Michonne is my eMentor and idol. You know, the fearless Zombie slayer from the television series The Walking Dead.
Regularly over these past months, I envisioned myself, like the Miche, cruising our city streets, a chained and masked coronavirus shackled to each of my wrists. Unfortunately, the type of zombies out to get us are Covid19 and invisible.
Too bad, huh. Imagine if we could fully see the corona-zombies creeping down our residential streets, burrowing into our bodies, and collapsing our lungs to mush. Would these visuals unify our collective response?
We will never know. The case numbers rise, the doubters remain rigid and uncaring. Safety is in the hands of those of us trying to be responsible and respectful.
The grim reality is this: not everyone will finally see the light and agree to become life-saving do-bees.
That, my friends, is the first of many difficult noises in our heads that we need to silence. We do our part, and when possible, we positively assist others to do the same.
The grim reality is this: not everyone will finally see the light and agree to become life-saving do-bees. Like it or not, while many stay diligent, we must accept the cards dealt in our laps and search out positive go-forward strategies.
Sure enough, it’s easy to write these words but hard to put into practice. What choice do we have? The weight of these distractions will ultimately leave us even more vulnerable than we are today.
Any magic spells out there?
There is no magic wand fix to covid at this moment. Vaccines and better treatments show excellent promise. Yet, we can not hide under our blankets in a state of depression, waiting for the back to normal. Neither can we pretend that our lives are the same as they were in January of 2020.
At least for this season, Christmas and holiday celebrations cannot deviate from the scientist’s suggestions. As one politician said recently: Tone your 2020 celebrations to a whisper so that you and your loved ones will still inhabit this planet next year this time. ( Okay, Okay, I embellished her remarks, but the gist is correct!)
For weeks this essay has been struggling to emerge from my troubled psyche. Mired in the gunk was beginning to become my new go-to state. More than once, the delete key created an empty screen for me to start over. Then again, I have a lifetime membership in the Perseverance Club.
As I write this rehash of our grim reality and chat about my coping methods, maybe this share-fest will help others.
Introducing the HOG
What a row we have been hoeing. Especially since early 2020, but not only. The loss of family and friends, jobs and livelihoods. The disappearance of peace of mind. The erosion of love and respect. Money exclusively ruling political decisions and affiliations. Too many people not giving a damn about the health and safety of others. Or about democracy.
Life has almost morphed into the Bill Murray movie called Groundhog Day. I call it the HOG. Got your HOG on today? Is today a good HOG? Or, just plain shout at the cloudy skies: HOG off.
Survival, I firmly believe, the ultimate prize, depends on us finding the light and lightness spots where and when we can. As difficult as this is to maintain day in and out.
Finding that glow somewhere in this tunnel has been a struggle for me, particularly in the last three months. I know I share this conflict with most people. Notice, I identify my search as seeking some brightness in the tunnel. I know that we are not yet near the end of this world crisis wrestling match.
Consider the number of times in life one struggles to find an answer, and finally, it hits like a lightning bolt. Or maybe it’s gradual, mocking slow sips of caffeine from that cuppa at the beginning of a day. My quest to figure out my path has utilized a combination of the two. Since I (we) lack the ability to choose which method is preferable on any day, we make do with random.
While working through my dilemma, I ended up MIA on this platform most of the fall.
Hmmm. Pensive now. Maybe my mood upon waking desires an electrical zap of a solution. Gimme some. Ummm. Fat chance on that one. Let me know if any of you figured out a foolproof way to conjure your desired outcomes.
While working through my dilemma, I ended up MIA on this platform most of the fall. I did my best to continue reading your engaging posts, yet my writing was sporadic. I missed hanging with you.
The rumination process consumed my days, Marie Kondo-ing memory and idea closets and condensing thoughts into a manageable bucket for future engagement.
A few moments ago, I was again why-notting myself about seizing this phase in my life to exert a serious focus on my writing. Mr. Bauld, one of my high school teachers, would shout: Go girl!
Are you a why-notter or a who-do-I-think-I-am-er?
I lecture myself saying: others have done that later in life writing thing, why not me? As quickly as those encouraging thoughts go zing in my brain, the tired, frayed, age-old programmed ones flood the scene.
Thankfully and finally, I am much better at drowning out the chanting from that nagging inner little voice saying: Get real girl, what are you thinking? You can’t do that.
So that you know, it took time to get myself to the independent can-do thinking I enjoy today. Witness another place where the neg-noise needs a muzzle.
Watching a friend leap into the new
Fondly I recall my neighbor, a world-famous heart surgeon who exited a lengthy career to start over. He enrolled at the very same art school where his younger son graduated fifteen years earlier. The profs used to say to the doc: Oh, you are Adam Doherty’s father!
That dad, that former surgeon, became a renowned sculptor. I still savor his rendition of our Murder of Crow’s discussion.
So am I like Dr. Doherty, finally discovering what I want to be when I grow up? No.
Did my proactive-from-being-fed-up scuttling of my tremendous former career provide me with a map of my destiny? Proudly I say nope to that also.
My solutions to my quest for meaning and accomplishment will either stay constant, disappear or morph into something better at this point in life. Notice I say better because I refuse to entertain anything less.
My fondest wish for myself and anyone else finding this juncture appealing is the following. On my last day on earth, when asked if I ultimately found the pinnacle of my life’s calling. I want to, and I will answer: No.
That response has nothing to do with failing the quest.
My reply sticks with Nuh-uh for one reason. If I lived another 100 years, the answer would still be: No.
Unlimited learning, growing and seeking potential makes this an infinite, life-enhancing quest. I celebrate that.
All work and no play, you ask? No way. Included in that journey is finding the work-life balance that sings to me. Not the combo for others. For me. That, too, will always remain a moving target. Life will not disappoint.
The Jones, who?
If this greedy, politically corrupt, tunnel-visioned, cruel, virus-ridden few years has taught me anything, it is this. We no longer need to aim to keep up with the Jones. The Jones family has left the building.
Happiness is found internally in those dreams we chose for ourselves. To others and differences around us, we continuously extend olive branches of respect and empathy.
Social media implants that we all need to look and act some celebrity prescribed part. We do not. Escalator-of-life phases ( for example: buy a house, have a few kids, stick with a job you hate just for the benefits, move to the suburbs, get on a cruise ship, retire at 60) are present only if they suit your purposes. Or if your body or bank account gives out and you have no choice.
As 2020 draws to a close, I finally feel ready to yank back the dark curtains while still doing my part to support humanity’s goodness. I am prepared to share and act on my next steps. In my hand sits the stuff I was desperately trying to find while rummaging through in my memory chest. I was too stunned to know it was there, in my face, all the time. It took until now to taste it.
My list of SIX
In order of priority, below are my next outstanding actions. These are not New Year’s resolutions. They carry too much weight for that label.
I would love to hear about your journey these last few months and your resulting three, six or eight initiatives designed to slide you out of the mud.
1. My honey, Mr. Suz or MSZ, and I are in marooned-in-desert-island bliss. Just the two of us and every delivery service we could want. Also, a killer exercise program for two. Would this groove be better without a threat from a killer virus? Sure. However, we have no choice on that one. We are endowing ourselves cooped-up happiness. We will remain this way until it is safe to go out again.
2. Amazing online friendships have become equally as precious as any conceived in the old school world. How did I get so lucky?
3. Writing. Writing. Writing. Did I mention writing?
4. A launch of my new consulting services for businesses or individuals ( more in 2021 on that).
5. Lobstersandwich, my cooking and baking blog’s rebirth and all the fun that goes with that.
6. A super fun writing project with two brilliant and awesome women from Medium (wait, that’s coming very, very soon)
May I invite you to a preview? Please take a side trip to one of my new sites:
The last time I sucked back tomato jam feels like, oh I dunno, 10 years ago? That's how it feels with the disappearance…
Meet my alter ego Saucy Smith, a character within a blog I created way back in 2009. Yup, I am keeping her and it.
Give yourself a treat and make some of Saucy’s Lip Smackin’ Tomato Jam.
Smear it on some biscuits and top with crispy fried chicken.
Or spoon it into your mouth from the jar. Let your imagination run wild. Shake your booty to Technotronic while you cook and eat.
You can thank me next time! While you are whisking up one of the other treats Saucy will have in store for you.
Bring it on, 2021. I’m ready.
Above: © Suzanne V. Tanner, 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Thanks again for your time, my dear reading and writing friends. If you wish to reach me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.