Pandemic Life: Crossing The Six Month Mark

To mourn our traditional way of movement might seem silly because I previously experienced limited movement over two tours in Iraq, totaling fourteen months of my life. I have more tools to keep in touch with family members and friends now, but it still often feels like the barriers are a lot more tangible than they truly are. We’ve all become a bit busier in different ways that we are unavailable to each other; I might be juggling a loss of post-work “me” time with my daughter still attending school virtually while a family member or friend is struggling with additional work due to staff shortages and it is not hard to come across people who have lost job opportunities or had them postponed due to the pandemic. To say we are all getting reacquainted with our identities (work, self, partner, etc.) is probably not an understatement.

Life and the way we live has changed. I am acknowledging more this is a season of waiting I wasn’t expected I’d experience or that it would last so long and it isn’t over yet. I guess it is important to state this pandemic is showing me I cannot hop from one goal to another all the time because there will be some roadblocks I cannot move (or move easily). Waiting, for me, is a significant source of frustration. When I see that something should take X unit of time, I wonder why it takes longer for me than my peers. To say I feel gipped would not be too far out of line. Society presents this idea that hard work equates to success, but I know too often that is not the case. This pandemic is just another way this statement/belief reveals itself to be untrue.

There are so many good businesses and people harmed by not only the health crisis but its economic effects. To follow the death toll of this crisis brings up a lot of the same stress I felt on shift on my first tour in Iraq when I was nearly helpless to prevent the injury and death of my fellow service members. Knowing this about myself, I have taken a different approach to ingesting the news since March and what I share with others.

I’ve accepted seasons of waiting suck. I am in a position again where a big vacation dream had to be pushed back. This time it was due less to financial constraints and more based on the fact different states have imposed quarantine restraints as a means to slow and reduce the spread of COVID-19. I am not angry that such strict measures are in place. I am just really tired and a true vacation would hit the spot. In the interest of being transparent, yes, I have some grief over this lost vacation. A trip to Hawaii has been on our radar for years and it is hard to feel like it will come true one day.

Remembering the privileges I enjoy has been a huge part of coping well during the pandemic. Grocery shopping has been a bit of a nightmare with the amount of uncertainty that originally surrounded the experience, but we can put almost anything into our cart without worry. That’s not something I could say last year when my husband was finishing law school and I was finishing grad school. Additionally, in spite of not feeling that way with some stark empty shelves at various stores, we are still surrounded by an abundance of food stuffs. It is a privilege to have an array of options, even if not all of those options were what you were originally seeking. For us, this means buying different cuts of meat or meat alternatives.

Education is also a click away for me and for many others just like me. I enjoy learning and it is a good way for me to deal positively with a lot of uncertainty. To indulge in my love of cooking and baking means I am making time in my day to take healthy breaks away from news consumption, too. As well, eating at home often means the tendency to consume healthier meals than when we go out to eat. Speaking about the subject of balancing dining at home versus dining out, the issue of social distancing has really impacted how I see the businesses we frequent. Some are downright awful at practicing social distancing. Those are easy ones to avoid when we spot them. We know we do not owe anyone our business and so we pay more attention to how well an establishment protects the health of its employees and the extension of care shown to customers. This has meant cutting back on dining out. We are starting to enjoy our dining out experiences more because the places with strong social distancing practices do provide a more positive atmosphere.

This past week I’ve felt a little more cooped up than normal, but I am excited to share we have some great things coming in our future. Some things are more of our same routines. I continue to find new items at the grocery store and exciting recipes which livens up our home routine. As I’ve been doing, I will keep sharing those things on Instagram. We are also heading into September and I know once we start to have a drop in temperatures, even if we are still above 100 degrees, I can start focusing on weightlifting in the garage again. With the current 110-115 degrees, I am not as motivated to sweat it out in the garage. Soon enough, we’ll also have the bulk of the upstairs flooring repaired and replaced. Safety is a big priority for me and it has been challenging knowing despite how new the house is, there are so sagging, soft, and creaky spots that need attention. I will share the results of that journey as well.

Oh, and before I forget, I will also add a bit more to my memoir. We haven’t talked about that journey in a bit, but it is still a valuable goal for me. I have three days off while the floors are being done to make some more progress. The team will be here for a total of six days but I wanted to conserve some PTO for later this year. A recent trip to Barnes & Noble inspired me to see this memoir belongs more to the personal growth/self-help/inspiration than the military section which is what I have been feeling is true this past year. With this realization, I think finishing the first draft will be monumentally easier than I was expecting. There are some things I’ve wanted to include and I wasn’t entirely sure if those insights were relevant. This decision means cutting out certain pieces I’ve already added, but I know my friends and family love me. Nothing I’ve shared so far has caused anyone to stop supporting me and with the recent cleanup of my Instagram–I guess a story for another day–I feel I am finding the bulk of persons are the right audience for this next leg of my writing journey, too.

Find beauty in every day, even the challenging ones.

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