Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

four person standing at top of grassy mountain
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

I can’t help but have Monty Python’s Life of Brian song pop into my head when I think those words. The COVID-19 Pandemic is making some of us slap-happy, questioning ourselves and our self-worth (myself included), but at times, we just need to focus on that one moment. This moment has been more family time for me, which are becoming those moments.

You don’t realize it, but with all the technology, social calendars, and other outside influences and obligations, family time gets lost unless scheduled. Now my family of three are playing more games than usual. Last night it was Skip-Bo. The night before was The Dresden Files which my 9-year-old is claiming as his new favorite game (though it is listed for 13 and up).

Aside from games, we are trying out new shows together. We finally talked our son into checking out A Series of Unfortunate Events. He was afraid that it would be too scary, but then quickly realized the kids outsmarted the adults in every episode. If you are looking for other shows on Netflix to watch with your kiddos, here is my son’s top 5 list (excluding A Series of Unfortunate Events):

  1. The Dragon Prince
  2. Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts
  3. Glitch Techs
  4. The Last Kids on Earth
  5. Troll Hunters: Tales of Arcadia

From Disney +

  1. Togo
  2. The Mandalorian
  3. Rebels
  4. Clone Wars
  5. Onward

I hope everyone else takes a moment to appreciate all they have right in front of them. Times are difficult. As Charles Bukowski said: “Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.” I choose to continue to look towards the bright side of life.

Humanity

I’ve been obsessed with post-apocalyptic stories for a while. I read and watch all that I can. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s the idea of how humans tear the world apart, then they have to figure out how to rebuild a life, and a society, in that shattered, shadowed world. Maybe it’s the thought, and hope, that if the world as we know it does come to an end, people find a way to survive, carry on, and do their best to make it better than it was.

The world has ended before. In the past. The fall of ancient Egypt. The fall of the Roman Empire. What other times has our world ended? What about WWI or WWII? 9/11? Basically, the end of the world could be summed up as a tragedy that hits an area of the world and makes us rethink how we interact with each other and the rest of the world…

When I first started writing this entry, the COVID-19 pandemic was just a fictional idea. Sure pandemics have happened in the past, like the Plague and the Spanish Flu, but the idea for our current generations to live through one was but a dream. Movies like Contagion, board games like Pandemic, books like Lockdown were all things people thought, and maybe talked about, but never expected to live through.

Now, here we are. I don’t know about you, but my world is vastly different and I am experiencing culture shock (for lack of a better word). I will do my best, to be honest, real, candid and authentic.

I’ve been out of work since March 20th. My son has been out of school since March 12th. My husband, luckily, has been working from home since February 26th. My son, amazingly, has taken to homeschooling, though he wishes he never wished to be homeschooled. Before all this, he complained about going to school and wished he could be homeschooled. Now he’s finding himself lonely and wishing he had a sibling. He works quickly and is done with his work by noon. I’m doing my best to keep him off shiny screens for long periods of time, but I find that I’m letting him play on the Xbox more since he is able to interact with actual friends, and keeps me free to job hunt.

I started doing Instacart right after I was furloughed at work, but after about 3 days I was done. The vibe is strange, the paranoia crazy and with having parents and in-laws to care for, I’m doing my best to keep everyone healthy and… what about happy?

I can’t say happy. I’m not happy, not really, though I am doing my best. My son isn’t happy. My husband seems to be angry all the time. People aren’t meant to be locked up with each other as much as we have been. Though my husband use to make jokes about “a padded room for two with matching his and her’s straight jackets.” We are meant to go off, do our projects within our own communities (ie. work, hobbies, etc.) then come back to the ones we love. This allows us to bring something more to the table. I could be as little as idle chat, or something as big as new ideas to implement or change how we are living life daily. Usually, these ideas work towards something bigger and better. Instead, I’m depressed. My son is depressed. He broke down crying yesterday saying he misses his friends. He misses face to face interaction. I know we all do. I miss my work. I miss feeling like I have a greater purpose in life.

So, humanity, hang in there. We are social beings that are amazing and resilient. Find ways to keep the social interactions. This pandemic came at an amazing stage in our technology. Imagine if this happened 30-40 years ago. The internet was just being born at best. Get those online dates going. Meet up with your neighbors by staying distant, but by having a happy hour and exchange those thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

Open up. Be real. Be Human!

The Lone Wolf

So when did this all happen?  I can’t tell you when.  It was a slow progression.  So slow that I didn’t even realize that I was lost.  I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a worker, but what happened to SELF?

I wasn’t raised in a strict religious setting, but organized religion did play a part in my childhood.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  When I wanted that community, when I was searching for my religious home, I realized how much of an outcast I really was.  I was in middle school, all of 12 years of age and I was the outsider.  This left a very poor taste in my mouth, but I didn’t stop there.  I started church hopping.  Looking.  Wanting.  Never finding my place.  This is where my dislike of organized religion comes in.  The hypocrisy that surrounds it.  But I can’t blame religion.  It’s the people.  Humans are judgmental, “better than thou” sort of fools.  They would rather focus on the downfalls and the drama of others instead of focusing on their own gaping holes.

Years went by.  I went to every New Age book I could find that called out to me.  Tarot cards for meditation starting points (I still use this as a point when feeling stuck).  Shamanic writings.  It took years to get rid of my Christian guilt.  Guilt over what?  Life.  Of living life.  Morals that had me judging others and myself.  It took working at a strip club to start breaking down those walls and realizing we are all in this together.  We are all trying to get through this life alive.  If we had just a bit of decency and treated others how we want ourselves to be treated, this world would be a much better place.

If I had to label what I am today I would tell you that I’m a self practicing Neo-Pagan Witch.  I’m a lone wolf.  A lone wolf who found herself a mate and had offspring, but this pack isn’t enough.  I need others to howl to the moon with.  Others that understand this soul song.

So this is day 4 of my challenge.  Being present.  I’m present to the fact that I’ve lost myself along the way and am looking for a group of people where I feel that my soul can fly.  I know this has something to do with yesterday’s challenge and admitting that I really don’t have many friends that I can be myself with.  I’ve done a lot of self hurt with walling myself off since I was old enough to understand what I didn’t like about the human race.  If I can take any advice, it wasn’t advice.  The other day I was at a 2 year old birthday party and I just so happen to look out the window to the neighboring house to see an older man trying to get off his roof, but the ladder had fallen shorter then his reach.  I ran out of the house and helped this gentleman off his roof.  He said that he’s noticed, noticed that since he’s been nicer to others that those people are coming out of the wood works to help him.  So I’m going to continue on with my kindness and strive for that beautiful world.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Recently I joined a 30 day challenge.  This is a 30 day challenge for anyone and for anything.  My challenge was set forth by the fact that I do not feel like I’m moving forward in my life.  I’m stuck.  I don’t feel fulfilled.  I like to think I’m spiritual, but I’m not progressing there.  I’ve been a CVT for over 14 years and have the “Lead Technician” roll, but feel like I’m ready to give up the responsibility and just live my life (maybe even leave the field all together).  I call this my longest relationship in my life.  I don’t know what life without working with animals would be like.  My marriage is good, but I suffer from a low libido due to some hormonal imbalances that I’m trying to work out naturally and holistically.  My child… well what can I say about him?  He’s amazing, but a handful.

Friends?  Well there is something I can say that I’m lacking.  I personally feel that I’m socially inept.  I’m an extrovert/introvert.  For those that don’t know what that means: I have reserves.  I can go out and be social, but I need time to recover.  That recovery time depends on what kind of social I need to be.  If it is a room full of my friends, I don’t need nearly as much time to refill my reserves.  However, if I’m at a party with people I hardly know and have to work hard at finding something to talk about (regardless of it being just petty talk or being a wall flower), I have to have more time to recover (like a full day or two).  So getting back to friends.  I have some, but they live far away or have moved on without me.  I have no one to blame but myself.

So what is my challenge?  To allow my soul to sing.  To be my true authentic self.  A quote by Angeles Arrien comes to mind: “In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?”  These are questions I ask myself on a regular basis.  If I was to answer these questions right now I would point to dancing.  I haven’t been dancing in a long time.  Dancing is a hard thing to find.  Either I can go to “meat markets” in the larger city, or find something more soul moving.  I’ve decided to go for the soul move.  That requires time away from my family and a drive, but I’m going to do it.  Tonight.  Belly Dancing.

The tides of June

The first day of June was a start of a decision.  I decided to stop drinking my coffee, which I love very much.  Something about adding cinnamon into the ground coffee, mixed with sugar.  Ah, heaven.  However, with the gain of 10 pounds in a short period of time, lack in sexual drive and lower body health issues that I have been battling for the last 2 or more months, I decided enough was enough.  On the 31st of May I participated in the Color Vibe 5K run 10365725_10152264848537737_6299235168658356023_n 1005548_10152264848247737_3635881459658286872_n in Ft. Collins.  Afterwards we held a BBQ at my house which was lots of fun and lots of drinking.  The next morning I just didn’t think about coffee, but had already decided to not drink any alcohol for the month, somewhere in the depths of my subconsciousness.  After a caffeine headache for the day I decided to finish it out and just go for it.  The next day, while battling day two of caffeine withdrawals, I read a blog about a girl who stopped drinking over a year ago and how her life had transformed from such a choice.  It inspired me.  I don’t know if I will go longer or not.  I don’t have any end goal in sight, except for this month.  I’m calling it a detox month.

Detoxing was necessary.  In just the one week without alcohol or caffeine,  I feel lighter and some of my lower body issues are actually clearing up.  I might even be feeling a little something of a sexual urge.  My husband will be happy about that.  Lack of sex is what kills marriages, ok, my opinion, but without that physical contact there is detachment, detachment leads to communication breakdown.

To add to my detox month, I started working out more seriously, which started yesterday.  I went for a 3 mile trail run.  My son rode his Strider (

Home

) while I ran.10277634_10152280999797737_6435022218854416008_n  It was good family fun.  Mostly.  My husband didn’t get to run like he normally does, but he is very supportive of me getting to a happier me.  As he likes to say: “A happy wife makes a happy husband.”  Then he got me to do the Dynamix workout from P90X3 (http://www.beachbody.com).  I will admit, I felt the burn.

Today I had my husband take my before picture (which I am not going to share at this time) and I will be doing progress pictures as time goes on.  He is wonderful.  I am very thankful that he is such an amazing, supportive guy.  Then he had me do another P90X3 workout.  With his help I will have a bit of a workout routine.  One that I feel good about, one that I feel will make a difference.  However, I will admit the MMX workout I did today felt good, but it took a lot for me not to cry during and afterwards.  Everyday is a work in progress.  This post will help remind me why I’m doing all of this.  The positive feeling that I have as the endorphins are released.  This is not going to be an easy road, but it is a road.