a woman atop a mountain holding a flag, proud

Whatever It Takes

Many of our grandparents and great grandparents dealt with world wars, economic calamities, pandemic influenza, polio, difficult working conditions, insecurity around basic needs, and the indignity of institutionalized hatred. These past few years have me wondering just how they pulled this off.

I studied their eras in college and I knew most of my elders well enough to hear a cleaned up version of history from them. They didn’t want to parade around with their vulnerability on display, so some redactions were to be expected.

We’ll probably do the same thing when the time comes. I can see myself cheerfully showing my nieces and nephews a collection of old masks, vax prizes, and health advocacy selfies while while regaling them with tales of Shot Girl Summer. I might skip the part about crying while I made dinner or only being able to get my primary vax series because of nepotism. I wouldn’t want them to think of me as helpless.

I’ll probably tell them that self-care matters no matter how hot the world is burning, because we always owe it to ourselves.

Don’t forget to choose

Life is full of choices. Paper, cloth, or plastic bags? Italian opera or German? Collard greens or mustard? Doom scrolling or structured screen time? Little by little, choice by choice, we live our lives. The human mind’s bias in favor of the present moment renders  many of these choices undetectable, but it all adds up.

I believe that intentionally cultivating our own contentment in spite of whatever else is happening is an important part of any self-care plan. A well rounded life is grounding, and gives us something to fight for. The intense nature of current events and the ups and downs of arthritis can easily distract us from what’s important.

Here are 4 things that improve my self-care success under difficult circumstances

Write the ending first

The uncertainties of life in these wild times brings in angst by the truckload, but you probably know what’s important to you. Lean into these things as much as possible, even if those around you don't understand.

Stay cautious

You didn’t make it this far to get sloppy now. I stand by my previous recommendations for caution around the news, arguing on the internet, and consuming anything that changes how you think and feel.

Do something beautiful

Thanks to some birthday money from my tweeps, I got The Christmas Tree of My Dreams in 2019. She’s a tall downswept alpine pencil tree with just the right amount of flocking. I may have worn out some of her lights by using her nearly nonstop for 3 years now. Surgery is scheduled to restore her former glory.

Knit and crochet

Learning to knit and upping my longstanding crochet game has been a satisfying challenge. Hopefully, there will be a few sweaters in the near future. We’re talking about simple, but well knitted and crocheted sweaters, with neat and tidy button holes and a limited number of holes or dropped stitches. Fingers crossed.

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