Random Thoughts Mid June

I am struggling a bit during our continued isolation. I go back and forth between too much media exposure, which tends to stress me, and then no media, which makes me feel bad about being uninformed. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on reading, to pick a new course to take, or to identify a new topic to write about. I miss my friend’s connections, our date nights, and going “out & about”. A big deal was a trip to Home Depot last week! I am trying to take each day as it comes, using my tools (journaling, gratitude, yoga) to ease the stresses as they surface. This week’s blog is a series of random thoughts along the way.

 

New Symbolism – From Kite to Key?

A recent blog post from Retirement Voices (link here) made me think about my personal life symbol. I’m not sure if it’s common to have a life symbol or not, but for years my life symbol has been a kite. It reflects how I “live best”.

Consider a kite: It functions best when it’s lightly connected to someone who can give it a slight tug to help it soar. Tug too hard and it crashes. Tug too lightly and it’s out of control. Not connected and it crashes. The need to be connected in almost everything I do is a deep part of my psyche. Yes, this also does show my need for external validation. But a kite has always accurately symbolized when I best soar. Tethered, perhaps. Or, perhaps it’s grounded. But, definitely connected

In the Retirement Visions post, there were a few things about what a Key can teach us about retirement that I found very intriguing.

Consider a Key: You don’t fit in everywhere, and that’s okay. You know you’re in the right place when things just click. A key can open up doors (opportunities) and keep out dangers.

I like the uniqueness of a key symbol. I wonder if I need to shift my personal symbol to being a key? Or maybe it’s a key-shaped kite? LOL

 

Continuing the Struggle – Be Versus Do

While many folks slide into the “being” aspects of retirement life, for me it has always been a struggle to achieve balance between my previous life’s accomplishment-focused, workaholic, Type-A planning & doing mode and the ability to be in the present, be mindful, and relax into the time abundance of retirement life.

An added craziness right now is my hubby is in doing mode! He’s the guy who relished the newfound freedom of retirement and space to just be… to relax into days of doing mostly nothing – reading, surfing the internet, watching movies, napping, occasionally mowing the lawn. Now, he’s a home-project machine with everyday a new project, or part of a project, accomplished.

And me…. I’m spending days trying to enjoy being. Trying to allow things to exist without the pressure to change them. Trying to accept the imperfections (or the less than ideals/expectation) in our new home. Trying to accept that this low-doing-mode isolation is how the present time needs to be.

I continue to focus on a one-day-at-a-time, let things happen as they unfold mindset, to stop the scenario-what-if-worrying when it starts, and to be kind to myself in the struggles. And not compare to my multiple-projects-completed hubby!

 

Creating a Summer in Isolation Action Plan

The irony of using the word action is not lost on me. I need more to do! I’ve reflected and still believe in my retirement lifestyle vision statement – to be active, connected, creative, and contemplative.

  • Active for me is a combination of healthy living and going “out & about”. Since that second aspect is not an option this summer, my action plan will include healthy meal planning (I am cooking more with one new recipe a week as a goal, but am adding in using summer fruits & veggies more.), trying more on-line cardio options, and working on individual nature walking. Two of these actions are a personal challenge for me because there is no accountability (no “kite” connection!).
  • My “Connected” space needs work in this time of isolation! I will create an intentional reach-out connection plan again, like when I was first retired.   Maybe try some more physical-distance walks or some zoom happy hours.
  • The Creative part of my action plans always has the most possibilities and the least actually executed action. But I WILL explore taking another on-line class, as well as do more writing (book #2?), and do some crafts.
  • Contemplation is a continuation in many aspects. Continue journaling, gratitude writing, release awareness, and yoga. I’m also going to watch the Sunrise at Stonehenge on the Solstice… kicking off my summer action plan. (It’s being broadcast live as they are not allowing a gathering this year.)

What’s on your summer in isolation plan?

29 thoughts on “Random Thoughts Mid June

  1. Pat, I am so glad you linked up with us for our summer activity list or action plan post. You are certainly not alone in your feelings. No matter how much we might want to accomplish or DO, Covid has placed limitations on us. So this is a good time to continue your writing, your gratitude journaling, and maybe to begin your art dates again. I had forgotten about them, too!! So glad you reminded me. They are something we are supposed to do in our own company, so this time in ‘isolation’ might be perfect for exploring some artistic endeavors. Our museums are closed but I have a water color class online I want to try. And a mosaic class I can take in person with just myself, one other and the instructor. Hope you can find something similar.
    I am a Type A personality, too, but retirement has paralyzed me at times. We have to give ourselves grace. With your recent move, and Covid, and being in a new place but not being able to fully explore it right now, you have had many challenges. Will be anxious to see how your progress between now and our first update on 07.21.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leslie, I’m looking at my summer list and really trying to implement it. I did send out 3 notes today to folks trying to schedule some social distance walks and wine chats. Most challenging is finding a class to take…nothing is appealing! But I will persevere and work on that action plan… some of it anyway.

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  2. Hi Pat, the re-opening of Florida is premature and causing issues in our big cities and low-income pockets. I think the attitude is to do only what is necessary to keep beds available for new patients. I am not contributing to the madness and stay home. My Mahjongg group announced plans to resume play at the end of the month – social distancing is not possible so I won’t be there and can’t understand the risk.

    I have been attending pool aerobics (limited to 10 people, well-spaced) and I play golf once per week, percautions taken there also. Reading, housework, blog activities, and daily exercise keep me busy. It helps tremendously that my daughter is still living with us and working from here. Her company has announced plans to move back to their offices in Miami in September. Having her and her boyfriend live with us adds additional work of food preparation and laundry, but I actually enjoy having the responsibility. NEVER thought I’d utter those words! Her hugs of appreciation are good too.

    Take care and carry on. You will find a rhythm that works for you.

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    1. Suzanne, I’m trying not to feel envy for so many friends (IRL and virtual) who are (not) inconvenienced with their adult children sheltering with them. Everyone seem to be saying things similar to you – they are enjoying the time, despite the increase in housework/meal creation/logistics.

      It’s been odd but my writing mojo seems to have been impacted with this situation and I’m actually blogging less. I am trying to stay active, but we just came back north and I always have more difficulty in being active here than in Florida. But 1000 new cases a day here is better than the 8000 new cases a day down there. Stay safe… and if that means no Mahjongg, so be it. Unfortunately, I know of 2 folks who came home from a bridge event with Covid-19. I worried about book club… we were outdoors at least! I am trying to work in some additional walks with friends at the park with wide trails… feels like a reasonable risk (I hope!).

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  3. Hi Pat,
    Everyone continues to call this way of living “the new normal.” It just doesn’t feel normal to me not to be able to visit with friends and hug my family. I’m still hoping that once we have a workable vaccine that some of those things will return.
    I’m glad to be in NH…seems like we got out of Florida just in time. We have been able to do a bit of camping, and have been to visit my brother at the brewery a couple of times for some socially-distanced beers. Still, my other brother (the doctor) spend a month in NYC at the height of their crisis. His advice is to be VERY careful, this is not the flu.
    There is, as we’ve discussed before, a tension between being and doing. This is a good time for being, but part of that means getting to a place where one is comfortable in their own skin. I realize now that my kinetic energy was often a way to manage anxiety. Boy, has covid made me examine that a bit!

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    1. Nancy, we are here in Florida (heading back north in a few days) and it is very mentally challenging to be here. Many people I’ve encountered here (book club members, neighbors) think the situation is “not as bad as the media makes it out to be”. I was given grief when joining a group (for an on-the-beach happy hour) for sitting at a distance. My chair was barely 5 feet away and they were all side by side. Less than 50% of people in stores are wearing masks (including workers in stores). It’s going to be interesting as the numbers here continue to rise… my next door neighbor just told us his son’s friend tested positive and his son (who is staying with them – college age) went in for testing yesterday. That’s getting really close to home…. we sat with them last week (outside on the deck, about 4 ft apart). I’m so conflicted – I want to socialize but then I worry about becoming infected. See – mentally challenging!

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  4. Hi Pat, this isolation period for me has been very strange. I’m not in my home country, and not even in the country I called home for the past 12 years or so. My husband and I have spent our isolation together and having fun, talking, discussing our future, listening to music. And now that we’re no longer locked down we’ve been out and about exploring this new city that we’ve found ourselves in (Bucharest). I didn’t really socialise much before, but I am finding it hard not to interact with anyone else except my husband. It’s fortunate that we get along well and are still in love! Our summer ‘isolation’ is going to be less and less isolated, as cities and countries open up, we’re planning on moving soon to a new destination and hopefully find a new home. 🙂

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    1. Good luck with your move and home search. It’s wonderful that your and your hubby have been able to enjoy each others company so much during this… it sounds like a second honeymoon! I’m a bit envious!

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  5. Learning to BE instead of DO is a hard task. I continue to learn…over and over. We have far fewer restrictions on movement away from our house here in NSW Australia and that for me is the best. I can still have my daily coffee at a table at a coffee, people watch and do some art. Yet, none of us can afford to get complacent and so we still line up 1.5m distance and try to avoid closeness with anyone outside the home. These are strange times and when you add ‘getting used to being retired’ to the mix, it is hard!

    Take care,
    Denyse #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denyse, It’s nice to know I’m not alone in continuing to learn the Be versus Do. I’m also happy for all my Australia bogging buddies being in a country that’s handles this situation well…and is seeing the lower cases as a result. Here, restrictions were lifted even though cases never went down…and now cases are increasing rapidly. I’m really worried about our future. Personally, we continue to be in moderate isolation. We’ve visited with friends outside & distanced and have gone shopping a few times (groceries and hardware stores) – wearing masks. But besides that we are staying at home…which is forcing me to Be a lot more!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your thought process, Pat. The balance between being and doing has always been challenging for me. For right now, we’re in a modified isolation I’d say. We are starting to get out more, but wearing masks and keeping our distance. Our big plans for the summer are to get our new house furnished and at least minimally stocked, so our family can enjoy it. I also want to get out and do some hiking. I haven’t been out once yet this year! You’d think I would do more of that during social distancing, but my husband has had some health issues and responsibilities with his mother, and due to social distancing I hesitate to invite others from outside my home. I don’t know why I don’t go alone. Anyway, I’m putting hiking on the list for this summer for sure! I’m working on a summer bucket list now, so we’ll see what else makes the cut! Happy summer to you!

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    1. Christie, Your comment about “Why don’t I go alone” made me think. One of the things about being “like a kite” is I do not like to do things on my own. I’ve gone on 2 beach walks (one last week and one this week) by myself and felt like it was such a big deal! Because I don’t usually do anything on my own – walks, hikes, bike rides, standup paddles board, movies, museum. Years ago when I was reading The Artist Within, the concept of an “artist date” was one of the big tools. Basically a date with your own inner artist – doing something alone. Struggled with it and never really implemented it. Maybe what should be on MY summer list is doing some things outside of the house on my own!

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      1. The interesting thing for me is I love alone time at home…reading, writing, sitting on the porch. I also enjoy running by myself on my tried-and-true route. But other than my normal routines, I struggle doing things outside of the house on my own as well.

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  7. I’m very grateful that we’re getting back to normal here in Australia. We have no new cases at all and restrictions are being lifted slowly but surely. Being able to see the kids and grandgirls and a few friends has definitely made my heart happy. I think I’m also really good at enjoying the down time. I’ve just started back at my exercise class and Tai Chi because there’s room to social distance – it’s good to push myself back out the door after all this time at home.
    BTW I quoted you in Monday’s post – you always inspire me with your thoughts – the kite and key have me thinking today and I’ll have to go over and check out the original post.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, Thanks for sharing..and letting me know I make you think. That makes me happy – making others thing!

      It’s always interesting to hear from my blogging friends in other countries how this situation progresses. My country is handling it horribly. I go to the stores (infrequently for sure) and more than half the people are not wearing masks. Bars and restaurants open and there is no social distancing. In our state, the last 3 days we had more than 3000 new cases a day. Yeah, in just one state (Florida). It is very worrying, for sure!

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  8. Yes, I can relate to being a tad anxious about infecting people that need me to be there for them: husband and aged parents. Though we haven’t had it anywhere near as tough as the rest of the world. I have a feeling that we shall be experiencing these viruses for quite a few years. Still feels quite surreal, doesn’t it?

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  9. I think we’ll be at this for a while so having a plan is good! We have enough house projects and I have enough personal interests (blogging, writing in general, painting, sewing, etc.) to keep me busy. My biggest regret/loss is not being able to freely interact with friends. We’ve done a few distance gatherings but it just isn’t the same.

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  10. Always good to hear what you are up to. Funny, just had this conversation with my daughter as she completes Physical Therapy school and is applying for jobs. Find a job where she has been living the past 3 years and has many friends or take a “dream” job in another city and have to make all new friends. I advised her that she would have to be “intentional” in making friends as work would provide a limited source of co-workers (out patient clinic) with a broad range of ages unlike ungrad/grad school.

    I’ve found I’m spending less time on Facebook and unfollowing “friends” that feel the need to post “news” on a daily or multiple times a day basis. This has resulted in unfollowing both conservative and liberal friends. I don’t listen to NPR nearly as much as I used to and only watch the local news.

    Zoom has been a godsend!! I have more interactions instead of less. Where I would have lost my connection to Naples Knitters, I now Zoom with them weekly. I’ve maintained my connection to Cincinnati Knitters by Zooming instead of meeting for coffee. Both of my book clubs continue to have discussions only now via Zoom. My husband and I do not enjoy restaurants so we have not missed them being closed. My husband’s health makes any activity that lasts more than 45 min impossible so I don’t miss movies, plays, etc.

    We are looking forward to a vacation on the Outer Banks with friends since we are comfortable that we will not be infecting each other. I recently had lunch with a friend in a park so that we could catch up but still social distance. I’m in the camp that breathing is not living. While I will do my best not to infect others, please do not worry about infecting me. If continuing to breathe means not being able to connect with others, I chose to not breathe.

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    1. I hope your daughter takes your advice about being intentional. It will be a huge challenge now with everyone socially distancing. As I think back to the intentional things I did when I retired, right now I can’t replicate! I did a lot of coffee dates, lunch dates. Then moved some to walk & talks (too many calories!). Created a dining out foodie club (not happening now), regularly scheduled classes with friends (art classes, cooking classes – also not happening now). I planned group activities like going to watch the local soccer team (not happening). It’s going to be a challenge to find new connections. Our food group did try doing a Zoom dinner… but it wasn’t quite the same, I’m glad you’ve found it helpful for your knitters groups and book club. It’s crazy how many of us are using Zoom!

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  11. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one struggling with reading. Honestly, it’s makes no sense when you consider we have all this time to stay home. But I’m finding my concentration is not as it was before, and I literally can only read 3-4 pages before putting a book back down. It took me weeks to finish a relatively short one recently! – Marty

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    1. Marty, I never understood why to took people so long to read books. I was a usually 2-3 day book reader – I’d get caught up in it and read till 2 AM. Now, like you, I keep putting them down. I wondered if it was the books in my current read pile..but then pulled out an old favorite to re-read and the same thing. So odd, and you’re not the only one who has said it’s happening to them too.

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  12. I, too, find myself struggling. For many reasons. Definitely the whole too much versus not enough media. I find the more media I read, see and hear the less I know who or what to believe. I find the postings on Facebook becoming more rants and spewings than beautiful pictures of places and children and activities. I am one for keeping my “rose colorered” glasses on (and I like it that way) but I struggle with all I’ve seen lately to not feel like the world is full of foolish, mean, and stupid people. And that is a big “ouch” for me. So, I haven’t removed myself from Facebook or the newspaper or TV news, but I have become a “scroller”. Just scroll on by those posts, turn the page, or turn the channel. I will keep my “rose colored” glasses on! I like to see the world through them even all the while knowing I might be missing the real truth.
    We have been to a few outdoor restaurants to eat, taking our masks to wear when inside. Even though I fit the age category (just barely I certainly want to say) I don’t have any other health risks and consider myself in pretty good shape (for a woman who just barely fits into the “elderly” risk group LOL). I spend a lot of my time walking or attempting to walk/jog in Smale Park. Some days we rack up about 8-9 miles.
    But I struggle with the thought that this is the way it is going to be. It is not going back to “normal” anytime soon or maybe ever and boy does that depress me. And that leaves what I thought was a really nicely planned retirement in the lurch. Competitive ballroom dancing – gone. Working out at Orange Theory – even though they have opened back up, I’m not comfortable in an enclosed gym situation like that, so gone. Dinners and evening with great friends, tasting new and wonderful foods – mostly gone. Travel abroad – gone. These are huge OUCHES for me. These are what I had wrapped my retirement in and I loved it.
    In the beginning of the whole “stay at home” thing, I was fine. I was even really good. I set goals of eating really well, giving up alcohol, and getting serious exercise. I was going to get into the best shape I’ve been in for years. But that hasn’t happened. As a matter of fact, I feel like I struggle just to maintain. So, that has been a serious disappointment for me and has me questioning my determination abilities. I have even considered psychological counseling just to talk through all of this.
    I’m fine. I’m OK. But I was great. I miss great.

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    1. Candyse, I so get it. I too had gotten so many things going that I really enjoyed… and now, as you say, gone. I’ve no idea when I’ll have an evening with friends sharing yummy appetizers and long conversations… and that was my absolutely favorite thing in the world to do. When I think about it, I start to cry. I know I need to find new things to do, but that favorite thing is irreplaceable.

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  13. My summer in isolation is going to be just that: isolated. I am considered “vulnerable” for about five different reasons (without digging hard), so I am in no hurry to “get back out there”. I will play golf, because that’s pretty low-risk but otherwise, activities will be limited. Nothing about the virus has changed. It is still wildly easy to transmit and there is no accurate prediction of who can expect a bad outcome from Covid-19. There is no vaccine and perilously few even mildly useful treatments. I am also the main caretaker for my 91 year old mother, so I will not take chances.

    I do hope to get some projects finished that might not have happened without this forced isolation, but I will not take any chances to get them completed.

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    1. Bob, I liked the chart you shared on FB. It reflected how I was thinking about things. Like you, I’m in the “vulnerable” camp, and Tim more-so… so bringing it home is even scarier than getting it myself. Tim’s found lots of projects – we are at our new house in Florida at the moment – lots for him to do here! Me… not so much. My lack of lots of hobbies is rearing its head again. When I could plan lots of out & about (which I loved), it wasn’t that big a deal. Now, it’s time to really think about something to “get into”!

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