Showing posts with label Coping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coping. Show all posts

Sunday, November 8, 2020

How I Am Coping With "The New Normal"

In my last post, I talked about how "The New Normal" had affected my life, but I didn't really talk about how it made me feel.

I think that the pandemic has affected us older folks in a particularly troubling way.  I don't mean to downplay how awful it has been for people who have lost their jobs or families with young children who can't go to school, but there is light at the end of that tunnel.  At some point, people will resume their lives - they will get jobs, the kids will go back to school, parties will resume, etc. - but us people of a certain age don't have that much time left.  That light at the end of the tunnel is our mortality beckoning and we feel robbed. The Golden Years aren't so golden.

Those of us lucky enough to retire and feel good about it had plans.  I didn't work for over 40 years as a librarian to not be able to go to the library! I didn't work all of those years and save money for retirement only to stay home and watch television.  Don't get me wrong, I have and have had a personal relationship with television, 

but I don't need to watch it 24/7. I also have other interests.  

  • I love movies and went to the movies every week and wrote reviews on this blog. I even belonged to a Fantasy Movie League. 

  • Believe it or not, I actually liked going to the gym.

  • I also liked to go out to eat and sit in a nice bar with a tasty adult beverage while listening to live music.  I have even been known to dance upon occasion.


  • I liked to have friends over. 

  • I moved closer to my son and grandchildren so I could spend more time with them.

  • I planned to travel more. In fact, right before the pandemic hit, I had first class airline tickets to go meet my daughter in New Orleans for another mother/daughter trip (we have had some good ones)! 

We planned to go to Europe, which in the past had been fairly often. Now who knows?

Though I am hopeful that things will get back to normal, some kind of normal anyway, I can't help but think that I only have so much time to enjoy those things and people I love and that time is ticking away. 

And I know I am not alone having these feelings.  I volunteer as a peer counselor for seniors and so far everyone I have encountered who is in my age group feels the same - robbed of what little time that might be left.

So what to do?

I don't pretend to have the answers.  I have good days and bad days just like everyone else.  On the good days, I can be positive.  On the bad days, I can't imagine the point of even getting out of bed.  But I have figured out a few things that make me happy so I thought I would share them with you in case some of it might resonate and help you too.

  • I write down how I feel.

This blog started when I retired.  I wanted to have a purpose but I also had many strong feelings about retirement and getting older.  So I wrote about retirement but then moved on to "reviewing" all kinds of things - from concerts to restaurants to life itself (here are some - "The Best of Rosy the Reviewer's Tuesday Blog Posts").  It eventually morphed into mostly movie reviews, but I always managed to add something about my personal life even to those.  This blog gave me an avenue to express myself.  I can't go to the movies anymore so am not regularly reviewing movies, but now I am back to talking about myself and how I see the world, which is where it all began.  And it helps me.  It makes me happy that perhaps it can help someone else.  You don't have to start a blog but it really does help to write down how you are feeling.  You could keep a journal or write letters or just start writing when something moves you.

  • I cook.

And cook and cook and cook. The Covid "19" is real but I don't care. When I am at loose ends, I love to create something delicious to eat.  I also bought a bread machine which has given me hours of fun!

  • I cuddle my dogs...or better yet, dress them up in costumes! (They LIKE it)!

Dogs can be such a comfort. I have heard that's it's almost impossible to get a rescue dog these days. I guess now that so many of us are in some form of lockdown, working from home or just not wanting to mingle with strangers, there is plenty of time to train a puppy or not feel guilty about leaving the dog home alone.  I have had dogs most of my life

and can't imagine not having a little creature to take care of (I know, I can take care of Hubby but he's not exactly a little creature)!  It feels good to be needed. 

  • And speaking of being needed, I volunteer.

As I mentioned, I volunteer as a counselor for other people my age, people who are having a difficult time, are anxious, grieving or in some sort of transition. I offer support on whatever road they are traveling and at whatever speed. I spend an hour a week with them, these days mostly over the phone, and I hope that it helps them.  I know it helps me to feel I am helping someone else.

  • I go for a walk and listen to music.

I am fortunate to live in a beautiful environment and being mindful of that is comforting.

  • I meditate.

Spending still time with myself calms me.  When things get scary, I can say to myself, "Here you are, sitting quietly in a chair, and right now you are alive and well."

  • I arrange my cookbooks by color.

 (oh, right, we've already been there - see the last blog post).

So those are a few things I do when "The New Normal" gets depressing.

But I have also discovered that it's not all about the externals, the keeping busy thing, the negatives around the pandemic.  Yes, it's a pain to wear a mask, to not be able to go to a concert or sit inside a restaurant, or think that in my lifetime I will never wear all of the clothes and shoes I have accumulated (especially that sequined jacket!). 

And yes, I get bored, but I can still be happy, because I have discovered some mental exercises I can do to change my feelings. Because in the end, it's really just you and your relationship with yourself.

What you think can change how you feel. 

I discovered some of that over the years through meditation, but thanks to my peer counseling group, I have also discovered that there are certain characteristics of happy people that we can cultivate and they have nothing to do with physical attractiveness, money or even finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. They are all inside ourselves.  They are spelled out in an excellent book called "Real Happiness: Proven Paths for Contentment, Peace & Well-Being" by Jonah Paquette and being reminded of what real happiness is has helped me through this time. 

Really happy people cultivate gratitude, practice kindness and compassion toward others and themselves, live in the present moment, are optimistic, strengthen their relationships and practice forgiveness.  The book has several exercises to help you do just that so you can join the ranks of truly happy people.

Now I am certainly not there yet. But there are a few little things I do when I am feeling down and kind of hopeless.

  • I buy stuff off the Internet (just kidding - well, sort of, but not recommended)

  • I savor a moment or a happy memory.

  • I entertain The "What's the worst thing that could happen?" scenario.

I think we all tend to catastrophize a bit when something goes wrong.  We go to the worst possible scenario.  But you know what?  That's okay.  Go there.  Ask yourself, "What's the worst thing that could happen?"  After you have wallowed in that a bit, think about the best possible outcome.  What would you wish for?  And after you have basked in that, ask yourself, "But what is the most likely?"  When I think about time ticking away, the worst thing that could happen would be, well, die. But then I think, the best thing would be that I live to be 100 which would give me (mumble) years left.  At this moment, I seem to be in good health, my Dad lived to be 83 despite a cancer he refused to treat and my mother lived to 91 so it's likely I still have quite a few years left and the pandemic will likely be over well before that.

  • I feel grateful for what I do have and the time I have left.  I have a loving Hubby, loving children and grandchildren, a clean (most of the time), dry place to live and friends who show they care.

There.  I feel better already.

So yes, there are times I feel robbed thinking that I don't have the freedom to do everything I want to do in the years I have left, but none of us know what the future may hold, so I plan to make the most of the years I have left...and things are looking up already!

Thanks for reading!

See you again soon!

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Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.