The fact that I just stared at the screen for a full minute, feeling the rusted gears in my mind working pretty hard to recall what day I am about to write about, says a lot about the kind of week it’s been.
Early in the pandemic, I started referring to every day as “Blursday,” since the passing of time has become something of an amorphous blob. Clever, right? Yeah, I’m sure I’m one of a few million people who came up with that little zinger.
But since the very idea is that time has no meaning, who can say who came up with it first? I’ll pretend I invented it. After all, once something is written on the Internet, it must be true. All I need to do to really lock it in is superimpose “Did you know Jim Schneider invented the idea of Blursday?” over a photo of Morgan Freeman or Kermit the Frog sipping tea. Then everyone will take it as gospel.
But I digress. Wednesday (I finally remember the actual day) was a bit of a mixed bag day. I was busy with work and generally did OK with that, and then was able to take a little time in the afternoon to set up the big inflatable sprinkler and pool in the backyard for the kids.
They had fun and I was able to get a little more work done in the backyard office. Also, the lawn got well watered, and it could probably officially be declared a marsh now.
A little later, I was going to try out a new recipe for dinner and had to pick up a few things at the store. The kids both really wanted to come, and since it was a quick and targeted outing, I decided it was OK. I got them masked up, and got in and out of Whole Foods in under ten minutes.
The kids were decent overall, with some pretty standard bickering and “can I have…” moments. Amelia was disappointed that Whole Foods didn’t have shopping carts that look like cars for kids to ride in, as some other stores do. When we got back to the car, she very matter of factly informed me that, “Whole Foods is not very fun.”
On the 10-minute drive home, Henry of course fell asleep really hard, and waking him up when we got home was a bit like poking the Incredible Hulk with stick. Much like his old man, Henry gets pretty groggy and grumpy waking up from naps, and before long things escalated to a bit of a tantrum.
With Erin’s help, we got him through it, but admitedly it took a little peg out of me. I was feeling really tired and drained. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find in the age of COVID that seemingly small moments can trigger an avalanche of emotions for me. Anxious, hopeless, inadequate, exhausted…it all seemed to hit me out of nowhere.
I let it all hang there and tried to let it wash over. If years of therapy have taught me anything, it’s that you have to feel things, even the tough things, in order to let them run their course.
Erin asked if I wanted to skip cooking and order something in, and in that moment I realized that actually, cooking was just what I needed. I find something zen and therapeutic in the prep and process of cooking, and indeed, it really helped me here.
It was a new recipe that Erin found for basically deconstructed spring rolls, and it was enjoyable to make and ultimately to eat. By the time I was finished, with yummy smells filling the kitchen, I was feeling much better.
I guess the lesson is that we’re all going to have moments that seem overwhelming. That’s natural in any circumstances, and is even more the case right now. But it’s important to allow ourselves the space and vulnerability to be OK with feeling not OK for a little while.
And all of us have something we enjoy that can help bring about that meditative calm. For me it’s often cooking, but can also be taking a run or a walk. Find what yours is and have it at the ready.
If yours also happens to be cooking, I suggest you check out this recipe here! I should also add eating to that list of zen practices, because that is very much one for me, too.