So much has happened.
Nothing has happened.
My world is sometimes unrecognizable, but that’s likely because I never had time to look at it before. I’ve been writing. I haven’t been writing here. It’s hard to do both, but I’m going to make a stronger effort.
In the last few weeks, my oldest graduated but did not have a graduation. My second born got a driver’s license and has invented places to go. His two most frequent activities lately are to drive one sister to get smoothies at McDonald’s and the other sister to local ponds to fish. He is determined to be present when she catches her first fish. They are there now. If they survive the heat, I expect good things from today.
I am realizing things about myself in all of this madness.
I do better in the short haul. I’m GREAT in the short haul. I’m all about pep talks and preparation. As long as it doesn’t go on for too long. I remember the heat inside my house when we lost power during Hurricane Irma. I was Caroline Ingalls for the first two days; slogging through the heat and checking on neighbors. The last 3 days I was writing my will and selling off children. It only took 2.5 days for me to completely unravel.
It took longer with this pandemic. I mean, we are 4 months in now. I’ve been fairly focused and upbeat. I set goals and spent time reflecting. I’ve been excessively thankful to have my people under one comfortable roof. But I can’t give myself any credit for my positivity. I had August in my mind. I was always thinking, “If we could just make it to August and get things back to a higher level of normal, I’ll be ok.” We are very nearly at August, right now. And here in Florida, things are getting less normal, not more. More sick, not less. I think I hit a mental wall when I made that connection. And just in the last week, I began to let some thin threads of desperation weave their way into the pajamas I’ve been wearing to walk the dog. Everything is cancelled. The fall will not look like I want it to with sports and school activities. Will there be pro football? Will there be college football? Will there be high school football? WHERE DO WE STAND WITH FOOTBALL? The things that I used to hold up as beacons of hope are likely gone for the next year or at least severely altered. It took me awhile to be truly bothered by it, to feel a tad worried about it.
But I got there.
I spent all day in that space yesterday. I even took a nap before dinner. Because that’s all I felt like I could do. I didn’t see the point in further planning or cheerleading. I didn’t feel like doing it. But I also knew I had to. In my phase of life, I don’t get to skip something simply because I don’t feel like participating. That works for a day. That works for the very short haul. It doesn’t work much longer than that. My long haul is weak. I have to teach my short haul to be a better supporter. So as I went to bed last night, I decided I would do absolutely everything I could do from now on to strengthen myself.
I made my to-do list. I prioritized the items on that list to get all my sweaty chores done before lunch, because our heat index was expected to be 109 today. I checked items off my list as I did them, which gave me an energy all by itself. I am such a list person.
That was all short haul business, though.
The hard part is applying it to the long haul. Back in February, I started a list of 50 things to do before I turn 50 at the very end of this year. About half of those things are either now impossible, illegal by orders of the local governing pandemic authorities, or highly discouraged. But I’ll still turn 50 at the end of the year. So I need to modify my list.
Since I struggle with my long haul goals, I am turning it into an acronym.
Lists – Make daily lists for daily tasks and bigger lists for longer term goals.
Others – Check on others more often. If I’m struggling, they may be too.
Nature – Go outside every day. Walk. Exercise. Whatever.
Gratitude – Be conscious of the good. Even in the bad, there is good. Thank God for all of it.
Homies&Health – Spend time with my people and stay healthy.
Aspirations – Set goals. Just because movie theaters are on hold doesn’t mean my dreams have to be.
Uturns – When something isn’t working, fix it. Uturn when necessary. Adjust.
Literature. – Read and write. Weekly.
I’m in it now for the long haul.