Getting Through

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We hit seventy degrees Fahrenheit here yesterday, and we’re supposed to have high temperatures at or above that threshold through Wednesday of this week. Not only was I able to open my bedroom window yesterday to get some fresh air in here, but I kept my window open overnight, and even though it got a little chilly in here before sunrise, it wasn’t that bad. Given the combination of the harsh winter and the pandemic, fresh air may have been just what I needed to give me a much-needed boost to start this week with. At this point, I’ll take all the help I can get.

As I’ve been mentioning here repeatedly, my second COVID-19 vaccination was scheduled for this past Tuesday, and everything went according to plan, up to and including me getting knocked on my butt in the days after I got jabbed again. I made the mistake of trying to act like it was a normal Wednesday the morning after my shot, and my body promptly rebelled against me and sent me back to bed for the rest of the day. My brain fog wasn’t as bad as it was after my first shot, but just like after my first shot, even after my side effects have mostly disappeared, the sleeplessness being caused by residual soreness (which seems to get worse as I lie in bed) is continuing to mess me up. At least I had a four-day holiday weekend to assist in my recovery here, but I’m not at all confident that I’ll feel like my old self again when my classes resume tomorrow.

Like a lot of people, my patience seems to be getting tried more than ever right now, even as some of us are getting vaccinated and minimizing our own COVID-19 exposure. Impatience is not a state of mind I deal well with — knowing how much I’ve messed up in my past, and how imperfect I continue to be, I put a priority on giving people the same kind of opportunities that I know I may need myself in the not-so-distant future — and dealing with so much sleep deprivation this past month is probably making it even harder for me to cope with these feelings well. I’ve been trying to take more short breaks than usual over the past week, so I can try to give myself the time and space I need to handle conditions that are still extraordinary after over a year of this pandemic, but that doesn’t seem to be working so well for me.

The worst part about this impatience is that I can’t particularly put words to what I want to have happen here. Of course there’s a primal part of me that wants everything to “go back to normal,” but my brain has recognized for a long time now that the pre-pandemic “normal” is something we cannot, and absolutely should not, try to return to. It will probably take at least a few months to figure out what the “new normal” will be for us (especially as we deal with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 variants currently spreading), but I’m not even sure what elements of that new normal I want to get here now. Whether it’s visiting Toledo or just chilling out at a coffeehouse, there’s nothing I particularly want to do right now, and yet I can’t shake the feeling that I’m excruciatingly unsatisfied with the way things are for me in this immediate moment.

Between my friends’ posts on social media, and news stories I’ve been reading since the start of March, it’s clear that I’m far from alone in feeling this way. Maybe passing the one-year anniversary of when everything started shutting down is giving us all some psychic baggage that’s making it harder for us to cope with all the other demands on our lives. Maybe the warming temperatures are activating our instinctual desires to go out and enjoy things, especially after the past year-plus of relentless self-control has worn out our reserves. Maybe those of us who can’t help picking up on the emotions of people around us are getting irritated just by being surrounded by so many other people who are also deeply irritated right now. Whatever the case, even though I know I have company for the misery I’m experiencing right now, I can’t say that I’m enjoying it.

Provided that the body aches I’ve been experiencing at night keep diminishing, I shouldn’t be dealing with so much sleep deprivation by this time next week. I’m also eight days away from finishing the two-week post-vaccination “time out” to let my body develop its own COVID-19 antibodies, and even though I don’t have anywhere I particularly need to be over the next while, at least that option will be more available to me than it was before. As always, it’s just a matter of surviving until I can get to the end of these particular troubles. That act of surviving just feels a lot more annoying right now than anything I’ve felt for a long, long time, even as the warm weather and fresh air bring promises of better times to come.

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