My Quarantine Life: Week 25

Simon is playing in the box.

Labor Day weekend this year is going to look like none other. For over 20 years, Labor Day weekend was a camping weekend for me. It has been a time to relax, recharge, and reset for the upcoming year. Two years ago, I spent Labor Day weekend moving into my house. Last year I ran a race on Labor Day weekend. That makes this year the very first Labor Day weekend I have nothing going on. 

It seems so surreal. 

Yes, I have plenty of things to do around the house. That list is never ending. With my disability, I struggle to complete basic tasks such as cooking and cleaning, so there is always something to do. 

But with the pandemic this year, I just do not feel like I have gotten a break from anything. I am very grateful to have a job, but it is less than ideal to work from home. 

Hopefully, without alarming anyone, I plan to completely unplug this 3-day weekend. I just mentally need the break.

I am looking to place my second Instacart order after the holiday weekend. I am so excited. It makes me feel normal. I can “do” my own grocery shopping again. I was grocery shopping twice a month prior to the pandemic. If I Instacart twice a month, that keeps me on the same schedule. 

I am now able to meal plan and have a wider variety of foods to eat other than just the same 3 things.

I am very grateful for all the people who have helped me with food these past few months, but it has been hard, especially with multiple food allergies. I never know if I have to wait one week or 3 weeks for food. Is the food people bringing me going to be safe to eat with my food allergies (not to mention, all the food I have paid for that I can’t eat due to the food allergies). People mean well and have been trying to help, but I have been hungry the past 5-6 months. 

Having someone else trying to buy food for you when you have 5 severe food allergies is very challenging.

I am hoping that my second Instacart experience goes as well as the first one. I can pick out exactly what foods are safe for me to eat so that I am not wasting my money. I can also control my spending better because I know exactly what is coming and how much it costs.

I am not sure what the future brings, but it does not look like Labor Day weekend is going to be the respite it usually is. We will see what happens. All we can do is take one day at a time. Hopefully, I am able to obtain food again next week. 

Finding Peace

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Every year for the past 15 or so years, I take a camping trip for Labor Day weekend. I go completely off the grid to a remote location that has no cell service, no electricity, and no running water. I joke that I have to drive myself to the middle of nowhere to escape my life. The sad part is that it is true.

Part of my journey in simplicity and minimalism is to slow down in my normal, every day life in order to create a life I don’t need to escape. I am hoping to be able to identify pockets of peace in my daily routine so that I do not feel I need to wait for that one, magical time of year for it all to happen.

My camping trip has always been an escape from technology, phones, email, responsibility, problems, my 2 or 3 jobs, and whatever other drama was occurring in my life at the time. Oftentimes, I was so stressed out that I was unable to truly relax, even though I was completely displaced from the stress and in a very beautiful place.

This year, I am hoping that my vacation is a true respite. Each year I return to the same location, no matter what is happening in my life, or what my point of origin. This year, I have so much to be thankful for. Instead of having to worry about paying bills, putting food on the table, or rushing from one job to the next on 4 or 5 hours of sleep, I am thankful that I am finally at a point in my life that I have employment I enjoy, that treats me well, and meets my basic needs.

This is the time of year when I push the reset button and recharge. My goal in slowing down my every day life is to be able to do this in small doses daily, without feeling the need for one huge trip. I will continue to do my camping trip every year, but I am hoping to bring some of that peace to my life daily instead of just annually.

Part of my trip this year is going to be identifying areas of my life in which I can slow down even more. This is a gradual process where I am continually evaluating my priorities and making changes in my life. I don’t feel that there will ever be a point in my life where everything is 100% okay, happy, and stress free every day. Unless you’re on botox or some really good pills, I don’t think that happens for anyone. My hope is to increase my happiness as much as possible.

For me, I find that I attach more easily to places than I do to people. I frequently revisit places that make me feel good. Being able to identify what makes you feel good is helpful in being able to achieve peace and identify what you can do in your daily life to recreate that feeling.

What do you do to feel peaceful? For some people, it is the little things in every day life like a bubble bath, or reading a good book. Sometimes it is having a cup of coffee with a good friend. Part of my goal on my big peace trip this year is to identify more of the small things that bring me peace on a daily basis.

Finding peace is helpful in grounding oneself so that you have an anchor in the storms of life. I have some pretty big life changes coming up, and I want to be sure that my foundations are strong in order to weather those changes. Sometimes you need a moment to regroup and remember why you are doing what you are doing and what is important.

Family, experiences, and love are the important things in life. How can we maximize those positives? Sometimes when you are in a situation, you are so in it, that you need to take a step back to make a decision. Being able to look objectively at life helps you to identify the positives and negatives to work more efficiently towards your goal.

One of the most peaceful aspects of my trip each year is when I sit by the water and the wildlife comes right up to me. I wake up in the morning to the sunrise and the sounds of birds. Not only birds, but ducks. Quite a few years, I have woken up to quaking, unzipped the window in my tent to find a duck looking at me. Being able to reconnect with nature is a great way of centering.

Each year at the holidays, I usually give people a colorful miniature rubber ducky with their holiday card. This causes some confusion, but for those who know about my camping trips, they know that it is the time of year that is most peaceful for me. Holidays are not supposed to be about gifts, they are supposed to be about people, experiences, and peace. I give those duckies each year as a reminder to people to be peaceful, as the ducks remind me of the time of year in which I experience the most peace. It is one of the small ways I have found to recreate that peace I feel on my camping trip each year.

How do you find peace? Do you need to take time to step back and recenter? If you are constantly going from one thing to another, it may be time to slow down and regroup. You cannot give from an empty cup. Stop and recharge.

Rewind real slow.