Last week's beach retreat was awesome, even though I didn't get in the ocean much beyond my ankles. It reminded us about how hard remote school is for Simon, but otherwise, it was a fantastic change of scenery. We should have done it sooner. What has surprised me since is that the feeling of depressurization, release and relief seems short-lived.
I felt the same way after taking the holidays off, and that was only a few weeks earlier. Within a week, I felt like I was often moments away from losing my shit. I was impatient with Simon, short with Diana and generally agitated by unimportant things. Why? It's definitely not work, where I feel like I'm doing some of my best work, and challenges are exciting instead of being struggles. Heck, during the work day, I'm mostly in the zone. But it's like, when the day is almost over, or it's the weekend, I'm kind of left with my thoughts, and there's anxiety and non-specific fear.
Obviously, a lot of it is just missing out on the unrestricted movement in the world, and the close social contact that it involves. I'm not even talking about close friends... I'm even talking about interacting with the server with the blue hair at Bento or actually talking to a neighbor and seeing their newborn-ish child up close. Live music and theater, observed with a crowd. And yeah, meeting up with friends from out-of-town at a Disney resort.
But it's also the uncertainty of when we'll get all that back. It feels so close with vaccinations rolling out, but the feds and the state have done a pretty shitty job of distribution so far, neglecting to use the last ten months to actually form a plan. And with the spread completely out of control, the virus is likely to mutate more quickly, giving rise to potentially more dangerous variations, possibly even those that are resistant to vaccines. That certainly doesn't inspire optimism.
Parenting feels like a constant struggle. He's headed for "the change," and he's already socially awkward, and he can't have the unrestricted social interaction at school that he desperately needs (some of the neighborhood kids are dicks toward him, so that doesn't help either). At home, he just wants to be seen and share the things that he's interested in with us, and I feel like the worst parent when I just can't give him that because I just want to hibernate. It feels so terrible because no one gave a shit about anything I cared about growing up, and I'm falling into the same pattern with him. He's so lonely. That's heartbreaking.
There's also the feeling like we need to be preparing at all times for the worst financially, like you could lose your job, go broke trying to pay for healthcare, that sort of thing. Having a good job isn't enough, it turns out, to free you of financial stress, especially when you have the damage of being intermittently employed during the great recession and the post 9/11 time period.
Oh, and there's also things like your wife barely avoiding being hurt in a car accident that totaled the car, various health crises in the family, self-loathing from slug-like movement behavior, fascists in government and the domestic terrorists they align with, etc.
So if you're mentally exhausted all of the time, I see you. I may not have the same circumstances, but I get it. We're all trying to keep our shit together, if not for ourselves, for the people we care about. It's exhausting.