Saturday, May 30, 2020

Miscellaneous Musings No. 18: Life in Limbo

Dear readers, I will not bore you with what my corona has been about, probably much like yours, just suffice it to say we are well here, and for that I am so grateful.  I've had a few thoughts on a recurring theme over the past few months that I'd love to share with you. This is a different take on my normal style with miscellaneous musings, but because my blog becomes my journal, I wanted to write these thoughts down. I hope you'll continue reading. The tune with video attached below is one I love. "I'm Alive", by Kenny Chesney, and accompanied by Dave Matthews. It's just right for right now. I invite you to listen, and read on. I do not own the rights to this music or this video.
In my life, I have had several lulls of time that I have felt like I was in limbo.
  1. 1.
    an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.
  2. "the fate of the Contras is now in limbo"

  • As a teenager, I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis at age 14, just when thoughts of becoming a varsity cheerleader was all I thought life was. 🙄 I wore the Milwaukee brace for the next 3 years, 23 hours out of 24 daily, participated in regular physical therapy, and had way too many x-rays, just to avoid invasive spinal surgery with rods and a year in a body cast (treatment has changed drastically since the mid-1970s).  My patient compliance paid off in a couple ways. I learned a sense of humility in that brace and, after gradual weaning, was able to deliver my high school graduation salutatorian speech sans Earl (my nickname for my brace) and move forward without the brace. 
  • As a female in the workplace in some capacity since 1974, I waited for the opportunity to reach my potential after college graduation. I plodded through graduate school (part-time) for 7 years and six months beyond the allowed time (with Dean approval) to finish my MBA, while married and working full-time, with two elementary school-aged girls. I was also a part-time, contracted ballerina (my paid avocation) in the Charleston Ballet. I was not a career-long employee to one organization; rather, I sought opportunity to better myself and my family through my working years. I reached what I considered my vocational (work) potential by 1996 with my first managerial promotion. I retired from the ballet at that point.
  • As a young parent and primary breadwinner, I gave up more than 12 years of vacations, and worked many a budget revision to manage a household of four. At one point, I changed jobs and took a nearly 30% pay cut in order to continue my dancing, education, and improving my overall quality of life that the former job was sucking out of me with 60 hour work weeks. Even though this was financially difficult, I considered it a payoff in the long run, as the job I took was the eventual path to my success in becoming a manager. 
  • As an executor of my father's estate, I handled managing / distributing his assets for 15 years. I learned a LOT about family relationships and how fragile they are.
  • As a young married woman / parent, I waited 20 years for my first husband to give up his addictions in hopes he would choose me, his spouse, and his children first. Hard work and tough personal decisions led me to an independent life as a single parent, and eventually to the love of my life (Mr. P.), with two adult daughters, successful by their own doing. I also learned that new beginnings are full of potential.
  • As a manager, I worked through 7 years of various corporate bankruptcies and reorganizations until my retirement in 2003. I learned that new beginnings in business are also full of potential.
Here's my point: limbo - a period of uncertain waiting - has been a big part of my life. I feel as though we are all in a state of limbo right now. Here's a suggestion: allow yourself some time to grieve all that was before the pandemic. Then, either choose to move forward or stay in limbo a while longer, but try to understand your choice and adapt. We each have to go at our own pace, in our own time. I've always wanted to get out of limbo and find a way to move forward. Limbo is very uncomfortable for me, and taking steps to feel like I'm moving forward has always been better for me than feeling seemingly stuck in a forever state of going nowhere (limbo). We are moving at a slower pace as we learn to live with this pandemic until a cure is found and proven.

I am a planner, an organizer. In times of physical limitation, I made sure I was compliant with every possible facet of my care plan, and I tried doing as many activities as I possibly could. In times of job dissatisfaction, I would polish my resume and monitor classifieds and online employment ads. In times of financial difficulty, I would revise my Excel budget spreadsheet to make things work, cutting where I had to (I still have the template). In times of past personal difficulty, I sought professional help to guide me through the transition. In this pandemic, I am doing small things like wearing a mask in public places like the antique mall and grocery stores, doing things by appointment as much as possible, and increasing measures to wash germs away. We are still choosing to not eat inside restaurants as of this writing.

Throughout these past few months, I have busied myself in the strangest ways. Given that we downsized significantly in 2019, I had few home organizational projects pending. So, my time has been spent planning weekly menus, grocery lists, and picking up curbside orders, and wiping things down. I have spent an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen, cooking and baking, just trying to keep safe and avoiding curbside meal pickup for the first 39 days. We've selectively started more curbside meal pickup. I've helped a brother who's single, sharing some meals and even curbside pickup with him. I even helped him empty a storage unit in anticipation of him selling his home. Walking has been the best diversion of time, mostly in our former neighborhood where we can easily distance. It's given me endless opportunities to enjoy Spring to the nth degree and get some decent exercise. Through it all, I have kept my faith. I read inspirational material, I pray, and I try to be positive. In prayer, I've thanked God for my blessings, and offered up intentions for those who've asked or who I think need a blessing. 

I realize some people suffer depression and cannot, at times, even muster the energy to get the mail. I encourage you or anyone you may know in this kind of mental state, or stuck in the state of inertia this limbo may have you in, to seek help, either from friends, family, professionals or any combination thereof. If you aren't ready to reach out just yet, I hope you're able to cope with this state of limbo in a way that's moving you forward, and to have some introspection as you do.

(Special thanks to Richella at Imparting Grace: "Grace at Home No. 383" for featuring this post).
Rita C. at Panoply

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