I’m tired from all that’s going on right now. (Fatigue is how fellow WP blogger Stephen Black put it.) So, I’m stopping along the way. I have come to a resting space on the side of my path and I’m going to sit here for a while. I’ll sit, rest and reflect.
My journey (and this blog) was supposed to be about exploring what the second half of life looks like. All was going well until the pandemic hit. In the five months since then I’ve been traveling in circles from fear to anxiety to boredom and back. While the country has largely reopened, I’ve been spinning in my own high risk Phase I. So, I’m going to stop. I’ve been so busy worrying about everything (including my sanity) that I haven’t thought to use my confinement to consider how substantially life is impacted by the coronavirus. I’m going to quiet myself and contemplate. It’ll be my Phase II. What better time to examine my motivations, convictions and intentions than now?
Am I seeing everything differently now than I did pre-pandemic; my community, my relationships, myself?
Is my fear of death from COVID-19 overblown because of the trauma I’ve experienced from losing dear ones to disease?
Does that fear run counter to my belief system?
Did I appreciate my pre-pandemic life by fully participating or was I mostly observing as I’m forced to do now?
Will I act more intentionally within our global community after this time of solitude, once a vaccine is developed and I move along again?
I’ll sit here with these questions for a while. I don’t need immediate answers. It’s enough for me to ask and think about them. I’m grateful that I can! The effect to this blog will probably be less humor and some posts might be reflective fiction, poetry or entries from my gratitude journal. I’m hoping that sitting with challenging questions might provide some spiritual growth and maturity. I wonder what Phase III will look like.
A fellow blogger posted this painful but beautiful poem recently to her blog, Boomie Bol. Her poems are consistently powerful but this one resonated with me in timely and potent ways.
I’m hurting emotionally right now for reasons that aren’t relevant to this post except to say it’s my own damn fault. Turning the hurt into words on the page is the only thing that makes sense to me at the moment. I’m not even sure I’m turning the hurt into words because I can’t bear to write about the thing itself. I am writing, though. I’ve been working on my novel revisions almost every day. I’ve also been making comments on the WP blogs I follow and the writing community on Twitter as I normally do although nothing feels normal. At first, I thought I was doing it all because I was trying to keep negative thoughts at bay but that’s impossible. Then I read the Boomie Bol poem and thought to myself, That’s it. I don’t want to waste my misery. I said before in another post that I don’t write because I want to, I write because I must. So, if I must write it seems natural that I should use my misery to drive the process. I think it’s what many writers do.
I didn’t want to blog because it feels like exposing myself at my most vulnerable. But I committed to trying to post at least once a month and I take that commitment seriously. I can’t get past the distress so it was unavoidable that this post would reflect that. I’m not going to promote it the way I usually do by way of an email blast and social media. I don’t really care how many folks read it or how many “likes” I get this time. I have to write anyway, and the WordPress community has always been kind to me so why not. Thank you for being here with me. Thank you to Boomie Bol as usual, for the truth in your words.
I got a doorbell camera. There have been unintended consequences.
When I had it installed a few months ago I didn’t know about the alert feature that indicates when there’s motion near the door and records it. There had been some car break-ins and package thefts in my neighborhood, so I set the detection range from my car in the parking lot to my front door. This is what the camera has detected ninety-five percent of the time:
Nothing. Nada. Not a thing.
The other five percent of the time it has detected the routine comings and goings of my neighbors. This has resulted in making me what my son calls “that nosy old woman”. I know what time everyone leaves in the morning and what time they come back. I know which people are frequent Amazon customers and who still gets old school newspapers. I know what time they walk their dogs and who doesn’t pick up the doo. If the alert chimes at an irregular time during the day I run to the window to see who’s up to what. Worst of all, I judge everybody. I’ve come up with names for them like, Mr. Back and Forth, The Phantom, Weird Guy, Crooked Parking Grandma…
Anyway, it wasn’t just the package thefts and car break-ins that prompted me to get the camera. I got it because I felt vulnerable. I developed insomnia from worrying that someone was going to break into my house in the middle of the night. I think that as I’ve gotten older, I feel I can’t defend myself the way I once could. It didn’t help that racoons were setting off the motion detector on my back slider every few nights. The point is that it was all in my head. I knew it was the racoons lighting up the deck at 3am but I couldn’t shake the fear. I imagined that someone was going to get in and something terrible was going to happen to me. What my doorbell camera has shown me is that nothing ever happens in my neighborhood and that my neighbors are just plain folks. It has shown me that the problem is internal not external. Security measures are a good thing, anxiety isn’t. My therapist daughter says that I need to think about that and for God’s sake stop watching people. I think that from now on I’ll only turn the alert on at night.