awareness, balance

Boredom Rings at Odd Times

2:40 am and the house is super quiet. Not a creature is stirring, but I seem bored.

My mind is racing but on much of nothing. What am I going to do tomorrow? Nothing big? What can I do? Nothing big? What should I do? Nothing really?

I doubt I am alone but what are others worried about? Food, shelter, essentials and how to support themselves. Maybe that what’s keeping me awake.

An acquaintance in the restaurant industry that is a server. His livelihood relies upon customers, tips and his restaurant being in operation. None of those things are available currently. This impacts his ability to pay his rent, buy food and basically survive. I am worried for him.

The two young adults learning to navigate early adulthood living on their own. Living paycheck to paycheck. Having no cushion for next week let alone a month. Both hourly workers in an industry cutoff by the corona virus. How will their mental health fare during this time? Will they springboard and value the importance of saving for a rainy day?

My friend’s family owns a restaurant. My friend is a hair dresser. My friend is a mechanic. My friend owns a gym. They all have families, budgets, bills, and employees. They have to make hard decisions to survive. Some are in states with mandatory shutdowns of their business. Business is always risky but nobody forecasted the world halting like it did recently. How will this impact these friends in the short term and the long term?

Those caring for elderly. The heightened scare for their health due to underlying problems. The isolation. Will this solidarity kill them? Will they give up on their own because it’s just too much to cope with at their age?

I think I worry about the mental health of many connected to me. The stress, the anxiety, the unknown all hinges on fear. When fear is constant on the news, on the internet, in the government, on the radio, in the desolate streets one needs to have coping skills. And I’m not just talking about phone a friend because you need multiple options for coping and navigating these unchartered and turbulent times. One friend can’t solve or take on that burden themselves.

You may need to call a doctor. You mean need to reach out to a phone hotline. You may need to research stress relievers for your type of triggers. You might need to take up a hobby like cooking. It’s also critical to include exercise. Sometimes exercise can be overlooked in this type of crisis, but exercise can be a form a stress relief and add mental clarity.

I am working out at home daily. Inside or outside depending on the weather. Different movements than usual and maybe more bite-sized packets of workouts than long hard workouts. Mostly depends on the day and what I have to knock out.

I can’t forget to mention two friends in two different parts of country suffering from cancer. Both mid-stream in treatment. Extensive treatment that absolutely requires isolation. They live in fear of not only their cancer but now the virus lurking around them. Their risk is so much higher. Their stress has to be maxed. Their family full of endless worry. My heart bleeds for these folks.

My friends on the front lines. The nurses, doctors, x-ray tech, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, and others involved in care giving in the present. They are all handling their duties so well, full of pride and boundless energy. I am full of gratitude to those of you I know near and far. Keep working hard.

I guess when I started this blog I noted I was bored. In reality I am probably just worried. Troubled mind thinking of others. Clearly I can’t cure the virus or solve the problems of all the folks above. I can however offer hope, kindness and positive vibes to those I interact with.

I will find little ways to brighten people’s day around me. Even if brief it’s my contribution. My efforts that I can control. Today their are many things out of my control but I choose my attitude. I choose my efforts. I can make an impact. Small maybe but if I motivate one person I did something.

Even if we are on lockdown we can all offer hope to others. I guess I should have named this post hope not boredom. Signing off to sleep a little more now that my mind is at peace. What a wonderful method of relaxation, writing. That’s a little tidbit for you. Grab a journal and write your thoughts down while you navigate this challenging time. Writing is therapeutic from my perspective.

perspective

Flip Flopping Frustrations

This morning my frustrations were mounting.  The workouts I decided on weren’t what I expected.  My home gym equipment kept failing or falling over.  I wasn’t sweating enough.  The scale was up.  My morning reading time didn’t settle my mind as it usually does.  Another day of staring at a computer screen (aka working from home) was about to begin. Anger, irritation, all of it piling up, no end in sight.

Woe is me.

I had a come to Jesus with myself and told myself to quit griping.  Yes, a lot of the pandemic pandemonium sucks but we are making it work.  I told myself to make a list of my frustrations then flip them into reasons to be grateful.  Some remind me to be grateful for what I have now, others remind me to be grateful for what I used to have and will hopefully return to.  Here it is:

IMG_7387

It’s in the notebook I’ve set aside to chronicle this crazy time. I’ve read in several places that journaling, while always important, is especially valuable now, for mental health as well as historical reasons.  We are living history. I know I will add more pages of frustration as this time wears on.  I’ll keep reading it and reminding myself to flip my frustrations into appreciation.

Spring break begins today.  What would have been sweet relief and possibly getting out of town is not a shelter-in-place order that will last two weeks.  Our one week off of school will be followed by at least three more of learning from home.  I will spend time preparing my mind for these challenges this week.  I’ll also devote some time to gratitude to friends, family, and those who are serving on the front lines of this crisis.  And hopefully get out into the sunshine and nature often with those who are closest to me.

When you start to get stuck or go down the path of anxiety, see if you can flip your thinking.  Focus on gratitude and what you can control. What switch can you flip today?

challenges

Friday the 13th Meets Coronavirus

It’s Friday the 13th. Lock yourself inside. Hide. The world is under attack of corona. Not the beer, the virus.

Pause the youth sports activities, indefinitely. Talk about dealing with sad kids. As a coach this is uncharted territory, to see seasons cancelled. This is an emotional change for kids and most coaches are not prepared to guide their athletes.

Resume school via digital learning. Locking the kids up at home. I can juggle but what about parents with kids who can’t. Panic will set in. Sheer panic.

What about the people who rely on food pantries. Will people forgot to make donations? Those kids may not get the free lunch they are used to at school. Digital saves one problem but creates another. Creative solutions in some places bring hope. If kids can’t take the bus to school for lunch, the bus will bring the lunch to them.

Postpone group meetings, team picnic, conference and various other events with multiple people. People still need to work. How will commerce keep moving? How will people meet their contract deliverables if commerce is halted?

Pray for all the college students abroad on spring break that may be stuck for a while outside the US. Think about the emotional state of coming back from spring break to be told to remove your belongings immediately from dorms. This is happening!

Cancel spring break flights stateside. Or maybe not. Some will take advantage of cheap flights to escape the madness. The tourism industry is going to take a hit.

Don’t dip your hands in the chalk bucket at the gym. You might catch something…

Just hit pause on life.

Check in on friends quarantined from cruise. 14 days in a barracks at 80 years old. Wow just wow.

Watch the news or not.

Write a blog about the chaos and hysteria.

Buy toilet paper if there is any left.

Why isn’t there a soap shortage?

Shouldn’t we be washing our hands?

Listen to people thrust their opinions on you of why we are in the state of hysteria relating to coronavirus.

Go wash hands again.

Find new shows to watch on Netflix.

Answer stupid text questions from people who appear to live under a rock.

Continue living in a bubble.

Try to stay positive about the economy.

Shop online and hope FedEx still delivers.

Clean the house.

Wash hands again.

Pray for all my fellow small business owners who will suffer because of this craziness we are living in.

A big thank to the humorists in my life….

 

family, health

Getting Old Sucks

Getting old sucks on many levels. Your joints hurt. You become less flexible. Your hair either falls out or turns grey. You mobility eventually diminishes. And then your mind starts slipping. What doesn’t suck about all that?

Watching a loved one deteriorate is as debilitating as watching an addict dip deeper into their darkness. You see it in the coloring of their face. You see it in their gait. Maybe even in the speech or memory. You see it in their eyes. You see it. You live it. You hurt because of it. It’s a rippling and crippling effect if you let it consume you.

Its hard to watch whether near or far. Its challenging to not be consumed with the stress and worry as loved ones make hard decisions over and over again. Is it the right choice? Would I make that choice? Was enough money saved to cover the exorbitant care for seniors at a staffed facility? Will the staff take good care of your loved ones or is it more like sending them off to jail?

So many questions. No real answers. I don’t want to grow old for this reason alone. I want to stay as youthful as I can and live every day as if it was my last. In my experience elders of today don’t want to burden their adult children who live busy and hectic lives. I get that but then I think fast forward to when I am old. My kids grew up in a whole different world than I did. Landscape may be the same but the environment is so different. How will my kids handle me when I am older? I don’t even want to know the answer to that.

How will my family react when I reach the age of interventions and difficult decisions? I think it is time for a time capsule of sorts. One that will list my wishes as of today while I am of sound mind and body. Not my will and who gets what in my estate. What I need to remind myself of when its time to make the hard decisions that I might be too emotionally invested in to see the forest for the trees. One that can be a reminder when I am old and stubborn of what it was like when I was faced with the challenges of managing my parents’ future golden years and / or torture years as end of life nears.

Death is never anything one wants to talk about yet it is always something one should be aware of. Sudden death. Accidental death. Tragic death. Natural death. They all lead to the same harsh reality. And there is always a mess to clean up. A funeral. Tidying up of affairs. Settling unfinished business. Coping with the sorrow of loss. Moving on without that person(s). Wishing for just one more day. One more holiday. One more birthday.

I wrote this post before the tragedy involving Kobe Bryant and the others who perished in the helicopter crash (big news story). This would classify as a tragic and unexpected death. One that has lots of suffering for the ones left behind. Tomorrow is never promised. Make sure you tell those around you how important they are to you each and every day. You don’t want to live with the regrets if you are confronted with an unplanned death.

This isn’t a happy or sad post. Rather it is a matter of fact, in-your-face kind of think-out-loud post. One that may make you think of those aging close to you or maybe it may make you think of future planning or maybe it will even have you crying because of your past history. Whatever category you fall into, thanks for reading. This is just my vent to the world as I mutter my way through the life of aging with my once active folks who are now ornery, lonely, troubled, and at wit’s end with what to do next for 101 reasons.

I also thought I would publicly share that when I am old, I plan to be in the Senior Olympics. The event is still undetermined but I do plan to excel in whatever event chooses me. Betty White, an original Golden Girl, turned 98 about the time I wrote this post. The radio referred to her a sex symbol back in her day so I figure I can be a Senior Games athlete in my future. xoxo from cyber space

dare to be different, giving, inspire

Making Local a Priority

This year I decided to make a goal to spend money with local small businesses. I actually track my spends and make a firm commitment to choose local and small even if it costs more for a particular item. I’m not going cold turkey on Amazon Prime by any means. Just making a percentage of my spend hit the local economy.

So far so good. I am excited about these choices. I am excited about helping a small business live another day.

I went to a local restaurant with friends. It had a good vibe and allowed pets in its outdoorsy environment. I decided I’d buy a t-shirt and gift card. Each was given to a different person to build the hype. Hopefully they will buy something and share their experience with a friend. It’s that simple to stimulate the local economy.

A friend works at a pet store, locally owned and operated. I have pets. I bought some special treats. Those treat make my pets happy but also helps my friend have a job.

My car needs an oil change. I can go to the corporate dealership but I like going to the local shop down the street. The service is good and I get to talk to the mechanic. I can’t get that attention at the dealership. I can even see the work getting done in the bay vs. sitting in a lobby with the TV or internet. Check out my photo above for a view of my mechanic’s shop where I happened to drop by when this sweet car was in for a little tune up. Not sure the year but it sure did have a pretty paint job.

It’s crazy what you can observe if you just slow down and appreciate what’s right in front of you. At the holidays many shop online to avoid the crowds. I get that, but then we miss the human interaction with the workers. We miss the smiles exchanged. We miss the crazy customer who gets mad when they can’t find something. Isn’t there a value in shopping in the muck of it all?

I am going to enjoy my community a little more this year by opening my eyes to what’s right in front of me.

Having a small business is hard work and when you read about one closing, you immediately think what went wrong? Well many things could go wrong but at the end of the day if I never went in to that storefront and bought their cup of coffee or their dog biscuits then I didn’t really help them have a fighting chance.

Big companies have strong leaders making key decisions and a boat load of funding. A small business is a family behind the scene. It means a kid getting to play little league or getting new shoes when mom or dad finally takes a paycheck. It means that business lives another day.

This month a local coffee house shut down as in went out of business. Is it a coincidence that Starb**** opened up next door inside Kroger’s grocery store? Probably not as folks may find it easier to get their latte while they shop vs walking a few doors down. Convenience is good but once a week visiting the local independent coffee shop could make the difference in the owner making their rent payment that month. Just food for thought.

This post could go on and on but the simple point is take a little bit of your monthly spend and divert to a local small business. It could be a hair salon, a nail salon, a restaurant, a bike shop, etc. it may not be the cheapest but I bet the owner is passionate about what they provide to the community.

While you are at it, give a local company shout out on the web. So many people read reviews. Make sure to note it’s a local favorite to build trust. Today I made my Saturday a small business Saturday and hit a locally owned place I adore called Pat’s Eatery. A place where you can sip coffee with friends for an extended period of time and the owner is cooking up a storm on his Saturday morning. The server is a long-time employee who must love her job because she is as permanent as the sign on the exterior of the building. It’s always a pleasure when she serves you. Smiles and conversations are a must.

Have fun experiencing your local community. Put your own special twist on this. Visit a farmers market. Buy from a local artist. Have a sales meeting a local coffee shop. Make a difference in community with the money you are going to spend anyway.