Analog Coping Mechanisms

2022 has been a rough year so far. My 93-year old dad, who lives in a nursing home because of advanced Parkinson’s Disease, tested positive for COVID-19 on January 3rd. I’ll spare you the details but it has been a very tough/distracting/emotional time since then. Yesterday he “graduated” out of the COVID ward and I was finally able to see him in person, but I’m not sure he knew I was there. I like to think he did.

During this time, I’ve craved hibernation and bed, but, of course, one must keep going. But how? I’ll always default to things that keep my mind soothed, simple things that feel good, things that take the edge off, even for a little while.

I’ve been journaling like CRAZY. Lots of pages. Lots of dumping ink and my heart onto the page. Lots of pep talks to myself and to my dad. Conflicting thoughts. Difficult thoughts. Pleas to just stay present and to not play the “what comes next?” game. I’m ripping though ink and journal pages and am proud of myself for showing up every day, though the urge to stay in bed is strong.

And that blue hourglass. Incredibly calming. I don’t know why I bought one, but now I’m glad I did. There’s something soothing about that blue glass and the gently streaming sand. A little reminder that we don’t necessarily have all the time that we think we do.

Sometime last year, I developed the habit of sticking inspiring quotes inside my pocket notebook. I push them along in the notebook as I fill up the pages, then transfer them to the next notebook. They’re starting to lose their stickiness so it’s probably time for a refresh, and maybe some new ones, but, boy, have I been leaning on these lately.

Especially the Rilke one. “Just keep going. No feeling is final.” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

In my free time, usually in the evening, I’ve been working on a HUGE crossword puzzle that recently came in a special puzzle insert with the local newspaper.

We don’t get the paper, but my mom gave me the section and after I finished the cryptograms (my all-time favorite puzzles), I started tackling the crosswords which are normally not my thing. These particular puzzles are just difficult enough to be challenging but also easy enough to be doable. The perfect balance.

But what I’m REALLY enjoying is the feel of the soft graphite in the Blackwing Vol. 93 Corita Kent pencil on the newsprint. How incredibly satisfying to write an answer in that deep dark print. Soooooooo smoooooooth.

I hope 2022 is treating you well, but if there have been bumps in the road, please know that I am with you in spirit.

“Just keep going. No feeling is final.”