mental health

Anxiety

Here we go with the next level shit show of anxiety. Life with a teen. Episode #98.

School starts any day now. We have been mask free enjoying summer for the most part. Looking forward to school and a normal beginning to a school year. Just last night we were reminiscing on how long it’s been since we bought school supplies. 2 years ago. 2019 before we knew the world was going to be shaken to its core.

We have enjoyed traveling. Although masks are still required in a plane, we have enjoyed the maskless freedoms elsewhere. The excitement of seeing friends, teachers, and others was so talked about. Then the crash. The boom. The fireworks. The disappointment. How much can these kids continue to face change and uncertainty around the biggest part of their life?

The pediatrics announcement for k-12 hot with recommendations and my teacher friends sighed and said change is on the horizon. Then the CDC guidance hit the news. Now the email, the phone call, and the text from the school. Or should I say the calls, texts and emails on repeat. Here we go again. 

Masks required. Students, faculty, visitors are all included. Vaccinated or not, rules apply across the board. Such a blow to the teen again. All the excitement turned to not again. This sucks. Why even bother going?

Now the decision is again in front of you. Digital learner or in person? Everything you wanted in person was stripped away. You suck at online school but it’s been your norm now for 1.5 years. Isolation. Masks. Rules. Anxiety. Stress. So much. It’s too soon.

Panic and fear have set in. Some offices are re-closing. A trade show postponed. More shifting. More headaches. How do we all continue to cope in such turmoil. What is next? How would you feel as a teen?

As I put this post out there on the web I am capturing a moment in time. A feeling of chaos. How different will I feel when I reread this 5 years from now? I wonder. Topic may be controversial and some may have opinions but since this is my blog I choose my content and conversations.

adventure, featured

Snack and a Smile

A snack and a smile used to be Southwest Airlines’ claim to fame on flights. Or so their snack pack advertises. That’s all in the past.

Today, life is different. We fly with masks. No mask no fly. They announce it multiple times. They also announce a numbering system overhead regarding snacks. This is a new protocol for me since my last flight a few months ago.

1-Coke

2-Diet Coke

3-7up

4-water

No need to take down your mask to order. Instead you have the finger. And yes you choose your finger. A 8×11 laminated sign with pictures and numbers to order. I guess it’s idiot proof. I really wanted to capture this with a photo but the flight attendant didn’t look amused. The sign is funny to me but probably ingenious to others. No smile with your snack this trip. That’s false advertising on my snack pack! No smiles. Seems like the trend for trips in the future.

Maybe there will be a middle finger for #1 for the jerk in front. Maybe the silly mom will hold up the peace sign to get her Diet Coke. Maybe four sideway fingers from this girl for some water. How did we even get to this point?

Now that I’m here trapped in my middle seat, listening to my AirPods to tune out the crying baby in front of me. My drink came covered with a fun fact napkin. Love the marketing amusement Southwest! I learned another fun fact from Southwest. Looks like the new slogan is mask up. Cheers to a great trip.

Maybe the next time I fly maybe I will have a touch screen to order my drink and snack. Cheers to mask life. Cheers to travel. Cheers to the lady next to me whose sweaty leg is sticking to me. Cheers to the crying baby in front. Cheers to my daughter sleeping on my shoulder. I can smell her morning sleepy breath through my mask. Gross! Cheers to the turbulence that is keeping the napkin moist on my drink. Really that napkin was to keep the airborne germs out out of it. Another Southwest value add.

Mask up. Travel. 

perspective

New Year, New Song

It’s back to school, which means back to work for me. Summer was gone in a flash.

Each member of our school leadership team was asked to choose a theme song for the year. We got some examples to spur our thinking.

Music is one of my love languages – not just love, it’s any emotion, really. The lyrics, the melody of a song can convey meaning I can’t seem to put into words. Playlists can transport me into different eras, remembrances, states of mind. Songs mean much.

So a theme song for the year was a big decision. I tried thinking about it and came up with some possibilities, but nothing seemed to fit. As a singer, it was all about the lyrics. I’d think of a song that had a great chorus, but then there would be some lyric about drinking or broken hearts or something else completely unrelated to school. In that case, it’s a no go.

What was the message I wanted to capture? Resilience. Flexibility. Hope. All things that speak to me in this transition time. In addition, I wanted something upbeat and catchy to keep the mood light.

And then it came to me. The theme song from the classic 70s sitcom, One Day at a Time. Upbeat, catchy, short, sweet, with all the right feelings.

Here are the lyrics:

This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.

This is it.
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.

So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
So hold on tight we’ll muddle through
One day at a time.

So up on your feet.
Somewhere there’s music playing.
Don’t you worry none
We’ll just take it like it comes.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

Many of the people in that room didn’t even remember that sitcom, much less the song. So, a chance for them to learn something new.

Even in the very first week of planning, this year has already thrown us some curve balls. We’ve gone from masks are recommended to masks are required no matter who you are and if you’ve had a shot. I’ll admit my chest and shoulders slumped when I heard we were masking again, but I had already seen it coming and brought my laundered masks to work. Life goes on. It does.

We will get through it. We will have to help each other. We will have to approach each morning with a fresh perspective. We will do the best we can. If we trip and fall, it’s up on our feet and at it again. Somewhere there’s music playing…

One day at a time. One hundred and eighty five to go.

perspective

It Just Got Weird

This week mask rules changed. I wasn’t fazed by it. I just pressed on. Just another day in the life.

Then I went to a function after hours at a school. I ran back to the car to grab my mask because it was a school. The door greeter was unmasked. Hmmm I thought to myself. Then the next entry point was an unmasked person. This is weird I thought given where I was, at a school.

Into the open area of the cafeteria where the tables are down for seating. No masks required. No distance rules. Interesting. The evening went on without any excitement. I moved on and didn’t think too much of it. This is definitely weird since I know schools sit every other seat for the kids and masks are not optional by day.

The next night I have another event at a different school on another side of town. Upon entry I notice people are not in masks. I did however see a working janitor in a mask. Students at an after hours event unmasked but on school property? I did a double take a couple of times. I felt weird. I thought I was breaking rules.

Why did this all seem weird? Why was I freaking out that I was going to get in trouble? My teacher friends nearby were unmasked does the night really differ from the day on the rules? Are school events excluded from rules? So many questions. So few answers.

The Braves are playing baseball tonight as well and a pal asked if I wanted to go. I had plans but there was no mask required. When I was asked to go to the game the emphasis was on the no mask policy. Another interesting part of my day.

I wonder if I’m the only one doing a double take on the no mask rules since we have been forced to wear them so long. Now I can’t wait to start frequenting the grocery store mask free and smelling candles again when I shop. 

I have spent many days in my yard breathing fresh air this past 15 months. Now I get to breathe air, smile and just relax being mask free in most places. I guess it sounds weird to write this but it’s a document I will probably refer back to years from now. Always writing to capture moments in time. 

awareness

I Went to Jail

I legit went to jail. Not in cuffs, not as a visitor. I went as a contractor. This vantage point was different. I got to observe the inmates cleaning. It’s their job to keep that place immaculate.

I got to observe the line formations by gender. I saw the orange jumpsuit uniforms. I heard the specific directives while in line such as “eyes forward, no talking.”

It was a lot to take in. I thought about all my freedoms. My ability to choose. My ability to say yes or no. Inmates have no choice, no independence, no rights, and certainly no individuality.  I couldn’t last a day in jail. 

I love my freedom to choose.  I love my independence. I love my individuality. Having a glimpse of what this life looked like is confirmation I never want to be there. I certainly applaud those who make it through the challenges of incarceration for those serving time as well as those outside the walls supporting them.

Today I got to leave the jail.  I didn’t get to share a smile. This was hard for me because I like to offer hope through positive actions and not being able to share a smile is hard. Maybe next visit I’ll find a way to share hope. Maybe I’ll work on my winks.

As you read this post think about those incarcerated who are suffering today. Say a prayer for them tonight.