I’m sure we all would agree that 2020 has been a super long year.
Most of us would say that we’re ready for the pandemic to have passed. Or we’re ready for the election to be over. Or we’re just flat out ready for 2020 to finally come to an end. Seriously, I feel all of those things in the depth of my soul.
My work days sometimes feel never-ending. Afterwards, I come home, figure out what the heck is for supper and try to nourish my boys as best I can. By the time we’ve gotten through that, I just need to sit and not be in demand for a few minutes. But before I know it (or sometimes before I get to sit down in the first place), it’s time for bath/ medication/ bedtime/ other random whatnot that I’m responsible for.
It doesn’t leave me with as much energy or patience as I’d like. Especially lately. I’ve been quite the Grumpy Gus. Kirk would back me up on this (and then probably back slowly away from me…)
Tonight I was trying to take a few minutes to decompress from the day before I dove in to tonight’s writing assignment, and I had the television on. Parks and Rec was on, and Rashida Jones’ character (sorry I haven’t been a watcher for long and I'm generally terrible with character names…) was discussing reincarnation with someone. She said something about the problem with reincarnation being that we would spend so much of our lives thinking about what would be in the next life that we wouldn’t focus on living the life we have right now.
It made me think of how much, “I can’t wait until after [fill in the blank]!” I’ve heard lately. But I think this struck me just because I needed the reminder. I need to stop being so distracted by the thought of “when things get better” and instead focus on how to make now better.
Obviously these are not our best and brightest days. Everyone is worn down from the stress, anxiety and exhaustion that the current world crises are giving us. We’re out of our routines and missing the people and things we love. And I feel like a lot of us just need a break that we can’t necessarily find under the current circumstances.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it feels like many of us were better at finding ways to stay positive through this “new normal”. People were putting stuffed toys in windows for families on neighborhood walks to have “bear hunts”, we were decorating windows with hearts, and messages of positivity and togetherness were everywhere. Now it seems those have been forgotten in the daily fight over masks, distancing and economic challenges.
So I’m trying to think back six months or more to when we had a much more can-do attitude about things. We were better at spending time together and getting outdoors. And we found ourselves exploring more hobbies and pastimes to make better use of the time we had. In a lot of cases, we were better at taking a critical look at the people we love and brainstorming ways to appreciate each other and enjoy our time together.
My goal for the coming weeks is to spend more time with Nolan and Kirk making memories and less time making excuses. Since we’re currently in an area considered a hot spot, we’re obviously traveling as little as possible (which is keeping our car rides shorter and exploration more local), but there are still plenty of things to do.
We have local trails to hike that we’ve never been on—they’re a great place to start. Kirk just found out that Nolan has really been enjoying playing Disc Golf during P.E. time at school, and we’ve got some great courses around here (from what I’ve read… Kirk and I haven’t tried this one out yet, so it sounds like we’ll all be learning together). Heck, we’ve even been told Nolan has been doing well in art class lately, so maybe we’ll take up painting rocks or coloring coasters… Or maybe we just keep taking walks and short car drives.
I needed that reminder tonight. Waiting for whatever comes next is only making me anxious and grumpier. And that’s not what my boys need most from me. Plus, dwelling on what makes me anxious is not going to recharge my batteries the way an afternoon doing something enjoyable with my favorite guys would.
It’s not about what comes next—it’s about what happens now.
I like to think there's happiness to be found in the here and now-- even if it's in something as simple as a car ride and a ribbon