Heaviness and Courage (of course)

Oh, friends. Despite my best efforts and intentions, it seems I can’t get here to write more frequently than every two weeks or so. I guess that is what will have to do, for now. I have so many things that I think of sharing with all of you during my days, and they never make it to the screen (and, perhaps you should be grateful for that, as my mind is truly a Random Idea Generator).

As so many have acknowledged on their own blogs, the world is just so heavy right now. War, the pandemic, ongoing political… um… let’s go with ‘messiness’ and leave it there for now, here in the US, and on top of that all of the individual things we all deal with on a daily – sometimes hourly – basis.

It’s a lot. Being human is hard (I had a “sometimes” here and then realized that, no, really, being human is hard). Being an empathetic, caring human who thinks about others, and worries about the world, is even harder.

And yet. I have to believe that somehow, some good will come from all of this. I believe that because to think otherwise would mean giving up on our future, on our ability to eventually shift the currents of life so they lead to a better world. If I didn’t think change was possible (again, eventually), I don’t think I could get out of bed in the mornings. It’s been hard enough as it is – with the tail end of winter reminding us northerners that we’re not quite done with it yet.

Your blogs give me hope. Knowing that there are people doing good things gives me hope.

Yet I struggle with the smallness of my own life, and wonder whether I’m putting enough good back into the world to eventually shift the balance. I am still having trouble finding the courage to put myself out there. I am struggling with finding joy in my daily life. The one element of my 2022 intentions that is going reasonably well is the “be kind” part and, well, that’s just sort of who I am, so it’s kind of a gimme. (Is that cheating on my intentions, if I use something that I generally do anyway? I am going to say it isn’t…)

Life is about to force my hand, though. Thursday morning I am driving 4 hours round trip to present a poster at a regional conference. I thought about attending the whole conference but the monetary and time costs were prohibitive. Still, though – I’ll be with hundreds of other people for the first time since you-know-when. That might chew up my courage reserve for the month! But oh, there will be joy in once again sharing science and friendship with people I’ve met through the years.

I feel a bit like I am going from 0-60 in terms of seeing and interacting with people. From hermit to conference. I’m sure it will be fine – I just hope that I remember how to talk in front of a large group!

As Brene Brown said… “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.”

I guess it’s time for me to really choose courage.

I hope that you are all hanging in there amidst the uncertainty, the upheaval, the challenges that Life These Days is presenting to all of us. Knowing you are all out there, dealing with the same things (in addition to many other things I don’t have to deal with in my own life!) helps tremendously. I hope it helps to know that I’m here, too, trying to put some good back out into the universe.

Sunday randomness

**Edited to add** This post will come across as ridiculously frivolous in light of all that is going on in our world. I have been following the news out of Ukraine, of course, with a heavy heart. Yet, for the first time in a long time, I find myself needing to step away a bit. I still pay very close attention, but I also need to find space for non-doom-related thoughts. This post is in that spirit. I will come back to the war, and my thoughts, at some point. But for now, I’m finding that a bit too much. I hope you understand.

I usually try to have a focus for my posts, but today I just have random thoughts zipping around in my head, and thought, well, maybe I’ll bore the internet with some of these. So feel free to mosey on by to something more substantive than my musings! I’ll just ramble on here for a bit, then hopefully get back to normal programming at some point.

I am currently on “spring break”, which means we do not have classes, nor are we *supposed* to have meetings. So, yeah. I have a meeting tomorrow, three on Tuesday, two meetings and an evening webinar on Wednesday, and another meeting on Friday. Mmm hmm. In between, I am hoping to make some progress on those things that take a backseat to prepping for class each week (e.g., manuscripts, reviewing articles or others’ papers/drafts/etc.). We’ll see how it goes.

I hit the wall yesterday. I knew this would happen – it does, at least once every academic year. Started with feeling rather punky on Friday afternoon and then yesterday I felt like I was staring at my computer screen and trying to put together 2 brain cells to form something resembling coherent words. So instead of pushing it – and producing something I’d regret later – I… cleared out the ~75 browser tabs I had in my work browser.

Seventy. Five. Give or take. I couldn’t find anything when I was looking for it (e.g., a tab that remains open to a course that I am taking this semester) and it was giving me extreme anxiety. It took hours. But I feel so. much. better. A good use of time when I was definitely not firing on all cylinders! (Note: You may think that this post shows I am still not firing on all cylinders, to be fair…)

I hope you are all managing to stay awake today post-springing forward. I tend to do okay with this one –it’s definitely easier for me than the Fall, most likely because I don’t sleep very much anyway. BUT I also know that I will be ready for bed while it’s still light out tonight. Oh, well, ’tis reality for someone who goes to bed way too early, even in summer! (And, it should be noted, I did doze a bit while doing my morning reading on the couch this morning. It was just so comfy, and warm, and I had tea, and…)

My car started doing a “weird thing” yesterday and it’s stressing me out. I’m taking it in tomorrow (thank goodness for spring break in a University town – everyone else is, well, out of town!) and hoping against hope that it’s not the transmission, or something super-duper expensive. I get very anxious about these types of things, mostly because I’m such a moron when it comes to mechanical/car-related stuff. I have to drop it off and take the shuttle so will be fretting all day that I won’t be able to get it back at the end of the day. Ah, the joys of a brain that loves to borrow trouble. Please keep my 10 year old Prius in your thoughts. I am hoping to get at least another 5 years out of it, if not 10.

It was snowing lightly when I went on my super-early walk this morning, and I suspect it might be the last snow that we see for a while. Then again, this IS Wisconsin, and I distinctly remember a nasty turn in April 2020 (well, other than that whole COVID thing) when we had highs in the 20s after having highs in the 40s+ for weeks. That was what prompted the purchase of my cheapo folding stationary bike – still the best pandemic purchase for me. Although I love winter (really, I do) I will not miss taking 5 minutes to get ready to walk out the door by layering up, figuring out which coat to wear (the heavy one or the REALLY heavy one), etc. Summer is just so much easier in that regard.

Somehow, I have managed to agree to and book a trip to Florida. In May. With my parents. Despite the fact that Stephany lives there, making it a much better place than it would be otherwise, I’m still wrestling with the idea of spending money in a state that legislates hate. Sigh. Yet, this was what I could afford, and what was accessible for me, and for my parents. Part of me wants to donate to organizations supporting LGBTQ+ youth and public health initiatives… I’ll have to ponder that as the time gets closer. And, of course, in the context of what the car needs. Sigh, again.

This post is so totally in line with how my brain was this morning on my walk… random stream of consciousness thoughts that I’d share (and bore you to tears with) if you were sitting here with me today. This morning’s randomness led me to remembering when I first worked in the DC area, the people with whom I interacted at that job (Donna, Ric, Jean… most of whom are probably retired by now!), and even what the parking permit looked like (it was a little car, with the year on the “tires”… it was one of the cutest parking permits I’ve seen).

There is an Event in the community room right now (just down the hall from me). I am betting baby shower. Lots of female voices and high-pitched squeals of “I haven’t seen you in forever!” It makes me smile to overhear these things and think about the different stages of life. 🙂

I have Goals this week, in addition to (sigh) Meetings. I hope to get the bathroom closet finally cleaned up, clear out some ancient files in my desk filing drawers (do I really NEED documentation of my job search from 2000?), and (car willing) take books to the 1/2 price bookstore. We’ll see what actually happens, though. If I can get one thing done, it will make me happy. All 3? We’d be verging into ecstatic. Ha.

OK, this is a really, really long and boring post. Thanks for letting me do a bit of a brain dump though. Time to move on to the next thing on the work to-do list!