mental health, perspective

The Web

Can you see the web hidden in the dew and the sunlight? If you can’t it’s okay. I will tell you about it.

The web is masterfully crafted. Many layers. Anchored skillfully. It was a beautiful web. There were spiders to the eye. There were no prey woven in. It was a midnight masterpiece I’m sure. One that a skillful spider crafted while I slept. 

When I awoke it caught my eye in sun. It was hard to get a picture but the dew and the sun made it stunning to admire. Not many can say they found a web stunning but on this day I did.

It’s craftsmanship had me interested. Much like life we live with many tangled layers similar to a web. Carefully crafted relationships. Overlapping work and pleasure lines. Family connections. Friend circles. All interwoven to fit what we call life.

I was drawn to this web today. A simple part of nature. Many won’t see. Many will take for granted or even wipe it a way in an instant. But the beauty of it all is a spider will get back up and craft a different web. Maybe one that can withstand more than just a simple wipe away.

This was a firmly build web. Anchored. Robust. How does your life web compare? Is it flimsy? Can it be wiped away easily? Are you memorable like this web was for me? Can you say your feet are planted firmly in life?

Life is so full of many ups and downs. Sometimes you have to pick yourself off the ground and start fresh to build a better life web. The beauty is we are all capable of doing this. 

Get after your day today. Look at your web. If it’s tangled, worn or flimsy look at options to refresh your web of life. If it’s robust and built sturdy look around and see if you can share your gift of life stability with others. Somebody nearby may need help with their web.

Enjoy your day.

perspective

How Close is Too Close?

I went to dinner the other night at a local restaurant. We were seated at the center table. No masks required as we were dining. Seems simple. Just the new normal we are used to.

Then my daughter said “we aren’t distanced like we should be.” I looked around. What did she see that I didn’t? I mean I’m telecommuting most days while she is in physical school distanced and masked 8 hours a day following rules, new rules and more rules each day. Her perspective is clearly different than mine based on our exposures to date. Weird that the child is teaching the parent.

She said “this table isn’t 6 feet. Those booths are not spaced. It’s not distanced like it should be.” Wow. I paused and thought to myself how much she has changed due to the pandemic. Will we ever get back to normal? Will I actually be able to hear a waitress ask me about my order where I can understand her without a full mask?

My elderly mom was dining with me. The menu was a scanned barcode. That’s pretty high tech for her but it’s the only option. She can’t see the screen as well as me to order. Sigh. Sigh deeper. This is what is normal. Will there be a return of paper menus?

The next day my daughter calls for an early dismissal from school. A neighboring student is potentially a covid exposure. “I can’t sit in class for more than 15 mins or I’ll get close contact,” she said. What? “If I get close contact then I’ll have to miss social activities.” What?

So today I learned about close contact. Secondary contact. Confirmed cases. Contact cases. Exceptions. Rules. Suspected cases. And. And. And. I’m exhausted just digesting this information. Technically I knew these scenarios but not up close. To the point of sidelining one of my family members.

It’s football season. Homecoming. All the things high schoolers look forward to. So many instances of socializing being scrutinized, cancelled, postponed and so on. I’m going nuts keeping up with changes on the calendar and it’s driving me bat shit crazy that it’s emotionally hitting my kid.

Spring was tough enough with isolation for a teen. Now a new level of toughness is needed to combat the stress and anxiety that’s goes along with adapting to so much change in your formative years. The years of milestones. First kisses. Dates. Driving. Team sports. School events. College visits.

I am hopeful that the new year brings peace to not only my child but all kids enduring so much stress as a rippling effect of the pandemic. Developing brains can only handle so much and parents are also battling their own demons in the workplace, on the home front and just in society in general.

Just my random recap post. The blah of the week and it just started with just 6 feet. How much difference 6 feet can actually make. And how my differences could be so different than another’s. #perspective

perspective

Floating

Today I am floating. Drifting off in my mind. Thinking. Wondering. Being overly curious. Where did my mind go?

Many places were visited whiled I drifted but somehow I circled back to what was missing. Things or situations I’m missing because of the pandemic.

I miss the care free days of no masks. I miss the smiles you share with a passer by when walking at the park. I miss the handshakes with a colleague at the business meeting. I miss hugs. Human contact in general. Just so many things or situations I miss.

Then I think about a different kind of loss. How many people that have been lost for whatever reason during the pandemic. So many I know that had been put to rest without a proper farewell. Is it a coincidence that the death toll is high even if not pandemic related causes of death? Maybe those just gave up because they missed things like me. We will never know but I do drift to the place where I think about it.

So many things or situations seem unfair right now in life. Many changes that seemed temporary or are they permanent? All these changes have consequences. Now businesses are starting to crumble. Even if you have money to spend sometimes it’s hard to spend it with limited working hours, restrictions and lack of availability.

I needed to buy a couch. No stock. Not even the floor model was available. The store was down to bare minimums because the supply chain has been interrupted. I had money to spend. The salesman wanted his commission. No deal could be made. That is hard on any business.

You want to get your nails done. A local shop used to be open 7 days. Now it’s 3 days and appointments required. No fun break at the movies. No adventure day window shopping at the mall. I can’t, I won’t, I shouldn’t, and so on. All scenarios that I don’t like to comprehend.

I’ve filled my time with other things but I do still miss what I had access to pre-corona. As I drift, I think will hope be restored in our world? Will there be a new normal or something that closely resembles the old day-to-day.

I miss laughter. I miss touch. I miss many things and situations. I have these feelings and I know many others have similar or different feelings about the subject. I’m writing about it. Others may vent in other ways. Some may give up.

Be aware of friends, family and coworkers who may be struggling. It may be anxiety, financial stress, emotional burdens from previous scars of life and so on. Keep your antenna up and offer hope when you can.

May tomorrow the best day you can imagine. Drift, dream, float in your mind to escape the troubles of the day in some way. It’s a way to cope with change. Keeping in mind I love change personally but I don’t love my world to change without my input. I don’t want the unsteady ground. I want the sturdy ground.

Maybe my altered reality in my mind is where I find peace while we are living a pandemic life in the current. Drift away your way. I know I do.

perspective

Eyes to the Horizon

We are in the thick of this.

Hard times.

It reminds me of the lessons I learned from Chad. We are in the long stretch in the middle. Maybe the 500 mark or so. Where the flurry of just getting started is over. We are grinding one. step. at. a. time. There doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Only more drudgery and challenge. I am getting tired. Not just physically tired, but tired of it all, too. Giving up seems an option worth entertaining, especially with new worries on the horizon.

But I don’t.

Every day I have to just keep going.

Like Chick 1 put it so well in her post, we are going to have to choose to soar, and we might be a little beaten up sore to get to that point.

It’s like a butterfly in the cocoon stage. We know we will come out significantly different than when we wrapped ourselves in. Did you know that caterpillars basically dissolve into goo while they’re in the cocoon? To transform into their destined selves, they have to basically melt into mush.

How many of us are there some days?

I have to keep my eyes to the horizon. Just as Chick 1 reminded me that I am going to endure some sore to get to my soar, I know that the gooey mess I am now is on its way to becoming something beautiful, maybe even unrecognizable.

A post reminded me that after the profoundly awful Spanish Flu Pandemic, the Roaring 20s came rushing forth. We will get through this. It will not be easy. I have no doubt we will all lose something, many of us things that are profound and irreplaceable. But our world will come roaring back to prosperity, creativity, and hopefully some amazing parties with dresses, dancing, and all the pent up joy, merriment and connection we are missing out on now.

Stay hopeful.

challenges

A Cautionary Tale

The countdown is on.

A few weeks until summer ends and school is back in session…or is it?

My district ended last year with over 40 unexpected days of digital learning due to COVID-19.

Now it is 6 weeks later.  Numbers of cases that seemed to be trending down in my area have sloped back northward.  School districts are starting to try to make decisions about how they will open schools. Cue the special meetings, surveys, and plans (subject to change, of course). Also cue the opinions, the feelings, the exceptions, the arguments, the fears.

Colleagues have asked me many times throughout my career if I would want to become a school administrator.  My answer is always a fervent and unequivocal NO.  Times like this only magnify those feelings.  I don’t envy the public scrutiny that leaders are under in this seemingly no-win time.

I understand…

A significant portion of the economy depends on schools being open.

Many kids have their best access to food, learning, and social / mental health resources when they are in school.

Being taught (in person) by credentialed professionals is what we believe works best for most students.

At the same time…

Many teachers and school workers are themselves vulnerable to serious COVID-19 cases, or live with and care for other people who have those underlying conditions.

This virus is still new and developing, so science is still catching up to understanding what it is, how it moves, and so on.

Our schools are mostly based on kids being close together and moving with organized freedom throughout buildings and surrounding areas.

All the money and power at stake make every decision a politically charged and controversial one.

Then there are the logistics questions that come along with schools opening…

How do kids ride a bus?  How do they have recess? Can they sing? Can they play sports? Will there be field trips or assemblies?  Anyone who has worked with elementary school kids knows that kids love hugs and playing together which often involves contact.  How do I police that? I can’t even start about the masks, or what happens when a suspected case pops up.

Will all the fun stuff just be stripped away? 

In the end, I know this:

No choice will make everyone happy.

No choice will keep everyone healthy.

No choice will meet everyone’s needs.

We will be doing the best we can given what we know, and know that what we know might change at any given time.  Not an easy position for any of us.

I went to a branch of our local public library recently.  They opened up the buildings a few weeks ago.  This gorgeous, light-flooded, award-winning building, created for people to congregate and spend time reading and learning, is full of caution tape to keep people out or at least moving.

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I’m not sure there is enough caution tape to insulate school kids and workers from what we are facing. Our best protections will be patience, good faith, positivity, resilience, flexibility and showing kids and colleagues that we care about them in every way we can imagine.