September 27th, 2020

goingroundandround

ROLLER COASTER

I had a bad week last week, feeling very down about a few too many things that are out of my control. Friday night I had plans to have dinner with my two best friends... just after lunch it started raining and it POURED for hours. Bucketing down. We stood at the window of our 7th floor office and watched raindrops fly UP and over the parapet as if it were a reverse waterfall.

I had to go to the store and post office after work and driving was a nightmare: limited visibility despite the whipping wipers, huge standing patches that threw up sheets of water when you drove through them. I mailed our ballots which cost $26 registered with tracking. I did the grocery shopping and then drove home to drop them off, rest for 20 minutes and then turn around to head out again for Malmö. When I got home, one of my friends called wondering if we should postpone. She was soaked, she said and now at the hairdresser. If we were going to go, she'd need to be picked up because of the weather. We couldn't reach our other friend who was having a massage, so we decided to just continue with our plans, even though I told her that I was in a bad mood and would just as soon not drive in the still-pouring rain all the way to town. We had dinner at a mysig tapas place and it was totally horrendous drive through the STILL pouring rain to sit and talk to them for several hours. I didn't talk about all the things that have been bothering me, but what I did talk about was taken seriously and I left feeling supported and loved.

My brother said he had an epiphany the other day about the whole election insanity and everything else horrible going on the US right now...it doesn't directly affect him, and it helped him to realize that he therefore didn't need to get so upset about it. I've lived abroad longer than he has. Voting in the US elections is more important to me now than it was when I lived there. Why is that? Why AM I letting it get to me? Especially when there is so little I can do about it? It's not just about the horror over the direction my birth country's government has been going in for the last 4 years. Being able to vote is one of the only benefits of being a US citizen living abroad. Pretty much everything else is an unfair obligation and burden. I was devastated to learn about RBG's passing and horrified about the hypocrisy of the Republicans regarding her replacement...but it doesn't affect ME. I don't live there. I probably won't ever live there again. But I can still feel outrage and hurt over the injustices happening on a daily basis and the division pulling the country in half. I have family that is living in the midst of it, that IS directly affected by it, and I worry for them and for what the future holds. And like it or not, what the US does or doesn't do has a huge impact on the rest of the world, on the climate crisis and the future of my children.

I think, like so many people, that the realities of life during a pandemic are starting to get to me. And I live in Sweden where things are more "normal" than anywhere else I've heard of. Not having plans, not seeing friends, rotating into the office every half week and only getting to see half my colleagues. Being at home too much, because even though we're not in lockdown, we're still taking the restrictions and recommendations seriously and not going anywhere much. I have friends who work from home and basically haven't left their house for half a year. It's nowhere near that drastic for us, and yet we are still affected. I am still affected. It's harder to keep up the camaraderie within my work team when we only see each other on Teams. It's hard to figure out how to keep the AWC going when we can't schedule meetings or activities. Next week, at least, we will be able to start seeing Anders' mom again...they are allowing visitors to her residence for the first time since March, though there are still plenty of restrictions around it.

I worry about my kid in Detroit. I worry about my mom. I wonder whether I should go anyway. I wonder whether we can get Martin home for Christmas or not. After ages of dithering and discussion, we finally decided to send out the invitation for our annual Thanksgiving dinner potluck. Even at the most, we wouldn't be more than 20 people, and I suspect several friends to tender their regrets, for various reasons, anyway. But I need something to look forward to, so I went ahead with the plans. We can always cancel if things change, or circumstances are different closer in, but I felt better after I sent the email. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way. Feeling any of these ways.

Today I slept in, got up and walked 20 minutes on the treadmill, watched an episode of Community (which was especially funny because they had a take-off on Freaky Friday and I had JUST watched it yesterday on Disney+ for the first time since the 70s), had lunch, watered the plants, cleaned out the garden vegetable bed, washed the last harvest of potatoes, and read for awhile.

I've realized I'm alone a great deal of the time. Definitely not helping.

Tomorrow evening is our Annual Meeting for the AWC, complete with a year-in-review PPT showing highlights from the first half of the year (last fall) and no highlights from the second half (thanks Covid!) and our board elections. We, as in the board, but really mostly me and a friend, are working on a proposed merger of our club with the other international club in the area, which is a huge undertaking, and which is also weighing heavily on my mind right now. Our meeting will be on Zoom, but I'm expecting questions about the proposal, even though our board is planning to have the next meeting in October be dedicated to its discussion. I'll write more about that later.

Safe to say, I feel a bit better than I did on Friday, and I'm hoping that is an upward trend. Although, since none of the things weighing me down are things I can a) control or b) expect resolution of any time soon, I suspect that this is just a ascending part of the track in the current roller coaster of life and that I'll be hurtling down again before I am ready.

Now if I could just unclench my hands from the safety bar and wave them in the air like I just don't care, it would make the next descent at least a little more exciting and less scary perhaps.