Mind Space

Looking back, it is interesting to explore what was taking up my mind-space this summer.  With the deadly pandemic numbers, the tumbling economy with job losses & business closures, the social unrest of systemic racism, climate-change driven natural disasters, the political nightmare of hypocrisy and power plays, and even my at-home chaos of mid-move boxes and the loss of personal routines & activities, what was I thinking about this summer? What was taking up too much space in my head?

Obviously there was the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty, loss, isolation, and fear that generated.  I spent too much time reading (conflicting) articles and looking at (scary) data.  I got numb from looking at the numbers of new cases daily in states that are meaningful to me, like Florida.  With blogging buddies around the world, I unfortunately did too much Compare and Despair with their numbers as well.   How could some of those blogging buddies understand what 10,000 new cases a day (in a state) really felt like?   I had too much anger at the anti-maskers and the let’s-take-the-risk-and-gather people.  Rallies and gatherings without masks made my blood boil, generating some passive-aggressive negative thoughts as well (“I hope they get it”).   Facebook posts of friends and family gatherings brought out jealousy (“where’s my bubble people?”).  Some days, my mind struggled to find space other than pandemic thinking.  But when it did, there was a lot of other unproductive thinking going on!

We had family guardianship challenges, which took up more mind-space than I expected.  We had the surprise need to move my SIL, in the midst of working a change of guardianship for her. Yes, a move amid the pandemic.  My scenario-planning mode kicked in as I figured out what was needed, searched options, thought through the move to avoid any tantrums (SIL is mentally challenged), and dealt with checklists.  Yes, multiple checklists!  There was the actual physical packing and unpacking, which took time, but even more time was spent in the thinking and rethinking.

And our own move, which is pretty much all in my mind, but I’m running a series of scenarios there as well.  There’s the thinking on what to move & what to get rid of, where things might fit, when to move, how to make the new house not feel cramped & chaotic, and what is needed post move. And re-running those scenarios again and again.  Re-writing the checklists again and again, too.

Also in my mind-space this summer was the concept of  “How do I do a shift in thinking to enjoy being a homebody?”  Obviously in the current pandemic with its physical distancing and social isolation, I have become a homebody.  How can I learn to love it?   I need to celebrate cooking new recipes (goal is one a week, even if hubby critically comments on every single one), taking on-line classes (maybe more than one at a time?), reading books (28 this summer; 14 of which were light-hearted romance novels), and even doing the daily crossword puzzles.  Can I look at a day where I don’t leave the house (except for going on the patio) as a day with “accomplishments”?  Because I still do need that feeling of accomplishment in my life!

As someone who spends a lot of time in her mind (aka over-thinking everything), it was interesting to see where my head was spending time this summer.  I recognize I still do too much worrying about what might happen, rethinking what I did (If only I had said/done; why didn’t I), and re-planning details (how many times must I rethink our household move and not action anything?).  I’ve read a lot about mindfulness and being in the moment.  Maybe it’s time to try (again) to turn my mind to the present and not worry about the future (as long as that doesn’t mean focusing on the political nightmare unfolding or daily death tolls.).

Where’s your mind-space been lately?

Photo credit – me -> sunrise the other morning.

23 thoughts on “Mind Space

  1. I think (and worry a little) that I’m becoming too comfortable being at home. It’s sometimes tough for me to get excited about leaving. And when I do, I’m so happy to get back home. My mind space, much like yours, has been taken up with caregiving. Not the day to day kind but all the financial issues and emptying and selling a house. It takes a toll and I try not to resent the space it takes in my mind.

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    1. I had to chuckle when I read your comment as my post this week is about trying to get more comfortable with being at home! I’m not there yet at all. Your insight about not resenting when your mind-space is on caregiving was helpful. Thanks.

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  2. Thank you for sharing a little of what’s going on in your mind, Pat. I personally have been going through many similar things. We built a house and are selling a cabin. We moved my MIL into two different assisted living centers. And then, of course, there is COVID, unrest, natural (or not so natural) disasters, and now the presidential election. It is easy to get caught up in your head with all that going on. I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, “Where are your feet right now?” It’s nice to have people you can talk to (or bloggers you can write to) about these things and let them out of your head! Take care and continue looking for your fulfilling close-to-home lifestyle!

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    1. Christie, What am awesome question! “Where are my feet right now?” Such a sense of grounding, plus embracing the home. Definitely going to use that in my morning journaling. And yes, you are right… it is very helpful to get it out of my head into a blog and have people validate it. I know external validation is something I need to wean myself from…. but I’m not there yet!

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  3. There’s a blogger I follow who always includes an “irrelevant photo” within her post, and it never fails to be of a pretty outside scene or a pet of hers. I really like yours today in particular. You definitely have a lot going on, which I suppose is helpful in some ways; but some of your tasks also sound unpleasant, though obviously necessary. My wife is world’s biggest homebody I know, but even she has started to fret at how we really never go anywhere these days. And the sad thing is that I don’t see any end to this till at least next summer. – Marty

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    1. So good to know that even a declared homebody is feeling impact of the isolation – makes me know I’m not crazy. But I am trying to be ok with more home time… now if I could only find a home-based hobby that really interests me!!

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  4. You have a lot on your plate… no wonder you are feeling overwhelmed! I’d love to tell you to go easy on yourself… give up the “shoulds”… have confidence that you’ll get through it, but I know your nature is to be a planner and worrier. I often think that I don’t plan or worry enough, so neither extreme is good. One of these days the future will be the past, and you’ll be happily ensconced in your new home, sitting in your yard, sipping a favorite beverage, and enjoying your lovely view!

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    1. Janis, that last vision you laid out is what keeps me going! I also just read the phrase “shift from worrier to warrior” -meaning to take action on things and stop worrying… I am going to try and see if I can do that.

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  5. Hi Pat. You’ve certainly had a lot going on. I’ve found its not easy to stay focused on the things I’m building in my retirement life to replace the benefits I got from working to feel useful, purposeful, and “in the game” because even the easy leisurely stuff is so “off” now. I’m Already heartsick about Thanksgiving this year and will miss sharing it with my family and trying to figure out how to manage it. I’m really missing the everyday easiness of my leisure life in so many respects. And that in turn does wear at my resolve and motivation in the building areas! I think you’re doing great! It’s so difficult to feel complete right now.

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    1. Judi, I’ve always felt that knowing I’m not alone in the challenges makes them feel a bit easier. I keep searching for alternatives to things that are “off”. I’m spending more and more time on my computer – from taking various classes to listening to concerts to watching stuff on YouTube. I’d gotten away from the computer when I first retired since I had spent so much time at work on it. Not sure I like all the time in front of a screen, but I am also hoping it won’t be too much longer.

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    1. Tracey, I know the photo didn’t connect at all, but I loved it myself. I’m not much of a photo-taker, but have seen a few sunrises this past week and heron’s are probably my favorite bird! I’m sending you positive vibes for post-unpacking time. I know the pandemic is causing challenges on getting to know people better in Florida… have you made any plans for tackling that in your move?

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      1. We love our new neighborhood, but we’ve only met a couple of families out walking dogs. Its quite challenging right now, although I’m trying to connect through NextDoor and volunteering for HOA stuff.

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    1. Donna, Thanks for that. I think I needed some validation that thinks have been tough and I need to just have more compassion! With so much isolation, I have noticed I have less heart-to-heart conversations with friends. I’m working on changing that… maybe not face-to-face, but video screen to video screen!

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  6. Hello Pat – it sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate with all the moves. I can only imagine the struggle between having to stay put and trying to move forward given the pandemic. Since I’m not yet retired, my mind space is filled with how to help my client nonprofit organizations get through this pandemic – but I also find myself constantly asking what my role needs to be in the fight for social justice and against fascism. What am I being called to do? I haven’t quite figured it out yet…

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    1. Janet, So lovely to hear your voice again! When I read your comment about figuring out your role in the fight for social justice, I felt a little bit better about my own struggle to figure out what to do. I have never been political, nor engaged in any way on any cause. I do donate money regularly to causes I believe in. And I am definitely voting for those who will stand up for social justice and against fascism. And maybe that is enough for me. I expect that I will hear more about what you plan, now that you are re-entering blogging, and look forward to that.

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  7. I, and I bet thousands others, are be feeling the exact same way. What happened to having a million thing to do? Keeping our households up to date, our technology up to date, our selves up to date? My religious beliefs lend me to thinking that God is telling the whole world to slow down, enjoy this time on earth and turn to him. Mostly to turn to Him. We had all become far too ingrained in “being productive” in physical things. And had turned away from our spiritual being and relationship with Him.

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    1. Candyse, OK, that is twice in 2 days someone has specifically mentioned to me something about turning towards God. I am trying to slow down, appreciate nature, and maybe I need to listen to the “turn to God” a bit more!!

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  8. Hi Pat, well it sounds like it’s been a bit of a challenge for you with all the little irritations that covid has brought in its trail plus all the family stuff and the move. I’ve been doing some deeper thinking as to why being a homebody is such a bad thing these days – why it’s not something we’re grateful for and appreciative of – this “being productive” thing seems to steal the joy out of just “being”.
    I’m reading about this area a bit myself because I feel like I’m at a place in life that I’d have killed for a decade ago, and yet there still seems to be a faint whiff of dissatisfaction – and I’m drilling down to why and hopefully blasting it out of my life. Stay tuned.

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    1. Leanne, I will be looking for your post about “happy being a homebody” or where you drill it down to! I know I have a major need for doing things and feelings of accomplishment, which has been well-fed for years in my career. But I also think there is a lot of “should” in there as well… I should be busy, I should be doing things, I should be out of the house doing things. Figuring out the should versus the real need is an ongoing challenge!

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