Ok World – What Happened?! (Coronavirus)

OK world – what happened?

January 2020 was full of hope, dreams, and longing with a new year on the horizon. Plans to travel, connect, learn and re-energize made the top ten list. And then something else happened instead. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) entered our lives. It sort of creeped in really slowly. And although it existed, it was mostly ignored.

When I first heard about this virus in early January 2020, I thought ‘These viruses happen to other people who live far, far away in places like China.’ Ebola, HIV, Dengue, SARS, MERS, Swine flu, Zika and so many other deadly health threats were distant to me – or so my small mind thought at the time.

I realized that as the COVID-19 virus spreads, our lives become smaller.  Travel is halted. The border between Canada and the US has closed. ‘Shelter-in- place‘ has been issued in San Francisco. Gathering with others has been discouraged and ‘social distancing’ has been encouraged in ways there were unimaginable at the start of March.

All sports events at all levels have been cancelled. Broadway plays, theaters, universities, schools, libraries, ski resorts, meetings, churches, fitness centers, bars, breweries, and casinos have been mandated to close. Colorado has pretty much shut down the state. Drug stores, grocery stores, liquor stores and department stores are still running and are looking to hire workers to help keep the shelves stocked.

Social Disruption initiated

Universities announced they will teach classes online so students are not allowed back on campus for the present time. Businesses want their workers to stay home and work remotely. People are home. They are not driving their cars, using gas, entertaining or socializing. They are hunkering down BECAUSE there is nothing to do.

And that is the goal. Nothing to do will keep people home. Nothing to do will help decrease the spread of the virus. Nothing to do forces us to stay inside and away from others. If there is no one around, there is no one who can give me the virus. And there is no one I can give it to if I have it.

Now we are told it is not about IF it happens but WHEN the virus will happen.

Everything I’ve just written is fact. And most everything has occurred in the past 2 weeks for US citizens.

So what now?

Stay healthy. Here’s my list of things I am planning to do.

Taking Control of My World
  • 1st of all – I refuse to spend my day watching the news. The TV news will destroy my soul and take me down to a very sad place. I watch Norah O’Donnell on the CBS evening news  then turn it off. I also go to youtube.com/news and choose something from that list if I want additional coverage.
  • 2nd – I have a whole list of youtube.com music that I can click on and listen to uninterrupted for 3+ hours. That music helps ground me. Want to breathe in Mozart?  How about relaxing Zen music? Good morning music?
  • 3rd – I plan to make regular phone calls to my family and friends. This is the perfect time not only because they are home with more time on their hands as am I but also because if not now – when?
  • 4th – Since all the fitness centers are closed, I’ll push myself out the door to walk. It’s good for my head, heart, soul and body. And I am practicing ‘social distancing’ in a healthy manner.
  • 5th – I am downloading books from my library using Hoopla and Libby and Overdrive. Also, through my library, I can download videos and movies through Kanopy. I can read magazines using Flipster, learn a language using Odilo or visit a music library.Poudre River Public Library download resources
  • 6th – And most important for my psyche is I plan to incorporate color into my life. Now is not the time for black or white. I am thinking all the colors of the rainbow! Color is such a great mental stimulation for me.

Next year at this time when I read this blog post, I want to close my eyes and remember how well we all got through it. How we pulled together as friends and created togetherness where before there were only strangers. How we reached out and offered help, comfort and compassion when others were struggling.

In the meantime, I will be writing it all down as a way to help me remember it, make sense of it and learn from it.

Loving you, Marge Katherine

Resources –

The Holidays are OVER – Amen!

The Do’s & Dont’s of Social Distancing

Symptoms of COVID-19

Corona Virus Near Me 

Kicking & Screaming into retirement

My friend Sara and I took a walk last week to get caught up in person. No texts, no phone calls just a walk and talk. Like we used to do. She is almost ready to retire. In fact, she can retire right now but she hesitates because if she does, she will be stuck at home with her husband.

Happily after retirement , sitting in an Adirondack chair facing water early morning in Grand Lake, CO.
There is beauty in every moment – we only need to take the time and breathe it in.

The man she chose to marry is not very nice. When she does something forgetful, he pounces on that and just rants and raves about what a loser she is. During our walk, she told me that in the past month she mindlessly clicked something on her computer and it was compromised. She took it to a computer tech and had to get it wiped and cleaned. She felt so stupid. Her husband won’t let her forget that she screwed up again. He demeans her and takes away any confidence she has in herself.

Sara is one of the first friends I made when I moved to Colorado. She and I have been though births, deaths, divorces and remarriages. When she told me that Eddie proposed and she planned to marry him, I asked her why?

I realized during our walk that she didn’t intend to take any action, she just needed to talk through what was going on, to list offences, to explain retirement possibilities and to unload.  Once I understood my role, I was able to shake my head when needed, offer condolences and some levity here and there.

Happily after retirement, enjoying life in the early morning in Grand Lake, CO.
To find joy where you are, in this very moment, is a thing of beauty.

I know of others like her who would retire tomorrow if they could change their home life. One amazing friend of mine worked to the age of 68 so that she could avoid being home with her unemployed husband. When she finally did retire, it was because she was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.

Ok, this is the part where I let my naiveté show. Why not stand up and say no? No more abuse? No more put downs? No more hostility? These women and many others are actually the breadwinners and yet, they allow themselves to be pushed around at home – whereas in the workplace they are given the respect due the position.

Do I have to walk in Sara’s shoes and take the verbal abuse in order to speak honestly to her? And if I were in her shoes, would I have the strength, determination and financial means to walk away? And could I walk away … from yet another marriage?

My marriage had none of the negativity and toxic environment that she is exposed to on a daily basis.  In the past, I would speak freely about what she could do, and suggest steps and actions she could to help her move away, or forward depending on what she needed. I send her links to podcasts, youtube video suggestions and books that would help with self esteem, financial information and know-how.

So, this time when she shared her world with me, I understood that she only needed to vent. She wasn’t ready to act and maybe she would never be ready.  I decided to be a good listener and give her the safe place to speak freely.

Is that all she needs?

My heart is heavy because I am so happy in retirement. I am hiking, taking drives to see the beautiful autumn colors, taking daily walks, visiting libraries, reading, making friends, traveling and enjoying my space.

What are your thoughts about this? Know people like Sara? Any words of wisdom for her or me?

Many thanks.

************

Keep Reading:
 – How to practice mindful aging
–  Picking up the pieces
6 brave personal stories about domestic abuse

sunset over rocky mountains
To be at peace with yourself is a true and wonderful gift.

 

 

 

The tail end of life: Why wait?

The ‘tail end’ is used often enough to explain the end of something; a concert, a speech, a football game, a movie. I’ve heard it and used it many times. However, I never applied it to me. The tail end of my life?  I never really put me and my lifespan into the equation.

Family isn't always blood...Last week I sent the article link titled The Tail End to my siblings. I read this article years ago and wanted to revisit it. Once I read it, I wanted my long-distance siblings to read it and absorb the message as well.

The ‘tail end’ is used often enough to explain the end of something; a concert, a speech, a football game, a movie. I’ve heard it and used it many times. However, I never applied it to me.

 Last week I sent the article link titled The Tail End to my siblings. I read this article years ago and wanted to revisit it. Once I read it, I wanted my long-distance siblings to read it and absorb the message as well. The ‘tail end’ is used often enough to explain the end of something; a concert, a speech, a football game, a movie. I’ve heard it and used it many times. However, I never applied it to me. Or my life. The tail end of my life? I never really put me and my lifespan into the equation. What began as an novel idea has turned into an “in your face” fact. Four years has passed since Tim Urban wrote and published this in 2015 and since then many things have happened in my world. I now I have a 2-year old granddaughter, my grandson is ten years old, my brother has died and so many other happy and sad life events have occurred. I read the article and then reached for the phone to make a call to my friend, I texted my sister and sent a card to my aunt. I checked the airlines to see when I can visit my son and his family. I’ve jotted down a note to contact Sharon to set up a monthly date to connect. She and I have been friends since 1979 and we live 35 miles from each other. I last saw her in June. If I’m lucky I see her twice yearly and that’s not good enough. We don’t have the excuse of huge time commitments, airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc because we live down the highway from each other. What it takes is to put a date on the calendar and honor it. I have other friends who need to be on my calendar more often as well. I can make that happen. I am happy to say my siblings find time to connect with me via video chat. We are able to have 5 of us chatting at the same time. It’s like being at the dinner table again. The topic is more about our grandchildren and their antics rather than us and our issues. When our brother died two years ago, he found a way to bring us together even tighter than we were before. Hearing a song that he loved, a phrase he used to say, attending his daughter’s wedding and so many other memories keep us touching base. He is the fourth sibling that I’ve lost but he was the most special in so many ways. We were two years apart in age and our children were best friends growing up. His death took so much from us and in a way, left fertile ground for us to grow closer. Being able to live in the same place as the people I love is a thing of beauty (there I am again, checking real estate options near my granddaughter…) and means I will get to spend much more time in the presence of those I love. However, living in the same area as my family and friends means nothing if I don’t reach out and connect with them. Sometimes it takes work to stay in touch but it’s so worth it. I keep asking myself, what really matters? You may have figured out that family means a lot to me. The ages 0-5 are the ones I adore the most. Children in this age range are innocent, inventive, wild and free at heart. Then they go to school and learn how to draw ‘in the lines’ and learn to spell correctly and become more regimented. But prior to attending school, they are genuine. Eliminate the crap. Life is too short, time is elusive and we can only do so much. Right? Spending time with people who I do not love, doing something that doesn’t bring me happiness and knowing that time is finite is the kick I need to focus on what I love above all else. What now? For me, in my tail end of life I plan to put another visit on my calendar to see my granddaughter. I can interact more readily with my grandson each day too. My siblings will continue to see me on video as we connect in a way that was never possible a decade ago. My local friends will benefit the most as I focus on setting up one-on-one time with them. I know they are busy and have families and all that jazz but they need me too. So, it’s time to pull out my calendar and make some calls. +++++++ Resources: Waitbutwhy.com: The Tail End by Tim Urban https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.htmlThe tail end of my life?  I never really put me and my lifespan into the equation. What began as an novel idea has turned into an “in your face” fact. Four years has passed since Tim Urban wrote and published this in 2015 and since then many things have happened in my world. I am retired, I have a 2-year old granddaughter, my grandson is ten years old, my brother has died and so many other happy and sad life events have occurred. I am in the third of my life and more aware of my dear wonderful friend called ‘Time.’

I read the article and then reached for the phone to make a call to my friend, I texted my sister and sent a card to my aunt. I  checked the airlines to see when I can visit my son and his family. I’ve jotted down a note to contact Sharon to set up a monthly date to connect. She and I have been friends since 1979 and we live 35 miles from each other. I last saw her in June. If I’m lucky I see her twice yearly and that’s not good enough. We don’t have the excuse of huge time commitments, airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc because we live down the highway from each other. What it takes is to put a date on the calendar and honor it. I have other friends who need to be on my calendar more often as well. I can make that happen.

I am happy to say my siblings find time to connect with me via video chat. We are able to have 5 of us chatting at the same time. It’s like being at the dinner table again. The topic is more about our grandchildren and their antics rather than us and our issues.

When our brother died two years ago, he found a way to bring us together even tighter than we were before. Hearing a song that he loved, a phrase he used to say, attending his daughter’s wedding and so many other memories keep us touching base. He is the fourth sibling that I’ve lost but he was the most special in so many ways. We were two years apart in age and our children were best friends growing up. His death took so much from us and in a way, left fertile ground for us to grow closer.

Being able to live in the same place as the people I love is a thing of beauty (there I am again, checking real estate options near my granddaughter…) and means I will get to spend much more time in the presence of those I love. However, living in the same area as my family and friends means nothing if I  don’t reach out and connect with them. Sometimes it takes work to stay in touch but it’s so worth it.

I keep asking myself, what really matters?

You may have figured out that family means a lot to me. The ages 0-5 are the ones I adore the most. Children in this age range are innocent, inventive, wild and free at heart. Then they go to school and learn how to draw ‘in the lines’ and learn to spell correctly and become more regimented. But prior to attending school, they are genuine.

Friends matter too. And yet, I have to make sure I make those calls and stay in touch. It’s so easy to let time slip away without making the effort.

Eliminate the crap. Life is too short, time is elusive and we can only do so much. Right?
Spending time with people who I do not love, doing something that doesn’t bring me happiness and knowing that time is finite is the kick I need to focus on what I love above all else.

 What now?

For me, in my tail end of life I plan to put another visit on my calendar to see my granddaughter. I can interact more readily with my grandson each day too.

My siblings will continue to see me on video as we connect in a way that was never possible a decade ago.

My local friends will benefit the most as I focus on setting up one-on-one time with them. I know they are busy and have families and all that jazz but they need me too. So, it’s time to pull out my calendar and make some calls.

+++++++

Check out these links!

Waitbutwhy.com: The Tail End by Tim Urban

Death 101: Homework Assignment

Empty Bowl becomes a Friendship Bowl

A sense of optimism about humanity

People will never forget how you made them feel

 

Just a taste – Seneca Lake Wineries

Finger Lakes Wine Country, NY

Three sisters checking out the Finger Lakes Wines on a Sunday afternoon in May! Yumm!

 

Lots of places to choose from that’s for sure!
Enough to keep us busy for the day!
Slow-paced and fun!


One thing you might really enjoy about our Sunday outing was our plan was to actually go to the Cayuga Lake Wine Tour and enjoy those wineries but a wrong turn here, too much talking there, and a bit of laughter from the back seat (that would be the middle sister – ME!) and what do you know … we landed in Seneca Lake area instead. Cool. It’s all cool!

Three sisters visiting White Springs Winery, Seneca Lake, NY

 

The Finger Lakes located in Central New York are actually eleven small lakes that face north/south and give the effect of looking like fingers. (At least to me they do!)
My two favorite lakes, Cayuga and Seneca are some of the deepest in the US.  The lakes are long but narrow (giving the illusion of fingers from above) and the region is highly suited for growing grapes.

The eleven lakes are listed below:

  • Otisco Lake
  • Skaneateles Lake
  • Owasco Lake
  • Cayuga Lake
  • Seneca Lake
  • Keuka Lake
  • Canandaigua Lake
  • Honeoye Lake
  • Canadice Lake
  • Hemlock Lake
  • Conesus Lake
Seneca NY Wine Trail
Seneca NY Wine Trail

 

Looking for THE BIG WHAT!

Whether I write this blog or not, life goes on either way. The sun still rises and it’s glorious. Sometimes I capture the scene on my camera but I would rather just sit in awe and soak it in. Maybe I’ll blog about the colors, the smells and try to describe the fresh air but I’d rather take that hike up the hillside with friends. With you.  What are your wants? 

Can you be Happily After Retirement, really? What about feelings of being disconnected and alone? What about not having that place where coworkers gather and converse, share and connect over projects, over work, over a lifetime? Or a scheduled reason to get up and get going every day? Or a million other things?

Well for me, retirement is about staying connected to people, organizations, nature and myself. It’s volunteering, working out, hiking, and growing. The growing involves lots of reading, lectures, libraries and silence. The silence allows me to stop the noise and review who I am, what I am and where I am going.

However, for as much as I want you to believe I have it figured out, I do not. I am wanting to be part of something bigger, yet something intimate. I need to have structure but also want the freedom to travel. I search blogs, read magazines and books, attend gatherings and continue to wonder where I belong. Have you figured it out yet? Some people follow their bucket list, others clean their closets. There is no answer to this one – like when we left school and were expected to get a job. Now we are leaving a career and what…?

I am looking for THE BIG WHAT?

Whether I write this blog or not, life goes on either way. The sun still rises and it’s glorious. Sometimes I capture the scene on my camera but I would rather just sit in awe and soak it in. Maybe I’ll blog about the colors, the smells and try to describe the fresh air but I’d rather take that hike up the hillside with friends. With you.  What are your wants?

Marianne Williamson wrote so eloquently “We are all meant to shine, as children do.” And now, as we enter retirement, we are also allowed to shine. Duties and responsibilities are winding down and options are on the horizon.

I’m not the only one that feels like this, am I? So, how do we connect?  What is it that you do with your time that makes you giggle with anticipation of it?

There are so many ways to expand my horizons and not even leave my couch. Which is so good … and not good at all! Movement is necessary in so many ways. Trust me on this one. Action is the key to life.

Bradley Whitford wrote this brilliant passage…

“Infuse your life with action.
Don’t wait for it to happen.
Make it happen.
Make your own future.
Make your own hope.
Make your own love.
And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

Get busy living… a reminder from my favorite movie – Shawshank Redemption –
Get busy living or get busy dying !
What shall it be my friends?


Resources & Treasures:

Mirth and Motivation: Live your wild precious life
https://mirthandmotivation.com/2019/04/08/motivation-mondays-live-your-wild-precious-life/

The Why About This: To Write is to Breathe
https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/2822738/posts/2237239776

7 Strange Questions that Help You Find Your Life Purpose
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/7-strange-questions-that-help-you-find-your-life-purpose

Youtube Learning
https://www.youtube.com/education?lg=EN&b=400

NOVA
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/series/nova-wonders/#living-in-you

Maggie Rogers: Tiny Desk Concert
https://youtu.be/SqPtIkxSxI0

The Fork in the Road
https://happilyafterretirement.com/2018/06/30/the-fork-in-the-road/

Podcasts: Either go to their website and listen or go into your phone app store and download any podcast app and start listening!

Beautiful Writers Podcast
Afford Anything
Good Life Project
Clark Howard

Audiobooks (from almost any library) for free can be listened to on these great platforms:

Youtube videos:

Elevator Counseling

She said, “I’ve got a question for you. What happens when everything is really negative and bad? How do you focus? How do you get out of that place?”

I love taking the stairs but when the elevator in the hotel parking garage opened as I approached, I knew there was a reason. I turned to the other passenger and said, “Well, I guess the Universe is telling me to take the elevator.” She said, “Do you listen to the Universe too?”

I told her I did.

She said, “I’ve got a question for you. What happens when everything is really negative and bad? How do you focus? How do you get out of that place?”

She had her suitcase and was heading towards her vehicle. “I think what you do is find that one thing that’s beautiful,” I said.  “A smile on a baby’s face. Or the sunrise. Or maybe a sunset. Just find it and focus on that and keep going back to that one thing. And then add one more. When you are in a dark hole, all you can see is shit and darkness.”

I told her, “It’s like if you’re on a diet. You’re not going to make a difference in a day, but in month you’ll start to see change. So, hang on to that feeling of finding beauty everyday for a month, then you will see some light in the darkness.” I wanted to reach over and wipe away her tears.

When she mentioned she was at the hotel for a conference, I asked her what kind of work she did. She was counselor attending a trauma seminar. No wonder she was so messed up. Who knows what sad stories she was dealing with in her world.  For the briefest moment in time, I was able to convey to her through my actions. “Let it all go. I’ve got you.” And I did have her for that very short window of time. Maybe that was all she needed. To be heard. To be not alone. To connect.

Everything about her was raw and vulnerable. I hope she finds some healing and is able to treat herself kindly.

How about if we send her some light? Just close your eyes and send some light and love to this giving person. Will it reach her? Will it make a difference? Maybe it will. I hope so.

 ~~ Resources & Links:

 

 

What’s real anyway?

But the essence of these things comes back to learning about me. About my role in the world. About my role in the family. I’m in the process of putting together the puzzle of my childhood. The major historians in the family have all passed away so now I have to seek out the individuals who might be able to toss some memories my way.

Many times over the past seven years I thought I would quit blogging. Then I would take time off and come back refreshed and ready to write. It’s the writing part I love the most. And sharing what I learned, or saw, or tasted or observed.

Blogging was the vehicle to help me get thoughts out of my head and into a realm where once published they became real. It became a journal of sorts and now when I look back and read posts most times I can put myself right back to that point in time and remember what I was feeling.

When I went away this summer, I kept seeing things I wanted to share in this blog. Things I learned in Ireland. Things I learned in Switzerland. But the essence of these things comes back to learning about me. About my role in the world. About my role in the family.

I spent time going over shared moments with my siblings.
“What do you remember about …?”
“Where were you when ___ happened?”
“When did you …?”

To my surprise, each shared memory included things I didn’t remember. Words were said or not said. The time of day was different. The people in the room varied. It unnerved me that my memory wasn’t their memory. That something was altered, something minor – sometimes it was major. I often wondered if we were really experiencing the same thing.

familyI’m in the process of putting together the puzzle of my childhood. The major historians in the family have all passed away so now I have to seek out the individuals who might be able to toss some memories my way.

I realize now that the stories that were the glue of my childhood are just outlines. Each of us fills in the story in our own way from where we stand. Those moments I was so sure of … vary from sibling to sibling. It was like we all had different versions of the same story.

So, I started to gather up their stories too. To see where they stood, what they thought, how they processed the event. The on-going conversations are engaging and I am learning about the events (car accident, illness, birth, death, travel) again for the first time from another point of view… making it all real again.

Related: