It’s mid-March and I’m reading one piece after another about being a year into this pandemic, at least in the US. Much of these sound familiar. The brain fog, the struggling with meaninglessness. Me, I often feel like I want to be a go-with-the-flow guy–to take these prolonged months as they come and try to make the most of them–except the flow often doesn’t really want to go with me.
Small moments of chaos break out. Our elderly dogs eliminate on the floor. Water leaks under the sink. I’ve become excellent at clearing decades of clutter Marie Kondo-style into donation boxes, only to have to drive all over town looking for a thrift store that’ll actually take them. (Note: thrift stores are overwhelmed with donations and are usually full by noon.) As a freelancer, any sort of work or creative project usually ends in a false start.
My complaints are little. I’m navigating much of this with enough privilege to usually keep these things to myself. So when small chaos seems to reign, there goes my flow. Any kind of flow.
A walk per day keeps the fog at bay. Just like our usual March here in SoCal, the rain has been off and on. A small break in the rain makes for a lovely iPhone shot. And maybe some hope that as more of us get vaccinated, this storm might actually break.
I realize my posts are pretty heavy on the black and white images, when normally I enjoy vibrancy, bright colors, lots of contrast. The truth is the last few weeks have been a doozy for me personally. Much of where I’m feeling mentally has been marked by a sense of melancholy. The bleak skies of Southern California during fire season. The tilt of the earth as seasons change and shadows lengthen. On a fairly decent day, one that was still blazing hot, I took my camera out near my old hometown of Ontario and snapped this vintage bowling alley, Bowlium. Only to realize of course that the Bobcat Fire had sent up a new plum of smoke and seemed to be heading toward my home.
All is well at the moment. My main objective in a very chaotic time is still a lot of self care.
The calls are coming from inside the house. The weight of anxiety around person problems. Lack of sleep. Worry over lack of direction in a pandemic world.
And the calls have been coming from outside the house, too. Raging wildfires destroying the west coast. Friends, family, and myself out of work. Teacher friends struggling just to do their job. Anything on the news.
Not to mention I can’t be outside doing what normally calms me–exercise, hiking, and gardening. It all makes me realize that you can’t whip yourself out of this space.
Reading this piece on why I’m feeling so awful right now hit all the right points for me. The ambiguous loss, the unproductive feelings, the lack of normal self-care activities.
Today has been all about the pause. Hitting pause to allow myself to re-adjust, and realizing it’s a privilege that I can even do just that. Pause, and lots of rest, and keeping stimulation low.