This past week has been an emotional roller coaster. Not related to retirement transition, but still impacting my retirement lifestyle! This emotional roller coaster comes with a realization that I’m slipping back into my pre-retirement negativity of seeing the bad in everything. Since retiring, I’ve been consciously trying to put Positive Psychology into practice (top eleven elements blog link here), primarily because I’m not a naturally positive person. This week has shown me, I need more effort here!
We are finally (after 5 weeks) seeing a dissipation of the Red Tide (an out-of-control toxic algae bloom), only to have an out-of-control COVID Delta Variant surge. And I do mean out-of-control with >21,000 new cases a day (on average!) in our state and many hospitals out of ICU beds. The unwilling-to-vaccinate individuals combined with unwilling-to-mask seem to be driving this latest surge locally.
My emotions this week: Worry. Guilt. Anger.
- Worry about going to any gathering. The question becomes “To gather or not to gather?” Do I merely hope everyone else is vaccinated? Is it impolite to ask? I hope for outdoor events, but right now it can often be 90F (32C) at 9 PM or thunderstorms at 7PM forcing us indoors. I had just started to re-engage in my book club, garden club, local woman’s group, and my new woman’s philanthropic club. And now, I worry about going out and being with people.
- Worry about access to healthcare. We’re not young and healthy anymore; we are of the age that could need emergency care – heart attack, stroke. This is not crazy thinking on my part – both hubby and I have siblings who have had heart attacks or strokes. Local hospitals ERs are swamped and ICUs are full. I worry that if we need medical attention, we won’t get it.
- Guilt when an outdoor event goes inside and I don’t leave; the morning after second-guessing is horrible, taking joy away from the event. Guilt when I don’t demand a worker in my home to wear a mask, even though I am not in the same room. Did I expose myself to COVID? Am I now a carrier? Because even though I am vaccinated, apparently I can be a carrier with the new Delta variant.
- Anger that I even though I can go out & about again without impact of poor air quality from Red Tide (and yes, it was bad), I can’t go out & about again because of possible exposure to COVID. I had hoped for a return to pre-pandemic normal since our move coincided with vaccines widely available. First, Red Tide limitations and now CVOID concern limitations are keeping me socially isolated.
- Anger at all the individuals who willingly won’t vaccinate. They have allowed a more potent variant to emerge and spread. They are responsible for hospitals being swamped and health care workers inundated. They are responsible for all the long-term impact cases and all the new deaths. And they are responsible for my retirement life being limited again.
- Anger at myself for all of these feelings – the worry, the guilt, even the anger. I’m blessed. Really. Unlike others managing through this pandemic, we are healthy, financially secure, and not having to juggle a work-from-home, teach-from home situation. So whether this is feeling guilty for the anger or just angry with myself for whining, this is a negative spiral.
I do try and balance the worry, guilt, and anger with gratitude and moments of delight, like the sunset pictured in my header. And there have been delightful moments this week – D bringing me a lovely Chinese Evergreen plant, Hubby hiding birthday cards all over for me to find throughout the day, a lovely charcuterie board dinner with wine, a long beach walk & talk with B, and our new kitchen tile looking better than expected.
I thought I could jump into an out & about retirement lifestyle with our move. But, now I know in these final days of summer and into fall, I need to shift to a social-distancing mindset again. And continue the effort to put Positive Psychology into practice, since that was not my expectation!
Do you need to backtrack in your return to pre-pandemic “normal”? How does that make you feel?