Is anyone else feeling as drained as I am?
And, underneath that lack of energy, are you noticing a sense of anxiousness?
I sure am. It’s low level, but seems almost constant. If I’m totally focused on something I don’t notice it. However, focusing is difficult these days.
This mild nervousness is because we’re waiting for news. News that could potentially impact our lives in a bad way. There’s also a chance that everything will work out okay. But, the waiting is hard.
Which explains the loss of energy. A constant diet of the stress hormone cortisol can do that, among other unsavory things.
During a recent conversation with my sister I described these feelings, wondering where in the heck they’re coming from. She reminded me that we’re in the seventh month of a global pandemic, which has altered our lives in many ways. In addition to that, the outcome of the approaching U.S. election will shape our democracy for years to come.
And then the lightbulb came on.
I’m not sure why it didn’t dawn on me, but it didn’t. I’ve been reading about how both events are causing depression and mental health issues for many people. But, for some unknown reason, I didn’t apply it to myself.
There was a time when I woke up in the morning unafraid of what may have happened overnight. When I didn’t need to constantly check the news for updates or worry about what direction our country was taking.
The common refrain these days is that America is voting for the soul of our nation. But, what that soul looks like is different for everyone. The kind of country I want isn’t necessarily what other people envision.
I believe we’re all immigrants except for those folks descended from Native Americans. I remember getting goosebumps when I visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Just imagining what my ancestors felt entering that harbor and their new home: fear, excitement about what this new country could offer, and hope for a better life.
I think the separation of church and state is vital to protecting both church and state. Everyone has the right to worship as they please, or not at all. The government should keep their influence out of religion and religion should do likewise.
Healthcare should be affordable and available to every American. Other industrialized nations make it work and we can, too.
Big business and corporations should pay their fair share of taxes, which would take some of the burden off the working classes and help fund badly needed infrastructure, education, food insecurity, homelessness, veterans, etc.
Stronger, sensible gun laws wouldn’t take firearms away from law-abiding citizens. However, they would go farther in keeping weapons out of the hands of individuals who shouldn’t have them. Saving innocent lives is worth some extra background checks and a longer waiting period.
The damage to our planet is increasing at an alarming rate. We feel the effects through worsening wild fires, storms, pollution, and depletion of naturally-occurring things like coral reefs and arctic ice. Certain species of animals and insects have become extinct or are endangered, such as the Black Rhinoceros and Monarch Butterflies.
There are opposing views on all issues, which is why respectful debate and negotiations are necessary to reach common ground, or something as close as possible.
Yet, who do we hear most about in the news?
The bad actors, like the Proud Boys, who want to initiate vigilante justice for anyone who doesn’t agree with their beliefs. We hear a lot about the looters stealing and setting fires at the BLM protests around the country, but not as much about the peaceful protestors and their message.
These extremist elements exist on BOTH sides and seem to get all the attention. Bad publicity is better than none, or so they say.
We need to do more research and learn about the issues from trusted sources, rather than relying on social media and three week-old blogs to inform our knowledge of history and the constitution.
Despite the lockdowns I have managed to get together with family and friends, on a few occasions. In the initial period of Covid we all stayed home and did delivery/curbside pickup for groceries. No restaurants, bars, shopping malls, theaters, etc. We not only avoided inside spaces, but also outside spaces if social distancing wasn’t possible. Face Time and Google Duo came in handy.
However, we had organized a family vacation last year for Deep Creek, MD. A beautiful, large lakeside home complete with private dock, hot tub, and fire pit. Since we couldn’t get the deposit back once Maryland opened up their state, we went ahead with the plan in June. Two people did opt out and my son’s family cancelled their flight from Florida and drove up instead. Fortunately, all went well and we had a fun and relaxing week.
Since then I’ve flown to Florida twice to spend time with my kids and granddaughter. I wear an N-95 mask and eye protection in the form of goggles that make me look like a Disney Minion.
I don’t remove my mask or goggles for any reason during the two hour flight, which is unfortunate since Southwest sent their annual 4-pack of complimentary drink tickets.
I also attended one lunch get-together with friends. It was a warm, sunny day in September and we sat outside on the patio of a local Mexican eatery, socially distanced from other patrons. I was intensely aware of two things: how good it felt to do that and how such an ordinary event took on a magical quality.
Yep, who would’ve imagined that a simple lunch date could be described as magical? Maybe that’s one good thing to come out of the pandemic; a greater appreciation for family, friends, and small pleasures. A vaccine that returns us to “normal” living again is another positive development we need.
Can anything good come out of the election? If my chosen candidate wins then I think so.
And if not? I’m honestly too stressed right now to consider it.