This week continued the up and down emotional challenges. Not so much worry and anger, but a number of negative emotional spirals. Yes, the oppressive external environment (return of Red Tide, surge of COVID in Florida, and even the August doldrums’ heat) has certainly made staying positive more challenging. I’m isolating again, fearful of being a spreader, and trying to catch the negative emotional spirals before they escalate. I share these feeling “less than” moments in the hope that others can relate and possibly feel that they are not alone.
Confrontation? No, Just More Downward Spiraling
I’ve seen a trend lately of bloggers turning off comments and I realized there is an upside to that. With no comments, there will be no possible confrontation on something you might post! And by confrontation, I mean my own negative spiral from a comment…because, since I’m working on not over-reacting, I didn’t respond or confront. But I did spiral down for 3 days, feeling hurt and “less than”.
Someone referred to me as a “boomer elitist”. It was not a compliment. I can’t change the year I was born, making me a Boomer, along with millions of others! But as I looked up the actual definition of elitist, it was interesting that a large part of the definition is different than expected. Of course, the term has been compromised to be insulting about favoring the wealthy. (Which, although we are financially secure, I do not agree with.)
But an elitist is more broadly defined as someone who believes that those who have higher intellect, skills, or experience deserve more influence or authority. I do believe that. I do believe that doctors who have studied epidemiology for decades know more than the random social media influencer or talk show host and should be listened to. That people with knowledge and experience should have influence on strategy and policy. So I guess, in that aspect, I am an elitist. At least accepting the term stopped the hurt. (And I’m sure the person making the comment will now point out how overly sensitive, naïve, biased, or bigoted I am!)
My Compare & Despair – Stop
Another blogger talked about how positive it was to NOT be the instigator of every catch-up with people, implying that this was the right thing to do. Those who make the effort to connect with her are the only ones still in her life. First, if I did this, I’d hardly ever talk with anyone! But then, I had to stop the “she’s right and I’m wrong” spiral thinking and acknowledge that as long as I enjoy the experience, whatever the activity planned is, then I’m OK being the instigator. I went back to my “Authentically Me” statement and reiterated that my being the designated planner is part of who I am, and planning activities, dinners, or even phone calls is my gift to my friends. Luckily, this was a short negative Compare and Despair spiral of feeling “less than”!
Variety or Lack There-of
I’ve seen multiple references this week about variety, from the trite “Variety is the spice of life “ to the more in-depth understanding of Hedonic Adaptation. Essentially, it’s been scientifically proven that when our experiences become routine or habitual, they begin to lose their luster and we begin to be less happy or satisfied with life. We do need a life with a variety of things in it.
During the pandemic, I have become more isolated and less active (no going out & about, less contact with people). I’ve always lacked spontaneity, but in the past I was able to plan things while still allowing space for some flexibility in the schedule. Post the Big Move I had lots of plans – from weekly beach yoga to joining clubs to starting a foodie group. I had plans to build new relationships (a new tribe) and live a more active lifestyle. Most of that has been halted – first due to Red Tide, now due to COVID resurgence, and probably some due to inertia (one of my personal challenges).
My days have gotten a bit routine. I need to recognize, even celebrate, the variety in my life more – the new recipes cooked (even if not liked), the new books read, the projects completed (even if my part is writing the checks). I need to become the designated planner again. Yes, masked up and socially distanced, but plan something! Maybe more variety will start an upward emotional spiral!
Net, it’s been another week of ups and downs. Hoping more ups than downs for next week. How about you?