sad inspiration and reckoning

My struggles with finding the motivation to write have continued amidst some highly demanding work weeks and weekends spent actually being productive once again around the house. Sometimes I need a kick to help break me out of a funk, and sadly that kick can come with a heavy price tag attached to it, like the one that motivated me to end my writing break.

In the weeks before Christmas I finally got around to visit my physician for an overdue annual physical.  During that visit, we discussed the newly announced approvals for COVID-19vaccines, which he would rather have injected and when, and which drug maker he’d recently invested in and was already causing a nice growth in the value of his stock holdings.  When I couldn’t get in to the labs for testing until six weeks after my checkup, I visited him again for a prescription renewal to tide me over until I could visit him again in the new year to go over the results; as we said farewell we briefly discussed our respective plans for Christmas; mine were simple, his were not as he intended to travel overseas with the hope of visiting his mother in long term care.

After getting lost in my work after the new year started, I watched time shoot by before I finally picked up the phone earlier this week to book my follow up.   The nurse I’ve spoken to on numerous occasions broke the news: my physician never made it back from his travels; he became infected with COVID-19 after his arrival in the homeland and passed away two weeks ago. 

I’d known my doctor for about nine years and have had many conversations with him during my visits, learning a few details of his life beyond his practice.  I hope his family is coping well with their loss.  It feels as though the the good doctor gave me one last bit of needed medicine, the motivation to end my writing break.

When I first started and named the blog in October, it was because at the time I certainly felt healthier than I have in years thanks to The Pause allowing me to escape The Boil, but the continuing isolation has definitely been grinding away at me so far in first couple months of this new year, making me irritable and tense. It became clear that stress management has going to become very important for me to make it through to vaccination. I’ve considered myself to be exceptionally resilient to stress in the past, but the pandemic has changed that (hopefully only temporarily), I’ve been becoming increasingly irritated, short, perhaps a tad too black and white with my thinking at times, and I don’t like it. Eventually I decided I needed to be make some changes, and start being nicer to myself, to take steps to reduce the external demands on my time further and to make more time for home, Bae and myself instead of looking for something to stream in order to help to forget our not so captivating reality for just a little while.

Bae took charge when she spotted a wonderful opportunity for us to escape from isolation recently: a good hotel, with a delicious meal brought to us to enjoy in a the romantic setting of the room for Valentines Day. The change in locale was very much welcome after another long stretch of months looking at only the walls of my home. Our weekend getaway allowed us to venture forth to a local pub to experience restaurant dining for the first time since the closures pre Christmas. For whatever reason, however, I felt more uncomfortable going for this first meal out a restaurant post closure than after the last the last reopening. Perhaps it was the requirement to register with the serving staff for contact tracing, or the increased visibility of screens and barriers for isolation that took the charm out of the dining experience, but I think I’m going to keep working on my cooking skills for a while and hope that those will carry over with me into the New Normal.

In addition to backing off from treating myself to the self-imposed pressure of wanting to get at least a post a week out for the blog, Bae and I also appear to have started a weekend routine of a productivity tasks on Saturday, then relaxing and enjoying our creative endeavours on Sunday. It’s only been a few weeks so far, but after a couple of Saturdays spent reorganizing every single kitchen cabinet, drawer, pantries and utility closet, the household space actually feels organized and fully functional for the first time in the nearly ten years I’ve lived in the house. The best part? With some stressors now removed, satisfaction comes in spades over simple tasks like finding the bbq thermometer and the ability to relax and enjoy the space without guilt is once again attainable. The sense of accomplishing something in bettering the household brings with a certain element of victory and control that has been missing in my world for nearly a year, as mothwr nature’s little present has been making decisions without so much as a curated consult in its plans for us all. Being productive makes me feel better, that things are being accomplished as I intend then to. That little reward for minor accomplishments helps counter the stress that builds in me over the course of a week.

Doing the re-organization reminded me of this past March: as the stores were being bought out of toilet paper, disinfectants, frozen goods, yeast and flower for baking, most kitchens were being purged of expired food stuffs. We did our own pantry clean-up in another task that consumed an entire day and proved that proved that being caught up in The Boil was especially wasteful as evidenced by the expired food that you were too busy to use the food stored in your own home, or left without the energy to cook and frequently default to having someone else doing the cooking for you by dining out or ordering in. Getting better at avoiding food waste has become one of the skills we’ve picked up through the isolations and will hope to maintain and continue to improve upon as we develop our New Normal.

You’re probably thinking (because I’ve had the thought flash through my mind as well) that it sounds like it’s been an exhaustingly dull, time in the past few weeks. A year ago I would have agreed with you, but thanks to The Pause introducing me to THC, and my flare for obsession, I explored learning about and trying different strains of marijuana. I discovered that help could be found in getting through my chores while minimalizing the misery in doing so. It turns out the strain reviews online were indeed true, Jack Herer can be a great help in getting through the monotony of chores and cleaning (vacuuming has never been so fun) by giving me a boost of energy and a mind that can focus on both doing a task well and allow my brain to churn through ideas without tumbling into too many thoughtful rabbit holes.

Winter marches on, but with warmer weather now causing snow to melt that arrived thanks to the artic vortex, there is growing belief that not only every day brings us closer to spring, but also to a vaccination date being booked. I need to keep focused on the knowledge that being able to escape once again to the back yard will be worth the gut-punch that will come with the time change that will shorten the days again temporarily.

Hopefully, the vaccination deliveries will be as inevitable as that springtime time change’s gut punch.

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