Having been subjected to stay at home restrictions (to one degree or another) over the past six months, would you say that the quarantine has made you a better person? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?
Yes, I do think it has made me a better person regarding doing things for others. In the past, I viewed dangers as something only to worry about for myself (and immediate family), but now I think more about the wider implications of my actions. Let’s take mask wearing. I hate wearing a mask. Just gonna say it straight up. I find them super uncomfortable and annoying. In the past, I might have worn one to protect myself, but now I wear one for that reason and also because I don’t want to infect others, should I catch The Thing and not be symptomatic for a few days or so.
I’ve also learned that I’m not as much of a loner as I thought. While I have a higher tolerance for loneliness than most people I know, it’s not infinite. After a while, I really crave in-person conversation. And zooming is not a good substitute for me. It’s okay for playing games at times, but it doesn’t make me feel I’ve been with people. Kinda like cybersex back in the day…
Perhaps it’s made me a worse person too though, in that I have less tolerance for some beliefs. Or maybe that’s better! I used to be pretty accepting of quirky ideas, but now I’m not. But maybe it’s time I quit thinking that every lunatic notion is “interesting.” We’ll leave it at that.
What has been the strangest, weirdest dream that you can remember? What do you think triggered that dream?
When I was very young, I dreamt about getting attacked by a wolf, which I think was triggered by having a sore throat in the night. I mentioned this dream in a SYW post recently:
I was little, around 10 or under, and dreamt I got lost at the zoo. I ended up behind the exhibits and there was a wolf loose. He jumped on me and ripped my throat open. In the dream, I died, though I understand that isn’t supposed to happen in dreams. I woke up with strep throat.
This 2011 baby dream could symbolize creativity. Maybe I was writing a lot then, or thinking about new ideas for novels.
Here’s a scaryweird dream I had in 2011 about a pink and yellow lizard. This one could have been triggered by alcohol, or dating, neither of which agree with me.
When I was married, I had lots of dreams about drowning. Here’s one I had a few years later in 2013. Two others that stand out in my memory are as follows. Once when I was in a strange huge house with my whole family (including the ex’s), plus people from school, no one would listen to me that there was water coming up to the windows. Finally, we all had to go onto the roof. Another time I was in a carnival type ride with both my daughters and we ended up on the Coast Highway where everything was flooded. Supposedly these drowning dreams arise from feeling overwhelmed or suffocated by something. Or someone…
I had this dream about my mom in 2013. I think about Mom a lot and miss her so much. I’ve had plenty of other dreams with her in them, but they weren’t weird enough to remember. 💔
In 2016, I had a few dreams about driving (one with scary dogs). I’ve had many more dreams about driving, often where I’m not in the seat the right way and can’t reach the brake pedal. Driving scares me, so it makes sense I dream about it. One benefit of this bizarre year is that I’m in the car a lot less.
Lately, I don’t dream much (or my memory is immediately wiped). Maybe it’s because I don’t usually sleep that soundly, idk. I used to be such a great sleeper! Oh well… aging, whaddayagonna do?
It was fun to do the “research” for this post. Thanks, Fandango! 🙂 Sorry I couldn’t pick just one.
I thought I’d turn Fandango’s Provocative Question today into a pointless meander. He asks if I’ve ever had to make what turned out to be a life-changing decision and, if so, do I wish I could go back in time and change it, blah blah, what and why. There have been a few…
Generally, I begin with my foolish decision not to go to Northwestern U. I had no idea about “prestigious” colleges back then apart from the obvious Harvard, Yale, etc. I knew it was good I’d gotten accepted, but the gravitas of the decision was foreign to me. I behaved impulsively as a teen and things that went wrong were easily fixed. Everything felt inconsequential at the time. My parents didn’t seem to care, and after an argument with my mom, she decided she didn’t want to pay for NU, so I ended up at the University of Illinois in Champaign. It was a horrible experience, I dropped out, moved back home, and ended up in a series of dead-end, low-paying jobs.
Next, I moved from Chicago to Southern California with my parents at age 22. I’m not sure this was a great decision, though it would have been hard to stay in the city alone given my crappy jobs. But from the minute I stumbled off the plane to right now, I’ve had one giant migraine that never seems to disappear for good. I know I’d probably suffer from them wherever I lived, but it soured the whole experience for me. I remember being bombarded with the dazzling sunshine when we landed and feeling like I was going to pass out from the brightness and the pain.
Finally, I returned to college to finish my degree. But again, doh, I eschewed UCLA for Cal State because the freaking parking was easier. It seemed like an okay decision at the time, but it was yet another folly. Not that I had a bad experience at Northridge ~ I actually loved it all and appreciated my classes and the professors there. But until I had my own children I did not realize the importance of the name of a school. Whatever, at least I finished and that led me to the job I have now, which is good. But I got a late start at a career and retirement savings…
All the while this school/moving stuff was going on, I was also dating. Ugh, what a nightmare. I can’t blame online dating and culture such as it is now for my relationship issues, since I’ve had them all along. I am attracted to the wrong men, and that’s just the common denominator of the whole mess. I regret spending/wasting time with a lot of these guys, but I can’t regret my second marriage because my two wonderful daughters are my prize for sticking with it. I should have ended it sooner however. I definitely regret all the years I thought the marriage could be fixed and floated in limbo, taking no action to help myself move on.
I like to imagine that if I’d been single in my 40s I would have had a great romance and met my life partner, though that’s probably false. I would have simply made stupid dating decisions all that time too. Ugh, thinking about all this is an emotional drain… plus it’s all fantasy. I did what I did and here I am. The only thing to do is to slog on…
Time slid by like reflections smeared by the rain. Each moment seemed compelling until it was replaced by the next one, like a picture inside a kaleidoscope. She felt as if she were a mere park bench in a painting, observing her own life but not participating in it, still having trouble transitioning to this new way of living, working, being. There were smiles, of course, such as last weekend when she saw her friends again. They watched a movie outdoors, and it was L.A. Story with Steve Martin, which she thought she should like, but it was vaguely disappointing. Her instinctsprotested against all the grabbiness by the various characters, even though it was done in the name of comedy. That’s supposed to excuse a lot of unacceptable behaviors, isn’t it?
Maybe it was her, her habit of craving stability and sameness in a world gone mad. Perhaps it was time to fling off her fears and dive into the chaos, as she had done when younger. But that was a road to nothing ultimately, and while she didn’t have an overwhelming sense of regret for her choices, they hadn’t led to anything great either. But maybe greatness wasn’t the point… maybe a better method would be to appreciate each moment fully before it was washed away in the rains of time bla bla bla. As her favorite quote went: life is short; eat dessert first.
That thought reminded her of one of her favorite books: The Unbearable Lightness of Being. She had read it several times, and it was such a great study in the intricate differences of perspectives. When they cast Daniel Day Lewis as the lead, she’d been pleased. He so perfectly matched the image in her mind of the philandering doctor in the book. The movie itself was good, but it couldn’t live up to the book’s greatness because there was no way to bring in all the crucial nuances of the narrative.
The Glass Castle, on the other hand, had disappointed her with the lead. This was one of her favorite books and yet Brie Larson as Jeannette didn’t feel right at all. There was something off about her voice, tone, and looks. She’d never envisioned J as an adult Manhattan snob the way she was portrayed by Brie. There was a strong undercurrent of angst and loss in the book’s Jeannette, not this smoothly perfect adult. However, Woody Harrelson as the raging alcoholic father was a perfect fit. She decided that casting was an onerous task and she would certainly find it tough. There were so many factors to consider.
In any case, she had a family beach day to look forward to tomorrow, which would probably end up as next week’s smile. But how was it possible that over half a year had passed in this strange limbo? She didn’t want to spout cliches, but she had the eerie sense that the ending was rushing toward her like an out of control semi-truck on a slippery downhill slope. Or perhaps it would be a warm gentle fog of nothingness as the colors all blended into one…
Do you judge yourself by the same standards that you judge others? If not, are you harsher or more lenient on yourself?
My tendency is to be pretty harsh overall, both on myself and others, and I have an ongoing project to be kinder to both. What happens though is that while I may begin with the same standards for myself and others, it’s easier for me to give others a break. I can see why they made poor choices, while it’s really REALLY hard for me to forgive myself for mine. I get so angry when I make typos or forget a word, but I’m okay if others do these things (somewhat). I work to this day to quit beating myself up for my misplaced trust in people and failing to meet the “right” man on a dating site. I’m still mad at myself for not going to a better university when I had the chance (twice!). I wish I were a more talented writer, or that I could be good at something artistic. I feel so… ordinary, but I think it’s fine for others to be ordinary. Maybe that means I’m very egotistical ~ who am I to think I should have a special talent?! I’ll just muddle through life like 99.9% of the rest of people and leave nothing interesting behind. Not that my children aren’t interesting! But you know… they aren’t ME. What have I done? Meh, nothing…
Thanks for this question, Fandango. Now I feel even worse!😜🙃🤣
Is the concept of “you” continuous or does the past “you” continually fade into the present and future “you”? Considering that your body, your mind, and your memories are changing over time, what part of “you” sticks around?
Interesting question, Fandango! I don’t actually believe there is a “me” (or a “you”) in the sense of a collection of qualities distinct from my physical being. Of course I have traits and characteristics, but I don’t define my essence with them… or with anything.
Yesterday I posted some adjectives to describe myself in response to a prompt. You wouldn’t be able to pick me out of a crowd by using them though. Description is not definition (try describing an apple to someone who has never experienced one). Some of these adjectives vary and some don’t. Forex, if I think of myself as a creative person, yet I go months/years without creating anything, then who am I really? I might knock that one off the list…
I used to worry that others had a solid core identity and could conceptualize it, while I did not. But I no longer believe that. What I mean is that, yes, others may think they have an identity, but it’s merely a collection of traits, preferences, memories, goals, etc. That’s what I come up with too, when I try to consider my me-ness.
So, yes, these descriptors change over time, as my body does, and they’re also twined together. My physical limitations inform some of my other traits. Would I dislike noise so much if I didn’t get migraines? I don’t know. I would like to think of myself as spontaneous and helpful, but I’m not because of chronic pain. I used to be more loving, giving, affectionate, and flexible toward others, but I’m not so much of those qualities now.
And also, no. Hah! There is an essence of me-ness that endures. It consists of my unique experiences and how I’ve chosen to interpret them. No one else has the exact same set of memories that I have. There may come a time however when I begin to forget memories I consider important now. How many can I lose before my me-ness vanishes as well?
Which pre-pandemic activities are you ready to resume (or have you already resumed)? Which, if any, pre-virus activities are you likely to continue to avoid?
I have been going into my office a couple times per week and am totally fine with resuming a full-time schedule. There are only a few of us in a large suite and we hardly get any visitors. I will likely bring my own lunch so as not to deal with the cafe.
I’ve already been to my dentist for a normal cleaning and X-rays. I felt perfectly safe. They took my temperature as I came in and everyone was masked. I would also be okay with going to a regular doctor, if necessary.
When I grocery shop or go into other crowded public places, I wear a mask, even if it’s not required. I plan to continue doing this indefinitely. It’s uncomfortable, but I think it’s worth it. 😷
As I mentioned, I’ve visited my family in LA and have had a socially distant BYO picnic with friends. I’d probably be okay with outdoor dining at a regular restaurant. But maybe not… can’t predict how crowded it might get.
I want to get my hair cut and colored, but my daughter talked me out of it. I guess I can wait or figure out some DIY alternative.
I want to visit my older daughter in NorCal, but I’m definitely not ready to deal with either airports or flying. I could drive, but that’s a huge PITA. We shall see… 😞
While I find it enjoyable to hear the sounds of people having fun at our community pool, I’m not ready to join them. Not that I was a pool person in the first place. We also have a great gym though, but I’m not eager to go back there either. I’ll be passing up all peopley events for the foreseeable future, such as fairs or festivals or concerts or movies or even (my favorite) game nights with a bunch of people touching stuff.
Do you believe there is such a thing as ESP? Or is what some suggest to be ESP merely that there are people who are highly intuitive and are very good at reading people’s very subtle signals?
I do believe in ESP, as strictly defined, which is “extra” sensory perception. That is, I believe there are some folks who are very skilled at processing and synthesizing sensory perceptions in order to make accurate predictions. Other folks just float through life not noticing things, or lacking the ability to do anything with their data. I think the skill can be taught up to a point, but some people have it naturally.
Let me also add that signals aren’t all that subtle once you know what to look for. You can learn what people do when they lie, for example. You can study how faces, voices, and body language change as people experience various emotions.
Some of us are more attuned to “reading a room” than others. It’s become trendy now to call us empaths. Everyone is an empath! This word grates on my nerves, grrrr. I call this a survival skill and people who don’t have it are likely the lucky ones who didn’t grow up in a stressful environment or experience abuse. When you do, you become skilled at discerning the shifts in voice, expression, and body language of those around you so you can better prepare for the coming storm or try to deflect it somehow. It’s not magic… it’s self-protection.
But do I believe that there is some spiritual woo woo thing that gives a select few the ability to “read minds” or bend spoons or predict plane crashes? Um no. Sure, I’ve “known” a few things in advance… haven’t we all? But what about all the times we did not know? That’s called confirmation bias, folks. Mostly, we don’t know.
Yesterday morning I drove to Los Angeles to celebrate my granddaughter’s second birthday. I brought a giant bag of gifts with me. The original plan was to have a “distance” party in the park, but we didn’t feel safe outdoors, given the insanity, so we stayed inside. It’s the first time I’ve seen family in person since the beginning of March. We’ve all been very careful, so we decided to go ahead and spend a couple hours together. Oh my gosh, it did my heart good to be with this angel not to mention my own sweet daughter and son-in-law as well. We FaceTime’d with my eldest over a birthday pizza lunch too. I was so grateful for the opportunity to finally see (some of) my loved ones in person! There were smiles galore for hours… I left at 1:30 to make sure I was back in Orange County well before any curfews began. This little girl is an absolute joy to be around! I am so excited to spend more time with her very soon, maybe next week. 🙂
How old are you* and how old do you feel — older or younger than your actual chronological age? Do you generally act your age? And what does “acting your age” mean to you?
*If you’re uncomfortable revealing your actual age, maybe you can just say something like, “I’m in my twenties.” Or fifties. Or “I’m a senior citizen.”
I turned 59 during the lockdown. It was not a big deal… although my family gifted me a new phone, which was awesome. ❤️ The fact that I didn’t have a celebration with a cake and such didn’t bother me at all. I had plane tix to fly to Northern California and visit family, and I was sad that couldn’t happen. Dunno when I’ll be able to go…
Do I feel 59? I don’t know. What should 59 feel like? There are lots of people my age (and older) who are way more physically active than I am, but I wasn’t physically active at 39 or even 19! I’ve always been a chair potato. More things hurt now though. Seems like pains don’t go away but simply accumulate. Parts of me I never noticed before suddenly have nerve endings. What’s up with that? I’ll go for a walk and the side of my foot will hurt. Huh? 🙁
Do I act 59? Again, how should a 59-year-old behave? I am definitely a mature and responsible person. But I think in the last few years my behavior has changed even more… I attribute that to my last failed attempt at a relationship. Perhaps it is due to age and this would not have affected me the same 10 or 15 years ago. This time, I just said the hell with putting myself out there and taking chances on people. I’m done. I can’t handle another go-round of stress and drama.
I notice people of all ages seeking conflict because they’re bored, and I notice people of all ages avoiding drama. So I don’t think this is age related, necessarily, even though for me it does seem that I handled stress better when I was younger. My aching head and tired bones don’t appreciate the adrenaline surge that gets my heart racing and makes it harder to sleep. No thanks.
But you know what? The fact that I’m now a grandma (she’s almost 2!) does make me feel older and I’m good with that! 💖💖💖