
Laugh as much as possible. We all need it, now more than ever.
#4: Letting things go
Okay, speaking of laughter, Dennis would laugh REALLY HARD at this one, as it’s not always my strong suit. Case in point: Mama made a loaf of banana bread yesterday, and I “suggested” that Dennis not have three pieces, so we can make it last. As much as I make fun of my mom, I definitely have my Depression-mindset moments. I just keep picturing my mother slaving over bread-baking all day long. First of all, it would give her something to do besides order more food. Second of all, it’s all okay. Bottom line: let the man have his banana bread and stop rationing him.
I’m trying. Holding on to things and caring too much about stupid stuff isn’t fun for anyone, and my limited energy these days is best utilized, well, anywhere else.
#5: Counting my blessings
It’s really easy to fall into negativity nowadays. We’re probably all feeling restless, on edge at times, and struggling to make the most of a very limiting sense of stuckness.
Counting blessings helps. What’s going well – or at least okay? Who do you have in your life to connect with virtually or on the phone? What do you have that brings you joy? And so forth. I mean, health is a big blessing these days, so you can always start there.
Anyway, those are a few flip-switches keeping me sane at the moment – especially on days when I’m so burned out from working at my computer that I don’t have the energy to be creative, which is how I’d much rather be spending these quiet days. On the other hand, that would mean that I wouldn’t have a steady paycheck, so...counting my blessings! There you go. Taking my own advice.
Thanks for stopping by. And keep sharing your stories, because someone wants to hear them.