Sunday, May 10, 2020

Angsty Sunday

Happy Mother's Day to my readers here in the US who celebrate it! I hope you do something nice for yourselves today.

I sent my mom an inexpensive flower arrangement to mark the occasion, since I won't be seeing her. I probably wouldn't have seen her anyway, even without Covid-19, to be honest. I have a much older cousin whose children and (now) grandchildren my mom has gotten increasingly close to over the last several years. My cousin's daughter has three little children ranging in age from 5 years to 5 months old, and my parents have decided to consider them their grandchildren rather than great nieces and nephews. (I'm an only child who didn't give them actual grandchildren, much to their disappointment). Because of this, they usually spend Mother's Day and major holidays with these cousins and their families. A middle aged daughter and son-in-law aren't nearly as much fun as little kids they can play with and spoil! I understand that.

I go to work for 4 hours tomorrow, to answer phones. I hate only working a small token amount each week. I realized the other day that part of my low mood is coming from feeling mostly useless these days. Earned time off in a regular year, even when it's the whole summer, doesn't trigger any guilt in me, but I don't feel right about having this much. I haven't really worked since March, and I won't again until at least the end of July. (I say "at least" because I realized the other day that I haven't actually signed my work contract for next year yet. What I signed was a "letter of intent" back in January that just states I plan to come back the following year if my work agreement is renewed. The actual work agreements don't come through until May 18th, and as I stated in my last post, I have this nagging worry that the pandemic might end up making my job go away. So there's something else to keep me up at night). I'm beginning to understand why retired people feel a loss of a sense of purpose when they no longer go to work. I feel like I'm not contributing anything to the world right now. And I haven't used this time off to better myself in any way, either. I haven't started exercising more or working on my Spanish or picking up my long neglected knitting projects. Despite a few  household projects that I've helped Gregg get done, and some yard work, I've mostly been.....sitting around. On my bad days I tell myself that it's sheer laziness and I feel bad about myself. If I could somehow reclaim some sense of purpose it would help, I think, but it's hard to find ways to do that when we're still stuck in lockdown mode.

How do you retain a sense of purpose these days? Are you making good use of this time, or, like me....not so much?

38 comments:

  1. Oh Jennifer, even tho we haven't met in person, you are an important person in my life. And think how essential you are to Gregg, George, Marco and Ginger. Yeah, I've been doing a lot of sitting around too, this lockdown is pushing us to do that. I am surprised by how little I am accomplishing, like you said. I have two half written books, have I dusted them off? No. I hope the lockdown will ease and we can go out and about, safely of course. Be well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terra, I think we were typing comments on each other's blogs at the very same time! How nice is that? :) Thank you for this kind comment. You are an important person to me, too. Sending you a hug across the miles, my friend. Happy Mother's Day!

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  2. been sitting on my fat ass, doing some knitting/reading, do some house chores when the mood strikes me, go into work for 4 hours on thursdays. I could NEVER make it as a retiree; I WANNA WORK!

    and I DON'T feel guilty about sitting on my fat ass either. I am happy to wake up on this side of the dirt each day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You always have the best outlook! Give 'em hell and full speed ahead with life! :)

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  3. Definitely not so much is what I'm getting done. But I'm at peace with it for the most part. I wish you could be too. We are surviving. Sometimes that'a about all you can do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another thing I haven't written about is the return of some stomach problems I've been dealing with for the past week. I've been in quite a bit of pain and that makes me feel even more low than I did already.

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  4. I do this by finding meaning in anything I do, great or small.

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    1. As a doctor, you should have a healthy sense of purpose anyway. Look how much good you do in this world for your patients!

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  5. Happy Mother's Day to you because you are most certainly a Mother to your sweet furry and feathered babies!

    I do understand your feelings about having a sense of purpose. I do not have a sense of purpose these days and I do feel that I have been way too lazy! Then I feel guilty about it all. Not good. But I keep telling myself that I have to make some changes and slowly I am trying to do that. I think these pandemic times have made it much more difficult to have that "get up and go" that is needed to get things done. I love what Ur-Spo said about finding meaning in anything he does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Bonnie. I understand the guilt of perceiving oneself as "lazy". I thought about making a list of everything we've accomplished around the house since the lockdown so I can see it on paper--that I haven't totally wasted this time.

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  6. Because I'm over 65 and a full-time associate the home improvement retailer I work for gave me 6 weeks of emergency personal time. If I don't use it, I'll get a nice check for it in December. My sense of purpose is built around not getting sick.

    I always tell people who retire "get a part-time job!" It's a part of what we do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know you were over 65, Dave. You seem so much younger than that. Please stay safe and well, my friend.

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  7. I agree with you. There is feeling of a loss of a sense of purpose and a sense of fulfillment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a new feeling for me. I'm still trying to process it.

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  8. I understand your sense of loss of purpose. I suffered a TBI, I think three years ago, that cost me a lot of that sense of purpose. I hope your fears about your job do not come true. but if they do, you can only cast about for something different, and not stop until you find it. I think many people will be reinventing themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've reinvented yourself with your weaving! Your towels are so beautiful and useful. I still use mine every single day and think of you. Thank you for being here Joanne. xx

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  9. I'm at work for two hours a day instead of my usual five, have started a course I had intended to do anyway, watch quite a lot of tv.
    My job is casual which means I get no sick leave, holidays or any other paid time off so for that reason I have been at work every business day for almost two years. With covid impacting employment so heavily, I have been able to benefit from some government help and just enjoy the break without having to worry about how to pay the next bill.
    It wont be long before the government help will dry up and I'll be back on worry street

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Kylie. Enjoy your well-deserved rest and stay safe!

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  10. I wrote about this in a way yesterday, the feeling that I have to be accomplishing MORE because I have all this time at home. Honestly, to me, the most important thing is to get through this pandemic in good physical and mental health. Be kind to yourself. What do I do? I exercise. I walk (now that that's permitted). I blog (I spend hours on it now). I take pictures. I edit pictures (for hours on end). I stay in touch with friends and extended family (the family that I like), video chats if possible; I have scheduled calls during the walk with certain friends. I work on my skills with my Apple Pencil. I read. I cook (without heat). We eat. I wash dishes. We eat. I wash dishes. We eat. I wash dishes. I play with the cats. I cuddle the cats. I listen to the cats complain they're not getting enough play, cuddle, or treats. I clean (not as much as I expected... can't wait for the housekeeper to return, maybe in another week). I organize. We've gone through all our random papers and our files are finally in order. And it annoys me that I have to list all these things to feel worthwhile. We're surviving through a terrible time and that's all that should matter. So, back to being kind to yourself. Enjoy your time with your pets... and, of course, with Greg and considered yourself hugged by me when you're feeling down. These are tough times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was reading your blog yesterday, Mitchell, and I saw that you've feeling much the same way as me right now. Thank you for this comment. And I'm sending you a big old hug right back. :)

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  11. I Agree with Mitchell about how Pandemic makes so many of us Feel and that we have to find ways to have a Peace about the Changes. As for Mother's Day... so Complex a Day it can be, navigating it can be difficult in a variety of ways. We mostly ignore it for our own complexity of ways it isn't always a Celebration for so many of us... and for the sake of some of us. Your Post made me choke up, Virtual Hug... I Love to actually Hug and that has been really a difficult thing during Pandemic, no Hugging of those I feel compelled to wrap my Arms around Lovingly!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am retired, so I'm in a very different part of my life than you are. However, I had to deal with that question of purpose a few times over these recent years, and I'm sure I will again from time to time. I try to be involved with people who and things that interest me. But most of all, I'm learning to be content with each day. That's different from my working years when what was most important was being productive. Or at least it seemed that way. Follow your interests. Forget about the "should do" and get to know yourself better during this enforced rest. Maybe what you need to do is just sit around for awhile and think. It's all good.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Jennifer, when I read the bit about having "earned time off", I immediately remembered that not so long ago you wrote about how stressful your work sometimes was, with answering the phone all the time and doing all the other things you were supposed to be doing. Can you bring yourself to accept that you have been working very hard (and with a lot of enthusiasm and love for your colleagues and students, such als little P.) and truly deserve a bit of a rest every now and then? Even though this enforced rest is of course for all the wrong reasons.
    If I said I understand how you feel I would not be honest; I have been working (almost) as usuall all these weeks and the only extra time I have on my hands is what I would spend on the train to and from work every day, so I can't say I have no purpose - in fact, I very much enjoyed my 1 1/2 week off that ended last night (my usual vacation/holiday with O.K. at the start of May).
    I very much hope your stomach problems subside soon and you find a way to feel better about working less than normal.

    ReplyDelete
  14. First of all, let me just say I am in exactly the same position re. a work contract for next year. Ours haven't come through yet either, and it's later than usual. My coworker and I are on pins and needles, wondering what the heck is going on. I honestly think they're just delayed because there's so much else happening with furloughs and whatnot, but in this time of uncertainty, who knows?

    Mother's Day is indeed a fraught time for many people for a lot of reasons. As for feeling productive, the only answer for me is to find some satisfaction in even the smallest things -- weeding the flower bed or vacuuming the living room or going grocery shopping. Doing any little routine thing is getting something done, right?

    ReplyDelete
  15. How many grandchildren can fly? How many have wings? Marco would make a first class grandson substitute. He could even sleep over at Grandmaw and Grandpaw's house from time to time. By the way, during this pandemic a lot of people watch the days drift by and feel slightly guilty about their lack of achievement. You are certainly not alone. I enjoy small victories like my little walks and explorations and tonight I made a delicious stew using the leftover beef from our Sunday dinner. Nurse Pudding left nothing in her bowl and praised my culinary skills. Otherwise it has been a very lazy day.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am finding it hard to get motivated too. I try and have a couple of jobs to do every day, so that I don't feel too useless. Yesterday I bathed the dog, and cleaned the fish tank . ( 5 fancy cold water fish......it is mainly cleaning the pumps and vacuuming the gravel and topping up with a bucket of fresh water) Today I have some plants to repot, and my toenails to paint! Maybe a bit of light weeding in the garden.

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