Saturday, October 9, 2021

Find your happiness.

The pandemic continues to be a constant struggle for my little family. It's part of the reason why I have so many side jobs aside from my two main ones. I need to keep busy. I need to keep busy to avoid overthinking, to avoid over-reacting, to avoid panicking. What I once thought would only last a few months has turned into an actual lifestyle. A new normal. One that I currently still see no end to.

And I find myself thinking back at how life used to be. Syrena, for one, always found joy in staying late after school to play with her friends. She found joy in hitting up playgrounds and going out to eat at her favorite places. I found joy in cold coffee shops with my nose buried in a book. I found joy in heading to the beach on work trips and soaking up the sun. I found joy in being outside - period.

Most days, I drown myself in work to keep busy. But ever since I promised to give myself full weekends - ones where I'm not allowed to open my laptop unless it's to watch Netflix (Syrena is my work police - she has permission to slap me if I work when I shouldn't) - I've found myself missing how life used to be.

But if there's one thing I've learned during this never-ending pandemic, it's that we don't have control over it. No matter how much we follow the rules and stay safe at home, there are still people who will do whatever the fuck they want because they don't seem to understand how this works. They don't want to do their part. "If this is the life I'm dealt, I might as well make the most of it," I've heard them say. "At least I didn't rot away at home like you," they retort when I speak up.

And so we stay stuck. And so we hope for better days. And so, for now, we find ways.

I've given Syrena a laptop so she can interact with her friends. I've introduced her to Discord and Twitch and live streams and video games. I've welcomed her to the world of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and Twilight. I've taught her the joys of cooking, too, but I leave her be a lot of the time. Our lives suck as it is, so she might as well get to do what she wants to do at home without me breathing down her neck.

And she leaves me be, too. When I need a day locked in my room in utter silence, she leaves me be. When I spend my weekend repotting plants or rearranging furniture, she doesn't bother me. When I play BTS on full blast while dancing in my underwear, she doesn't complain. When I go through spurts of obsessive cleaning and nagging, she just takes it all in.

In lieu of Mommy Mondays (which is what Sy used to call our girls' days out... even if it wasn't a Monday lelz), we plan out Netflix nights. We order in. We take turns choosing what to watch. And we eat cake out of the can. We leave the dishes undone sometimes and we don't make our beds in the morning, but that's okay. Because we're okay.

We've established a kind of care and understanding that I had never experienced with my family (or in any of my relationships, for that matter) before. We talk every single thing through. We check in on each other randomly during the day just to see if the other is okay. We have what she calls "huggie time" - a random tight bear hug during the day. We've found a sort of quiet happiness and peace amidst all of the chaos, and built a home together that feels safe.

I don't know what your life currently looks like or what your current mindset is, but I encourage you to find it. Find it in the smallest of things. It may not look like what it once used to, but I guarantee you can find a version of it if you change your mindset a little. And please... do your part. Let's stop hoping and start acting. For a better future.

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