These new days.

This is a tree of heaven outside our bedroom window. It is considered invasive. I consider it to be just like it’s name, tree of heaven. It can withstand drought, flood, and mistletoe. It grows big, strong and fast. It is lush and green all year and in the summer it is loaded with tiny flowers that the bees love. I tried to zoom in and out and go outside to get a photo of the thousands of bees that swarm this tree all day. There are groups of dragon flies that gather about this tree also. Alas, my simple cell phone won’t entertain those special shots so you’ll have to take my word for it.

There are a lot of small delights surrounding us all the time. As I force myself to slow down and be more present; meaning not dragging in past memories or obsessing about the future, just right here, right now with no concern of what’s next or what happened before, I find myself watching nature buzz and scurry around me with a new fascination. This is a good place to be. You want less, need less. One goes back to enjoying a simpler life with out all the bells and whistles.

This is a strange time. I can’t say it is bad or good, however, I can say, personally, that it is a time of change and loss.

The quarantine was something we, globally, had never experienced. For it to go on for a year was bizarre. The face mask, the empty shelves, the distancing and isolating. I still don’t know how I feel about it to this day. It has had a profound effect on me both good and sad.

I’ll start with sad. Sad in that I don’t know if we will ever reunite with some friends or family. We have some family that have been visiting during the pandemic and still today. We have some family we haven’t seen in over a year and I’m not sure if we will see them anytime soon. I had a phone call yesterday from one of my mothers neighbors and friends that I inherited when she passed. This couple have been a part of my life for over a decade. They are moving to another state and I wanted to bring the boys up to see them one last time. We had been trying to plan a visit for months upon months now. But yesterday was a strange moment. The couple are not yet comfortable being around people. She had an allergic reaction to the vaccine and couldn’t finish. So, if people aren’t fully vaccinated they don’t want to be around them. A few months ago they wanted us to come stay, but now they quickly said the house is under construction and if we visit it has to be briefly and outside. I politely said that we will skip all that and good luck on their future journey.

There is so much fear out there and it is exploited daily and nightly by the news and social media. I don’t know how people can mentally handle even a day of it. I get online and do my research into current events and after a few hours I come out of this toxic, worrisome stew feeling as though all is lost and there is no hope. But it’s all rigged for that. The news shows want top ratings so they amp up the drama and expand on all the violence or fear. YouTube channels use intense titles to lure in viewers and do a lot of fear mongering. Fearmongering gets views and makes money, don’t forget that. Food shortages! Death toll climbs! The end is nigh!

We have been changed externally and internally. We are now divided over many things. We have had so much time alone in our homes to think about life and ourselves that we just aren’t the same. For some of us it was too much and many people took their lives during the isolation. Some people discovered that they liked it after all. Some took up gardening and some turned off the news and went within to do healing work. Some carried on as usually with the exception of wearing a mask while out shopping for groceries.

For me, I discovered that I’m actually an introvert on some level. I used to be social and busy all the time. I worked two jobs and drove here and there. I was always on the phone or spending time with someone. But then I became a homemaker and mother and I got used to being alone at home with children. I still tried for years to make friends in new towns, get to know my neighbors, join mother groups, but it didn’t take off. I had to learn the hard way that when your children are little, it’s best to just settle in with them and not chase after a social life, it’s too much work balancing the home, motherhood and everyone else.

Then the shut downs happened last March and at first we were so busy with this house and yard. I went through mini blues when I missed close friends/family. I went through that stage of being restless. And then I just burrowed in deeper with my family, home, garden, dog children. I started projects of all sorts; purging, organizing and building a pantry, learning more about gardening in this zone, working on parenting skills, homeschooling and finding what works for us, getting back into my reading, going inward to heal old wounds, backing away from online work, going back to my writing. I cried many mornings over a fictional book that brought up old wounds, cried in the forest when walking the dogs alone. I also felt a relief at not having to attend social events and not having to entertain others in our home.

We got to know all the neighbors and they are good people. Some visit for coffee, have dinner on the porch in the summer evenings, and have no issues about gathering. Some have never invited us in their home and I’ve stopped offering for them to visit ours. Some people will hug you and some won’t even touch your hand. I have friends that never stopped being with us and some friends, as I said, we haven’t seen in over a year now.

I am hurt when loved ones won’t see us but I must respect their decisions and be compassionate to their fears.

So, I ask myself what can I do to have a good life and happy home despite losses and endings. It is time to embrace new things, new friends, a new way of living I suppose. We are now being divided into the ones that don’t fear, the one’s that live in fear, the vaccinated and the non vaccinated. Everything is political now and every topic is a dramafest. Everything is an issue. I saw a bumper sticker the other day; All Lives Matter. We are here. This is now.

It will all be for the best down the road. We have to go through all this to get to the promised land. But what does one do if they don’t want to be involved with all this?

Build up your home. Create your own sanctuary. Go within. Create a beautiful inner world. Find pleasure in small things, learn to enjoy a simple life. Learn to enjoy time with you. Be patient with others. Don’t push your agenda, or any agenda. Just observe and try and stay out of fear.

I used to be fear filled. Now that I have a garden I feel like I have some control over shaping our future. Not that the garden is going to make it all good, but it is the digging in earth, watching things grow, watering little plants that will grow big and hearty. It helps me see how life truly is. Nature is a cycle and it always comes back around to balance and repair, to recover and thrive.

Now that things have opened up and people are coming around, I find that I’m ok with not having a social life. I used to try and scrape one together and now I have no desire to have one at all. A simple dinner of pizza with the neighbor down the street or a person at the gate for some morning chit chat, a fun banter in the produce section with a stranger, a wave to another neighbor driving down the street…I love all of that, but I am fine with out big gatherings where political or social media driven and created conversations are taking place. I am fine with an open schedule and no social obligations.

With a year of isolation I found that once the uncomfortable part of learning to be with one’s self subsided, I could easily entertain myself and two boys. The pressure to entertain, perform, get gussied up, and endure others energies and topics was gone. We could focus on what we find interesting, enchanting, and engaging.

We hand select people to spend time with and now there is a small tribe we can relate to and grow with. We have new faces and new souls to develop relationships with. Sadly, most of our old friends and family seem to have disappeared. I know many people are dealing with this new reality.

So, what now?

I had two conversations with two people that day. Our good friends who are moving and we won’t be seeing at all because they are being cautious. Then my other good friend and family with some back and forth texting that started with them saying how much they miss us and me saying, “we are here waiting for an invitation or visit!” But this is always pushed aside and I’m beginning to think there is fear of gathering with them as well but they don’t want to admit it.

I love studying the past and how our great grandparents lived during all the hard times that befell the beginning of the 20th century. I have been studying the Depression Era for years and now I feel like I must have sensed that understanding this history would serve us one day.

I take comfort in these books. People went through tough times but they had family and they had faith. Our grandparents and great grandparents were industrious and hard working. They took charge of what they could control and left the rest to fate.

I hear that some countries are shutting down again due to a new surge in Covid cases. I wonder if we will be effected again. We can only pay attention and then follow your inner guidance.

Some good books to read and find comfort and inspiration in:

Tough Times, Strong Women
Hardcover We Had Everything but Money Book

Thriftbooks.com have great deals. Thank you to those who introduced me to this site.

These stories are positive and uplifting. They will make you look at life differently. We are living in an age of too much. Too much over eating, too much shopping and consuming of everything, too much greed, too much work and chasing the money, too much laziness, too much mental instability, too much media invasion, too little true connections, too much dependence on the government, too much of everything.

It is ok for us to settle into our homes and be calm and content by our own making. It is wise to learn to grow organic food and learn to save money and invest in our houses. It is ok to not want to be a part of society right now or have these common conversations. It’s ok to want to homeschool and not be ok with our current public school system. It is ok to work less and live on less so you have more time for your family or living.

We will be spending the summer doing what we do. Enjoy home life. We are going to work on the house and take a trip to the coast. Today we will barbq with one of many neighbors. Today I’m working on my pantry. It needs tending to. I am trying to reach a goal of 50 books this year on Goodreads challenge. I’m picking out some inexpensive flooring and wall paper and we will be building a garden in the front yard and on the side of the house. I have a lot to learn about propagating, which is my new interest. And I will be doing July NanoWriMo camp…maybe.

Next blog; money.

20 Comments

  1. I’m right there with you in the fact that I am an introvert too and enjoy my own company and that of my grown children and grands and my pets. But I have to admit that during the shutdowns and mask situation I got aggravated that I couldn’t go where I wanted to go or do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I’ve tried to make my life and home a place of peace and fun. So far everything I’ve worked on to do that has been successful. Glad to hear you have done the same. ~Sally

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  2. Times are definitely weird and uncharted.We have to go through this to get to the other side hopefully better as a humanity.You are right about the YouTube headlines and fear mongering. The End Is Near,Food Shortages,Economic Collapse is here!People take the bait every single time and I wonder why as humans we love to obsess about this fear based thinking?There certainly is no shortage of people who think this way and live in fear instead of just tuning it out.My dad is one of these people. He has said for the last 30 years that “they are coming for his guns” yet is never happens.It’s all propaganda to keep you fearful and angry! None of it serves a purpose except to make money for the TV Channels,YouTubers, etc.

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  3. Oh my goodness, Kate! It was so good to hear from you. I really miss your sweet smiling face on YouTube. I know how you feel with certain friends and family living in fear and not wanting to gather. It is a hard change, but I am confident that good will come out of it. I know I have become much more confident and content taking care of my little sphere of influence. I really love reading books about the Great Depression and WWII. Such inspiring stories of how people lived in much greater hardship than we are and made the best of it and survived. Good luck on your books challenge! 🙂 God bless you and your family!

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  4. I finally figured out how to Comment on your blog…yay! 🙂 Anyways, I completely agree…I miss your breath of fresh air on youtube Kate…I feel the same awkwardness about this time…I guess we just need to b compassionate towards how people feel…and focus on what comforts us all…we spend even more time at home…our garden is doing well after a drought and then a flood of showers all at once…I was checking out our biggest tomato plant and 2 bees came a buzzing…I said help yourself I’ll move along…I find myself doing that a lot more lately…talking to nature…lol…enjoy the holiday wknd…best to You, Bali and the boys ♡

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  5. These are very strange times. We were very blessed to meet our first grandchild after 16 months. I learned that I am not going to use my degrees as intended. Embrace the sadness, you are feeling, you will come out the other side. I am sorry to hear about your losses. Our first ventures outside were scary, we are fully vaccinated. (I don’t push my vaccination views on any one) I do ask people to mask at our house if they are not vaccinated and we are outside. The first time, we had friends over I was very afraid. I was a germ freak before, so you can imagine. I experienced 8 weeks of being very ill with Covid -19. I was wearing a mask before any one was and I still got sick. The Pandemic has taught me to not be afraid and not to be a control freak about everything.

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  6. Kate, I think that this is the best, most profound blog you have ever written. I am almost speechless. You nailed my thoughts and emotions exactly. Yesterday, I finally got to hug my grandson for his birthday. It has been over a year since I could touch my three grandsons. I am vacinated now. I can show my love again. Blessings to you my sweet friend.

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  7. Oh Kate…..I look forward to all of your posts…..and this one touched me deeply!!! (So much so that I finally registered in order to reply!!! 😁 ) I continually find great comfort and kinship with your writing, as I feel connected to a like minded soul! Please know how much your posts speak to kindred spirits from all over the world!! (I would love for you to write a post on your pantry!! That could be a series in and of itself!!)
    Much love to you and your dear family from Texas,
    Lauren Moss

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  8. It wasn’t easy but now I embrace the solitude. We are having a barbq tonight and I want to cancel. I’m pooped just after grocery shopping and I don’t want to talk. But others are lonely.

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  9. Kate, that is exactly what I thought. When I got sick and the test was positive. I was terrified living so far away older children. No one else got sick because my husband had everyone out of the house. Losing your sense of taste is very weird. I slept 17 hours a day. It taught me to give up control for sure. My daughter and I had a pact to call each other the second anyone was sick. It was a very fearful morning when I called her to tell her my temperature was 104.5 and the test was positive.

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  10. I found such resonance in these words. I am also very different from before covid. I would rush all that i did and feel exhausted and cross. Now i feel calmer slower, I got an allotment and it is my happy place. My babies run and get muddy and we are currently enjoying fresh strawberries and rhubarb. We must all find our peace and attimes keep the world at bay. My hubby says im now an extrovert introvert, for i enjoy the company of those i love massively and i am loud /chatty, but most of my hobbies require no other human and i becomeso quiet and focused. Where as before all my energy was diverted out to others and ibeing busy.Made me see myself differently and look more to. internal happiness Blessings, it is lovelyreading your posts again. Thankyou.

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  11. Yes! This post is so true! Thanks to your vlog and talk of shutting off the screens, I feel my home life is better than ever! Strange times indeed, but I can make sure my home, is a place of happiness for those who live here!

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  12. It’s understandable the elderly couple want to be careful. They must protect themselves. Bali works in the public and could easily spread the virus to them. While you may not want to live in fear, it’s the reality that the Delta variant is spreading like crazy and filling up hospitals again with over 90% of those who weren’t vaccinated. I have two co workers who were hospitalized and one is on a ventilator. These are young and healthy people. And unvaccinated.

    A trip to the coast will be fun.

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  13. So good reading your blog. I agree life has changed. During the shut down I really did not feel effected because I had been home for years caring for my son. Did not go out often….my bestie would stop by for tea until COVID and I would get to see my granddaughters. Now that things have opened up, and my son has passed I don’t know how to handle the freedom. My husband and I have been venturing out with friends and family. The grandkids visits with their friends to swim. But truthfully after a few days in a row of seeing people ….I always tell my husband I am peopled out! I can’t relax really , afraid at any moment my grief will wash over me…grief makes people uncomfortable….I get it. So here I stand on the threshold of a life we should have has as 65 year old adults…feeling sad that for this freedom, my son is gone…..not a choice I ever would have made….is freedom really freedom if your heart is still chained to the past?

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  14. Susan, my heart goes out to you. Please allow the grief and really embrace it so you can heal, it is the only way through it. You don’t have to do people, only when you want and if you cry they can handle it. Grief is important and valuable.

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