Tag Archives: 2020

A New Day

I don’t want to “go back to the way things were.” 2020 was pretty damn good to me. I watched images on TV and cried, I was often heartsick with all that happened, and I felt stressed and worried at times – decidedly anxious – but my reality was not bad at all. I had work, food (enough to put on a few pandemic pounds๐Ÿ˜), and a secure roof over my head. I don’t have children I had to keep occupied or educated. I’m not ill-suited to staying home or away from other people. Moreover, I did everything Saint Doctor Fauci said to do and did not contract the virus. (Because I never was anywhere to catch them I didn’t get a single cold or come down with the flu either.)

2020, for me personally, was the best year I’d had in five years, years in which there was a problematic situation in my life, not of my making, which had deep negative effects on me. Think of it like this. Imagine – and this is not my story – that just prior to the pandemic you’d had a terrible illness that was cured or went into remission. Or maybe your child or partner – again not my situation – was an addict but got their act together just before 2020 and was no longer abusing any substances. Or perhaps – really not my story – you’d been in prison and were released before last year. In any of these imagined scenarios, independent of anything else and assuming you didn’t get a bad case of the virus, 2020 would be looking pretty $%&@# good, no? It did to me. It did to me.

I don’t know that I’m out of the woods – my problem could definitely be reinstated as it’s fully beyond my control – but I can not tell you how very fine 2020 was in its absence. In this blog I called last year a “cake walk” for me compared to the preceding ones. Seriously, I’d take five 2020s, only in the sense of my own small existence and in NO WAY minimizing all the horrible things that have happened to other people, over one of the previous five years. Maybe I’d take ten of ’em, not sure. I’ve said this for years and don’t know if I ever said it in the blog but I maintain that sometimes you don’t fully see how bad things were or how you felt in its whole until things get better. I think that about grief for instance, or any kind of downtrodden period. Only when they lift (assuming they do) can you see how bad or oppressive it was.

People talk about having a word for 2021. If I’ve got one and to the extent it remains within my control, my word is freedom. Of course the cynic in me feels obligated to note that it could all go to shit but barring that…

I did read 30 books in 2020 per my “resolutions”. I’m recently drawn back to “spiritual” (which is not religious) or life-affirming works of a sort I haven’t read in awhile. Thanks to a mention last year in Ally Bean’s lively blog I read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed. Before my local library shut down for many months in early 2020 I happened to see and check out Oprah Winfrey’s The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose. This is a beautiful book, literally and figuratively, and one that should have general appeal to a certain kind of person, whether or not they respond particularly to Oprah herself (as I do). I would suggest it to anyone interested in living their life in a full and meaningful-to-you way. It’s made up of bits of prose by Oprah and quotations from over 60 people she esteems. Once the library reopened and I’d returned my copy I checked out the “Playaway” audio version so I could hear the various people in their own voices which really added to it.

In a mini free library I picked up Tosha Silver’s Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead, which, once I got around to looking at it, truly resonated with me. It’s probably a bit “out there” for a lot of people (although not so out there to preclude Dr Christiane Northrup from writing the intro), but I think Ms Silver presents a vibrantly different way of looking at life and its possibilities. She’s smart and fun too, no dry, boring monologues here. Her universe is a generous one, where you get what you need, which isn’t the same as having all your wishes filled. She counters the western notion of grasping, clinging, struggling and fighting for everything with one of relaxing into a belief that the universe/divine order will provide what is needed if allowed. What I think? There’s no harm in considering Silver’s ideas especially if traditional western thinking doesn’t truly suit you.

To take a sharp turn in another direction, I’ll end by saying my creativity is charging along, strong as ever. For most of 2020 I let a pair of earrings bide their time in my Amazon cart; I told myself not to buy them because I figured I could probably make a similar pair with what I have onhand. I did buy a packet of ready-made hoops, an indulgence by my standards. Late 2020 I got to it and made them.

I’m already thinking summer. I love wearing jewelry but my necklaces don’t get much play. My winter tops – mostly zip-ups and fleece – aren’t really necklace-friendly and about six months of the year, maybe more, I’m swimming in sunscreen and have never wanted to get my necklaces greasy (not sure how’d you’d even get sunscreen off of them successfully). I have an idea to wear chokers in summer, thinking they won’t get as close to the sunscreen terrain.๐Ÿ˜Š Anyway, I made this one today. It goes with my current mood/frame of mind, in a good way.

Whine like that

When I was out earlier today I spied a small sticker stuck on a sign post. In typed script it read:

“None of this is your fault.

You have a right to be angry.

It didn’t have to be this way. “

Hmm. I could start by saying you’re not supposed to stick things on sign posts, etcetera, in my community but people do. Usually though, it’s yard sale signs or business flyers. It’s unusual to see general text like this. The person who put it there must have been busy because I saw the same one later on a (light) post. Somebody clearly felt they needed to spread this message around. To me the intent is clearly about the pandemic and not about racial or other issues. The self-pitying tone makes me think that. I googled the first two lines to see if these words were turning up online but no, apparently this sentiment belongs to a local.

On whole, I’m not impressed or comforted. I’m on board with the first line; if any average citizen is blaming themselves for something related to the pandemic, of course it’s not their fault. The second line starts to bother me a hair. Angry? Yesssss, it’s okay to feel angry but that’s not enough said. It’s not okay to be angry about the pandemic and take it out on other people. It’s not a great idea to be angry and take it out on yourself either. (I’m reminded of a guy on a community Facebook page a few months ago asking where he could buy alcohol, because he wasn’t going to go through this sober. Not everybody is so blunt but a lot of people appear to have shared that attitude.) We’ve seen plenty of anger this year. It’s not an emotion I’d be advocating for right now, not unless it’s directed toward useful action.

The last line loses me entirely. It didn’t have to happen?? Who can really say that? Yes, I know criticism is aimed at how it’s been handled, but that’s a different matter. I’m so weary of people – American people certainly – carrying on as if nothing bad should ever happen and if it does, SOMEBODY is to blame. Somebody should PAY (often literally but not always). I don’t see how this is much different than ancient peoples railing at the gods for sending them plagues of locusts or bad harvests. Instead of the “gods” being responsible, now it’s governments, institutions, and so on. Sometimes that’s absolutely the case. Sometimes someone (or a government, institution, or business) should be held accountable after a bad event. This just is not one of them. Pandemics happen.

A bit about me and update on 2020 “resolutions”

I haven’t said jack about my Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions 2020 since one update in March. I suppose I’ve had other things on my mind.๐Ÿ˜• But I did not just give up. That was not an option. The world is not ending and I’m not sick. That said I didn’t/don’t feel that it has to be “business as usual.” I can be tough on myself but I am not out of my head.๐Ÿ˜

My work life, which is part time, has been unaffected by the pandemic. I don’t have a lot of people contact and when I do have any, distancing is possible. I mention this to note that I was and have been grateful to be working and to say it came first over the course of the last 5+ months.

While work has been the same, several other things have not been, obviously. I’ve stayed away from people, out of stores almost entirely, and off public transportation.

Reading books became difficult for the early months of the pandemic; it was too hard to concentrate. I’m very, very happy to say my public library is in the earliest stage of reopening and it’s possible to request & pick up materials (outside). I feel less distracted now and am enjoying books again. I’ve read 22 of a planned 30 for the year. I’m currently listening to Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, which got a lot of buzz last year.

My “good deeds” are going okay too. The rule is it has to be something where I go a bit out of my way (more so than normal, every day things I do) and it has to be with no expectation of reward of any kind. I’ve done 16 of a planned 20. I don’t know what a “good deed” will be in advance; I just look for opportunities.

The Elementary School has lovely flower gardens. They were initially planted by volunteers/parents (I’m neither) and they’d typically hold “work parties” to maintain them. At the end of February, pre-pandemic, I noticed the beds were neglected, full of leaves & last year’s dead perennials. I knew that there’d likely be a cleanup date scheduled when it got warmer, but since I usually work best alone, I started working on them. Well, you know what happened in pretty short order. School got closed and nobody touched those beds. So I did. I keep ’em clean and haul away the debris. School is not re-opening for fall so I expect I have an ongoing good-deed-doing project this year. They’re so nice; it’d be a shame to let them totally go.

The best one with rose bushes, black-eyed susans, coneflowers, sedum & other stuff๐Ÿ˜Š

Two other beds. Both have flowers and one has a Crepe Myrtle & I don’t know what the other tree is

Yoga has fallen off. I am active outdoors in seasonal weather (and unseasonal to a lesser degree) and I’ve realized that yoga is a better winter activity for me at least now. I do feel like I lose momentum by not doing it year round but I just have to accept that. This means my yoga goals will not happen as they were ambitious, pre-pandemic, and supposed to be spread over the calendar year.

I have gotten rid of (recycled, given away, etc) over 90 things. I love it! I want less things/better things. It’s kinda funny to me; in the last several years I’ve focused on making my home an attractive, useful, clutter-free place. And now, during the pandemic, I’ve gotten to live in it. It’s almost as if I’ve been preparing for this time. In retrospect anyway.

This is not mine & it doesn’t count as a “good deed” because I think of it as my contribution for the use of it, but I’ve been weeding this bed & keeping the immediate grass around it cut. I thought it was such a lovely, generous thing for someone to contribute. I’m mad for Basil especially & really don’t get enough sun for it so I’ve been delighted to have access.

I planned to cut back on movie-watching (more books, less movies) in 2020 BUT since I don’t have cable & don’t watch movies on my tablet AND I couldn’t get DVDs from the library, I was FORCED to cut back! That’s right, I didn’t see any of the Tiger King stuff – not sure I want to – or that Love is Blind (I think that’s the name) pod dating show either. Instead, I discovered re-runs of Shipping Wars on regular TV. Fascinating show. The shippers are SO insulting toward one another but SO funny. I could relate! Now however, I am so happy to again have access to library DVDS. They are my reward.

There’s something else I want to say. For most of the time I’ve had this blog, I’ve also had a problem in my life. No one is sick or dying but the problem is one I have no control over. The people who should have helped didn’t. In my 2020 Resolutions post I wrote about relief from this problem. That relief, which gave me back a kick in my step, has continued. I have wanted to tell you this: for me personally, everything that has happened this year has been a cakewalk when contrasted against this problem. I tell you that so you’ll have an idea of the magnitude the problem had for me. I am so, so, so grateful to not have had this problem on my plate in this year. I don’t like to think of what it might have like to have dealt with both. This problem may easily return, I have no certainty but AT LEAST it was not on my plate this year. I breath easier.

Let’s lighten the mood. I had slacked on pushups figuring I was doing enough other exercise. I was wrong.๐Ÿ˜ Like many, I put on a few pandemic pounds. You wouldn’t know it but I do. Pushups strengthen the upper body AND tone the abdomen. I’ve started doing 10 every day again.

That’s right, I’m BAD

This post would not be finished if I didn’ talk about the social upheaval. If I was a younger woman and there wasn’t a pandemic I think I’d almost certainly have gone to a Black Lives Matter march or anti police brutality demonstration. These are terrifically important times and I had tugs of feeling that history was passing me by as I stayed home safe in my community. But there’s only so much you can do and you have to prioritize. I’m not young & I don’t like crowds. So, like many, I watch the TV, I take in the latest horrifying event, whatever it is. I still fear for this country but that so many do seem to want healthy change, gives me hope.