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

Sharing: Grace at Home


  1. Rita,
    Thank you for this post.
    I, too, am a planner and an organizer.
    I have taken this time to meditate and pray.
    Seeking His guidance for what lies ahead as we begin,
    once again, to find a new normal.
    I was enlightened into your former life.

  2. thankyou for sharing your life with us Rita, we each have an amazing story. your words are wise, and important for us to hear and absorb. This has been a struggle for me during this time, mostly because of my health. I've missed your posts and was glad to see your comments showing back up. You bless and encourage so many of us. you two take care and stay well and happy! xo

  3. Thank you Rita for sharing your life story today. I have been grateful for so many things that are the past and most of the time doing ok with the present. I am the one person in my family who can go out for groceries so I do so carefully, infrequently, with forethought, following all the suggestions for safety of all. Not easy but it has to be done.

  4. Your post came at a good time. Family issues and stress seem to be taking their toll. Thank you for sharing the details of what you have gone through. I've always admired and gotten inspired by people who strive. Like you. You're going to keep moving forward even if it hurts.

  5. I was so happy to see your post today. This Glorious, gifted, peaceful Sunday on Long Island. Thank you for sharing your courage. Tenacity to finish. The Courage to "start over", to move on and discover something even better! To keep moving forward....I often reflect on that moves us forward, even through pain and loss. Then you spend a lifetime finding your truth, your authentic self...ahhhh where Happiness awaits. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. <3

  6. I'm perfectly happy to be at home. Katie runs most of the errands, but sometimes I join her for grocery shopping. We love doing that task together. I think I've been on a low-grade depression most of the time under quarantine. My energy level is low, and I don't feel quite right.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. We are alone, but not alone. We are together, but not together. It's a topsy-turvy world right now.

  7. Rita, thank you for this wonderful and encouraging post. You are a great example of not giving up or giving in. Your courage, hard work, and discipline is to be admired. It has certainly been a difficult time for most, but I have managed to keep busy outside which is where I find joy and contentment. Wishing you and Mr. P a lovely Sunday.

  8. This is a strange and uncertain time, and as a friend said to me just yesterday, "I don't want this new normal, I want my old normal back!" I just hope that someday we will be back to our old selves, getting together with friends and not being afraid of having a meal in a restaurant.

  9. I have learnt much about you, Rita, from your beautifully written post. Life has brought many struggles and difficulties throughout your life, but you have perservered and moved forward taking with you the knowledge, humility, determination and strength that those impossible situations in life have caused you to face. I find it amazing that you were a ballerina in a ballet company after having suffered from severe scoliosis.....just wow!! I cannot imagine the fierce determination and indomitable spirit that would demand. Thank you for the beautiful encouragement you are to many others. Yes we are alive. Yes we are well and how wonderful you are there with the "love of your life". Keep well and take care, lovely lady.

  10. Dear Rita, thank you for sharing your story and from your beautiful heart. Life can be hard, but we can come through better and smarter. And your story is a testament to such. Your story is pure inspiration for so many during these difficult days. Wishing you a beautiful day and week ahead. Many blessings.

  11. Rita this is so inspirational on so many levels. Sharing your story with all of us helps all of us think about our own journeys and how we react to our lives. You have shown such courage throughout your life so far and met every obstacle with faith, grace and perseverance. No matter what life throws at us we always have choices on how to handle what is before us. You my friend have done that beautifully. You have been a great role model for your daughters and that is why they are both strong and positive women. To be a ballerina in the ballet is every little girl's dream and you accomplished that and so much more in your life. Even though this virus can seem stifling at times one thing is for sure life goes on. Every day continues with sunup and sunset. While it limits us in many ways it cannot stop life from moving forward. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

  12. Wow! It was interesting learning your story.

    I have not had difficulty during this time because after retiring in 2013, I have been content to be home. I spent so many years surrounded by kids and noise and it's nice to be at home with music, flowers and projects.
    I know I am blessed to be in a beautiful place where I can be outside much of my time. I have a friend who has moved into a high rise apartment building while their house is being remodeled. She cannot easily go outside for a change of environment. She is going stir crazy.

  13. Rita, I'm certain when you were going through any one of those challenges, it was stressful, uncomfortable, tempting to quit. But every time you made it THROUGH, you were stronger. And you, my friend, are a very strong woman! I already knew that, but today I know it more fully. Thank you for being willing to share so openly. I've felt "in limbo" for quite awhile; not from the coronavirus, but from circumstances in general. I'm hopeful that question of "what next?" will be answered soon. I'm so thankful your family is safe and well, and I'm thankful your second chance at love is a happier story. We both are very fortunate!

  14. Good Afternoon Rita,
    So great to receive this post in my inbox.
    I have enjoyed reading this thoughtful post. You have shared your faithful, poignant heartfelt life story of perseverance, hope and hard-work, while highlighting a life well lived.

    As the years roll on there will be many, many more adventures, experiences and life stories to share and I will look forward to reading those too.
    You are such an accomplished Lady, well educated and highly disciplined.
    Seems as though you continue to embrace a positive mindset, organizational skills and common sense no matter what the circumstance might be. Bravo!
    I have not been daunted by the task at hand of Isolation, quarantine, etc...
    I have focused on Faith, Daily reading of Scripture, reading, gardening and of course always crafting. These gifts from God continue to fuel and nuture my soul.

  15. Dear Rita, yours is such a sweet heartfelt share of your life. I have always been inspired by you and love the way you are always looking forward. I see that so much more now after reading this. We have not been taking Quarantine lightly. It is necessary for all of us and I am not adjusting to "the new normal" but plan on hopefully getting back to "normal" even if it's after a vaccine is found. So, social distancing and only going out when absolutely necessary here. Still having groceries delivered works for us now. Staying busy at home and enjoying every minute. Faith and Love will get us through. Thanks Rita for inspiring me more...........

  16. This is a powerful post, Rita, and you really tick all the boxes. I know I will be playing it on the tightest side of the guidelines and while there are things that make me sad, frustrated, I am mostly at peace with this new lifestyle. I hope it doesn't last forever but I know I am forever changed.

    I have to admit I have found much good in this time. But I say that knowing that I am one of the lucky ones. I have resources, a roof, food, interests and passions that I can still pursue from home, without others. I miss the companionship yet I feel largely content, while also experiencing a learning curve. Am I cleaning the groceries well enough? It the mail now safe to bring in? How do I plan meals for two weeks when I don't even know what I want to have tonight for dinner?

    Hearing the stories of your life is inspiring to me. You have faced seemingly insurmountable tasks head on -- and conquered them. Big, real life, high level things that make wearing a mask and sanitizing the groceries feel like monkey business.

    I face every day of my life with gratitude. And even on the worst, there are things large and small for which to be grateful. I have found it in these days, too. And it makes things so much easier. Not always easy. But easier.

    Your words are powerful. I will return to this post often.

  17. Thank you for sharing your personal story. Your story hopefully will help someone. I've had a struggle before teenage but thru the Grace of God have had a strong will to survive all these years. You never know a person just by looking at the person that makes someone's life better.

  18. I know how difficult things can become in life sometimes, but you need to hang in there. You do not always have to smile, and sometimes there will be tears, but continuing each day anew is good. My husband was ill with frontal lobe dementia for 6 years before he died,finding out he had the condition when he turned 50 and passing at 56. It was a very difficult time. I reminded myself each day as he worsened that things he said and did were not him but the illness. I knew it was hard on him, too, as he knew what was happening to him. We survive. We must. We will survive what is happening now as well, and rid ourselves of trump. Our nation will heal and come together for good. I always try to watch for rainbows after a storm.

  19. My heart just broke for that 14-year old who had to wear a brace nearly 24/7 for three years. But then I smiled to read she was Salutatorian of her class and I cheered for her! You’ve triumphed over so many obstacles to create a rich and meaningful life, and I loved reading about it. Such a beautiful post Rita :)

  20. Rita, I hope you keep all this (and more) in a document for your daughters. My grandmother was interviewed by her great nephews when she was 98 years old, and they gave me a copy of the 15 page document. I learned so much about my grandparents and the struggles during the Great Depression. You are such an inspiration Rita. Taking time to document information and share with others. You have certainly given me something else to think about today.

  21. Wow, Rita. Thanks for sharing from your heart about this time and how it has affected things but also for the past adversity you faced and how you handled it. It is a courageous and admirable story of hard work, perseverance, as well as a positive attitude and not give up determination.
    I'm off to view the video at the beginning of your post. I am so glad you wrote all this down and shared with us. It has encouraged and inspired me. Hoping you have a lovely week, sweet friend.

  22. Rita,
    Wow. Thanks for sharing! Yes, to all of the above. The Hubs and I were just discussing the other day that we need to come to terms that things will never be the same again. I've learned a lot through this pandemic. To let others grocery shop for me was HUGE. I laugh at myself now, I mean, is it really that important that I choose my own tomatoes or that I have a specific brand? In some ways, I feel as if I have been in limbo since we moved. I'm learning to wait. Be patient. Trust that God's timing is perfect even if I can't see it. I'm learning to do more things on my own. Tomorrow I head into a "surprise" surgery in the midst of total upheaval here at the house. No fewer than three contractors will be here. My husband is going to drop me off at the surgical center and go home. We are jokingly calling it a drive thru surgery. Your story is truly heroic. And makes us all more aware of our first world problems. I know for myself I'm counting on God's love and grace to get us all through these trying times. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Such a wonderful post Rita and I learned so many things about you. So many accomplishments and obstacles you have overcome with your perseverance and courage, physical as well as emotional. I don’t know that I would have been able to do the same. These are such unsettling times for all, but especially those that don’t have family or a support system. I never realized until all this started how many people and families live in hotels and now have nowhere to go. It puts all those annoyances and inconveniences of being quarantined in perspective.

  24. Rita, I just love this post, and I thank you for sharing your perspective and your wisdom. And thanks for joining the Grace at Home party--I'm featuring you this week!

  25. I don't know how I missed this post, but I'm glad that I found and read it. I learned so much about your life, Rita, and it's and honor to read your documentary. You have been through many tough times, persevered with positivity, made decisions that led to brighter things, and have been blessed in your life.

  26. are such a gem and this is such a endearing testimony to share. I love your ambition and the loyalty you have to yourself. I would say I want to be like you when I grow up but I think I'm older than you! haha Be safe, dear friend.