Solace in the simple
Ten years ago I started a project in which I took a picture every day to improve my photography skills. While it was intended to be a picture project, it ended up being a journal of my life for that year and plus. I later pulled that blog into a book. I like to revisit it from time to time because it captures all of life’s little moments that my brain simply cannot recall or hold onto.
With all that has changed in the last month, I feel that right now that I’m having a difficult time even holding onto life’s big moments. So I’m starting up the photo journaling again. Not every day, but regularly. Just seems like I just might want to have a record of this time in my life and the world.
The day to day
I regularly telework, so working from home isn’t new. But I’m on week three of not going into the office and this was the first week Jake was also at home, so it’s definitely very very different. Jake’s on term break from school, so no classes for him (they’d be virtual anyway), and he’s not substituting because, well, schools closed as of Monday. He is still doing therapy with his high school students via zoom, which good thing because anxiety levels are next level for everyone right now – especially those whose parents have lost their jobs.
I’m not sure I’ll ever want to work in anything other than my comfy hiking stretchy pants again or want to wash my hair more than once every four days – that’s the limit when it starts to clump and look like Chewbacca’s mane. My productivity is very high – but my days have started to blend together and I’m having a hard time setting a time to stop working.
Speaking of work, I’m incredibly thankful to work for an organization that not only reflects my values, but also is made up of individuals who provide so much support to each other – not to mention having the most progressive emergency paid leave I’ve seen anywhere. I’m so privileged to both still have a job and also a job in which I can work from home and not have to risk my own health and safety or my family’s.
Work, however, has been very emotional. I’m furious about the ageist, racist, and classist response to the pandemic – the kind of furious that wakes me up at 3 a.m., where I’m reading every last thing to feel more in control, and writing up angry responses to FB posts just to delete them. I’m trying to give more grace to individuals and direct my ire at the government and its response (or lack of one) – and pouring all into work to make some sort of impact. Hence, the not being great at stopping work. And on that front, we’ve done some pretty amazing advocacy. I am so proud of the attention we’ve drawn both federally and in California to the needs of older adults in this pandemic and what policy responses are needed.
This was also the week in which Los Angeles and the the entire state of California announced the most strict social distancing standards to date – stay at home, basically. I’ve lived eight years in Los Angeles. It’s a hard city – hard to connect in; hard to drive in; hard to do even the most basic things like grocery shopping or getting your oil changed. But seeing LA like this, is eerie. Though the empty freeway 1 mile = 1 minute and clear skies are blissful.
While COVID has not directly impacted my family or their health, my uncle was hospitalized this week with lung cancer – with likely metastatic tumors in his brain. I don’t think I’ve fully accepted this – my response has been clinical and in full on problem solving mode. But what I can’t stand to think about and that cannot be changed or problem solved away is that no one can see him right now in the hospital to hug him or provide comfort. This pandemic has so many devastating costs.
Some simple goodness
Here are a few of the very good/happy/uplifting things that happened this week:
-Jake and I have resumed our daily walks up the Stocker trail (when it’s not raining – which it has been doing A LOT right now. Good in the social distancing arena, but not so great for anyone’s emotional well being).
-Our neighborhood is simply just amazing. There are twice a day bike rides (6ft apart of course) that Jake’s been doing (not me, since it’s during the work day). Neighbors helping neighbors – dropping off supplies and neighborhood-made wine. Knit club via zoom. Supporting of local businesses. Sharing of information via what’s app. You name it, we’re doing it.
-Jake and I made our first Tik Tok video – a fun little ditty for my niece, KK’s 10th birthday.
-Had my first virtual happy hour with the Kansas City ladies. It was a very much needed laugh-filled two hours.
-Listening to Jake teach himself to play Passenger Seat by DC4C on the piano.
-Sought out beauty at the beach
– And in the mountains.
-Found so much solace in listening to my childhood pastor remind us (via livestream on YouTube) that this an opportunity to come together as a community, to find new ways to connect, and most importantly love each other.