My Emotional Seesaw Continues

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?

31 thoughts on “My Emotional Seesaw Continues

  1. Dear Pat and Friends, like blogs with comments. And here’s why: when people comment, and leave a link to their blog, the blog may be an interesting one. Would rather read blogs than listen to mainstream media. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Pat, when I first saw this post and realized it was a follow up I went looking for the first one and commented there. I appreciate your definition of elitism, or being an elitist. Negative comments are hard and sometimes the ones that attack boomers, are very nasty. lots of good feedback here. I hope you have a better week. Michele

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Go #35! You are probably there by now, I just checked my comments. You are welcome. It is one of the many gifts of blogging, yes? Not only to read and hear other thoughts and opinions but to develop even the most tangential friendships and caring about others. Sharing life. #36, 37, you have got this. And as you well know, you do not have to pretend to be happy. I do like the goal of “50 things I am happy about.” A great challenge.
        Best and blessings, Michele

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh, sorry someone was so thoughtless. Words matter, and some people don’t really understand that. It’s one of the reasons why I ultimately got myself off of FB, though the same dynamic can obviously play out on a blog too. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning Pat:

    Thank you for writing so honestly and openly about the on-going peaks and valleys of your emotional journey and yes, emphatically yes, your readers (me) can both relate and benefit from your wisdom and experience. So, again, Thank you!

    I’ve never been fortunate enough to live in Florida, but I have had quite a few vacations there. One of those, also August, on the gulf coast, was quite spoilt by Red Tide; all we’d wanted – needed even – was a week away from the rat race to decompress with lots of hot air, sunshine, a gorgeous beach, the lovely salt water of the gulf and a few good books. Instead we spent our time beside the pool at the condo we’d booked, which was very disappointing. Have you heard how long this bloom is likely to last?

    A few years ago I was in a very similar pattern of wildly fluctuating emotions and one of my dear photography buddies gave me an assignment – 365 – take and share one photo a day, every day (no exceptions!!!) for a full year. Stepping outside my door each day with my camera, looking for beauty, interest, amusement or drama each day completely changed my focus and mood and evened out my emotions – eventually. Eventually!!! It wasn’t a quick fix or a miracle cure but the simple act of composing and taking a photograph each day was extraordinarily therapeutic. I don’t know if you enjoy photography or not, but, based upon my own experience, I recommend you give it a shot. I wish I was smarter and had a genuinely valuable pearl of wisdom for you.

    I love reading your blog posts, thank you and, far from thinking of you as elitist, I think of you as wise and warm and engaged and interesting and very, very smart.

    Heaps of love from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. xoxox

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pamela, thank you so very much for your kind words! They really did bring a tear to my eye.

      I am not a photographer, but I am trying to pull my camera (phone one) out and take pictures a few times a week. My goal (not achieved yet), is to have a picture each week that I can attach to my blog post. Maybe not every day… but I did take one last night of the blue moon – a very hazy blue moon. So a good start to this week. Another tool I’ve used (and you reminded me of it) is to write down 50 things you are happy about right now. I’m thinking I’ll do that one this week.

      Red Tide. It’s a natural phenomenon. But this one is “on steroids”, due to water pollution. Someone likened it to pouring gasoline on a forest fire (as many forest fires are also natural and needed for healthy forest growth). So how long it will last is anybody’s guess! It started way earlier than expected (usually occur in late summer, not start in June), went further in distance than expected (higher into bays and canals), and is less patchy than expected (fully covering miles of the coastline). It’s not currently as bad as the peak a few weeks ago (when over 1700 tons of dead fish and marine life where picked up in 3 weeks), but it’s still noticeably there (breathing irritation).

      Again, thanks for your kind words. They really helped.

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  5. I recognize a lot of what you brought up. Yes, given the virulent nature of the delta variant, we are pulling back somewhat. Since we are vaccinated, we’re not going to the level of seclusion that we did early in the pandemic, but we’re thinking twice about doing anything that involves being around a lot of people. I have even made the decision not to return to choral singing for right now because that environment has been responsible for a large number of super spreader events globally. I have been singing in choirs for nearly 40 years, so this was not an easy decision.

    For some reason, I just don’t let negative opinions bother me very much. Quite often, it’s clear that the commenter is clueless and to me, it’s not worth wasting emotional energy engaging in a battle with someone whose opinion I don’t value in the first place. Now, if someone I admire and hold in high esteem gave me some negative feedback, that is worth considering strongly.

    Keep trying to add variety. That’s helpful. If you’re a reader, there is an internet tool called literature-map.com that is pretty cool. When you enter a favorite author’s name, it brings up a cloud map of other authors and those closest to your favorite are ones that you would probably also like. Then again, you could pick one closer to the fringes of the map and perhaps discover a new favorite genre!

    Cooking different recipes is fun too. I just made a big batch of gazpacho with our homegrown tomatoes and herbs. I have also been trying all sorts of different recipes on my smoker and grills. By the way, if you have a smoker, smoked meatloaf is unbelievably good.

    It has also been blistering hot in Cincinnati. We’ve had a lot of 90+ days and most of this week looks to be the same. It doesn’t make you want to do a lot outside, so walks are done early in the morning if at all and early tee times are crucial.

    I hope you have a week of mostly “ups” this week. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bob, I’ve played with that literature map before… you must have told me about it previously! I did explore a couple of new authors. My challenge now is I have too many books to read. My recommended list is long, the pile in the back room isn’t dropping down as I get passed books now from others in my book club, and I’m even getting books from the library now (a new thing for me, but it’s so close by that I can’t not use it).

      I was going to do a morning walk today and we had a pop up thunderstorm at 7:30 AM! Yeah, the kind we usually get in the late afternoon from built-up heat & humidity. I’m still learning Florida weather.

      I really need to remind myself of your comment about “someone whose opinion I don’t value”. You are absolutely RIGHT. Why should I care what this random person thinks about me? Damn, why weren’t you in my head days ago with that insight. 🙂

      I’m focusing on the ups this week (I hope to anyway). It was good to “hear” from you!

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  6. Pat, Sorry about the “downers” but you owe yourself quite a bit of grace. You’ve accomplished a lot during a very difficult time. Moving is one of life’s biggest stressors! I remember stewing on my first negative blog comment, but now I’m just thankful that WP is generally a very positive forum. I must admit that any comment attached to the word “boomer” really sets me off too. We seem to be the target for being too secure, too old, too white….whatever. It’s almost as if you aren’t allowed to criticize anyone unless they’re middle aged white men or baby boomers.Oops, I highjacked your comments to go off on a rant of my own. You’re not alone. Be good to yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tracey, rant away! Of course, the negative comment pushed into my feelings of being “not enough” and my guilt for being financially secure (which is tied to my Imposter Syndrome). But I also realized everyone criticizes so much these days…I need to learn to not hear it. Easier said than done. And yes, 99% of the WP community is positive! It’s one of the things I love about it.

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  7. I’m struggling to understand my feelings right now. I could easily just stay home all the time, which is rather frightening!! Even fun activities create angst and I can’t wait to be home with my comfortable routine. I’m hoping that will go away over time as going out again becomes part of the routine. But I’m still nervous about COVID and want to be as careful as I can. Putting yourself “out there” in the blogging world is bound to result in some negative comments, especially if you have a lot of followers. I hope this week goes better for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your feelings as well. I’m also staying home more and do wonder if/when I’ll return to my lifestyle vision of being out & about regularly! And I like how you commented about “lots of followers”…I sometimes forget that I do have many people who read my posts regularly. I guess it’s almost surprising I don’t get more “negative” comments! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling, Pat. I think many of us our. Thanks for sharing that definition of elitist. By that definition, I am happy to call myself one. And when you think about the idea that not instigating social contact is the “right” thing to do, if everyone felt that way, none of us would ever be social again. We are all just doing the best we can, and it sounds like you are putting your coping skills to work. Sending love your way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, I am trying to cope. (thanks for recognizing that.) Like your smoke, our Red Tide has made things more challenging. And of course, Florida….i knew the state was a bit odd, but making it illegal to mandate masks is just plain stupidity. I honestly do not know how this is going to shake out in the local schools…and that is really frightening.

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      1. Utah’s legislature also passed a law banning mask mandates in public schools. One mayor used her emergency powers to override that ban and mandate them anyway. Our hospital ICUs are full once again. It is frightening. I just have to take all of the reasonable precautions and release the worry. I hope you are at ease today.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I have appreciated reading about your transition to Florida since I am currently in them process of moving to Raleigh NC I know the area and so many things to appreciate down there but moving from beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan along Lake Superior and the quietness is concerning. Being closer to family was the biggest factor
    Thank you !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margie, Close to family is a wonderful reason to move and I’ve heard lovely things about areas of North Carolina! Moving is stressful, and as I’m learning, it takes time to adjust, especially with Covid playing havoc. You know I am a planner, so I am going back to the planning and tracking mode this week to try and boost the positivity. Good luck with your move.

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  10. Oh gosh, Pat, are you me? I understood quite a bit there far too much for my own liking…and by that I mean, I am trying right now to turn off my ‘inner critic’ more and listen to reason. It’s a tough time alright and we are all making some choices that others might not like. However, I still want to connect with others and my blog is open for link up and comments..but I also understand that adding your blog there can also be a pressure to comment back! Denyse

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denyse, I realized with your comment that yeah, I needed to hear “you are not alone” with my feelings! My inner critic hears things that are really not there. It takes me time to think through the reasoning why what I’m thinking is not true.

      I still want to connect as well. It’s been hard to continue to read a few folks’ blogs who have turned off their comments. Not that I always comment, but if they inspire me or make me think or really connect to me, I want to let them know!

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  11. Well you have over 1000 followers. I’d say that quite a few people who find your posts worth reading.
    The people in Australia and Israel are pretty unhappy now. And one of my friends has just told me she has been exposed to covid19 although she is double vaxed. It’s not over and we all have to reach out and support one another

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. Great perspective! Of course, I always hear the negative comment way more than the positive. It’s been that way for my whole life.

      I just read an article the other day about Covid and Delta. It pretty much said, with the higher transmission of the delta mutation (5X than previous), even if vaxxed, you might get it, if you are exposed (i.e. not masked/socially distant), but you probably won’t get severely sick. You’ll be a spreader though also, and might not even know cause you could even be asymptomatic. The vax IS protecting you. So my fears are not about getting sick myself, but about getting someone else sick! If only everyone worried more about that.

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      1. This post and the comments have been so impactful. I’m struggling with the same things (except without the added stress of a recent move!). It has been so hot and humid here, with daily thunderstorms, losing power every day or two, that I have not left my house for days on end. And this is the summer I was so looking forward to last winter. I hope that I motivate myself to get back out for early morning walks this week. Your concern about not being a covid spreader is exactly what has been my main concern throughout, and I am so disappointed that most people seem not to worry about it at all. I appreciate your blog and have taken some things from here that I’m hoping will help get me out of my head.

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  12. Pat, I think you are doing great. You’ve made a huge life change during an historically challenging time. Although Florida has become the poster child of bad management, I have to believe that things will get better at some point. Please don’t take random comments harsh your buzz. They are more about the commenter than they are about you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis – Thank you. Exactly what I needed to hear. It’s more about them than me! Now, why didn’t that come to me before 3 days of funk?

      I really do appreciate the support my blogging community provides me. I mentioned to someone this morning how I’m so happy when I see your name pop in my comments…. you were one of my very first follows. And I’m so happy we still connect.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Pat – sorry that you’re feeling so flat and out of sorts. This pandemic has done that to a lot of people – especially those who have plans and like to be out and about. I hope it wasn’t part of my post from last week (about saying “no” to one sided friendships) that upset you. I think we’re all different in how we approach life and if nobody instigated social catch-ups then we’d all sit at home looking at our four walls. I just like the idea of balanced friendships – people checking in on each other and being proactive, rather than always chasing people who don’t seem to care one way or the other. I hope your week feels more cheerful and you find a way through the doldrums because our new normal seems to be with us for the foreseeable future (unfortunately!)
    And being one of those people who turned off their comments, I haven’t regretted it – people may not bother to check in, but that’s okay – the ones who care will find a way to comment, if not….well that’s another story. It certainly removes the need to justify what I write about to the negative nellies! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, Last week did make me appreciate the pros to not having comments on, for sure. One of my challenges is “hearing” expectations when they are not there. If someone, especially someone I admire, is doing something differently than me, I automatically assume they are doing it right and I am expected to do it that way also. More my issue and one I’m working to stop doing. So in essence, it was a good thing. I heard the “you’re doing it wrong” in my head but quickly was able to stop it and realize they way I deal with reciprocation is right for me. My friends do appreciate me being the designated planner and voice that appreciation. Net, it’s all good!

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  14. Wow. So sorry to hear people have been negative rather than supportive. I’m glad you’re finding healthy ways to deal with that. Keep your chin up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Annie. And in reality, most people ARE supportive. But it’s always the one critic we hear most loudly, isn’t it?! And I am trying to become aware of the spirals and stop them sooner rather than allow them to spin out of control. This blog helped me do that. Plus all the support I’m getting really, really helps!

      Like

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