Sunday, December 20, 2020

A range of emotions (count down to New Year pt 2)

 Let's be absolutely clear. I'm shattered emotionally. My inner being is being torn between screaming into the void WHAT DOES IT MATTER THAT WE KNOW ALL OF THIS SINCE YOU DON'T LISTEN and whisper softly "say good bye to the people/things you care about since they will not survive this".

It's difficult to explain how I feel looking at my diary from February, and also the entries from April where I state things like "come May 1st we will be on lock down in Memphis and it will be too late to stop the spread in the poor community where they can't work from home". And the April one stating "the USA will see a spread and deaths in the fall that people won't comprehend".

Not to mention the most heartbreaking one where I wrote in July estimating by my (negative yet apparently pretty accurate) predictions on how exponential spread would go in numbers in the USA and then the deaths to follow. Notably I was wrong as in even I were too optimistic on the speed for cases in September.

I did write a small comment to myself in August - the time I was quarantining in my hotel room in Stockholm and had to acknowledge that my emotions after going through the transAtlantic flight experience were pretty high and unstable. (That's something for part 3 since it will take longer to explain the absolute rollercoaster that went on inside my body for 30 hours while going from safe house aka home in a controlled space to a controlled hotel room via four airports with vastly disparate rules and actions.)

Anyway, my comment in August was that we would see the highest number of the year after Thanksgiving. That said, it's not rocket science so I won't pat myself on the back too much. And also that the uptick in cases after school and all the activities in Septebmer would lead into more cases in the fall.... and then thanksgiving.... and then hoping that the fact that cases were up would mean we didn't have to discuss Christmas. Here I was wrong, and I had put a note saying (probably too optimistic, people are great at rationalizing "not me and my family but everyone else is needing to do X, Y, K".

And then looking at my diary entries of Sweden in the fall "once the cold sets in". Yes, not difficult to predict that the cases were going up - yet difficult to read right now when looking at the numbers and knowing my family is so far away only reachable with international air travel.

Long and the short of it is this; it's extremely tiresome seeing a situation play out in front of your eyes - knowing that the people you love are in danger - because everyone seems to need to "experience the horror themselves" before acknowledging the situation.

The lack of understanding the full notion - I don't have to die from a car crash to know that I should keep seatbelt on and drive the speed limit. Again, IF it ONLY affected you when you make the stupid choice I wouldn't care as much (individual freedom and all) but when your choice of freedom puts MY life in danger, that's where I fricking draw the line.

(Right now, I'm not mentioning the vaccine and the people who don't want to take it. I'm too angry and you know, there's not enough vaccines to go around so if people say no to vaccines, that means I move up the line to get the vaccine faster.... and therefore I guess I should just accept your fricking freedom to say no? Another day I'll delve in why this argument is not a proper bioethical choice and not the right one for me.) 

For right now, I've spent 9 months actively not wishing ill on people who are in power and who have put too many people at risk and have been the cause of so many (unnecessary) deaths. I'm only human and there's a limit for my compassion at this point. That's what I am doing this Holiday season - asking for grace and compassion so when I come back after January 1st, I can stand to meet all these people around me who spout lies, confusion and hate regarding the vaccine and the virus. And with stand to meet, I mean I can meet them with a compassionate face and giving them love as my neighbour and turning the other cheek since there is NO other way out of this. I know that. 

Why? Because it's a fricking airborne infectious disease and it spreads between people regardless if I like or dislike them. And the only way it will stop killing and hurting people is if we get enough people vaccinated and keeping the infection rates down. 

And the only way to do this (if we aren't a dictatorship like China where they welded the doors shut) is to do the tried and executed way of telling people to stay at home, give them financial ways to do it, give them hope and add in incentives for companies to keep going - OH and GIVE them Vaccines for free to help!

It's not like I'm advocating for a mandatory vaccine to be able to fly on a plane, see hockey, visit grandmother in a home, have a job, going to a restaurant or sing in a church choir. Where I live, LAND OF THE FREE, this will not happen. But separate businesses will start enforcing these rules and it will be uneven, inequitable and lots of families and children will suffer. But let's not listen to the Infectious Disease experts.

You go with your freedom. Me? I will continue to give money and effort to the poor and my community. And I will live alone* in my house and Work From Home. Wear my mask to the few times I go to the store and live a good life without travel or friends over to party.

I will lose a lot of family and friends due to the virus. And that will make me sad. And most of all, kinda convinced that the world would be better with me as a dictator. (obviously a joke, please see the section of "trying to fricking cope with this PREDICTABLE year where nothing was stopped")

Part 3 of Count Down to New Year will be less bitter. See this as my one time venting and who knows how long this will stay. 

*with my bubble man 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Giving for others - Thankful for my blessings (countdown to new years pt1)

 I wrote a couple of things for Thanksgiving, but they seem fitting for my take on 2020 and how I've tried to handle the Covid situation. Let's say I'm going to do a couple of COVID 2020 DEBRIEF POSTS. That's how it feels right now.

I didn't even pay attention that I had written this post before. 

So, if you want to know the spcifics of what I'm grateful fore - go to the November post. I only have one (that's bad).

My ket point, and this was where I got stuck in "I'm not bragging but want to share and maybe you would like to do something similar" was when mentioning how much of my salary this year has gone to others/charity. I've given more this year than ever. Why? Partly becasue I have not spent any money on travel or restaurants. No theatre nor opera performance. I haven't been to an art opening and I haven't purchased any paintings, photo cards or any other things that I usually buy when going to local art galleries, vernissages, art festivals as such.

However, I have given to these things regularly during the year:

local theatre company

globally to Doctors without borders 

Kiva - microloans all over the world

Currently 5% of Gross income. Most of that money otherwise spent on travel, restaurants and experiences (and HOCKEY). Mainly this has been easy since I decided that if we didn't go out to eat, drink and travel - I could spend a good portion of that money on others who will be in need of it since clearly I could spend it before, so why shouldn't I spend it on people who need it now?

  • I've also tried "two birds with one stone" and purchased at least 12 races of virtual races for good causes (charity). This has been a way for me to keep motivated to get out of the house and walk/run when the weather was 100F in the summer, and to keep going when it turned more rainy and dark in the fall. (I am tempted to post a list of the races with photos of all the medals, yet I don't want to come off as a bragging person but someone who want to share happy things! It's been the beacon of entusiasm when it was 100F degrees outside, and it's been similar for running in the mornings in Nov/Dec when it's 37F in the mornings...... I'm no a morning runner....)
I'm not stating this to feel good about myself (only). It's been a help for me to find my footing in a world full of uncertainty and not being in control (apart from over my very tiny part of working from home reality). 

I said short and sweet, so I will stop here. If you have the opportunity of giving to someone else - local foodbank, a venmo for a friendly server, a virtual race that gives to opportunities for women in law (Ruth Bader Ginsburg race....) or anything else that goes to someone out there in need of support - please consider it this holiday season. If there ever was a time to use those "Christmas present money" on others rather than on some unused little gadget, now is the time.

Here are a few links to places where your money will do a lot of good:

local food bank - for me it's MidSouth Food bank:
Purchase to help trafficking women getting out and a new life:

I've also given to local Arts organizations to keep the hope that there will be theatre, opera and art as painting in 2021.

And any local organization that will help service people with tips, work and other normal things. We had a "server Go fund Me" pop up in April for all the laid off Servers in the city area.

Overall though, my thing for this Holiday Season is "Give to someone else additional to you and the gift recipient". This is of course said if the gift recipient is well off/not having a rough time with covid. 

For some of my family and friends this year, I give hard cold cash since that's the best gift they can get from me right now.

Be good, be safe and do to others what you want done to you. I'll write the bitterness post soon.... ;)