Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Tuesday Thoughts About...

...the pandemic.

I know it's been a tough year for so many people. I feel for all the people who lost their jobs and therefore their incomes. 

I feel for all those businesses who had to shut down. I feel for them as they try to "pivot" (the buzz word of the year) to keep their businesses afloat. 

I feel for all those parents trying to help their kids with zoom schooling. 

I feel for all those parents dealing with kids AND trying to work from home at the same time. 

I feel for everyone else working from home--their feelings of depression and isolation.

I feel for all those who are home and feeling isolated.

I really do feel them. I really do. In fact, I can get downright weepy about it if I dwell on it. I know a lot of people are struggling. It's hard for sure. So, I'm not trying to be insensitive here.

But...we've had a completely different experience. We've been retired for a long time--10 years already, so not much really changed for us. Yes, I am a people person and pretty social. I normally have something going on just about every day of the week---until this year.  All that came to a halt. Still, it was okay. In fact, we've fared better than most. I dare say, we've thrived. Here's why. 

We were used to going in different directions---he geo-caching, fishing, golfing, biking, various meetings with all the different boards he's on and his consulting business. Me---stitching, movie Mondays, book club, AYM group, swim parties and duplicate bridge. All fun. When all that came to a halt, we were back to each other. 

Now don't get me wrong. A few years ago, we vowed to have at least one trip a month and consciously spend more time together each week. It was never about NOT wanting to spend more time together, but rather our different approaches to life. He prefers to wake up in the morning and decide what he wants to do today.** (See note below)  I, on the other hand, have my weeks planned out far in advance. When we decided to change that, we would pick a day for the upcoming week that we would spend together. We called them our "Butch & Barb" days. Mostly those were short day trips that included geo-caching, sightseeing and even fishing (okay only once, it was too hot!). Other times we would run errands together (which wasn't always great) and going to lunch now and then--outdoors, of course.

When the lockdown began last March, we started adding activities that we could do together. We got outside and walked or he biked while I walked. The point was that we got outside and were active. We did some fun virtual challenges with our family (Route 66 and then we walked the length of Britain). Right before Thanksgiving we did the Titans Virtual 5K. That was my first "race"although we didn't actually do any racing. 

We had more happy hours with just the two of us than ever before. Prior to the lockdown our happy hours were on Friday nights with family. Once it was just us, we added an extra day or two. Basically we combined that with our newest hobby---puzzlemaking--or I should say, rekindled hobby. We sat on the front porch more this year than any other. And we talked. A lot. You'd think after 49 years, we wouldn't have much to say. But still we managed. We lamented trips cancelled and dreamed of trips to come.

This stay at home mandate has actually brought us closer together. Now I'm not trying to get all schmaltzy here---that's not my style. It just reminded us of how much fun we have together. After all, that's why we hooked up in the first place!

We decided to put ourselves back in lockdown after Thanksgiving. Maybe not quite as strict as the first go round, but we've limited our activities to only essential. In my case, our book club meeting and Christmas bridge was essential! That was pretty much it. 

We've limited our time with family for sure--we only saw them once for happy hour during the entire holiday season. Our Christmas was definitely different as we masked and social distanced. Butch even bought an air filter. But, you know, it just wasn't that hard. We've been okay with all of it. Not having a sit down dinner was actually easier for me. I've promised our traditional turkey dinner for February. I have the turkey in the freezer. But, I did miss setting the table. 

As we start this new year--and our new family challenge---The Ring Road around the perimeter of Iceland--828 miles (it should take us about 8 weeks), we look forward to what's ahead. We have a couple trips in the works---if things settle down. We plan to spend more time at the beach. We'll keep spending more time outside. We'll keep doing day trips and lots more geo-caching. We'll wear our masks everywhere. We won't leave home without them!

We can't wait until we can get to St. Louis to see family--probably a couple more months. 

We're just going to keep plugging along and being careful. We're healthy and happy. I can't ask for more than that. I wish that for everybody. Health and happiness in 2021! Happy New Year y'all!

**When the girls were little, Butch had that same approach to weekends. He called it "floating." The girls would say, "Daaad, we don't want to float!" They wanted to know exactly what we would be doing. We are a family of planners. Don't get me started on our vacations---organized to the nth degree!

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts that I totally relate to Barbara! I, too, feel for those who have been so adversely affected by this pandemic - financially, physically, emotionally, relationally. It's so sad to see all that has gone one this year.

    Yet, Robbie & I have thrived with him working from home after so much travel and time apart in 2019. We're thrilled that his new job will keep him remote working from now on. We've always spent lots of time together & this year we enjoyed it and didn't feel as much of a change as so many people did.


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