Sitting here staring out the window at the dull, bareness of Winter. The sky is that dull, grey, overcast blanket that is doing nothing to cheer me. Even the birds are quiet this morning. If only the sun would come out to break up the clouds. The fire went out last night and its taking the house longer to get warm again. I’ve had better mornings.
Even when I have accepted the fact that the door has long been closed as far as returning to my former job, the mental list of what my goals were, still lingers. As does the question on how am I going to reach them now.
I wonder too, if that list was actually an attainable one as it was definitely not organized. Like phone numbers or passwords that I make note of on a scratch sheet of paper, often not being clear on its purpose. One of two things happens, I either lose the paper, or I sit staring at this random number or cryptic password wondering who or what it is for. That is my list of goals. Ideas and hopes scribbled on a scratch sheet leaving me wondering.
Financially, I wanted to be ready for where I now find myself. I did get my house paid off, but not my car. That will have to be done one way or another. I wanted to be prepared for retirement. I wanted to be one of those happy people who spent the day doing exactly what they wanted or nothing at all. I wanted to be able to travel as I wished, or not.
Career wise I wanted to finish up my time where I was. It was only a couple of years away. I also wanted to be an award winning author that changed the world. Or at least made it a little better for someone.
Relationship, I wanted to live to that ripe old age with my husband, sitting on the porch, drinking coffee and swatting away the mosquitoes. Well, maybe not the mosquitoes.
Faith and following. I wanted my faith to grown and expand. I wanted my walk, to not be my walk, but the journey the Lord had set for me before time began. I wanted, that my words, my actions, not be mine, that when people saw, heard, read, me, they were actually seeing God in action.
Now I sit here, staring mentally, and wistfully, at those tattered and worn notations wondering about those goals. The ones possible, the ones hoped for and the impossible. I know I’m not the only one that has watched their dreams and goals crumble to dust and get blown away. I’m not devastated, but I am disappointed. I’m not broken, but I am a little worn. I don’t doubt that especially after the past year, we all are to some degree.
The action that is needed, is obvious. Set new goal(s) or organize the old ones.
Many of us are suffering with so little or even no money coming in. I read part of an article the other night where some who have received unemployment may have to return what they received. A lot of paperwork and proof will need to be turned in to prevent that from happening.
Reading the multitude of articles on how to better budget and what to cut out are usually no help. Many of the things they say to cut out, I don’t do to begin with. Many of the side hustles to make money seem to be wishes in the wind. Unless you are very dedicated, it doesn’t work out well.
While I cannot speak of areas other than those around me, I know that many organizations are doing all they can to help those struggling. Food supplies are handed out, people are being fed and given coats and gloves. One only needs to ask to find out the who, when and where.
Even as the pandemic is still very much a threat, there are places that are hiring. Even if it means taking something that paid less, or something that is far from what a career once was, desperate times calls for desperate measures. As things change and settle down, then the opportunities may arise where one can resume doing what they prefer.
Traveling is currently for the brave. Especially when using public transportation. One can however travel in relative safety in personal vehicles. Destinations where one has space preferred. Eventually, I believe that mass gatherings will return, until then, give me a hike on a nature trail, me and my dog and I’m happy. Its also free.
I’ve read many articles where people have lost jobs and became very creative and resourceful in finding ways to bring in an income. Many have taken advantage of the mask mandates and sew masks selling them to those in need and who wish to support local. Crafts and home improvement has become big and many have taken on doing yard work and removing scrap metals from others. One is limited only by their imagination.
All of what we have been through, has taken a serious toll on our mental health. Humans are social creatures, social distancing denies us that. Being locked away due to illness or fear of illness harms us. Kept apart by the lack of social activities, does harm.
All of the things that we once enjoyed that are barred, denying us that time together, does harm. We are not only facing the Covid pandemic, we are also facing a rise in domestic abuse, child neglect, depression and substance abuse.
Our children are being denied the social activities they need to grow and adjust. Something they cannot get in virtual schooling. Which is another problem in itself. When you wonder how many children do not have access to virtual schooling. when you wonder about those who don’t quite grasp a concept. What of those, whose attention wanders more easily in a less structured setting?
We have been and are still yet on this odd yo yo of going back, stopping. We can eat out, better not eat out. We can go here, nope, not now. You can go here, but not there, and maybe that place but you must follow the list of regulations.
It is important that we set a goal of taking care of ourselves. Through diet, through exercise, through finding ways to take care of our mental health to prevent what can happen when we do not.
Finding ways to stay busy and occupied both through physical and mental exercise, ways that can be done inside. There are many videos online that have exercise one can do in their own home. There are many dvds available with various forms of exercise, easily done at home. A book, a crossword, hidden word, or number puzzle keeps the mind active.
Journaling, helps keep thoughts organized and emotions expressed in healthful ways.
Staying in touch with others, whether via letters, text messages, email, phone calls or shouting over the fence is important. Keeping up with how family are doing, is essential. Many may be shut away in a form of solitary confinement, unable to visit, unable to see there loved ones. Making sure no one feels forgotten and abandoned is a must.
Finding a way, to contribute to assist others is good for mental health. If one is talented in knitting or crochet and can make hats and gloves or even blankets to donate. If one has the means to cook and give food. If one has the means to write out cards for those distanced away in nursing facilities. Anything that can reach out and help another.
I will say, that after all that has happened, after all I have lost and left behind, my faith has grown. I am a more prayerful person, more faithful and trusting in God’s will and way. I have noticed, that when I pray for others, no matter who they are, it is taking my thoughts away from me and my issues and allowing my heart to be concerned for others. Placing them in a more important position than my issues. That in turn, allows me to realize that my issues, were not as full blown drastic as I once thought.
There have been days when I would go for a walk and have long conversations about what was bothering me at that moment. Once done, I could actually feel the weight lifted. I have learned, and I have gained much. Losing my job felt like the end of the world, but it has been a beginning. It has given me the time to have those conversations.
Where I once felt alone, I know I am not. Where I once felt afraid, now I am not. Where once stress was my mantle, now it is not.I am cloaked in peace and warmth of love. Once my words were filled with the struggles I faced in all forms, now the words are less struggle and more trust. More belief that it will all work out according to God’s plan. I can only hope my words express that to those who read them.
We must have goals. Something to reach for, something to look forward to enjoying, something to accomplish. A finish of one segment that shows we made it. Then before the shine fades, set a new goal, a little farther, a littler harder, a little more special. Reaching for that broad horizon, for a better moment, peace, contentment.