Many mornings, during the 30+ years that I worked, I used to wish as I pulled out of the driveway that I could stay home. The few precious days when I was home on a weekday I’d watch the treetops become lit with rosy morning light, watch rectangles of sun slide across my living room floor, and think, “this is what happens every day while I’m at work.”
And I’d feel melancholy.
I’ve been retired for 5 years next month. The time has flown by and I haven’t always noticed when the light touches a branch or the tip of Katie’s nose as she sleeps. I’ve traveled a lot and missed plenty of light movement here at home.
And now we’re under the stay at home order, and suddenly staying at home has lost it’s luster. Maybe it’s because we’ve had mostly grey sky and rainy days here in Michigan. Maybe there hasn’t been that much light to admire.
But I think it’s more than that, this sad feeling I feel deep inside. Yes, I enjoy being home, and feel guilty that I do, but there’s an underlying anxiety that picks away at me.
I haven’t been able to read a book since this started, I don’t have enough focus. I have started my current book five times because I can’t remember what I read the day before. I don’t know that I’ll try again.
Music helps, but I can only listen to short pieces all the way through. I am grateful for all the inspirational and fun pieces of music wandering the internet these days, and I’ve passed several on, but still the anxiety persists.
I thought maybe I was alone in the struggle between sad and happy, but I’ve been reading more and more blogs and articles from people that have similar feelings. Happy one day, anxious the next, lack of focus or direction. No motivation.
Just knowing I’m not alone is helpful as I watch today’s snow fall. I know things will get better. And Katie says that I shouldn’t forget I’ve still got her.
That, and the sun shining after the snowfall, should make me feel better.
How about you? Are you happy to be home, or struggling that you’re there?
April 9, 2020 at 2:58 pm
Actually I was just writing on my blog about not having a home to quarantine in and encouraging those that do not to resent quarantine. But I do understand…we are in a different situation, not nearly as isolated. We have neighbors 20 feet away and just a few minute ago she brought some extra red potatoes she had from the weekly farm share and I gave her cauliflower that I don’t like. It’s reassuring to have people close and not be isolated in a house—especially when it’s snowing and raining. I feel fortunate—and yet, I want my house back.
April 9, 2020 at 3:07 pm
Remind me why you don’t have a house? It is nice to have neighbors, we have them across the street and if we needed anything we’ve all told each other to let us all know. Someone will have it. Still….it’s hard to feel restricted. We will appreciate freedom when we get it back!
April 9, 2020 at 3:09 pm
Yup. I think the vast majority of the stay-at-homers agree with you. We had an inkling it would be tough, but we didn’t exactly know why. The constant worry is the toughest. It is immobilizing.
One thing I know you like to do is drive and explore. I would think you could do that. Just stay close enough to home that you can get back before you need to use a bathroom. Your area is bound to have a lot of barns you haven’t discovered.
I wonder, does this change your ideas to move into a tiny house?
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April 10, 2020 at 10:21 am
I would like to drive and explore, especially on a day like today with sunshine and white clouds and birds singing. I don’t know if that fits the stay at home order though. I’d be alone in my car, out in rural areas…but still…I’ll think about it. Maybe I’ll stay home and paint a barn. Not literally a whole real barn, but an imaginary one on a little slip of paper.
April 9, 2020 at 3:18 pm
Snow ? ! Yea, yea. That’s what it is. Blame your gloom and lack of motivation & focus on the SNOW!
April 10, 2020 at 10:21 am
I just might!
April 9, 2020 at 3:34 pm
Hi, Dawn – I chatted with a few blogging friends yesterday. You perfectly capture how most of us have been feeling. Big hugs to you, Katie and family.
April 10, 2020 at 10:22 am
Thank you, Katie says thank you in particular since she feels she has be allocated fewer hugs lately, and she’s feeling a bit sad about that and about the fact her feet are growing hair like a teenage boy and that’s embarrassing.
April 9, 2020 at 3:39 pm
I’m only retired 2 months so I am enjoying staying home. And so thankful I retired when I did. It’s hard to blame work on letting so many things go, but I did. If I had a choice between heading off somewhere in the car on the weekends, or doing chores–chores did not win. I am knocking things off my ‘to do’ list like crazy. That said, I am getting a little stir crazy. Morning walks help, but the urge to drive somewhere is overwhelming. We have to remember to drive around the block just to keep the cars running. I can tell you, I did not expect retirement to start this way, that’s for sure.
April 10, 2020 at 10:23 am
Well, this is a FINE way to start your retirement! NOT! I still love staying at home. It’s the being forced to stay at home thing that I am not loving. I have never let chores outbid for my time against exploring. I can’t wait to get back out there.
April 9, 2020 at 3:55 pm
It’s actually a huge and not really discussed problem…stress, depression….hopelessness. It doesn’t really matter what you do, how careful you are and how much you limit where you go….there is this unseen threat and it is stalking all of us and we just don’t know when it will pounce. It is leaving us feeling like we have no control because no matter how many time we wash our hands, no matter if we wear a mask or don’t go out…..that virus is waiting and it leaving us feeling unsure and unease all the time. Small short things we can complete quickly is the key….those small wins for our minds are huge. So get those water colors out……one picture painted ….that is the goal. Then maybe 2 pictures. 1 quick walk and instead of a while book …get some short stories…one or two pages long. We need to feel we can do something …..and small things are what our minds can accomplish at the moment.
April 10, 2020 at 10:24 am
I did, finally last night around 11:00, finish the one painting I was stuck on that had added to my depression. And that helped a lot.
April 9, 2020 at 4:24 pm
I understand. I really do. I am experiencing similar feelings. The world is going through a terrible time. We have no idea when a vaccine will be developed, which means those of us of a certain age will have to stay put for a while. Maybe a long while. Be gentle with yourself. Let your emotions run their course. Go with whatever simple pleasures make you feel better.
April 10, 2020 at 10:25 am
Painting finally did it for me. Didn’t touch the brush all day yesterday until late last night and then things seemed to loosen up.
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April 10, 2020 at 10:26 am
Oh, good! Wonderful to hear.
April 9, 2020 at 4:35 pm
I’m right there with you, Dawn. I work for myself … at home … and generally I love it. However, I don’t love being forced to stay home — with no option to go shopping or to church or to visit a friend. I don’t like the horrible, depressing, constant stream of news about this pandemic and how it’s killing people. I don’t like not being able to get together and play in band. And I worry about catching something or giving it to my mom. And I was already sad by the loss of Dallas, so I’m feeling a lot of heaviness in my heart. I, too, am finding it hard to concentrate — to read or, especially, to write (which I really need to do!). Perhaps we just need to remind ourselves that others might be feeling way worse than we are, that this situation (we pray) is temporary, that Spring will come anyway, and that being kind to ourselves — and those around us — will ease us through it better. Oh, and lots of hugs for Katie!
April 10, 2020 at 10:27 am
Katie says thank you and she wishes she was closer because she’d lay around your house for awhile and see if that made you smile. You have certainly had a hard go of it, and this forced house staying thing has made it worse we are sure. I don’t like to do anything I’m forced to do, even if it is good for me. But I will, because it’s not just me that this is about. Hope you are able to face-time Domer whenever you need to!
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April 9, 2020 at 6:57 pm
I have a book on my bedside table too that I haven’t the heart for. I like to be home, and always have, but it is not the same at all, knowing so many have to be home to shelter and when there is sadness and loss all around us. As Scotland’s leader said “If things still feel normal for you, they shouldn’t”.
April 10, 2020 at 10:28 am
I agree, there is nothing that feels normal about this, and I , too, love to be at home. But, day by day we will get past this, though maybe not ever totally past it. I think the world we emerge into will be an entirely different place than the world we left outside our front doors so many weeks ago.
April 9, 2020 at 7:41 pm
I’m kind of liking this home stay after working so many years. And you have good neighbors!!!
April 10, 2020 at 10:29 am
I love staying home after so many years working away…but I really don’t like being TOLD to stay at home. Maybe I’m an obstinate kid at heart.
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April 10, 2020 at 12:06 pm
Same here — both with staying at home AND the obstinacy part!!!
April 10, 2020 at 8:26 am
I’m usually at home to this current situation is normal for me… to a point. I also usually run out to the grocery or a park on a whim, when the mood strikes, so that part of my life has been curtailed. I’m not reading books, either. I just can’t make myself do it, fearing I guess that I might lose track of what’s going on in the real world? I dunno. It baffles me. Overall, though, we are fine and have no complaints.
April 10, 2020 at 10:30 am
We are overall fine too….but I have felt a pang of stress or fear or anxiety more and more frequently the longer this goes. I HAVE learned to make food and paper towels (and toilet paper too if I were honest) stretch further and I’m more conscious of what I have in the fridge and how to use it all before it goes bad. These are things I hope to keep going even after.
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April 11, 2020 at 12:07 am
It’s all so dang STRANGE! My anxiety comes and goes. Well actually …it’s always there but it shows up a wee bit more after I hear some dreadful news.
I actually live in a lovely place (Arizona) and the sun shines almost everyday. So I know that’s a big plus for us.
But the anxiety never really leaves… it’s the unknown… that keeps me uneasy.
I love being at home… but miss our social gatherings.
And truth be told… I am sooooooooo tired of wiping everything down… and wondering if I am going to see my kids and siblings this summer? That’s what hits me in my gut… the dang unknown!
April 11, 2020 at 10:21 am
I have been unable to read books, too. I don’t know what’s up with that. I try, but just can’t focus. I think it’s the uncertainty about it all. I have moments, sometimes a whole day, in which I become accepting of not knowing, but then something comes up (a story or Facebook post about empty grocery store shelves, for instance) and the anxiety returns.
I have not been productive at all. I do the daily things that need to be done and that’s about it. The rest of the time I’m either here on the computer, blogging, or I’m outside becoming a forest hermit. 🙂
April 18, 2020 at 9:41 pm
I have not been reading books either. I do better when I do small things off my list everyday…small bites. One day at a time and no you are not alone at all. They keep saying we are all in the same boat …but some people have life rafts and some yachts..:(