At Loose Ends

I’m just going to come out and say it – I miss the before times.

I miss having plans. I miss being spontaneous. I miss seeing friends and family. I miss feeling at ease when I go to the grocery store.

I miss going mountain biking with my riding pal. I miss going for group rides. I miss sitting down in a restaurant for a meal with friends. I miss hugging (I know shocker – I’m not much of a hugger).

I miss the casualness of life.

I miss having plans.

I know I’m not alone in this. And I know that my experiences during the pandemic have been very easy compared to those of so many. I know I’m fortunate.

But, I still feel directionless. I know this feeling will pass and I’ll get my mojo back. But it’s a challenging place for me to be since I’ve always been very driven and motivated.

I Didn’t Ride Today

It’s Sunday and I didn’t ride. I planned to ride. I got my bottles ready. My food was organized. I ate a pre-long ride breakfast (peanut butter on two toasted crumpets and one  slice of bread with peanut  butter and honey).

And then I walked up the stairs and my  legs felt rotten, my head was heavy, and I was short of breath. I thought back to Saturday when after a normal three-hour ride I couldn’t shake an overall body fatigue that left me dragging all day.

I decided I didn’t want to feel like that today. So I went back to bed. I napped. I read my book. And finally made it downstairs at 11. Normally I’m up and out the door for my rides at 8:00 so I  can get lots done on a Sunday.

Not today. I made soup. I made waffles. I made chocolate mousse. I talked on the phone with my mom. I sat in the backyard and sketched. It was good. Just what I needed. I had thought about yoga and a walk but this did not happen.

Slowly I’m getting that I don’t need to ride simply because this is what I’ve always done. If I don’t feel awesome. I can take an extra rest day. It doesn’t matter if I’ve already had two rest days this week.

It’s okay if I don’t ride on a Sunday when the sun is shining and everyone I know is out riding their bikes. I’ll probably ride tomorrow. But if I don’t the sky will not fall and I will not lose all my fitness.

I’m even going to eat pizza for supper – even though I didn’t do a long ride and burn 2,000+ calories. It’s okay to eat pizza, to drink homemade iced coffee, and eat waffles for lunch on a day I don’t ride.

It’s okay to let go and be okay with it all.

 

Who Is Sick and Tired of Lunch At Home?

Me. I am sick and tired of lunch at home. Seriously, how many more lunchtime meals of omelettes, sandwiches, supper leftovers, cereal (admit it – you do it as well), soup, and leftover fridge stir-fries can you take?

In the before times I didn’t go out for lunch frequently. Maybe once a week, I’d leave my home office and meet a friend for lunch or zip out to a nearby sandwich shop for a wrap (somehow other people make better sandwiches).

If Marc was working from home and was heading out for lunch, I’d normally stay home. I probably said something like “I don’t need to go out for lunch. I have what I need here.”

Hmm, not anymore. What I would give for a lunch out, at a restaurant, sitting down, catching up with a friend or just sitting reading a book and dining solo.

I think today, I’ve hit my breaking point with the way life is now. Something just snapped when I realized that today will be like all the other days. Static. The same. Steady.

And yes, I’m very fortunate – I’m healthy, I have a job, my family is safe and healthy. But geez, would I ever like to meet up with my friend Joan for a lascivious lunch. And I’d really like to drive out to Bell’s Corners to meet up with Marc for a smoked meat sandwich and sweet potato fries. Seriously, how much longer until I can meet up with my friend Shari for an evening of chai lattes and talking?

Yes, today I’m done with all of it. But even with this state of mind, I’m staying in. I’m not riding my bike outside (yes, I’ve read the research, the chances of getting sick while outdoors is low – but this is not my primary reason for not riding outdoors. I wrote a whole blog post about Why I’m Not Cycling Outside). I’m not lining up to rush into stores that are now open. I’m sticking to what has kept me and Marc safe and healthy.

But, really it is getting tough. But, but – I do know things will get better. We will never return to the before times. And that’s probably a good thing.

Still – what I’d really like is to get on Ottawa’s dreaded light rail transit system (yes, it’s that bad now), wander around the National Art Gallery, browse the book store, drink a delicious Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate (with whip) from Second Cup, walk over to Nicastro’s for a sandwich, and then sit by the giant Ottawa sign in the Byward Market and watch the world go by.

This is what I would like. But until then, it’s toasted crumpets with butter, marmite and old cheddar with a side of leftover microwaved vegetables and looking out the window.

Why I’m Not Cycling Outside

I’m not cycling outside for one reason: risk.

Cycling is a sport that is wrapped up in a big blanket of risk. And  right now, I firmly believe that the best thing I can do to help myself and my community members is to mitigate risk.

So I’m not cycling outdoors.

There are two scenarios that are keeping me indoors, riding my bike in the basement:

  1. I get a flat tire, break a pedal, bike explodes, etc. – forcing me to interact with a stranger. Which then forces me to violate social distancing rules.
  2. I fall off my bike, get hit by a car, etc. –  forcing me to go to the hospital. Now I’m a drain on an already overburdened healthcare system, I’m willingly putting myself in a risky situation by exposing myself to seriously ill people, and I’m adding more stress to the healthcare professionals who are trying to look after the very sick.

Would I like to cycling outside right now? Heck yes! But, I can wait. And  I will wait until health officials tell us that we are safe.

But what if it is June and we’re still living under social distancing and essential services regulations? I’ll still be riding inside. I’ll still be cruising the streets of Watopia and watching NetFlix.

And I’ll still be safe. And I’ll know that I’m not adding to an already stressful and scary time by creating more risk.

This is why I’m not riding outside. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m telling  you what I’m doing. Everyone has to do what is right for them.

So, Now What?

For quite a few days now, I’ve told myself to sit down and write a blog post. But it simply hasn’t happened. I have lots to say. But zero motivation to get it out of my head and on the page.

Well, this all changes now. I miss blogging. I miss chatting and connecting with you. It’s time to kick the excuses to the curb and get on with it.

So, where to start? Life is weird. You know that. I know that. I could never ever imagined what we’re all dealing with now. Nope, seems like we’re living in some big blockbuster  movie. If only that were true.

The immediate changes to life here at ottawa.cx world headquarters are on the surface minimal. I already work from home. Marc is very experienced at working from home and has made a seamless transition. Calvin the cat is still bossing us around. We have a full fridge. And I fortunately did a big order of ostomy supplies before people started buying up alcohol wipes, non-stick pads, and other small medical supplies that make life much easier for us ostomates.

As for the rest of life. Well, it’s different. No cycling outdoors. No visiting friends. No restaurants. Our plans for a trip down to Georgia and Florida are now on permanent hold. We expect the wait for Marc’s heart surgery to grow from a 3-6 month wait to up to 9 months or longer. He is okay – we just  need that annoying hole fixed. Marc has got a top-notch heart surgeon who assures us that Marc can safely ride his bike, race, and live his life normally without putting himself at risk.

But really, apart from the heart surgery delay – these changes aren’t that  different than what you are experiencing. We’ve all had plans change. We’re all thinking about our jobs. We’re all worrying about what will come next.

Really, regardless of where we live, the jobs we do, the number of people in our family, and how much money we have – we are all in this together. I think this is an important fact to remember when out buying groceries. Everyone – the person who looks rather frazzled, the person who is walking slowly, the person who has red-rimmed eyes, and the person who seems oblivious to social distancing – we’re all in this together.

We are all trying to deal with this in our own ways.

This is a very good time to remember the saying “you don’t know  someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”. So be patient. Be kind. Think of others. Smile, even when you’d rather shout. We can get through this. It’s going so suck for a good long while, but we can do it.

And now, to put a smile on your face. Here are some goofy drawings I’ve been doing. I’ve started doing the drawing  exercises in Lynda Barry’s incredible Making Comics book. This book is stretching me in so many ways. It’s not just putting lines on the paper – Barry has got me firing up my imagination muscles again. This is the perfect time for it.

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