🌷The Hardest Life LessonπŸ’€

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

-Seneca

THE PRESENT

A few years ago I started casually reading a “stoic quote of the day,” I’ve done a lot of things like that. Self improvement binges, eight glasses of water ext ext. But this never stopped. It never got old. It never stopped being helpful.

Some days I don’t make the time to do this self leadership, it doesn’t take long, but it takes “a lot”. A lot of mana, a lot of hope…

It always cheers me up, to read the stoic quotes, but I forget to turn to them. It takes some strength to open the computer, go to the coach.me website, and read the quote of the day, not a lot, but sometimes more than I have.

But I always go back.

I don’t think it’s a failing (at least in a negative way), I think it’s part of the process. I think self growth is impossibly steep, that if there were not breaks I wouldn’t be able to go on. That my best isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty normal to need breaks.

For almost a year I’ve been writing, but I haven’t ever felt comfortable writing about the stoic quotes directly. It’s a project I’ve always intended to do later.

Maybe today. In this unwanted corono-free time.

The first stoic quote is number 10 out of 50, but it’s where I am today in my sequence so it will be the first.

Seneca was a senator in Rome, he wrote a lot about time management, compared to the other famous three (Seneca, Marcus Aurelius the Emperor and Epictetus the slave) he is the closest to me in class (middle class) yet the furthest from me in personality and values. Still I try to learn from Seneca as much as the others, because maybe he is strong where I am weakest.

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

-Seneca

I’m always struck by how much the Romans lived like modern Americans, they based a lot of their society on the Greeks and so have we.

We tend to think cell phones made us busier, televisions made us busier, email made us busier ext ext. That’s very un-proactive. Those are excuses. I’ve made them, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize the truth that the hand behind the button is in my control.

I have been ordered to stay at home, many people have willingly stayed at home but I didn’t, I obligingly am staying at home not by choice.

I have become a prisoner, in a comfortable prison.

In my mind, my logical mind I would love to have a positive attitude, I would love to enjoy this time.

But I’m finding it hard. Very hard.

Because I don’t want to panic my kids and some of my family members have panicked, so I feel like a break water getting hit by the ocean of other people’s emotions, but refusing to let the bay of my home become turbulent.

Some would say I’m panicked, that my feelings are mirrored by the ones I don’t like, but I don’t think so, because I feel more angry and they feel more afraid. Some say anger is a secondary emotion, not real, just a coated fear. I don’t agree and neither does the data behind the book “How Emotions Are Made.”

I really hate this.

Moving on, this is the project I’ve been waiting to start from 2017:

THE PAST

This is my response to trying to live by the stoic quote about being busy over the last 4 years, comments from the present are marked with italics.

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

-Seneca

Entry 1 August 17th, 2017:

I was working full time, newly married, raising our first child who was almost 2 (still feeling like a new parent). I hated the way I was rushing through every moment of life from commuting at 7 AM for an hour with a baby screaming the whole drive through traffic five days a week, two hours a day ext.

πŸ€” STOIC QUOTE 10 APPLIED πŸ€” (My Main Mental Exercise Activity)

Wow, presence was an issue way back then (4BC-65AD), I wonder if it has been so in all of human history. It seems like we are able to keep busy with inventing ways to keep busy, but the ways to relax stay the same.

Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More” by Rachel Macy Stafford was the first book I remember reading that directly addressed that problem (of being mindlessly and unproductively busy) and although I keep trying to implement the habits, they are very slippery ones.

The idea of letting go of trying to control the uncontrollable (Hands Free Lesson Four – Take the Pressure Off: Don’t Try to Be Perfect or Ask Others to Be Perfect) from yesterday was also one of the nine Hands Free Habits that seems in complete alignment with these stoic quotes.

I wonder how many of them are stoic habits?

I spun the wheel of habits (a free colorful online wheel that can be customized with choices) and today I rolled Lesson Nine: Change Someone’s Story. I thought of my child first, but thinking about yesterday’s lesson, I realize I need to change my own story first.

The Nine Habits on a Digital Spinning Wheel (Exercise in Trying to Love)

When I think of changing my own story, the first thing I think of is the past.

Making sense out of my childhood… but then I think of the present.

Today I woke up at 4:30 AM, to have time alone, to not feel rushed, and everyday I do that I rewrite the story that I tell myself “that I can’t wake up at that time,” “that I don’t have time to draw or write,” “that I can’t have time for myself as a mother,” “that I can’t get enough work time for meaningful work with my day job and parenting responsibilities.”

I know what Seneca is said is true for me (that constant busyness is not the life I want), but waking up early is one tool I can use, because from 4:30-6:30 AM nothing has to get done.

“You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

🐒 Elanor Roosevelt via Kung Fu Panda

β˜• ASCRIBING DAILY MEANING β˜• (An Exercise in Inspiration)

Today I realized I have some power in my own life, waking up early gives me time alone and I believe that it will help me be patient and change my own story to slow down and not rush throughout life without having lived it.

πŸƒ MENTAL AGILITY NOTEBOOK πŸƒ (An Exercise in Mental Flexibility)

Today’s Opportunities for Improvement:

…Falling they are given wings.

– Rumi

1. Didn’t make potty a priority after car ride… enjoyed a cold beverage and cleaning hot pee. 2. Scrubbing poop off the patio in the lovely summer sun. Outdoor play happens after the bowel is already empty from now on… 3. I wanted to see when toddler would “choose” a nap or if she needed one, no and yes. Toddler doesn’t do the schedule anymore, the only one with worse time management for naps than me is a toddler… Reading this takes me right back to potty training, I don’t regret it, but I don’t miss it one bit, if I could go back in time, that would not be the time I chose to revisit.

⛰️ MENTAL MODELS ⛰️ (Reviewing Beliefs I Found Motivational)

1. Discard conventional fixed ideas.

2. Think of how to do it.

3. Start by questioning current practices.

4. Do it right away imperfectly.

5. Correct mistakes right away.

6. Do not just spend money use wisdom.

7. Wisdom is brought out during hardship.

8. Ask “Why?” five times to seek root causes.

9. Seek the wisdom of ten people rather than the knowledge of one.

10. Kaizen ideas are infinite.

11. Seiri Tidying/Sorting

12. Seiton Putting Away

13. Seiso Cleaning

14. Seiketsu Clean/Standards

15. Shitsuke Training/Belief in Order

🐟 FREQUENT WORRIES 🐟 (An Anxiety Reduction Activity)

1. I worry about seeing productivity happen right away and it doesn’t.

2. THEN I worry about controlling my child even though I shouldn’t and can’t in the way I worry over.

NOW I now feel opposite (anti-permissive), that it is my duty to control many parts of my child, health, safety, perhaps manners, education somewhat, until my child is mentally competent, (none of those things mean crushing their soul or micromanaging their personal body or style) and I no longer feel I can’t control my child, because I set the environment that for sure affects my child, and there is a lot of indirect controls available in the routine and environment I allow as well as directly yet non-violent grabbing my child should she run into traffic (as she really has done). There is much I cannot control, like death, but much I can, like screen time and it’s certainly my job as the primary parent – no one else is going to step in and help guide my children on an average day, it’s usually me or no one.

3. I worry about letting life go by without “tasting the food.” That is still what I worry the most about, it’s a founded worry, if things don’t change, I will have died without ever fully having lived, perhaps no one else will ever know or care, but I will certainly know that.

🌳 LEARNING HUMILITY MONTH πŸƒ (An Activity in Learning Humility)

Next August I can go right to checking myself against Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More and spend the month adding some of the habits back into my life if needed.

Today I am working on listening to the beliefs that are black absences of stars in my mental sky, and seeing where I need to change my own story to stop rushing. Not much I do during a given day is something that needs to be, or should be rushed, I’ve got to look into why I am rushing to do anything about it. 🀺

Looking back on that phase of life, working full time bring my child to work, outside of the home, not sleeping at night, working early, it wasn’t entirely that I didn’t manage time well, it was a bad life, a bad patch of life in a potentially good life. I was really squeezing blood out of stones to try to be perfect in an imperfect world.

Entry 2 October 26th, 2017:

About 40 Days PassedLife was a little better.

πŸ€” STOIC QUOTE 10 APPLIED πŸ€” 🎬II

THEN Yesterday was my daughter’s second birthday, we had a great day, maybe the best day of our lives for my dad, my sister, me and maybe my baby and my husband. It was small, but my daughter had a lot of attention, which she loves at an indoor playground that closed down the next year, a small cake and a few presents at home and the a trip to the beach at night. But I didn’t enjoy the whole day. When I was busy setting up, busy cleaning during, busy trying to get photos arranged… During those times and after I didn’t enjoy the day. I guess being busy isn’t wrong, but it’s so hard to get back into life. Maybe I could arrange the day with cues to slow down, with large break times, with more open blocks. Still schedule, but just have more flexibility time, more break time… 🐒

NOW I’ve gotten less entitled to thinking that I can or should be able to enjoy every moment of life, but I still know what I was talking about, being in such a rush to clear the dishes that I never enjoyed a meal, being in such a rush to load my kids in the car that I was completely tense over saving half a minute of commute time. I was hurrying up to wait my whole life, long before and long after I worked in an ambulance.

βš”οΈ TODAY’S TINY ACTIVITY βš”οΈ

Try to take a break from (X:45)-(X+1) each hour when possible.

DID I DO THAT YET? βœ”οΈπŸ€Ί

You may notice I dropped a lot of activities between the first and second entry, the one I kept the stoic quote and tiny action to use the stoic quote in my life was 10x more helpful to me in my life so that’s what I use. Some people use guided meditation or yoga or both, using the stoic quotes is a form of rational meditation that works so effectively for me, nothing else has come close, no disrespect towards other things, this is just the prescription for sanity that works with my mind and body and I wanted to share it with the world, because it took me so many years to find and it’s so simple and accessible to anyone who read regardless of age, income, gender ext.

Entry 3 December 27th, 2017:

About 60 Days Passed Life was a lot better.

πŸ”οΈ STOIC QUOTE 10 πŸ”οΈ πŸ†πŸ†

🐍 INPUT: “There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.” (Since Seneca was born year of the snake, I represent him as a snake affectionately.)

πŸ’‘ THOUGHT: I totally agree with Seneca. I’ve never been overwhelmed with awesome fun, nor amazing meaningful projects, I’ve only ever been busy with πŸ’© I really didn’t need to do, or at least didn’t need to try to do at the same time.

I really had no (or not enough) prioritization skills, or boundaries, and the word is full of people who will take advantage of that if you let them.

πŸ₯Š ACTION: Make my kid stay in her room until 7 AM, meow!

πŸŽ‰ CELEBRATION: . Waking up at 5:30 instead of 4:30 for the same amount of free time, woo!!

🐒 LEARNING: It took 4 days to sleep train at night, and 6 months to sleep train the last hour of the morning, but it’s not to late, it seems like learning happens in an upward sinus curve. There is fast progress, regression, progress, regression, and then the final progress to the goal…

People who are against sleep training, please realize I had to drive to work everyday early in the morning and I did sleep training after hitting a car, if you don’t want to be hit by sleepy drivers, please stop sleep training bashing until moms are not forced to work in the morning – thank you. My daughter is still properly attached FYI.

Entry 4 December 13th, 2018:

Just under a year passed. My daughter was three years old now, life was very difficult, although I had stopped working outside the home, I was pregnant and very ill (not every pregnant woman is ill or weak or moody, but I was all three).

πŸ”οΈ STOIC QUOTE 10 πŸ”οΈ

🐍 “There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

πŸ’‘ This quote reminds me of being a college student, or just a student in general, I had horrible life balance. I believed that the better I did in school the more money I would make (ha ha) and everything else would just fall into place as a result.

I didn’t sleep sometimes to get ahead in reading text books, I took optional summer school, I opted out of every social event I possibly could and brought flash cards and text books to parties to study there… and in the end I got good grades and a degree, but have never made more than $13.75/hour while my uneducated husband makes double that without knowing long division.

It’s funny that I was so wrong, I can’t go back, but if I could I would not have worried so much about grades, I would not have sacrificed social and networking skills to read books that I could have read still, at a slower pace.

I would not have sacrificed having some free time to enjoy life, even as a student, to get good grades that in my personal circumstances, led nowhere (in hindsight perhaps not nowhere, but nowhere I needed to rush towards in such an imbalanced way, I had heard “work until exhaustion while young,” now I think “work smart” would have been better”).

Okay grades would have taken me just as far as good ones, that’s not true for everyone, but it’s true for me.

Now as a mom, I think I know where the “dangers (of loosing awareness to mindless rushing) are,” I think cleaning up and doing activities with my daughter are the trap.

They are what I have to do, but if I did either too much, they could individually or jointly drain the life (the joie de vivre ie zest for life) out of me in a month.

There has to be some messes not cleaned, and some teaching or enrichment opportunities not taken, or I won’t make it the next five years alive and sane.

πŸ₯Š I’m going to try not to use my daughter’s nap times for productivity, because it’s the only for sure “living time” that I have in a normal day.

I’m going to try to have tea and read and do everything else, sometime else.

πŸŽ‰ I’m celebrating that I have a routine that leaves me the evenings to settle down.

🐒 I learned that I’m a “morning lark” from reading John Medina’s Brain Rules, and since learning that, I don’t hate myself for being no good for work past noon, and no good for even being awake after 8PM.

Learning to accept my limits has made me more productive, than trying to work around them to be like my friends or other people who can do a lot more than I can…

Following Immanuel Kant’s schedule for the past few weeks has been wonderful for me, it’s let me change the way I manage my time in a way that works for me without making me so busy that I don’t even feel alive anymore.

Looking back on the past, I know that I lost something to gain something, I lost the respect and harmony of my husband and marriage when I stopped trying to be the woman he wanted me to be, his mom, who worked full time, cooked chef quality meals and took 100% care of the kids all the time, which is possible when your dad 100% abandons your family of four. I don’t regret being who I am, not because I don’t love my husband, but because I was only ever a failure at impersonating who he wanted me to be and only ever a success at being myself. I hope someday he loves me for me, but I can’t even be who he wanted, so the question of if I should is one I don’t have to find an answer to, though I suspect the correct answer would be that I shouldn’t have to do everything a single mom can do as a married one and that someone who really loved me would find the strength to help me, rather than resent it.

Entry 5 March 20th, 2019

Although just 3 months passed, life was irreparably different, because I had someone new in my life, someone who loved and supported me unconditionally, my second and last child, a son.

πŸ—» Stoic Quote 10 πŸ—»

🐍 “There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

πŸ’‘ Intellection: I spent the first 4 years of my life enjoying life, than the next 28 years of life too busy.

For me school was the problem, if you do all the homework – it eats away at your family life, your creativity, your enjoyment of life.

Most people probably just didn’t do all of it, or skimmed it, but I took it way too seriously that I follow all the instructions and read the chapters that wouldn’t get me points anyways.

It was a mistake, because it cost me a lot of other things like enjoying my life.

I wish I had never gone to public school. I learned math at home working on problems. I couldn’t even see the board, because I needed glasses and didn’t have them.

School was a total waste of time for me, I learned from books.

If I had to go to school, I wished I would have taken it way less seriously.

Everyone (my parents, my teachers, family, strangers) lied about how important school was, it may be important and good, but it is not as important and good as it is portrayed to be (Hitler did go to school and Joan of Arch didn’t).

It’s a part of life and should be, but it shouldn’t be all to life…

because it ends.

If school is your whole life and your whole skill set, you are crippled to the rest of life, and lost when it ends.

I failed to enjoy most of my life thus far, but only by honestly seeing that can I stop doing that. (Positive attitude serves in many amazing ways, but not in every way and not in place of the truth. You would use a positive attitude to get through a concentration camp, not to leave a review of one, positive thinking is the left hand to the right hand of honesty, not it’s replacement.)

I’ve enjoyed life the past few weeks, the birth of my son reset my mind in a way my daughter didn’t.

With her, life was a struggle, I didn’t sleep and my mental capacity was so low, just drinking water and getting meals on the table was a huge struggle for me (with no back ground in cooking or raising kids).

I failed to enjoy my daughter as a baby, or my life during that time, it’s kind of sad, but I think it was a failure I needed to own to even allow myself to start enjoying my son’s childhood and my life.

The pain of that failure, is the catalyst that allowed me to change.

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater, than the pain of change.”

– Tony RobbinsΒ 

I really need the pain of staying the same to be greater than the pain of changing, in order to have the strength to face the unknowns of changing.

I’m not brave.

πŸ› οΈ Responsibility: Serenity or proactivity?

It’s proactivity to own the fact that you are the slave master (of yourself) who makes you work too much, or rush, or say yes to more activities or engagements than you enjoy (I hope anyways, I know slavery is still out there ie human trafficking, I read Not for Sale, I’m sorry for that being the case).

Other people invite you, but no one pressures you as much as you.

It’s serenity to know everything has an opportunity cost.

If I am doing a stoic journal right now, it costs me doing a gratitude journal, I don’t have this time for both.

If I used other time for a gratitude journal, that would cost me something else I like to do.

There are more beneficial things to do in a day than free time in which to do it.

πŸŽ‰ Resolution: I’m celebrating that I’m having a golden period of inner peace and happiness in my life right now. Most of my life I would worry in good times, that the good times wouldn’t last (storms over blossoms was the idiom behind that belief).

This time, I am just taking every second of happiness and peace as it comes, without worrying about the future.

Because this time, I am at peace knowing that this will not last.

I will not last forever, and this time will not last forever, bad times will come, but this time I am at peace with that enough to enjoy this.

🐒 Learning: Life is very seasonal, every pain and every amusement comes and goes. We don’t all have the same things, but we all have things we like and don’t like happen to us, that is the same.

People make fun of “first world problems,” but I find it freeing that we all have problems.

I find myself less guilty for having an easy life, knowing that my emotional life – isn’t really any easier than anyone else’s (in general).

The richer countries, often are not happier, there is no reason to feel guilty for what I have, or to want more than what I have.

I’m blessed to be able to feed my kids or get them medical care easily, but the pain of my pregnancy was the same as any woman with a hard pregnancy, rich or poor.

The pain of having a husband who doesn’t make time for me is the same as any other spouse going through that, rich or poor.

The happiness of seeing my son smile is the same as any other parent who had the healthy, live child they had wanted to have, rich or poor.

I’m learning that it is the empty space in life that gives me happiness.

Not having as much as possible, but having enough down time, enough empty space in our living space, having enough unplanned time in our week, having enough silence in our living room, so people can start to talk, having enough lack of clutter so we can buy a new toy here and there (without being choked with items everywhere), having enough tolerance for non-productivity to be able to live with myself without hating myself, having enough non-educational time for my kids that they can even process what they did learn, without being overwhelmed, having enough lack of tech that we can “just be” without engaging constantly with the digital world.

Life is like a song that can get overplayed, excess in anything really gives a negative return, and being constantly busy is like having an excess of life itself.

Entry 6 August 21st, 2019

About 5 Months Passed – I am legally/physically 34 years old, but much of who I am now mentally/emotionally/spiritually was reforged with the birth of my son March 10th, 2019, much of who I am now, is new to me. Part of me is a baby, in a good way, a way of potential, growth, learning, self-awareness, discovery of the world and discovery of myself, having a child doesn’t guarantee that, but it may happen, it didn’t the first time, I wasn’t mature enough to grow up a second time, when I hadn’t grown up once.

πŸ‚ Stoic Quote 10 πŸ‚

πŸ“˜ Input: β€œThere is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.” 🐍

πŸ’‘ Intellection: It’s a little funny, that i’m still failing at this.

Not all the quotes are hard for me, this one is.

I know life is finite, I want to make it count, so I try to fit as much in as I can.

It’s not good when it becomes too much, that I don’t have time to notice and enjoy life, but it keeps happening in cycles.

πŸ› οΈ Responsibility: Serenity or proactivity?

Serenity to know it’s how I am to work hard and try to do a lot.

Proactivity to schedule rest and breaks.

πŸŽ‰ Resolution: I’m celebrating that I’m not judging myself for getting busy, just noticing.

🐒 Learning: Being busy isn’t bad, a great life has balanced leisure, work and family time.

Entry 7 November 2nd, 2019

About 2 Months Passed – this year having been the happiest of my life, not the easiest, they never went together for me (ease and joy).

🍁 Stoic Quote 10 🍁

πŸ“˜ Input: “There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.” 🐍

πŸ’‘ Intellection: I think (excessive) busyness is essentially a way of saying living with no awareness of what is going on… (like a zombie) it may or may not be related to time-wasting or productivity, it’s like feeling like life goes faster than you can understand and/or cope with.

πŸ› οΈ Responsibility: Serenity or proactivity?

Proactivity to recognize when I rush, and slow down, to do what matters, instead of doing what doesn’t matter faster.

β€œThings thatΒ matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Real life is the things that matter least do take over, but they shouldn’t always be left that way, ie sometimes you have to hold on the phone to register with insurance or things like that even though you would rather hug your kids…

πŸŽ‰ Resolution: I’m celebrating that I’m not as (mindlessly) busy as before.

🐒 Learning: I’m learning the cost of losing a stay at home parent is so high, whether a mom, dad or grandparent, without someone to be grounded, the whole family is almost spiritually homeless in a way I have trouble putting words to, the family becomes beads, instead of a necklace, it loses solidarity. That’s true at least in our family. Perhaps it’s a leader that is needed rather than a “stay at home” person, but it seems like the risk of running around like a chicken with your head cut off is higher if everyone is working constantly.

Entry 8 April 9th, 2020

About 5 Months Have Passed – This is martial law, stay at home against your will – orders of the governor – due to risk (real or imagined) of significant (or normal) death by germs to a either typical or atypical amount of people that is either part of life or a horrible tragedy depending on the lens of the individual.

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

-Seneca

I don’t know if it is imagined, but it feels like, there was never a time I needed this quote more than today.

Though I’m not panicked, I am thrown off, though my life isn’t desperate, they are strange, though I am extremely grateful to have 100% of what I need I did loose my composure under the strain of the pressure I put on myself.

A few weeks ago, my husband kicked my daughter’s lovie, a yellow stuffed dog, in anger, ending our family meeting, in which he refused to set a goal for his week or hear ours.

I’m glad for the people who are doing amazing things with this time, it hasn’t been us.

I felt the need to put on a smile to keep my kids calm, and it wore me down.

Being someone I’m not always does wear me down.

Not that I am panicked, but I’m not happy.

I’m not the wonderful caring people, like Rachel Stafford, who would opt to save lives by staying in.

I am the kind of person who doesn’t see keeping other people from catching ill as my job, as I see it as theirs.

I don’t agree with the stay at home measures. I am following them, I understand them, but I don’t agree with them.

When it’s your time, it’s your time. That’s a belief I have, this public health measure violates my belief, it violates my freedom, possibly my civil rights (not legal)…

I’m following it, I am not disagreeing with quarantine of the sick, but I am disagreeing with quarantine of the healthy.

Behind plastic sheets, the immune compromised are relegated to be safe, the world has turned upside down, the healthy must not be allowed normal life in the name of possibly getting sick to possibly get at risk people sick who will possibly die.

I don’t wish death on anyone, I know we all don’t really know how bad this will get, but as of now despite the hype, the death count hasn’t exceed the typical flu in my area. Will my area shut down whenever something contagious becomes a large problem somewhere? Will it shut down for a large death count, or just a large scare? Cancer and heart disease still kill more, traffic accidents still kill more? Will we start caring about any of those? Or stop caring about this when it isn’t new?

It’s interesting that being stuck at home has thrown me off my normal routine, which was very largely at home to such a great extent. I resisted, but today I gave in.

I don’t want this, but it is here.

I don’t want my husband to be stressed, but he is.

I don’t want myself to be caught in between his stress and a bubble of calm I try to give the kids, but I am.

I am not going to waste the time, but I’m not going to pretend this is a nice time for us, it isn’t cozy, it is comfortable, but martial law isn’t a stay at home vacation and I resent that suggestion even from the people I otherwise really respect.

Perhaps descending from a racial group who was interned during world war 2 makes me very unhappy to be legally confined against my will.

For someone who doesn’t go out much it’s hard to understand why it feels like my civil rights are being violated, but it is a restriction of freedom, it’s a house arrest, it’s imprisonment for an undefined duration.

So, not happy, not going to treasure every moment, but also not wasting the time either.

I’m going to do a two hour music lesson in the mornings between breakfast and lunch, because it’s less draining then reading lessons and possibly equally educational. I don’t want to do nothing, but I have noticed I have less patience to do something difficult while not being horribly grouchy at enduring a situation I don’t want to endure for an unknown duration.

On the surface I don’t think anyone knows how deeply I resent this situation. It might seem too much, but it’s very much a common process where I meet something I don’t like with a smile day after day for weeks or months until the distilled resin of bitterness within me doesn’t seem justified by what is seemingly a small adjustment in my outward life.

The tension has been horrible. The wide diversity of opinion not based on face has divided my immediate and extended family. My family meeting habit has been ruptured. I felt the need to break up my husband and daughter twice to prevent reasonable discipline from becoming abuse. I’m sure others have suffered more, but that doesn’t negate the negative changes to my life. It’s not that I need to complain, but I need to honor or at least acknowledge my frustration at least to myself and I didn’t for so long.

Other people having more pain makes me feel like I shouldn’t speak about mine, which is okay, but what isn’t that helpful is that I don’t even internally acknowledge it to myself. How can I diffuse stress I lie to myself about? I can’t, and then everything gets out of proportion.

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

– Seneca

Now I am at home, stuck at home, doubly as a stay at home parent and as a stay in place citizen, now that I can not go anywhere I find it triply hard to do any of the things I said I would want to do if I had time at home (organize, cook more, paint). I find it hard to do my normal school routine, because life isn’t normal, it’s similar to normal, but oh so not normal.

It’s like the twilight zone, a bit off in so many ways, but not in any major way.

I’ve been to plenty of countries that don’t have toilet paper, but this one usually does, it’s a bit off.

I’ve heard of people dying of illness, but never seen people panic about it, that is a bit off.

Nothing is horrible in my life to the extent that it logically describes the bitterness I feel about my life being suddenly very slightly off, but there is a loss of control for an unknown amount of time, there is a negative face of the world as one world and one family to match the positive face of the world as one world and one family that I so recently experienced this past year.

I have gotten so much love and support from readers all over the world, so much wisdom and enjoyment from writers all over the world and for the first time in my life (not the first time), some illness (and some panic) from all over the world is able to shut my side of the world down. A certain percentage of virus and a certain percentage of hysteria has reached my doorstep and as much as I don’t like to, I have to recognize it as the uglier twin of the wisdom, wonder and beauty of having the world at my doorstop.

With the internet, global trade and global travel, I have love and germs from every continent, but seeing it that way, for me, it has been 100% worthwhile.

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

– Seneca

The current stay at home situation x2 (stay at home parent and stay at home citizen) has been a larger dose of questioning the normal routines of life than is comfortable for me, but perhaps it will allow me to become a better teacher.

I’ve been feeling life half a person with my husband so distanced from me emotionally, I let him know he wouldn’t be using his kids as scapegoats for frustration of the unknown, he respected it, but withdrew emotionally, which is what it is.

I’ve had a kidney area pain so bad I couldn’t sleep one night three weeks ago, tomorrow I am getting a blood test and urine test to see that it is or is not damaging my kidney. Maybe I just pulled a muscle with child care, but I don’t think so. The first night I couldn’t sleep, was the beginning of a weird rush to get supplies that wiped the stores out in our area. My husband asked me to wait until this was over to see a doctor and I did. But it hasn’t got better and when I took my son for his scheduled vaccines his doctor recommended that I go. The doctor saw me on the computer and sent me to the lab. I’m sure people have been lost, that’s natural, it’s hard, but natural. But it’s not without cost to put every area on stay at home orders.

Does the cost make sense? Honestly, it’s impossible to know before the data is in. But what makes more sense to me is to support the at risk of death ie elderly or sickly people to isolate rather than the entire population. Drop them off food, create a fund to replace income such as unemployment tax.

I hope we all learn from this, what supplies are needed that were not in good supply.

The value of being healthy. That it isn’t a given.

The value of life. That it isn’t forever.

The value of lifting up poverty conditions everywhere on Earth. That sickness born of squalid conditions doesn’t kill your grandparents before they are ready to go.

For me, I’ve been stumbling through my duties as a wife, a mother, a home school teacher, but doing them with such little energy has surprised me in many ways. It’s actually been easier to watch myself from a second point of view and notice the effort I usually put into life doesn’t give me much greater returns than this half effort does.

Perhaps I start a new life today. A life born of necessity to work smarter not harder. To find enjoyment during part of every day, rather than the weekend. To stop driving myself in third gear when first gear will do.

I guess I find it annoying to admit the truth that these past weeks that I have no excuse to have done nothing worthwhile with the extra time, I nonetheless could not or didn’t.

Sometimes I want to be stronger than what I am, but in my weakness and failure I see my humanity.

I have every sympathy for the sick or ill, I don’t want to present that I don’t. I just don’t agree with the idea that confinement is painless and trivial nor the separation of the pain and suffering of all the sick or ill who are non-corono sick vs cornon sick. A influenza death doesn’t get a different ranking in my book, an obesity death, a suicide death.

I didn’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to make light of anyone’s suffering. But I found it hard to deal with it without talking about it, I found it hard to cope with what I felt without writing and it’s simply become a habit to share whatever truth I have, even knowing what I have to say will probably be misunderstood in writing, saying it is a freedom I have to uplift my soul in a dark and weary time.

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.”

– Seneca

Now that there is no excuse for me not to live, now that there is 0% busyness, 0 flights, 0 play dates, 0 museum trips, 0 visits from family, 0 trips to the swapmeets, 0 walks to the park, 0 walks to the market, 0 nature hikes, 0 trips to the beach, 0 trips to visit friends, 0 dinners out at restaurants, I face my naked half developed proactivity/ownership of my own choices and don’t exactly love what I see.

I feel barely strong enough to change, but tomorrow I will do music from breakfast to lunch if I can (might come home late due to the blood test) and something tells me it’s going to change my life, not only for this weird period of time, but forever. It’s melodramatic sounding, but it feels so true tonight. I’ve always been a bit scatterbrained as a teacher, deciding what will be the spine of my school and what will be the accent will be life changing if it sticks.

I have no excuses, but also not much motivation or inspiration. It’s a dark period for me, a typically cheery person. I’ve been silent not wanting to offend anyone, not wanting to disrespect anyone, not wanting to disagree with people I respect, but the trouble with that, is that when I stopped speaking my truth to others, I somehow stopped processing my own truth internally as well and stayed mired in built up resentment and bitterness that daily gratitude helped me survive, but I haven’t been crafting a beautiful sculpture out of each day lately.

Everyday is a blessing, what I have is more than enough, but my world has been shifted in a way that although is embarrassingly small has been too rapid for an inflexible person like me to catch up with.

Seneca was a senator in Rome, he dealt with low lives at work (people that hurt children, like the emperor of the time), because he had to, he died when the revolutionaries just in overthrowing an insane abusive emperor he worked with came to his house and ordered him to commit suicide. He did it calmly. I don’t like Seneca the best, but I know for his imperfections, he wasn’t someone who said things he didn’t mean. When he said “there is nothing harder to learn,” I agree, not that this is hard, but that there is actually nothing harder to learn.

I think the root of the disease that I and many people feel of being stuck at home is that so very much of our everyday life doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t align with our values, we may regret it on our death bed, but it’s so tiring to change that the idea of thinking of everything we do to the extent that is possible by being cut off from our normal is completely overwhelming. It’s easier to be mad, it’s easier to be afraid, than it is to look at your naked life from the outside in and judge it.

Being cut off is an opportunity to choose, evaluate, decide what to return to, but it’s so overwhelming that without a lifeline it’s an ocean of possibilities that can drown you, or paralyze you.

Not having freedom, not having social connection shows their real value of sanity, inspiration, motivation, well being.

Not having the excuse of busyness shatters the illusion that it was a lock holding us in prison, we stand in an unlocked prison of our own design by choice. It’s an ugly truth. It’s a painful sobriety to wake up to so sharply.

My prior busyness was not important, my current failure to live how I want to is no ones fault but my own, whatever holds me back from the life I want is within me for sure, there is no body else here to blame.

Thank you readers for joining me over the most turbulent years of my life in one article. I would rather you hate me for who I am than love me for who I am not. You have all helped me so much find my voice, I don’t know why I can’t form an opinion to stay silent, when I stay silent I don’t even complete my thoughts, I leave them as unsculpted clay. When I know I have to share, only then do I fully form my thoughts and get to know a bit more of myself as I tell me story.

Much love and peace, not just now, but always for your part in my life. My body is isolated now, but my voice was isolated my whole life until I began sharing my story with you. πŸ’ž

P.S. These songs remind me of the idea of Seneca’s quote, any songs that kind of have that theme are extremely welcome, I would love to have a playlist for every time I cycle into stoic meditation on this quote.

Bitmoji Image
When the music hit’s you, you feel no less pain.

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