Chicago on my mind…

I was scrolling through my photos and reminiscing on my trip to Chicago last August before traveling to NYC.

Overall, I had a great trip. There were a few rocky family interactions, but lessons learned. I saw extended family, a few friends, one of my favorite bands, my White Sox, and got to eat my favorite foods. Best of all, I got to soak in the city, walking, taking the “L” (elevated trains, it’s what we Chicagoans call it), and enjoying beautiful, mild summer weather.

Even though I moved away and I have a life in Texas now, I doubt I will ever feel as free and as comfortable as I do hanging out in Chicago, whether downtown or in other parts of the city.

I love you, Chicago!

RDP Friday- Settle

There are many things to settle into, with our so-called “new normal”. One of them is our expectations. Sometimes things happen that are beyond out control, and we have to just deal. Everyday life has become a form of radical acceptance that we have to navigate something we didn’t create and didn’t choose but we have to manage the best we can. 

I wish I could settle the argument about masks and what is the best course of action for people going about their daily existence. You can point me to article both for and against all you want, because I have probably already read them, and I have yet to find a definitive, absolute, ‘yes, this is the answer.” I don’t think there is one, sadly. I say this as someone who supports freedom and protecting peoples’ rights, is against government overreach most of the time, and is fearful that measures taken are often not temporary and not simple to retract. 

I believe that I have a right to do what I feel is right for me and those that I care about, just as you have a right to do what you feel is right for you and those that you care about. I don’t see a correct, best course of action here. Everyone needs to weigh there own level of comfort and own level or risk, but we are all over the map on this. However, expecting others to view the world and situations the same as we do, is naïve. 

Generally, I am a careful and thoughtful person who looks at options and often overthinks things. I don’t like feeling bad or guilty or anxious about the unknown or what-if this and what-if that, but this is what we are faced with. There are days I can settle my thoughts, be in the now, and go on with my day. Other days, I can’t get to far without thinking about all of the people affected, what the future will look like, what it will be like to set foot into my work environment with people coming and going, using shared bathrooms, and meeting with people in-person while not knowing if they are healthy or sick or if they are as cautious about cleanliness and germs as me and my husband are. You can tell me that people in their 30’s and 40’s of good health (ages of people I work with directly for the most part) are at low-risk, and I can tell you about the people I have about who have died or come close and gone in debt as a result. That small risk is not something I want to test, while I have two cats at home and a husband with some health concerns. You can take that risk, if you wish, but you will not be taking care of me and my husband, paying our bills, or helping our families say goodbye if we lose our duel with risk.  

I hope the best for everyone, Americans and people around the world. We can’t settle the mask argument but we can treat each other with respect, decency, and common courtesy that each of us is making the best decision we can for ourselves and our families based on the information available to us.

 

 

I keep telling myself…

Live in the now. Breathe. Whatever you’re feeling will pass. Walk, meditate, listen to music, and stop creating stories of what might happen. And then I think of my co-worker, who says, “Take it as it comes.” Or as others say, “this, too, shall pass.”

This isn’t normal… Part 2

I have been working from home for two whole months. As I mentioned in Part 1, there are a lot of things I don’t mind about working from home and staying in a lot more because of the COVID-19 restrictions, although there are things I miss. I am not alone, and I know this from reading articles about the positive habits people are cultivating during this odd time. From drinking more water, getting more sleep and more exercise, baking, and spending more time with family, some people are taking advantage of new opportunities for self-care. When life gives you lemons…
 

I am no different. I get to see my husband and my cats at different times during the day on my work breaks when I am not half awake or exhausted, which makes me smile. I’ve managed to lose a few pounds from eating what is available at home rather supplementing with whatever snacks I stop off for to get me through a stressful day. Most of days are less stressful simply without the commute. There is less of a feeling that we need to go somewhere or do something, only to get there and be disappoint or wishing we had stayed home.

The things that stress me now are what the future will look like. It’s hard to fathom going to a crowded restaurant, getting on a full plane, or grabbing food at a public place that has been touched and breathed on by other people. I realize this is controversial territory, especially in the midst of the everyone must wear a mask/masks are an infringement on my freedom argument that is raging throughout the United States right now. 

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Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

I know that this whole situation is experienced differently by each and every person. Some people have lost everything, be it a dream, a home, a business, the safety of being at school or work away from someone who causes them stress or home, opportunities, time with family and friends, and a myriad of things I’m not thinking of. I read more news than the average person, and it is absolutely heartbreaking to read people’s stories of loss, trauma, and devastation. Some people have created opportunities in the midst of chaos, while others have just adapted and are living one day at a time. The scary thing is that no one knows where this goes or how it ends. Will the COVID-19 virus go away, or be around in some form for the foreseeable future? Will we all be vaccinated by force or shunned by society if we don’t get vaccinated? Will the economy continue to collapse or will it recover? Will there be a 2020 Presidential election? Will life ever be so-called “normal” ever again? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Photo by Lynnelle Richardson on Pexels.com

For now, I am happy to see my family from time to time via ZOOM, in short, manageable doses. I enjoy leisurely walks around my neighborhood. I cherish the painstaking work my husband does on our yard while I help collect rocks, gather supplies, and move bags of mulch and soil so we can have a garden. As anxiety-ridden as I get sometimes, I try to focus on now instead of worrying about if I will ever be able to travel again, or if the world will break out in war over tariffs or the origins of the Coronavirus. Will we ever get to see live music again? Will we ever get to watch professional baseball again?

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Photo by Chrellie at Guaranteed Rate Field (formerly U.S. Cellular Field) in Chicago, IL

I can’t spent too much time worrying about these things because the information available causes more confusion than clarity, no matter the sources you read. I try to remain hopeful, and I try to be mindful of the world around me. I’m not without challenges or struggles, but I am much luckier than some. I hope the best for us all.

This isn’t normal…

Part of me loves being at home everyday. I get up to eat, put on some comfy clothes, turn on the internet, fire up the laptop and ta-da, I’m at work.

Prior to the pandemic, I got up at 6AM or before, allowed time to fight the morning rush and, just maybe, make it to work by 8:30AM. I dreaded the obligatory “Good Morning”, but would chat with co-workers after getting settled. Some meetings would drag on, others enjoyable. I had the freedom to take the long route to the ladies’ room, stop at the drop and chat with workers in other units.

Now I have the freedom to pet my cats, meetings are on Skype, or ZOOM, or TEAMS, while I look out my front window. I try to listen to my podcasts while I work on projects or data analysis, but they just don’t sound the same without the sound of cars in the background. I get to eat at my kitchen table, but it doesn’t really feel like Me-time the way my lunch break used to, when I could sit somewhere anonymously or I would have the occasional lunch with a friend.

Part of me loves the distance and perceived independence of working from home. But the other part of me that dislikes the stupidity of other rush hour drivers, misses driving my car while listening to podcasts and playlists. Kind of like doing my work yet laughing at a co-worker’s comment, or the shared dread of yet another meeting in real time. 🤦‍♀️🤣🤬

It’s funny that you can miss so many things with which you have a conflicted relationship.