This week, I had a Grade-A meltdown. Looking into The Future even a little bit- -two weeks, the end of the year- -crushed me under the weight of uncertainty. If you haven’t noticed that things change very quickly and unpredictably these days, you haven’t been paying attention. I have definitely been paying attention. Too much attention. My analytically inclined brain has been spinning and churning out scenarios, most of them bad, about where everything is headed. After a nearly sleepless night and tearful day, the only solution I could come up with was to think about Today Only.
October 23, 2020?
Or do you mean Friday?
Hi Lily. Hi 9. I mean both and neither. I mean Right Now. Today Only.
So tomorrow it will be Saturday, October 24, 2020- –
We’re not doing tomorrow yet, 9!
Don’t yell at her!
I’m not yelling, Lily. Well, maybe I am. Sorry, 9. It’s just that it’s really hard work to live in The Present right now. So many things in flux- -COVID-19, the presidential election, the Supreme Court nomination. Away, you devils of the unknown! I’ve had it with all of you.
The Future reared up and beat the crap out of me on Tuesday, October 20, 2:30 AM. I woke up overwhelmed and sobbing, the long road of The Future appearing to me as a cold, dark, gray specter underfoot, too many miles to walk, ever. I cried for a couple of hours, during which it occurred to me that if I concentrated only on the bit of the path directly under my feet, if I concentrated on Today Only, I could mine some gems of things that are going right.
That evening I sat down with my journal and deliberately recorded the bright spots of the day:
A new impromptu recipe: zucchini soup plus garden corn, garden tomatoes, chopped onion, tofu, garlic and cumin. Warm and light.
Finally, a can of cat food, healthy-ish, that Friday likes (the kind with the hot pink butterfly on the label).
Gleaning some good memoir-writing and personal insights from A Widow’s Story (Joyce Carol Oates).
Picked up Strictly Ballroom DVD at the library.
Some serenity and hope renewed through Core Yoga.
Grateful for the garden that has now passed. Grateful that my picky oldest cat will eat something that’s better for him than Friskies. Grateful to learn a lesson in writing craft, and for the local library that has adapted to remote pickup and drop-off for books and DVDs. Grateful for restoration of mind and body through homemade soup and yoga.
And there’s even more on my list of good things that happened on one regular day!
Like living with your inner 9-year-old.
And with your inner 14-year-old. Can we watch the DVD tonight?
And can I have a piece of Challah with honey?
Yes and yes. It is entirely within our power to do these things! On Tuesday, we also completed our 2020 ballot and delivered it directly to the drop box at the county courthouse elections office.
Don’t tell anyone we helped you or someone will scream about voter fraud.
I can’t control the outcome of the election, let alone what others say and do, but I can control my ability to participate in democracy.
I can also choose to live mindfully in the present. Today Only. It’s the best solution I have for keeping a fearfully imagined Future at bay.
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