10 Perks (For Me) During This Pandemic

 

 

1. The gift of distance. 

People are finally staying as far away from me as I’d like them to. I am loving the social distancing thing. Personal space, for me, is 4 feet…minimum.   

2. It’s the small stuff that stings. 

You know what they say about small stuff hurting a lot more than you’d think? Like a paper cut? Those things are tiny but pack a wallop of pain. Same goes for small talk. Painful. Something I could happily do without. And now, I can! And I am! And it’s not weird. Everyone is partaking in the skipping of small talk in exchange for a distant wave. Woot!

3. Hand-washing. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public restroom and seen someone emerge from a stall and walk out the door. Holy crap (pun intended). You’ve got germs and dirt and…human waste on your hands and you’re headed to sit down and grab a dinner roll? Dude.

Now people are washing their hands. With water. And soap. And they’re doing it a lot. Shiny, clean fingers crossed this practice stays in effect long past the pandemic.

4. Do. Not. Engage. 

Strangers are not speaking to me or asking me things or trying to engage me in conversation. (See #2.)

5. Tranquility in quarantine.

I’m an introvert. And not the cool kind we writers like to claim we are. I’m talking severe introversion. Like hermit status. So staying in isn’t torture for me. Quarantine is kind of the status quo around here. Except, now, it’s not eccentric, it’s expected. Rock on! (In the comfort of my own home, of course. Alone. With a book. And wine.)

6. The barren land of toilet paper shelves. 

I don’t waste time in the paper goods aisle anymore, my head swaying back and forth between quilted and two-ply, recycled and double-roll. (Why are there so many types of TP, anyway?) Unrelated: I’ve found a good use for printed political ads.

7. Express yourself. 

I’ve always prided myself on knowing people. Not having five hundred friends but knowing people. Catch my drift? I can spot a jerk from a mile away, have a built-in BS detector, and generally get a vibe from folks right off the bat. (Wow. That’s a boatload of clichés right there. Apologies. Let’s see if I can do some more…) Totally lost my train of thought. Damn clichés.

Oh, right. So with this mask thing, pegging people is a breeze. Are you donning a dust mask? Is Hello Kitty hiding your smile? Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? (I may or may not have all of these.) You can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to wrap around their face. Whether you’re wearing a sports team, cartoon character, political crap, or a medical-grade surgical mask, you are making a statement. Own it.

8. Wild things. 

My lawn is patchy, dandelions are popping up, dead leaves from fall are collecting in every corner of my yard. Paint is peeling, shrubs need clipping, and NOT ONE of my neighbors is complaining to me about it. Bliss. *waves at neighbor* *trips over vole hole* *falls over* Peace out, y’all.

9. “Kkkhhxx… You’re breaking up…”

You know that old “trick” (I’m using quotes here as it never really tricks anyone) where you make a crackling noise into your cell phone and yell, “You’re breaking up–can’t hear you”? Then you hang up on the person pestering you, asking for a favor, or saying that, no, your new haircut does not flatter your face?

Now we get to do that constantly. Because we’re relying so much on technology, we can claim it isn’t working. So that day I didn’t shower and the day I wore my sushi pajamas, my video couldn’t connect. (How convenient.) But the audio worked. Weird, right? Wrong. I’ve been in many meetings where this happened to others so it’s all good. Plus, you get to play a little game with yourself trying to figure out if folks are telling the truth or just woke up late and are chilling in their underwear. Bonus!

10. Social distancing does not apply. 

I can hug trees. In public places. With people around. When they stare, I wave and shout, “Don’t have to social distance with trees!” 🙂🌲🌳

 

 

I’m not making light of Covid 19. This is serious. There is a global pandemic going on. I get it. I do. Don’t throw your non-latex gloves at me. I’m just trying to find a little fun during this time. Hope you are all healthy and safe. Stay sane, gentle readers. ❤️

 

 

My One Word for 2020 #OneWord2020

 

pine-cone-sig

 

I was going to switch this up a bit for 2020 but guess what? I’m not. This is (unfortunately) perfect:

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it’s not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

One Word for 2019 was: Move. Seriously. Like Move Yer Arse, Girl! Or, you know, something nicer, like, Excuse me but would you mind moving? Same, same. Getting unstuck was sort of the idea.

I’m still stuck but heartily sorry for it and flailing for a helping hand out of the pit.

my One Word for 2018 was: Self. It was a good choice. It worked. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

my One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

Well. Isn’t that something? And here we are again. Another year, another word. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

 

I’ve noticed my blog has its share of posts about overwhelm. Just a few, really, not, like, dozens. Ahem. So I got to thinking about being overwhelmed. Too much. Too many things. So, naturally, I need to make lists. And prioritize. That will work. Except for the times it doesn’t. Which is to say always. Or never. Whatever.

I’ve got to sort out my priorities. This is more important than that. That is more pressing than the other. Things get put on The List, shifted, knocked down a number, back up, and so forth and, soon enough, nothing is done.

So, instead of putting my life on a piece of paper in order of importance, I’m changing my mindset. (FYI, this is always, always, a good idea. You should try it.) I’ve always sucked at multi-tasking but I’m not sure that’s what this is anymore. I’m thinking it’s more that I’m utterly unfocused.

So here is my ironic focus word for 2020:

FOCUS

I was at a cemetery last month and grabbed my phone to take a picture.

When I tapped on the screen to focus on the little pinecone in my face, the gravestones blurred in the background. And vice versa. Right? Because whether it’s a mobile phone or a fancy camera, it cannot focus on more than one thing at a time.

I hadn’t written my One Word post yet but, there, right then, in that cemetery, I wrote it in my head.

I’m not prioritizing the pinecone over the gravestone. But if I try to focus on both of them, they’re both blurry and I don’t get either one. If I tap and zoom in on one, I get an amazing shot. Then, *tap*, another great shot. Done.

Obviously, there will be times when something will demand my focus be drawn to that issue or situation but I will focus on it and move on.

If I’m constantly trying to focus on everything, then everything is out of focus.

Narrow my focus and, boom, I’ve got a clear shot.

As always, a definition (because I’m a nerd):

 

focus

/fōkəs/

noun

  • the center of interest or activity.

center, focal point, center of attention

Get me a spotlight, man. I’m shining it on whatever shit needs attention. Laser focused, my friends. 

  • the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.

clear, clear-cut, well-defined

Producing a well-defined, clear-cut visual? Please hold. Your patience is appreciated. The clear visual will be with you shortly. 

verb

  • (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

Seeing clearly? Yes, please. Adapting and becoming able to see clearly are HUGE challenges for me. Two great goals.  

  • pay particular attention to.

give emphasis to, highlight

Dude, this makes me want to whip out one of those big, neon yellow markers and highlight the hell out of the book of my life. On it!

 

I’m going to focus this year. I know I said this last year but 2020 will see another book from me. The manuscripts are sitting here glaring at me. They are more patient than I.

Happy New Year, my friends. ❤ Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 🥂

 

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I’d love to hear what your One Word is for 2020.

 

When the Year Grows Old

 

 

When the Year Grows Old

And often when the brown leaves
Were brittle on the ground,
And the wind in the chimney
Made a melancholy sound,

She had a look about her
That I wish I could forget–
The look of a scared thing
Sitting in a net…

But the roaring of the fire,
And the warmth of fur,
And the boiling of the kettle
Were beautiful to her…

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

The year has grown old, died, and been reborn. It is ‘new’. There are beginnings. Yet I acutely feel the year growing old.

When the clock struck midnight December 31st, when the calendar ceased to count days for 2019…what happened?

Nothing.

It’s as if I’m waiting for some unknown force to press the ‘reset’ button.

As I work on my One Word for 2020, I realize I’m stuck. Not in my decision of which word to choose but in the way I feel caught at the end of last year. In a time when I listened to the wind whistling a melancholy tune and brittle leaves scraped the window panes, begging to be let inside.

When I had the look of a frightened bird flapping helplessly inside a net.

Yet there is a difference. The trap has weakened, loosened. I can breathe.

I find familiarity in the world around me and there is comfort and beauty in that. In the moments when I take that first sip of coffee, tie my hair up with an elastic band, lace my warm, winter boots. When I lose myself in sunlight creating intricate patterns on my floor or notice wind catching a hydrangea flower hidden since last spring.

Sometimes, when the stress is too much, when the weight is too heavy, when the ropes are too tight, our struggles increase the pain. Sometimes relaxing into the discomfort and fear is all we can do and, sometimes, that shifts our world enough to see the beauty.

 

Health and happiness to you, gentle readers.