Monthly Archives: April 2021

I Want

Yesterday was the sort of day that didn’t give a damn.

A thick layer of clouds sat on us, the sky just above the treetops. Leaves fluttered carelessly, temperatures kept dropping, while we moaned about the chill in the air. The chill seeping through any wall cracks.

No sun to speak of above the layer of mist, a ray breaking through just to immediately hide from us.

Watching it all, I pulled my sweatshirt tighter and grumbled. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee pacified me with its warmth – just barely – a poor substitute for the sun. Another cup, another rant.

I want…

The sun, but not exhausting heat. I want the bright energy without the overwhelming hundred-degree pain.

I want...

The positive force of light and energy, while having had enough of punishing temperatures.

There is no substitute for the sun, its warmth, radiant glow at once inviting and diminishing us with its power.

I want...

The vibrant sun that brings me unqualified joy.

But yesterday, the outside did not care about what I wanted. Every time I glanced out the window, the day stared back indifferent to my misery.

All I had to do was wait. Give patience a fighting chance.

Slowly, somewhat mockingly, the clouds began to break. Today, the clouds are gone, cool temperatures forgotten. Today, I want less wind, less warmth.  Less smoke in the air from yet another wind-and-heat-induced fire.

Today, I want...

A little shade, and clouds, and rain. And cooler temperatures. And no more smoke in the air.

There is no alleviating want, is there?

Photo: scvgov.

Gain Some, Lose Some in One Year

Rose, Flowers, Roses, Flower, Red Roses, Love, Feelings

Feelings. They sometimes hurt, other times delight. Many times confuse. Either way, I understand it’s good to express them. So, let’s talk. Feel free to jump in.

What Was Lost this Past Year

In my previous post, I wrote about what was gained during the past year. But what was lost? The passive tone here is intentional, as I feel we all lost something, as individuals and as a society.

Lives, too many lives were lost. The deadliest year on record in the U.S., according to Keiser Health.

If you were able to keep away from social media and arguments, congratulations. Don’t mean to sound flippant.

I did not fare as well.

My list of virtual friends (not sure that is the proper word) is smaller. So be it.

Faced with for and against arguments, tribalism and narcissism flourished. A cursory glance would be enough to see that from the moon. We all became experts in subjects foreign to us months prior.   

New political sectarianism is one of the greatest national security issues in the world, according the UN. We are forming tribes and going at each other with little remorse. Never mind the adults, I see tension-ridden political conversations among teenagers in my son’s group, not a thing in years past.

Why?

Know any highly opinionated people? If not head over to any social-media site. Caring deeply gives us strong opinions, sure, but there is more. At times, it feels as though outside forces are moving us, like a puppeteer his puppets. I no longer recognized people I knew well. In my most honest moments, I no longer recognize myself.  

There is a political truism out there: when there is unrest look at who benefits if you want to trace its source and reason. Having come of age in Eastern Europe, a hotbed for political unrest and two world wars, it’s hard not to see the same old political forces at play, only more subtle, more tech savvy.

Of course, agreement doesn’t always bring alignment. At least one group I belong to, people of similar minds, turned on each other recently.  If you are A you must not be B, and having uttered this word makes you C. Tolerance is running low among friends as well. The argumentative personality seems to be the dominant trait everywhere I turn. 

It’s the early days. Too early to tell how this ideological war among the highly opinionated will shape the world but look for the world to be different within the next decade or sooner.

I take refuge in long conversations with my mom, who at the age of 80 has seen a lot in her days. She tells me the world is going through growing pains. She’d seen worse. The world, she assures me, will adjust and everything will be okay.  I smile, thinking, Yeah, that’s what I would tell my son, whether or not I believe it.

It’s what mothers do.

Flower, Rose, Petals, Purple Rose, Purple Flower
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photos: pixabay

Gain Some, Lose Some in One Year

One year hiding away from the world, and in some ways I’ve gained several years.

My entire adult life has been jam-packed with work, school, and for years both work and school at the same time. No complaints, as that’s what I wanted as a kid in Eastern Europe, when imagining my future. I wanted possibility.

As time went on, responsibilities piled on like plates juggled on a stick. Three plates, five plates, ten, twenty. We kept juggling, keep spinning. When the occasional plate hit the floor, we worked hard to clean up and get back to juggling.   

We learned to live with demands. For me, coming from a place of limited – or non-existent – possibilities, work demands were a blessing. We learned to tell ourselves: this is how it must be.   

It gets tiring though. Not only physically, but demand after demand can tire the soul.

Then, last year life came to a halt.

It felt jarring at first. Impossible to adjust after a lifetime of doing it all on the move – family, work, hobbies, a social existence.  

Working partially from home gave me time to discover parts of life I’d only glimpsed in passing. For a whole year, I no longer had to divide myself into pieces to reach every corner of my life. Pretty much everything was now happening between my living room, dining room, and kitchen – every family member in attendance.

Longer-than-ever walks helped me rediscover the neighborhood. Both pictures on this post are from my walks.

Like everyone the world over, we had to cancel everything.

We cancelled usually rushed trips to Eastern Europe — two weeks to adjust, see family who took us for rested party-ready tourists, fit in a trip to the Black Sea, maybe Transylvania, then fly home and get back into the routine. Sure, we had a blast when not overcome by fatigue delirium.  

For all the challenging moments this past year, I am grateful beyond reason for every second with my family. I’m grateful for every nanosecond, for every billionth of a second, for every moment that at times seemed longer than an hour.

I am grateful for the time sitting around debating the news, talking about work and school, about teachers and subjects, for lazing around with a book, for the quiet times. For the loud times. Occasionally, my tolerance level was shut. There were short moments of panic when I asked myself: would I ever exist outside my home?

I was forced to discover that even the obnoxious moments in a teen’s life are moments I want to experience because my baby – term he hates – will be an adult soon. Here we were – my husband and I – given a chance to slow down time during the last couple of years of our baby’s childhood. A chance to watch him drive for the first time. A chance to teach him things despite his protests.

We had nothing but time. Days upon days, every time of the day. In a year fraught with anxiety triggers, I am grateful for that time.

Next post in Gain Some, Lose Some: What Was Lost.

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Photos credit: @Silvia Villalobos