Keeping It Simple

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

I hit a milestone the other day. I received my fourth Prolia injection since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. I get the shots every six months, so doing the math tells me that it has been exactly a year and a half since I first became aware of that we had a big problem in early March of 2020. I remember wearing a mask to the infusion center on that day and sensing the tension at the in the clinic where I get the medication. At the time I had no idea how many innocent souls would eventually die from this virus, nor did I truly understand how much my life and those of the entire world would change. I suppose that I believed that we would all isolate for a brief time, flatten the curve, and somehow quickly stop Covid-19 in its tracks. In the beginning helping the cause was kind of an adventure, a challenge to remain safe and well.

So much has happened since that first of my four Prolia shots during a pandemic. Like almost everyone I have been touched personally by the illnesses and even tragic deaths of loved ones who contracted the virus. I have watched our nation devolve into a kind of civil war of wills, dividing us between masked and unmasked, vaccinated and unvaccinated. I have witnessed a weariness that does not appear to be going away anytime soon. I have had to adjust to a hermit-like lifestyle punctuated by a calendar almost devoid of social appointments. I have reverted to the simplicity of my youth when my mother’s financial condition forced her to find joy in the most ordinary things. That early training has served me so well during the past eighteen months. I have been able to adapt to my new normal, and for that I am so very thankful. 

Each morning is much the same for now. I arise fairly early and open all of the blinds in my windows to the rays of the rising sun. I prepare a small breakfast and take it to my front room where I see the children gathering for the school bus on the corner of my street. They invariably bring a smile to may face with their chatter and laughter. They literally set the tone for my daily mood. 

I check the news on my laptop and then make certain that my blog is properly posted on Facebook and Twitter. I no longer have the hundreds of readers who once regularly perused my offerings, but that is alright. I used to have a rather large contingent of people who followed me religiously, but I suspect that some of my views have driven them away. Now I mostly write for the sheer joy of doing so. I suppose that it is a selfish endeavor, a daily challenge that reminds me that I am still very much alive in a world that has lost so many. The couple of hours that I take creating my sentences, paragraphs and general themes make me happy. I balance my writing with listening to the sounds of my neighbors, and it is always comforting to realize that we are all still doing well. 

I teach or tutor ten students a couple of days each week. I suppose old educators never really retire. I like being able to help my kids understand mathematics. I work with them on everything from fourth grade algorithms to the more intricate nuances of functions in Algebra II. On days when I am not teaching them directly I inspect their homework to determine whether or not they have understood the processes that I have taught them. I plan for the next sessions. My hours are filled with meaning when the school year is in session. I don’t have time to fret over staying at home without an end to my self imposed isolation in sight. Being with my students is so delightful that I hardly miss cavorting around town.

My mother used to take us for short rides as a form of entertainment. My husband and I have followed her example and done a great deal of exploring around the area with our car. Since I am an inveterate people watcher I truly enjoy watching the world from the windows of our truck. There is a quirkiness about the people and places around me that is fascinating. Laughing and talking with my husband as we take our little treks is as enjoyable now as it was when we first met over fifty five years ago. 

Several times we have taken longer journeys. It has been wonderful to experience sunrises and sunsets in different places. We’ve learned how to see the smiles in people’s eyes even as masks cover their mouths. We laugh at children who seem to have taken to wearing masks so much more easily than so many adults. We feel a stronger kinship with the people around us than ever before. We have been reminded of how precious each person is. We have so much more patience and understanding of them. We value everyone in a more intense way than ever before.

Dinner time has become an almost sacred ritual in my home, just as my mother made it be when I was a child. Now my husband and I prepare dinner together, often turning the process into a time for learning new recipes or cooking techniques. Sometimes we pour some wine and toast the good fortune of our day. We share conversation and laughter, and when the days are not so hot we gather in our backyard to enjoy the feasts we have prepared. We hear the children playing, the adults coming home from work, and watch the birds and butterflies that flit around our garden. Life is still very much around us and it is beautiful. 

We’ve gained the requisite Covid twenty pounds like so many that we know from indulging in Oreo cookies and ice cream as a substitute for a life on the town. We promise to begin exercising in earnest once again lest we have to purchase all new clothing, but for now our chubbiness does not seem to matter as much as it once might have. We are just happy to be alive and well. We don’t really miss all of the extra frills of consumption that seemed so integral to our lives only eighteen months ago. It takes very little to make us joyful these days and somehow that seems to be a very good thing.