I’ve decided to take a break from social activities. A lot of thought and reasoning went into this decision. In many ways, life has simplified and become more complicated throughout the past nine months.
At first, I was feeling pretty smug about how safe we were from Covid-19 living in rural Missouri. After all, we have open spaces—a huge yard and surrounded by acres of crops. During the lockdown, the quiet nights and brilliant stars reminded me of when I was a kid growing up in the Ozarks. At first, it seemed like an adventure, as if we were living the plot to a medical novel that was a real page turner.
Recently, I’ve been at one of those crossroads where the scarecrow is flapping his arms around pointing me in several different directions. Ultimately, I know better than to take the word of a scarecrow and I made my own decision.
My final answer was to put health and family first. With my arthritis ramping up, I couldn’t seem to get even the basics done. My doctor injected my knees again, which helped tremendously with the pain, but amounted to a delaying tactic, not a fix. He warned me that I needed to pace myself.
Doctors and other medical professionals warned me years ago to pace myself. During the ten years Jim and I journeyed through the land of dementia, I refused the dire warnings to take care of myself. How do you know when to put a loved one in a nursing home or at least relinquish some of the care? My warning came when exhaustion set in, and I didn’t feel like I could continue being the caregiver I wanted to be. In my heart, I aspired to be Super Woman, but my brain knew I was only a broken human.
Yesterday, I finished a small project while pacing myself. I put braces on both knees since I was on my feet. I sat down to rest and when I stood up one of the Velcro straps from one brace had attached itself to the other one. So, I rested a little longer while I untangled the jingle from the jangle.
I’ve given up several activities, including volunteer positions. I haven’t bought an article of clothing or eaten in a restaurant since late February or early March. On the bright side, I’ve saved a bundle on makeup. If I’m at home, I don’t wear any, and on the rare occasions that I have to go somewhere, I only put on eyebrow pencil. There’s no need for foundation or lipstick because my mask covers the lower part of my face.
I haven’t quit social media, but I’ve de-stressed it. I avoid the political brouhaha and listen to dry bar comedy. I’ve learned to hide, hide, accept nothing from certain sites, or unfollow. When that doesn’t work, I will unfriend or block. It is a liberating feeling to know I don’t have to see hateful posts. I look for inspiration and humor. I avoid conflict, rumors, conspiracy theories, and lies.
I record thirty minutes of world news and zip through the political ads. Other than that, I watch shows that I enjoy, also recorded.
Taking a break from social activities doesn’t mean that I don’t have enough to do. I pace myself from physical activities by trying to catch up on all the work that lurks on my PC. I have multiple projects in the works, and I still battle the never-ending to-do list.
My happy times are when I have a spare moment to sit on the porch, pick up my ukulele to play a tune, or visit with immediate family. I cherish my quiet time, my reflection time, when I let the world take care of the world, and as for me—I’m taking a break.
Copyright © October 2020 by L.S. Fisher