It is 8:34 AM on Friday, May 15th, 2020. I’ve been pretty busy with work these past two weeks, have everything done and so it is a slow Friday morning.
It is May which was my favorite month throughout my childhood. One of the reasons is it is my birthday month but the other is it is when Ohio started to get nice weather, the flowers were in bloom and school was ending soon. I’ll always remember the tulips blooming in our garden, being able to finally wear shorts to school and the excitement that summer was on the way.
May has much less of an impact on me now. I no longer really care for birthdays, the weather is nice year around, work does not stop with the coming of summer and we do not have tulips planted. Yes, it is May here but in my adulthood there is very little to distinguish this month from any other. I have to make a mental effort to appreciate it and I think I should plant some tulips.
As for COVID-19, it really has not affected me too much thus far. I have a nice house, a gym, a view, I work from home and have had many projects keeping me busy. However, I’ve started to realize that there is a serious existential threat, like a slow moving train crash which could affect me greatly. Nobody yet knows what the airlines will look like later this year but we’re now starting to see that they may all be drastically downsized. It is worrisome to think that the job might not be there at the end of the year. I’m in corporate sales and it is our job to bring in the money, but if business travelers aren’t flying then my job isn’t very secure.
I’m quite certain that this COVID-19 experience, sheltering in place and loss of jobs is creating a massive amount of mental problems. I don’t believe we understand the scale of it yet as we’re currently going through it but the stress of not having a job, or fearing for the future must be ravaging the minds of a good 30% of the population pretty severely.
As for me, my mental state is fine although I do wish I could relax a bit more. My mind is always in overdrive but that is more due to the nature of my job and the never end “sense of urgency” in business-speak, that is part of it. There is always one more thing to do and the job is never done. Outside of work there is very little rest in normal times either. There is always one more activity, one more thing we have to do and it never ends. That is why I get so irked when I’m given a hard time about taking a day off from karate to just chill. For most people, life seems to be all about being born, doing a bunch of shit day in and day out so you can “advance” and then one day you die.
So for me, the only time I can really have my mind relax is through my morning meditation which I love, and opening the occasional bottle of wine and drinking the whole thing. These seem to be the only two ways I can get my mind to relax. Exercise and working out is also critical but that makes me feel good and even more energized instead of being relaxed.
Even in this time of Shelter-In-Place I find I can never really relax although I’m forced to stay home. My mind always urges me on to the next thing. This is not necessarily a bad thing as our home is now more organized and efficient than ever before.
So far we’ve:
- Cleaned out and organized the garage
- Fixed the leak in the gym as well as organized it better
- Moved my oldest to a new room and my youngest into his brothers old room
- Changed the office room into a game room
- Created a reading nook upstairs
- Cleaned out the crawl space so we could use it as storage
I’ve also taken care of a number of little things that usually get overlooked. These involve:
1. Cleaning the grill, ordering new flavorizer bars since the old ones were rusted through and fixing the igniter
2. Finally attaching my wife’s little wardrobe/mirror thing to the wall as it should be.
3. Cleaning out the closet.
And finally, today I’ll clean out the upstairs crawl space so we could use that as storage as well. Yes, the house has never looked better and it is all thanks to the fact we cannot go anywhere and my mind will never let me rest.
So aside from being overactive, my mind is at peace with the world, the past, the present and the future. For this mindset I give all the credit to meditation as well as preparation/savings. The meditation shows me that life is beautiful and short. No matter what happens, I am alive now, I am fortunate, and one day I will die. In addition to meditation I also practice mindfulness which is simply taking short moments throughout the day to appreciate the present moment. I notice the birds, the flowers, the sunshine, the beautiful day and breathe it all in.
The other side of this is that I’m also prepared. We’ve always bought in bulk, I have savings should I be furloughed, we have what we need and could hunker down for a long while. Also, I’m confident I could find another job and if things are really bleak we also have Japan as a secondary option. Life is fine and it is thanks to a serene mindset on the big picture as well as being prepared.
Again, this is the first week of the crisis where I’m thinking my job could be in jeopardy if things do not improve and airlines need to massively downsize. I’m still an optimist and think things will be very slow but eventually turn out OK and I will be able to keep this dream job of mine. If not, then that is the way life goes and I’ll adapt.
Finally, I received some sad news yesterday. There were two deaths, one was my Dad’s high school best friend and the other was Matt Hite, someone I knew from my childhood. Matt was five years older than me and his sister was in my sister’s class so I knew who he was. The only thing I remember about him was he wore a tuxedo t-shirt which I thought was awesome. He was also kind to the younger kids such as myself. In grade school one generally avoided the older kids because some could be mean. However a few were kind and I’ll always remember those who were not only kind, but even bothered acknowledging me.
Well, the time is now 9:20 AM and I need to accomplish some things.