Thursday, December 31, 2020

Remembering 2020 as the New Year Dawns

 I know that 2020 has been a year of challenges for all of us. However, I've altered my psyche to focus on the positivity that surrounds me rather than the negativity. Yes, the year of COVID has altered our Universe; but it hasn't been all bad.

These are the things that I celebrate as we conclude 2020:

1)    I have been able to telecommute without interruption to my job.

2)     My dad was able to celebrate his 88th birthday; and those of us who love him were afforded the   privilege of celebrating with him before the country shut down - just barely.

3)    My brother was blessed with the opportunity to stay with Dad, work remotely from Logansport,      Indiana, and develop an enhanced relationship that is rewarding for both of them;

4)    Dad's neighbor Scott became part of the family and provides an additional layer of love and        support for our beloved father.

5)    My business unit at work re-organized yet again; however, I was fortunate to be assigned to a work     group of dynamic, enjoyable, like minded co-workers that helped me assimilate to a new role.

6)    My beloved husband found a role that he loves, that fulfills him, and gives him an opportunity to   shine.

7)    Although I tend to be an introvert (despite what outsiders think), I've been able to enhance             select friendships with my small cadre of friends throughout COVID.

8)    Solitude afforded me the chance to indulge in my favorite pastimes - reading and drinking wine.

9)    Rappahannock Vineyards offered free shipping for orders.

10)  Zoom mediations & WebEx Meetings revolutionized my world.

11)    I realized on my 61st birthday that retirement is just a few years away.

12)    Regular short trips to Indiana gave me an opportunity to spend quality time with my Dad and               brother.

13)    I let go of resentments.

14)     Investigation Discovery is the gift that keeps on giving - murder - 24/7 - 365......who knew how             many horrific acts have been perpetrated on innocent victims. This gives me a greater sense of             gratitude for my good fortune.

15)    I have friends that have lost loved one due to COVID. My heart aches for them. 

16)    Downsizing. Rightsizing. A focus on the future. Fewer better. What do I want in my life moving             forward? Critical thinking for the next stage of life approaching.

17)    Gratitude that my sister is still keeping a positive outlook as she deals with deteriorating health             from lupus.

18)    Celebrating that despite the political turmoil in the USA, the founders got it right. The republic             will survive in spite of the media and partisan politicians. 

19)    I don't miss business travel.

20)     Professional sports - eh....

21)    Movie theaters.....who cares? I can stream fabulous shows on my wall size Samsung TV from                 numerous sources!

22)    Shopping online works for me. Now...if only a drone could deliver my Costco and wine shopping!

23)    It is possible to wear the same cashmere jogger outfit everyday for a week and just change the             scarf around my neck and nobody on Zoom will know.

24)    Eating in restaurants during COVID is no fun.  Outdoor dining in tents - no ambiance.

25)    The state and federal governments became giddy with power and abused it to the point of near                 totalitarianism which violates the Constitution. States controlled by Democrats were the most                 oppressed. I hope there is a backlash in 2022.

26)    Thinking back to the angst over Y2K is amusing. A debacle that did not materialize.

27)    The cancel culture must be cancelled. We do not need a modern Bonfire of the Vanities. Read          history. Learn from it. Even if the language is not politically correct.

28)    COVID is not the worst thing that has ever happened. Anybody who thinks such has never                     studied the history of the world. This is a blip. Recall that before penicillin people died when                 pricked by the thorn of a rosebush. 

29)    Life is happier and less stressful without social media and television news. Unplug. Read a                book. Watch Netflix. 

30)    Live a life of gratitude. Thank the universe for what you have. Understand that we Americans,                 even those who feel oppressed, have it better than the rest of the world. Stop complaining. Do the         next right thing. Quit casting aspersions against others. Look for common ground instead of                     differences. Embrace the progress that has been made rather than focusing on what has yet to be             accomplished. Look to 2021 with optimism for a new opportunity. Everyday is a new chance to be all that you can be.


Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Self Care in the Year of COVID ~ 2020

Befitting the year of COVID our Christmas day began with a loss of power at 5:00am. Since we live in the boondocks, no electricity also means no water from the well, no septic, no flushing toilets, no coffee, no French toast from the challah bread, and beginning the day with furry teeth. Once the power returned, we celebrated Christmas in the way all marooned, quarantined, abby-normal people do - watching hours on the all murder 24/7 Investigation Discovery Channel. Today's offerings were winter themed - so particularly festive.

Notwithstanding the above cheery festivities, 2020 has been an extraordinary year that had created a need for me to embrace comfort and celebrate small things that bring joy. Since I turned 61 over the summer, I've decided to consider the "fewer better" philosophy of one of my favorite women owned brands - Cuyana. Consequently, I've been consciously looking for and purchasing fewer, higher quality items that bring me joy.

Todd and I do not exchange gifts for Christmas or birthdays. Instead, we tend to share experiences. As such, we purchase our own little pleasures. This COVID Christmas I've indulged in the following glorious purchases:

1)    A Breville  Bambino Plus Espresso Machine which I use every morning

2)    Naked Cashmere jogger suit

3)    Tatcha skin care products

4) M.Gemi loafers / drivers/ ballet flats

COVID has also resulted in many companies offering pay over time options without any interest through Klarna, Affirm, After Pay or Pay Pal Credit. So "fewer better" can be purchased without guilt or interest . 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve 2020 ~ In The Year of COVID


2020 has been a struggle for most of us. In a year filled with pandemic, forced isolation, political upheaval, financial hardship, the burning and looting of cities, government orders that shuttered businesses and kept people from gathering, governors and mayors that exempted themselves and select groups of protestors from their own autocratic actions, and media personalities that lost any semblance of credibility to  the extent most people I know turned off the television and radio news and relied on only the printed word for information, there have been some silver linings.

Professionally, I experienced another series of frustrations and disappointments in the midst of yet another re-organization - a scenario that has been a constant since my company was acquired in July 2015. Essentially, it has been the continued marginalization of those with "institutional knowledge". Todd says rather more bluntly that I an now a "sage dinosaur". At least I'm a dinosaur with valuable skill. Despite the "career" changes that have in turn left me angry, unmotivated, unfocused, depressed, anxious and demoralized,  I've been blessed to work with a wonderful team, a manager who understands me, and a regional leader that is among the best managers I've experienced in my 35 years in the insurance industry.  The biggest blessing - my ability to telecommute and continue receiving a regular paycheck when so many others have lost their livelihoods during the past year. 

I'm also celebrating the rediscovery of a simpler, quieter, slower existence and a renewed focus on self-care. Cooking at home. Enjoying summer evenings on the deck - sipping wine, listening to the birds, surrounded by our outdoor refugee cats, and finding peace in the sounds and beauty of nature.

The holidays of 2020 have been strangely quiet. The last real family celebration - my dad's 88th birthday in March. My brother and I sang "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine" as we stocked up on foods at D & R for the party we hosted in my childhood home in Logansport, Indiana. It really was the last "normal" thing that happened in 2020 - although we did charge entrants to the festivities a cover fee of a  roll of toilet paper. The next day, the country shut down. The greatest gift of COVID - my brother was able to stay in Indiana with Dad and telecommute to his job in Texas. 

Since March my travels have been limited to shot "social distancing" trips to Michigan and Indiana to see my dad and in-laws. Those trips have been filled with joy that our loved ones are safe, healthy and happy.  While I would love to be with our loved ones this Christmas, I am content to wait until those most at risk are able to be vaccinated. Then, let the floodgates of a full life open.

Merry Christmas to all!