I’m still at the wall hitting stage this week. I’m seriously considering asking for the day off on Friday even though I work from home just to not have to think about anything but what I’m going to watch on TV next.
I’m tired of working from home when all of the work I’m best at requires being in branch.
I’m tired of the uncertainty. Our lockdown has been indefinite. Hogan might open part of the state this week, but my county might not follow. I have no idea what the rules will be where I live vs where I work.
I’m tired of watching my kid deal with online school for college.
I’m tired of the uncertainty of when we might get to go get the rest of her stuff from her dorm room.
I’m tired of the uncertainty about school for the fall. I don’t want the rest of her college life to be online from home.
I’m tired of the uncertainty about the possibility of driving to KY to see family this summer.
I’m tired of the news but want to watch the news to stay informed even though I can see how they frame things to get the biggest reaction.
I’m tired of poor leadership.
I’m just tired.
I have two different ideas for blog posts that I workshopped in my head over the weekend. I was all ready to wake up and write before my workday started. Instead, I seem to have hit a wall today.
I had a good weekend. I took a lazy day Saturday. I did crossword puzzles. I had coffee. I watched TV. I read a little bit. Sunday I did some yard work. Went for a walk. Had a nice dinner. Played Life, my family’s favorite board game. It should have refreshed me and had me ready to go.
Instead, I sit here dreading everything. I don’t want to write anything substantial. The thought of doing work makes me ill and depresses me.
I’ve hit a wall today. Hopefully it is a one day blip. I just need to power through today and hope tomorrow is better.
I’ve mentioned a few times on here about my struggle with focusing on a book. There are several other changes in the way I occupy my mind during these times. Here are some ways the way I spend my time has changed recently(besides the obvious part that I spend all of my time in my house.
Reading – I am still reading. I actually finished a book over the weekend. It just takes me a lot longer to finish a book these days. I also find myself skimming the books more. I just can’t get absorbed in a book the way I used to. It’s possible this started before the quarantine as my reading had already slowed. This has just made it worse. It’s hard to get absorbed in a book when I have trouble getting my mind off of the stress and depression of the current situation. Maybe I should go back to one of my favorite books and see how that goes.
TV – I have watched a lot of TV since we’ve all been at home. The biggest issue here is that we don’t all watch the same shows. I need to find more shows to watch alone and we need to find more shows that all of us want to watch. My DVR is still almost full because there are a ton of shows that just me and my wife watch and we never have time to watch them now. I have noticed that I prefer shows that are lighter now and need less focus. We are watching some old seasons of Survivor. It’s fun watching them again with my daughter and they are easy to watch without thinking. I watch the news less because the last thing I need is more of my mind on the pandemic. I haven’t watched John Oliver the last three weeks for the same reason. We are watching shows like Community because they are fun and light and that’s what we need right now.
Sleeping – My sleep pattern is pretty much the same. I wake up too early every day and that leads to me being sleepy earlier than everyone else. Sometimes I try to stay in the room while others are watching TV late and sleep on the couch for a while. Others seem to stay up much later now. I’m too old for that.
Movies – We do occasionally watch a movie, but I think movies are suffering the same as books. It’s easier to focus on a short TV show than a long movie, A nice, short comedy like Stuber is preferable over a long, dramatic movie right now. I think I need to watch some of my sports movies I love like Glory Road and Remember the Titans.
Walking – I take the dog for a walk every day the weather cooperates. Before all of this, I would sometimes be lazy and skip walks. Now it takes major rain to stop me from going on the walk I did take a lazy day yesterday and used the weather as an excuse. I regretted it at the end of the day.
Social Media – I’ve unfollowed people on both Twitter and Facebook recently because I couldn’t deal with constant rants on either side of the issues. I don’t feel like I post as much as I used to. I might be wrong about that. I try not to look at it as much, but it is a habit that is hard to break. You can find out a lot about people based on what they say during a crisis. Sometimes that is not a good thing.
It might take a while for me to get back to normal after this. My reading might take a while. I think work stress and Depression had already made it hard to focus on reading and since I will continue to work it won’t go away at the end of the crisis. It will just be more because of my personal crisis, not a worldwide one. I need to learn to turn my brain off and stop dwelling on the bad. I have never been able to do that so you can imagine what it’s like during times like these. Turning off the news has helped. Avoiding certain people on social media has helped. Focusing on positives and hope has helped. I am a work in progress.
I am now over a month into staying at home. My last day at work was March 13. My last day driving to work to empty the book drop was March 17. Since then I have left the neighborhood a handful of times for food and other necessities. You would think this would be easy for someone who always said they want to be a hermit, but I’m finding that a forced hermit life is different than voluntary hermit life. I want to be home because I want to be home, not because I have to be home. Here are some reflections from my time:
Isolation is not new for me – The only thing that has really changed for me in the last month is that I’m working from my couch instead of working from the branch. My life before the quarantine was working 9-5, driving home, and then sitting on my couch reading or watching TV alone for a couple of hours until my wife got home. We would eat dinner and then watch TV until bed. We didn’t go out. We didn’t have friends over. We didn’t do much. The big changes for me – I can’t go sit somewhere for coffee for a change of scenery and we are all home all the time. I was already socially isolated. I don’t see that changing when we open back up.
My circle is very small – A friend commented on one of my posts that your quarantine circle is your real circle. The people not in your quarantine circle don’t matter to you when you can choose. My circle is basically my wife and kids. I text my siblings who are in Kentucky. That’s it. That’s who I have. No surprise given the paragraph above.
I envy retired people – I know I am fortunate to have a job I can do from home and that I still have a paycheck. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to work with the public right now. Considering the alternatives, we are in a very good place. I will admit though that I am much happier on weekends when I am scrubbing toilets or doing yardwork than I am during the week when I am working. I think my mental health would be in a much better place if every day was a day working on stuff around the house rather than what I am spending my time doing. That’s not really a change though. I was ready for retirement before working from home. It’s just more pronounced now.
Reading is hard right now – You would think this would be a perfect time to catch up on reading, but I find it hard to concentrate on a book for an extended period of time. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on much of anything right now.
I mainly want this to be over for my kids, not for me – I want life to get back to normal. It will be nice to be able to go out to eat or get coffee out. It will be nice to be free to move about, but as I said above, I didn’t do much of that before. I really want this to be over for my kids. I want my daughter to be able to go live on campus again in the fall. I want her to be able to hang out with her friends in person. I want my son to be able to play ultimate frisbee with his friends again. I want him to be able to go to work and do the things he enjoys. I can live with isolation. I’ve done it for years. I don’t want it for them.
I was fortunate that my day back to work after my sick day was my evening day. I had a few more hours to rest up and be ready to return. I was able to sleep until 8 and then ease into my day. I’m still not 100% but I feel physically able to return to the real world. Mentally and emotionally is another story. A day and a half off gave me time for contemplation during my time dozing on the couch and watching TV.
The contemplation actually started on Sunday when the Kobe news coincided with my daughter moving back to school. I can’t claim to have been a big Kobe fan. I watch a lot of college basketball, but never really watch the NBA. My reaction to the Kobe news was more a reaction to the loss of someone 10 years younger than me and then to the news of the kids who were killed along with him. My reaction as a father was how terrible it must have been knowing your daughter was going to die and you could not protect them. I don’t even want to think about that, It makes me physically ill.
The loss of Kobe and the other adults made me think about how short life can be and how you never know how much time you have left. If you knew your time was up would you be happy with how you spent your last days? Would you be happy with the way you are leaving the world? If not, maybe it is time to make a change. I can’t say that I can answer positively to those questions. I spend my days in a situation that makes me physically ill at the thought of leaving the house. It negatively affects my physical and mental health and has made me a difficult person to live with. I’m sad and depressed and on edge and not pleasant to be around. Is this the legacy I want to leave? Why am I spending my days in a place like this? A change is in order even if it means a total change of career.
When I’m not at work am I doing anything that makes a difference in the world? I no longer work with a youth group at a church. I no longer coach youth sports. I don’t really do much of anything. I work and then I go home and never leave the house. I think I probably need to change the above before I am ready to change this one, but I need to feel like I’m doing something that matters.
I saw an article today about Shaq saying he was going to call people he has beefs with and make up before it is too late. I need to think about my relationships with people and consider reaching out to those I need to reconnect with or make amends with before it is too late. I need to be better at maintaining friendships and making friends in general. It’s too easy to become isolated and hermity and not talk to anyone. While I say I am a future hermit I don’t really mean I never want to talk to anyone. What I mean is that I want to experience the world and people when I choose not because it is my job. Friends are important.
So, how much of this will I really change? I hope this isn’t all just words that I forget about when I’m rambling about something else tomorrow. I hope I use this contemplation to start moving toward a happier and healthier me.
I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for a while. I typed some stuff. It was all sad stuff abut how I’ve only got four more days until my daughter goes back to school and I spend more time alone. I had some sad stuff in there about how my daily life sucks and I feel physically ill at the thought of leaving the house. I deleted it all. It’s all true. It’s also true that it may get worse in the fall when there is a chance my daughter will study abroad and my son will be in school a couple of hours away. I didn’t delete it because it isn’t true. I deleted it because it was poorly written and isn’t really helpful. All the stuff above is stuff that will happen. I can’t change any of that. I will have more time alone soon. I might have even more time alone in the fall. I’m heading in the direction of my kids permanently living somewhere else. I can’t change it but I can change some things.
I can change my daily life issues by finally taking steps to find something new even if it does mess up my retirement date. I can’t do this for five more years. I would rather be happier at work and work longer than be miserable for five years. I just need to find the right job for me or convince my wife we can live on her salary alone.
I can change my after-work life. I don’t have to sit at home alone for several hours. I can get out of the house even if it is just to take the dog for a walk even if it is cold and dark. I can treat myself to a movie on my Fridays off. I can do more to take my mind off my day until I fix my days.
I can convince my wife to so more day trips and fun stuff on weekends. Too many of our weekends have become days to clean the house or for my wife to spend more time working. I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking weekend time to refresh and recharge.
I’ve said all the before. I need to move from saying it to doing it. I’ve let other people and situations drain me to the point that it is easier to sit and mope than to do anything to fix it. I can’t change toxic people and toxic situations. Others who could won’t. It’s time for me to practice more self-care and do what I can to remove myself from the toxicity because maintaining the status quo is slowly killing me. It’s time to wake up and make some changes.
I’ve been thinking about posting a list of goals for 2020 but then I look back at my goals for 2019, think about how I failed at them and figure there is no point in making up new goals.
I said I would keep my yearly goal of reading 100 books for the year and didn’t even make 85. I set my Goodreads goal at 100 again. Maybe I will get back on track this year.
I said I would do more stuff out of the house and then spent more time at home instead.
I said I would go outside more. I did make an effort to read on the deck more when the weather was nice but could do better.
I said I would take more short trips to KY to see family. I went once and not until November.
I didn’t succeed much with my 2019 goals. A good bit of that can be attributed to my spiraling into a depression. That depression can in a large part be attributed to a very bad daily environment once I leave my house. I don’t see my daily life changing in 2020 so I can’t imagine I would be extremely successful in doing better in 2020.
I will try to do better in dealing with my stress and anxiety. I will try not to let my stress and anxiety follow me home. I will try to figure out how to change my daily life without negatively affecting my long term plans.
I guess my 2020 goal will be getting better mentally and emotionally. Many of my leftover goals from 2019 would help with that. Here’s hoping for a happier, healthier 2020 for Tater.
One final goal – to have happier, funnier posts here in 2020. No one wants me to post daily about being stuck in an unhappy situation.
It’s a dark and dreary night. I’m spending my second night home alone. My wife is out of town for work. It’s still one week away from my daughter coming home from college. My son is at his house. I’ve done nothing really Christmasy this year. Last year at this time we were at Zoo Lights at the National Zoo and then went out for dinner. This year, as mentioned above, I’m alone. The dark and dreary weather matches my mood. I can’t seem to get in the Christmas spirit this year.
I dressed up as Santa for work yesterday and had multiple kids get their picture taken with me. It still didn’t get me in the mood to celebrate.
We have our work holiday party tomorrow. Usually, I would be looking forward to some time with coworkers having fun instead of working. I’d rather have a snow day and stay at home alone.
Our Christmas tree is up and next to the couch where I’m writing this. Still not helping.
It might help if all this rain was snow.
It might help if I didn’t feel ill about leaving the house every day.
It might help if I wasn’t alone so much.
It will help when we get in the car and head toward Kentucky.
Only 9 days to go…
You’ve probably noticed that not been writing a lot lately. You might be happy that I’ve not been writing a lot lately. Maybe you didn’t notice. I don’t know what you do with your time. In case you missed it – I have not been writing a lot lately. Lorna over and Gin & Lemonade asked on Facebook who was up for a blog a day challenge and I decided to join in. The problem is – I still don’t really feel like writing. So, I decided to use the first post to try to write about why I’m not writing.
Part of the problem is as simple as a change in schedule. Not my schedule. My wife’s schedule. I was in a groove of writing after work instead of in the morning. I would come home, change clothes, take the dog for a walk and then watch a TV show while vomiting up a blog post. The last few weeks my wife has been home on Monday and Tuesday so I didn’t come home to an empty house. That’s a positive for the most part, but it is not conducive to writing. I find it hard to write when others are here. She’s here now, but she was on a call, so I had time to start this. Now it sounds like she is done, so who knows when I will write the rest.
The bigger problem is frame of mind. My days can be mentally and emotionally draining. Part of it is the public. Most of it is a particular person who makes my days more stressful and toxic than should be allowed. It’s hard to come home and do anything after dealing with a toxic person who has control over your days. I just want to watch TV and not think. This is also a hard time of year for me. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mom’s death. This time of year was when I was driving home a lot to see here when I knew my time with her was limited. I still struggle with my decision to not go home to be there at the end. I wanted my last memories to be better and I’ve always felt bad about that. Like I failed her. So, depression, grief, and mental exhaustion makes it hard to feel like vomiting words on a blog.
Finally, I’m boring. I don’t have the type of life that gives me a lot of stories for a blog. It’s hard to be a blogger when you’re boring.
So, that’s why I’m struggling to write. Who knows if the blog a day challenge will work. We will see,
I’ve written and deleted three sentences so far. I either don’t like the sentence or I can’t decide if I want to write about what I start to write about. I just deleted the rest of the paragraph I wrote after these two sentences. I feel like I want to write about the mental state that I think is responsible for causing me to be stuck, but then I delete it all when I type it. The downside of most of my readers being people I know and see in real life. The question of how much I want to open up about things like my mental state. It seems today I’m struggling with not wanting to say much at all.
I will just say in general terms – I’m stressed, I’m sad, I feel alone, I have a general sense of impending doom. All of this has made it hard for me to write anything lately. It’s made it hard for me to focus on my Chinese sci-fi book(or is it the book?) for my book club. It’s made it hard for me to do much at all lately.
Hopefully, this mood will break soon and I will be back to my old self. If it doesn’t maybe I will finally do what I should have done a long time ago and find a therapist to help me through the stress, anxiety and occasional depression.
Here’s hoping a less depressing post is coming tomorrow.