Yellow Sky Week


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Well, it was a yellow sky week: the wildfires scorching their way across the west have cast a pall of smoke over Los Angeles that *mostly* just looks like cloud cover but which turns the sun red and smells faintly of burning. Yesterday, I spent the whole day fighting off my midwest instincts that dim light +yellow sky = impending tornado, but beyond that, my life has not been significantly disrupted by this next phase of the End Times.

And it does feel like the End Times these days: both symbolically and in reality. One day the temperature is hitting a record all-time high of 121 degrees. The next day, the haze of smoke from wildfires is cooling the entire area like a nuclear winter: admittedly, the coolness feels like a relief. I’m approaching the last few weeks of my current job which means the end of a job era. My folks have put the old family home on the market and have accepted an offer from a buyer, which means the end of a housing era. The summer is ending. Etc.

I suppose it is no surprise that my body keeps trying to send me into hibernation mode. Any time I sit still for longer than twenty minutes my eyes start to roll back into my head and I have to fight with every trick at my disposal to stay awake. My attention span is only about fifteen minutes long. My short-term memory is… what was I going to say?

I recognize all these symptoms as my body responding to stress. I don’t actually FEEL stressed, which is nice, I just can’t remember anything or keep my eyes open or stay on task. Knowing that all this is just a stress-coping mechanism doesn’t really help much, because as much as I’d like to I can’t just get rid of the things that are stressing me out. I can’t stop the fires. I can’t stop the pandemic. The childhood home needs to go (the buyers look like a nice family so I feel pretty good that the house will be in good hands). And I’m interviewing for new jobs, I just haven’t had any offers yet. So there’s not a ton that I can do to moderate my stressors these days.

But I digress.

In spite of being stressful, complicated, and overwhelming life I’m getting along fine. As usual, writing blog posts has fallen to the bottom of my priority list on most days to land somewhere below Exercising, Work Obligations, Garden Time, Errands, Job Interviews, Therapy, Reading, Baking, Working on Writing projects, and Keeping House. There’s just so much time in the day. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for keeping Exercise and Garden Time as daily priorities since these are Self-Care tasks that I would normally be tempted to put off. So that’s progress.

This work from home environment has given me a lot of insight into aaaaalll the ways I’ve been denying basic Self-Care in my life. I can now run every day. I can now shower every day. I get to spend time outside among green things every day. I get to read every day. I get to write every day. I can tidy the house a little bit everyday instead of spending my entire weekend trying to deep clean. I can do a bit of artwork or crafting in small moments of down time. If I’m tired I can lie down for ten minutes without feeling self-conscious. My feet don’t hurt from wearing uncomfortable shoes. My skin is better from not getting wind-burned, sun-burned, dried out, pollution damaged. I still have some bandwidth to spend time with the Curmudgeonly Lion each day without being so wrung out from dealing with people as to be useless…

I may never go back.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on September 11, 2020.

2 Responses to “Yellow Sky Week”

  1. If we’re lucky, you and I will be the “last” humans alive and reconnect via a road trip with some RV as we pick up other characters like January Jones and Kristen Wigg.
    Isn’t the aging memory loss and depleting focus infuriating??? Is it aging more rapidly than our parents or is this a symptom of circumstance, of the times and the looming discouragement to live? Do you feel like an endangered dinosaur, waiting for the meteor to hit or the fallout to bury you under rubble?
    I wish I could divide my daily time so efficiently as you…or do I? I don’t know. But, it takes my breath away to see someone able to get all those things into each day. I look at that list and think of school days with chasing around the building to get to every class and task. I tend to get 1-5 things done in a day without much routine and then try to sleep somewhat at peace…somewhat at peace.
    Can I camp out with you? 🙂
    What if we go “amish”…but skip the down-trodden attire and conformist hairstyles?

  2. I don’t know, that doesn’t sound very Socially-Distance responsible 🙂

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