Hanging tough. What’s helping?

Hanging tough. What’s helping?

Yep, life is still nuts. I’m hanging in there, sometimes with so much effort that I feel like my “hands have rope burns,” as my dad used to say. Sometimes those shadows on my deck fence feel like a prison.

But that’s okay. It’s worth it. I’m safe, healthy, and optimistic about the future.

What’s helping?

In a phrase, careful living—or is it carefree living? My best days are when I balance both.

On the careful side, I’m still a homebody, vigilantly attending to body, mind, and soul with structured routines. But on the carefree side, sometimes I’ll pop some popcorn, lower the shades, and watch an afternoon movie. Or suit up with mixed animal prints when Tripp and I take our walk up and down the driveway.

I need all the distractions I can find!

Why not? I haven’t had my hair cut or colored since March so I need all the distractions I can find!

Meanwhile, the days come and go with very little punctuation. I’m grateful for good health and the support of friends and family, but life is still so very different. I’ve had to find a new gear of living, one that struggles daily with the question I think we are all asking:

How do we deal with life when the life we want isn’t available?

It didn’t help that the adverse reaction to the vaccine trials in the UK was the onset of transverse myelitis, the cause of my paralysis. After I heard that, I tucked myself even tighter into my bubble. But the truth is I’ve been living in a restricted state for over six months now and I’m getting used to it.

The most challenging part? Pressing on without the ability to plan.

Once again, I must try to live fully within unchosen limits. The words of author Jack London kicked me into gear last week with this powerful reminder:

You can’t wait for inspiration—you have to go after it with a club. – Jack London

You can’t wait for inspiration—you have to go after it with a club. – Jack London


So what can I do, where I am, with what I’ve got?

Since disciplined writing seems to elude me, I’ve decided to beautify my home.

I’ve bedazzled an old mirror:

bedazzled an old mirror

Created an heirloom for my granddaughter, Blakely Faye:

Created an heirloom for my granddaughter

And spruced up my bathroom cabinets with snow-leopard shelf paper:

spruced up my bathroom cabinets

All those projects had a beginning, middle, and end, something I long for in this era of pandemic living. And I could control (another foreign feeling, thanks to COVID) the pace and progress of each endeavor.

I’ve also decided to deepen my conversations with friends and family, some whom I’ve not seen in over six months. Beyond superficial pleasantries, we’ve dared to move into more tender topics like the divisive effect of judging safe behaviors or the loss and grief we feel from what COVID has taken from us. This post sent to me by my daughter Brittany, a first-time kindergarten mama, brought me to tears:

first-time kindergarten mama

I’ve also braved that ultimate sensitive topic, politics! As one family member suggested, “There’s a kernel of truth in each side.” With that open mindset, the conversations have become more informative and enlightening, especially within the context of different generations.

The hardest part?

Feeling comfortable enough to speak candidly. Judgment hangs like a thick fog over so many conversations these days. It feels risky to be honest.

What helps?

For me, when I feel like someone is holding back, I’ve learned to say:

I care what you think.

That phrase seems to open up a neutral zone for safe sharing, encouraging a thoughtful discourse and learning experience, something that’s hard to achieve when we dig in our opinionated heels with a debating mentality.

I’ve been stretched in these discussions and it felt surprisingly good. When you care about a person, their perspective becomes important. COVID may limit our physical activities, but not the activity or the capacity of our minds. People are pondering more than ever, it seems. And, like it or not, we’ve got a lot to ponder!

So, we keep hanging in there, hands raw with rope burns as we wait for the turbulence to calm so we can begin to reclaim the lives we want. Meanwhile, gratitude helps, as it always does.

This week, I’m particularly grateful for the good care given to Madison, my daughter with autism. Some of her day program activities have resumed:

good care given to Madison

Family and friends will be honoring her this weekend in Pathfinders for Autism’s annual Run Wild for Autism, a virtual event this year. You can join us and learn more HERE.

Pathfinders for Autism’s annual Run Wild for Autism

How about you? Are you hanging tough? Have any tips (careful or carefree) for living fully within your COVID-limits? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

And on we go.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

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