Boundaries

Life without boundaries is a difficult life to live. I only set a few boundaries in my life before a couple of years ago. Those boundaries were removing toxic people from my life that had been toxic for many years. But I had no other boundaries.

With being an introvert, I need boundaries so I can recharge and take care of myself. Boundaries aren’t only meant to be set to keep toxic people away, they also need to be set so you can take care of yourself. In times like we are currently living through right now, we need to be even more vigilant about our boundaries.

More

Today’s Way of Life

As of writing this post, the United States has been in some sort of COVID-19 limbo for about seven months. A lot of people’s lives have been turned upside down while some haven’t really been affected much at all. To be honest, I don’t know one person who hasn’t been affected in one way or another, but I am sure there are some out there. Life today is very different than it was just over seven months ago.

Life for me has changed moderately, mostly with travel and my husband’s switch to most likely permanently working from home with me. Oh and everybody and their brother deciding to buy campers or tents and heading to the mountains and leaving a fucking mess. Life has slowed down and I am grateful for it.

This year we had a lot of travel planned to multiple places for vacation and family events or conferences. All of it has been canceled. All of my business travel has been canceled. I haven’t gotten on a plane or left the state since March. We don’t even know if our normal holiday travels will happen. I was so excited for our new airport to open in September and book travel specifically around the opening. That has not happened for me. I have no idea when I’ll get to check out the new airport. All of these things are trivial in the thirty thousand foot view of our world right now.

Eddie is an extrovert who needs people. He thrives on working in a setting with people that he can interact with all day. If he doesn’t interact with multiple people, it’s almost as if he is a bit ADD. It’s like his energy builds up and has nowhere to go. When his company sent everybody to work from home, we assumed he would be back in the office within weeks. Hell, I think society at large assumed life would return to normal relatively quickly. Unfortunately for Eddie, it is looking like quarantine is actually pushing his company to make the decision for his team to work from home permanently. Thankfully we have enough space to have our own offices, but that doesn’t bode well for an extrovert who can’t go to concerts or do other things to get out his energy. There are most definitely many people who are just like my husband and who are probably struggling. Life for them has taken a turn they can’t easily remedy.

There are more people than ever in the mountains and camping. I wouldn’t ever want to deprive someone from getting out in nature or claim that the mountains are mine, but for goodness sake, clean up after yourself and put your damn fires out!! I am tired of finding a camping spot only to have to use almost an entire trash bag to clean up other people’s messes. Leave nature how it is intended to be. And be responsible. Put out your fires all of the way. Utah has had more fires this year started by people abandoning campfires than any previous year. I am sitting on the porch with smoking skies from all of the fires from here and further west. I know Utah isn’t the only state with fires and I know that a lot of the fires are from irresponsible people.

We’ve also benefited from the economy and market since the shutdown in March. We were able to refinance our home at a great rate and get some big renovation projects paid for. We’ve also had more time to get into the mountains and camping since we aren’t using Eddie’s paid time off for all of the other travel. We’ve been challenged to redefine what is important to us. We’ve been able to spend more time taking care of each other and our home.

As I sit here and write this post, I am grateful for my life slowing down so much that I can really define what is truly important to me. I get to revisit my goals and enjoy an afternoon after getting things done around the house. Life is different today from what it was like in March. As we head into the fall, I am looking forward to the slower pace and ability to spend more time taking care of our home and each other.

Life may have been turned upside down, but it doesn’t mean that life can’t be good. Find the good in everything because if you don’t, you will miss something great.

It’s Time to Rebuild

Life is a lot different today compared to just a couple of months ago. If there is anybody who can say that it isn’t, please tell them to share their story with me. I mean, how can it not be? Everyone went through the toilet paper rush and the lack of meat in stores and the boomerang advice of ‘wear the mask’, ‘no, don’t wear the mask’, ‘okay, yes wear the mask’. Others also went through trauma of one sort or another. Some are still in that trauma. For those who have or are still there, my prayers are with you. I don’t know how to help any other way right now.

We all used to have a life that we were living, sometimes without a concern of tomorrow. I used to travel for work frequently. I would go to friends homes or have double-date nights out or just go shopping. We have many expos and events that have been canceled this year. Absolutely every plan we had for this year has been canceled or rescheduled to next year. I haven’t traveled outside of Utah since early March. There have been zero double-date nights.

Life is different.

My husband now also works from home 100 percent of the time. His company is unwilling to open an office while cases are so high. They have no date in sight of when they will return to the office. We went from sharing an office to selling a guest bed so we could have our own offices. We have lunch together pretty much every day.

Life is different.

Is that a good thing or no?

In my life, my response is yes and no. No because I don’t get to travel and so many fucking people are dying or getting sick with last side effects that nobody knows how to cure, or if there is even a cure. Yes because we were forced to slow down and our society has been upended, hopefully paving the way for some better years.

Through all of the trauma and pain and change, we have a unique opportunity. We get to rebuild a new life. We get to design how we live our life as we come out of this pandemic. Do we know when exactly that will be? No. We don’t need to. We get this time to slow down and really take stock of what is important to us. Did you want to go back to school but couldn’t find the time? Did you want to start a garden? Yes, you did because all of you new gardeners took all of the supplies I normally buy. Did you want to pick up a new hobby or side gig? Did you want a new pet but didn’t have time to dedicate to training? Yeah, a lot of you have cleared out shelters. Thank you and be good to those pets.

For me, I don’t know how I will rebuild my life. What I do know is that I want to be more intentional on my health, my personal growth, my relationship, and my hobbies. I want to make more time for the house projects and the family (this includes friends) that are close enough to see. We need to be with them more often. I want to grow this website and our overlanding site as well.

I am going to build my life coming out of this pandemic intentionally.

How are you going to build your future? What are you changing? What are you keeping?

Why Am I Stressed?

I have been asking myself this a lot lately and haven’t been able to put my finger on a specific answer. Then I get more stressed because I can’t figure it out. Stress is a vicious cycle for me that comes out towards others. Stress is a battle I have fought all of my life and will continue to fight every single day. For me, stress is like bad heartburn that never leaves.

But it isn’t just stress. My stress enables and exaggerates my anxiety. When I’m stressed, I snap about things that aren’t perfect or my anxiety about what might go wrong or who I’m offending is quick to escalate. A lot of people say “get over it, just relax” and I wish I could. I fight every single day trying to figure out how to just chill out. I watch other people act like they have absolutely no care in the world and I am almost envious of how easy it is for them. At least it looks easy from my point of view.

Right now, as I’m writing this, why am I stressed? I can’t nail down one specific thing. I feel like it is a smattering of multiple triggers that keep compounding on each other.

Seeing that we are coming out of quarantine, you might think it is because we can’t go anywhere. Nope, I am LOVING staying home. I am an introvert who likes my freedom at home. I mean, I do like to travel, but as I turn internal and search, not traveling is not even bubbling as a potential trigger. But I think I might have just identified one thing from a previous sentence. “My freedom at home.” I haven’t had my freedom at home because I’ve had house guests for over a month. Maybe this is one of my triggers. This introvert hasn’t had her space or things exactly as she wants them in her house so she is triggered.

I did tell Eddie the other day that I am over-peopled. You know, it’s an extension of being over-stimulated but because people have been around too much. I can kick Eddie to the basement or outside or even to a friends’. I can’t boot house guests. It’s not like I don’t like these people, hell, I even love them. I think I’m just coming to a realization that I can only tolerate extra people for so long and then I need space. This may sound rude to the house guests, but it isn’t. It is a personality and self-care acknowledgement. I’m not going to boot my house guests at all. I will just space them out a bit further next time they might be here one right after the other.

Work has been so busy that it is definitely a stressor. I feel like I haven’t been able to get anything accomplished even though I have. I know this is one of my stress and anxiety triggers so I am making sure to disconnect and not review every email that comes in after I’ve logged out for the day.

Why am I stressed? I think I found a couple of reasons, but I think there are more. For me there usually are.

While yes, stress is a bad thing for us, we can’t always prevent it. We must work through it and keep going. Or take a break and fully disconnect. Both are necessary, but sometimes only one is possible. The most important thing about being stressed is to work on not living in that stressed feeling. If we can do a little work and a little more to overcome the stress, we will get through it. The day that we live fully in the stress is the day that we start shutting the door to coming out of the stressed mode. Don’t live there. It won’t do you any good.

How do I get unstressed? It depends on what is happening in life. Right now, I am breathing through every moment that I feel the stress coming on and taking over. If I miss the onset, I apologize for the flip out I just had and reflect on how I could have identified it without demeaning myself. I also try to remove the direct stressor or something else to allow more room for whatever is going on. Crying helps too. Let it all out.

Life can be stressful. Life can be beautiful. My life does not exist without both the stress and the beauty. I choose each day to work past the stress to see the beautiful life that I have created.

Follow Up: I Can’t Do What I Need in My Own Home

I wrote Fear: I Can’t Do What I Need in My Own Home a few months ago, but I have returned to this fear and to this struggle. This time is different. I offered to let a friend stay with us until her renters move out at the end of May. She has stayed with us for just about a month and it has been one of the most difficult months of my life.

I have a deep rooted need for control, especially in my own home. My friend is so different from me, which isn’t a bad thing, that her schedule each day is completely different. She cooks separate meals at a much later time. She doesn’t get up very early in the morning and the room she is in is right next to my office. None of these are major issues, simply things that change my way of living.

I am a creature of habit and am very specific about how my things are used and treated. I have lost my ability to play music before 8:00 am on a work day or to leave my office door open all day, whether or not I’m on a work call. I am struggling with someone else using all of my dishes and cooking in my kitchen. I am struggling with my refrigerator being extremely full. Oh and we are still in the recommendation of social distancing and her office is still not fully open.

I am struggling with impacting her life or inconveniencing her. It is a mix of me being more worried about her than myself and me being possessive. I am struggling with another cook in my kitchen, a really fucking awesome cook at that.

I feel like this season happened to help me grow. I am being pushed outside of my comfort zone and it is definitely uncomfortable. There is nothing my friend is doing wrong. She hasn’t broken or ruined anything in the kitchen. This is all me and I know it.

I’ve also come to realize that I really suck at small talk. As in, I don’t know how to do it. At all. I struggle with being told the same story multiple times.

Why am I sharing this? Because I know I am not the only one struggling with the need for complete control or the only one who sucks as small talk. I know that you might be just like me.

I also know that no matter how difficult this season feels, I am growing through it. There is something I’m meant to learn from it. Maybe my capacity for not having complete control is being expanded a little. Maybe I’m being challenged to learn how to engage in small talk. I haven’t figured out exactly what my takeaway or takeaways will be, but I know that I keep finding myself in this situation for a reason.

What is currently challenging you?