Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

We’re now over halfway through the year (what just may be the strangest year many of us have experienced!), so I think it’s time for me to check in on my 2020 theme. In my last post of 2019, I announced that my word for this year would be “enough,” and I shared some thoughts about changes I’d like to make in my life related to this theme. Since then, I’ve touched upon “enough” in some of the wardrobe-related posts that I’ve done this year, as well as in the first essay that I published after the coronavirus pandemic took hold this past spring.

enough vs. too much

What’s enough? What’s not enough? And what’s too much?

Because of the chaos going on in the world, I haven’t kept my yearly theme “top of mind” as much as I usually do. Of course, that’s understandable, as most of our lives have been turned upside down in various and unforeseen ways over the past five months. However, this theme is still important to me, so I’d like to take some time now to reflect upon the shifts I’ve made thus far related to “enough.”

Today’s post focuses on the more physical and tangible manifestations of enough – or “not enough” – in my life. I’ll address the psychological and self-esteem issues (the “Am I enough?” component that I wrote about in my initial essay) in a follow-on post at a later time, when I’ll also highlight additional changes I’d like to make before we head into 2021 (which will hopefully go much more smoothly than this year has gone!).

Enough in the Closet? A Wardrobe Check-in

I started my late December musings on “enough” by writing about my wardrobe. I indicated that a “pipe dream” I had when I started Recovering Shopaholic in 2013 was to eventually curate a workable wardrobe of around 100 items. At the time, I had no idea if, when, or how I would ever reach such a goal, but I put it out there nonetheless. Despite extensive wardrobe exploration and taking on a number of closet challenges, I have yet to reach that benchmark and continue to maintain a higher “closet set point.” While I’d still like to reach the 100 item mark at some point, my current goal is to have my out-and-about wardrobe fall into the 118-137 item range, including shoes (see the second half of this post for how I came up with those numbers).

Getting to my desired wardrobe size is still a work in progress, but amid the pandemic, there are very few out-and-about occasions to dress for (and I didn’t have many before that!). Therefore, I’m now aiming to have the bulk of my wardrobe be suitable for wearing at home since that’s where I spend most of my time. I also mentioned back in December that I want:

a wardrobe that meets my needs without a lot of bloat or duplication.”

I’m not against duplication if I actually wear the items in question on a regular basis. However, since my going out occasions are increasingly infrequent, I definitely want to avoid buying similar pieces for that purpose so that I can avoid “splitting my wears.” The pieces that I can wear at home are seeing a lot of wear, but dressier items are mostly just taking up space in my closet at the moment. As always, we should be buying for our actual lives rather than for previous, wished-for, or fantasy situations. Sadly, “going out clothes” feel like they’re for fantasy situations at the moment because we don’t know when – or even if – life will return to the way it was before March 2020.

When the pandemic first hit, I didn’t do much shopping at all, but in recent months I’ve made some targeted purchases. I’ve been working on improving my at-home wardrobe options, as well as the items that I wear for the mostly casual occasions when I leave my house. I’ve embraced athleisure even more than before and I’m doing my best to have all of my pieces and outfits fit into my newly defined style guideposts of dramatic, polished, and elegant. It can be a tall order to hit all three guideposts when it comes to ultra-casual pieces, but I’ve found that color, pattern, texture, and fit all play a large role in terms of how much items resonate with my desired style statement. I also need to make sure that the pieces I wear are in good shape, as excessively worn or pilled garments don’t look polished. Because I’ve been wearing my at-home items so much lately, I’m glad that I’ve been able to replace some of them.

I still feel that I have too many clothes, but they better represent the way I live my actual life now. At this point, I can’t think of any area of my wardrobe in which I don’t have enough pieces. Before my recent purchases, I would have said that I needed more casual pants and t-shirts, but I’ve been able to fill in those gaps through the many great online sales that have been offered over the past few months. Now my biggest challenge is to remember that I do have enough and don’t need to continue purchasing more items. I have to be aware that more isn’t necessary better and can actually be overwhelming.

Enough in the Home

I mentioned in my late December post that I wanted to dial back home improvement in 2020 after prioritizing this endeavor during the past two years. It was natural for my husband and I to focus a lot on home improvement after we first purchased our condo in June 2018, but it got a bit out of hand for a while. Fortunately, we completed all of our key projects by the end of 2019, with the exception of one. We wanted to install a home air conditioning and heating system before this summer and I’m pleased to say that we did so just prior to the California shut-down in March. While this summer hasn’t been nearly as hot as the two previous ones (one positive thing to say about 2020!), we’ve been grateful to be able to turn on our A/C and quickly cool our home when necessary. That project has been highly beneficial to us, especially since we’re both spending most of our time at home these days.

I do sometimes think about additional improvements I’d like to make to our house, including redoing the bathrooms in my desired color palette of gray, blue, and white (believe it or not, I don’t favor black, cobalt, and burgundy for my home like I do with my clothing). However, I realize that such changes aren’t necessary and can be pushed out a year or more, or even indefinitely. I don’t see us making any significant changes to our home this year, and any shifts that we do make will be minor in nature.

Given the uncertain times that we’re in, it’s better to err on the side of frugality, as we don’t know what our finances will look like if the virus sticks around into 2021. I continue to feel happy and comfortable in my home, and I appreciate it now more than ever. My home is my sanctuary and I feel safe here. Other than my evening walks and a few weekly errands, here is where I stay. My home is not only good enough, it’s wonderful and I’m very grateful for it.

“Enough” vs. “Not Enough” in My Life

When I first wrote about my enough theme, I didn’t address every single area of my life. My thought was that I would write subsequent posts to address things like relationships, hobbies, information, and other categories of my life experience. But then the pandemic set in and everything kind of went awry. I hope to write more about some of these topics in the coming months, but for now, I want to check in on where “enough” and “not enough” are showing up for me.

Starting on a High Note with “Enough”…

Let’s begin on a positive note and look at enough. What areas of my life are sufficiently fulfilling and what am I most grateful for?

My Husband and Cats

As always, I’m extremely grateful for the three wonderful beings with whom I share my day-to-day life. My amazing husband continues to be my rock and a source of love, support, stability, companionship, and laughter on a daily basis. While he used to travel quite a bit for work and spend a lot of time away from home, he’s with me most of the time now. He works in an “essential business,” so he does still go into an office a few times per week, but it’s usually only for part of the day. Some couples do better with a lot of time apart, but we’re happy being around each other much of the time. Of course, we’re often doing our own thing in our separate home offices, but we usually eat all of our meals together and we sometimes take short walks during the day just to get some air and sunshine.

My husband and I on a walk - July 4, 2020

My husband and I on a walk on July 4, 2020 (our 19th anniversary).

My two adorable feline companions, Coco and Sprite, are home with us all of the time and they add a lot of love and joy to our days. Coco is older and more mellow, while Sprite is a younger and more animated clown. They make me laugh and smile, and if I’m ever feeling stressed or sad, spending a few moments petting their soft fur and cuddling with them never fails to make me smile. I’m very grateful to have them here with me, and I think they’re happy to have both my husband and me at home most of the time now. For Coco, it means more treats (she’s a bit mercenary like that), and for Sprite, it means there’s someone to respond to his frequent quests for attention.

Our cats, Sprite and Coco

Our two adorable cats, Sprite and Coco!

Improving Family Relationships

One of my “20 for 2020” goals (which I updated and modified in May) was to improve my relationships with my family, and I definitely feel like I’ve made some good progress there. I think that when there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world, many people get more in touch with what’s most important. For the majority of us, our relationships are at the top of that list. While I may never be super close to many of my family members, mostly because we’re so different, I do feel like the connections have been deepened since the pandemic began. We’ve checked in with each other more often, including doing a series of family Zoom calls. Those have fallen by the wayside lately, but we’re still texting each other on a more regular basis, which I appreciate. I don’t know when I’ll be able to see most of my family members in person again, but we did get to see my father and stepmother last weekend when they were in town. I was glad to see that they are both doing well and staying safe.

Physical Activity

A big area of “enough” for me relates to physical exercise. Although walking together has been a favorite pastime for my husband and me for years, it has become a daily activity during the past five months (can you believe it’s been five months since this all began?!). At first, we were very limited in where we could walk, as most of the beaches and parks had been closed to try to stem the spread of the virus. Fortunately, almost all of those areas are open again and are typically very sparsely visited after sunset, so we’re able to safely and happily enjoy them in the evening. I’ve been accumulating more daily steps on my Fitbit than ever before, and the evening walks are a highlight of my days.

Baking and Cooking

Like many other people, I’ve also been doing a lot of baking since the pandemic began. I’ve long been an avid baker, but “stress baking” has helped me to manage my anxiety. For me, it’s like a form of meditation, as I’m very “in the moment” when I’m making one of my baking creations. I probably would have baked a lot more than I did if I had more people to share the items with or more freezer space in which to store the excess (because my husband and I don’t eat that much of it on any given day!).

I have long surpassed my goal of trying 25 new recipes this year, but the majority of the recipes that I’ve tried have been for desserts and snacks. As I mentioned in my May “20 for 2020” update, I want to try out more meal-related recipes. I’d still like to beef up the amount of non-basic cooking that I do. We almost always eat healthfully, but we generally stick to the same handful of meals that we’ve been enjoying for a while. I’ve recently tried a few new meal options that were delicious, but I’d like to explore some more in the coming months. When I do my next “20 for 2020” update, I’ll share some of my favorite recipes that are available online (many of the recipes I’ve tried are in cookbooks, but I’ll also share links to those books for readers who are interested).

Movies

Another goal I had for the year was to watch at least fifty movies. I was hoping that more of those movies would be enjoyed on a big screen, but theaters in my area have been closed since mid-March and I don’t see them opening for a while still. Fortunately, there’s a seemingly endless array of movie choices to watch at home and my husband and I have gotten in a nice rhythm of watching a movie every weekend. We alternate who gets to select the film we’re watching, but the other person always has “veto power” so we can avoid watching anything that’s too far out of our individual wheelhouses.

We’ve mostly been watching older films from twenty years ago or more. Some of the choices are movies that I’ve seen before, but I’ve found that if it’s been more than ten or fifteen years, it’s almost like I’m watching it for the first time again, as I forget most of the pertinent details. If it were up to me, we’d probably watch two or more movies per week, but we’ve also been playing games (we bought the new Trivial Pursuit 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition), watching television series (we finished up “Friends” and are now watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), and of course going on our walks.

What Feels Like “Not Enough”?

I try to stay in a place of gratitude as much as possible and appreciate all that is good and right in my life. After all, there is a lot to celebrate, as I shared above. However, I won’t sugar coat the fact that the recent months have been challenging. There are a number of areas of my life in which I’ve been feeling a strong sense of “not enough.” Most of these feelings can’t really be avoided, as they are by-products of the pandemic, so it’s probably just a situation of waiting out the current difficult times. The following are three key areas of my life that I’d like to see shift in the coming months:

Seeing Friends

I don’t have a lot of local friends with whom I spend time, but I usually met up with people two or three times per month for coffee, a meal, a walk, shopping, or some other activity. Now I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen a friend in person since March. Yes, there have been some Zoom meetings and phone calls, but it’s just not the same. I miss actually sitting across a table from someone and looking them in the eye while we talked about our lives and common areas of interest. I’ve gotten together with two friends for socially distanced meet-ups on several occasions, which helped to stem my feelings of isolation, but I definitely miss seeing people more often and being able to do the simple types of activities that I used to take for granted.

I also miss interacting with my online friends. I haven’t been on Facebook much at all since the pandemic started (I will be writing more about that soon), mostly because of my anxiety and the fact that I knew that platform would likely be highly polarized and contentious. I miss interacting with many of my online friends (mostly in one very active Facebook group), but I have had a lot of mixed feelings about returning to a place where I don’t feel good, in large part because I always felt like I couldn’t keep up. I’ve kept in touch with some group members individually, but I always find it difficult to keep on top of a lot of different interpersonal contacts. I always feel like I fall short and disappoint people. I also had one online friend with whom I was regularly interacting until about a month ago when we had a falling out. I miss my connection with her, but I’m not sure we can reconcile our differences enough to reconnect or if it can be fulfilling to me given the limitations of that relationship. So I’m feeling a loss of both in-person and online connections, such that I’m feeling a definite “not enough” when it comes to friendship.

Getting Out and About

I also miss doing a lot of the activities that I used to do, whether it be alone or with my husband or a friend. I mentioned going to the movies above, but I also miss going out to eat and even running errands. I still do the latter two things on occasion, but it feels a lot different than it used to. Having to wear a mask takes away from the carefree attitude that I used to feel when going to a restaurant or to the mall. I’ve visited the mall a couple of times, but it was mostly to do returns (since online returns have been taking six weeks or more lately) and I didn’t look around much. Many stores aren’t even open and those that are have shorter hours and different policies in place. Just like with grocery stores, shoppers often have to wait outside for a while before entering to ensure that social distancing is taking place.

I never used to mind running errands because it got me out of the house and I enjoyed being outside and among other people. I don’t feel that way anymore and I try to avoid doing errands whenever possible, which has resulted in my purchasing a lot of items online. I don’t order groceries online because it’s too challenging with my very specific needs and tastes, but I don’t go to the grocery store nearly as often as I used to. I previously visited two or three different establishments to find what I needed, but now I either make do without certain things or buy in larger quantities to try to avoid running out. The surreal feeling of shopping in a mask and feeling nervous about being exposed to the virus turned what used to be neutral or innocuous activities into anxiety-ridden events.

A lot of people aren’t abiding by the social distancing and mask guidelines in outdoor environments where I live, so I’m hesitant to go to the beach or park areas during daylight hours. My desire to avoid the crowds outdoors and in stores has me feeling even more like a “vampire” than usual. Most of my out of the house time now is at night, with the exception of short walks on my street here and there and a few scheduled appointments. I truly miss the lighthearted feeling that I used to experience when being out and about and I feel like I’m grieving my previous life. I’m sure many of you can relate, but I just don’t feel like I get out and about enough anymore, and when I do, it’s just not fun. I realize that I’m fortunate in that I don’t have to work in a high-risk environment or wear a mask all day long, but I still feel sad that life has changed so much in just a few short months.

Variety of Activities

There isn’t as much to do anymore. I mentioned not seeing friends enough and not getting out and about all that frequently, but there’s also a lack of leisure activities that are viable options nowadays. I’m not taking my usual summer trip to Lake Tahoe to see my family this year, and my husband and I haven’t been taking long drives or doing day trips like we’d planned on doing. Not only do we want to limit our exposure to the virus, we also don’t know what we’d find open if we opted to do a day of exploring. We’re mostly staying at home with the exception of walks, errands, and occasional outdoor restaurant meals. Our gym opened up again (now much of the equipment has been moved outdoors due to new restrictions), but we decided to put our memberships on hold to minimize risk and because we didn’t want to have to work out while wearing a mask. We paused our memberships until the end of September, but I’m now thinking that I’ll need to extend that for at least another month or two.

Some Final Thoughts

So it’s a mixed bag in terms of my “enough” theme for the year. I feel blessed in many respects, but I’m also feeling a lack in some areas that I used to take for granted. I miss seeing people’s faces. I know the masks are necessary, but they can be so off-putting and even somewhat traumatizing to see day after day. I miss seeing people smiling and greeting each other happily, rather than being afraid that everyone we see may potentially infect us with a deadly pathogen. I hate the contentiousness of today’s political climate. I hate that everything seems so polarized and that stating one’s feelings and opinions may lead one to be shunned or even “canceled.” I miss when the political was mostly left to politicians and election season rather than permeating almost all areas of life.

I’m about to turn 54 years old and I feel like I’ve lost my last remaining bit of innocence. I don’t want to be jaded, but I feel like that’s how I’m becoming. I don’t want to fear my fellow citizens or worry that they will fear or judge me. I want to go back to a time when people seemed to like each other and accept each other even if their viewpoints differed and even if they chose not to express certain viewpoints at all. Yes, there have always been “bad people,” viruses, and problems in the world, but this time is unlike anything I have experienced in my lifetime.

I feel like I have diverged a bit from my “enough” theme, but I actually feel that all of this fits in somehow.  I’m not sure how to reconcile it all and this post is already quite lengthy, so I’m going to wrap it up now. I plan to check in more on my “enough” theme again soon, both in terms of my self-esteem challenges and some of the other themes that I touched upon today.

If you have any thoughts or insights about the topics I’ve raised here, feel free to weigh in. Also, if you just want to share how you’re doing related to your own personal 2020 theme or just in general, I welcome your input. This is a challenging time for so many of us. Hopefully, before too long, we’ll be able to look back and celebrate how much we’ve grown and learned, even as we mourn both small and large losses. In my best times, I have faith that our societies (I know many of you are from other countries besides the U.S.) will emerge from these dark times and be better for it. I really hope that will be the case. Blessings and love to all of you. Stay strong and know that you’re enough! I will do my best to do the same.

23 thoughts on “Checking in on my Enough Theme for 2020

  1. Nikki says:

    Thanks for your new post, Debbie. I would say my theme for this year is survival. I do like your theme of enough, not enough and too much. I hope to try that theme soon. I started a new job in January. I moved from a house to a studio apartment due to a family crisis on February 28th. As I was figuring out where the best locations for groceries etc., the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. I chose my favorite and unique clothing to bring with me in the move and donated the rest. I enjoy coming up with new outfit everyday and always try to blend seasonal items. I have also found solace helping out with protests a few times a week.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I would say that “survival” is a good theme for 2020! It sounds like you’ve had a lot of change this year, Nikki, but you seem to have a good attitude and approach to surviving – and hopefully thriving! It’s good that you’ve found a way to find some solace in the midst of all of the chaos.

  2. Jayne says:

    There is so much to think about in this strange year Debbie. I just want to say that you are in my thoughts. I can tell that you are a wonderful and amazing lady. Let’s hope 2021 is better.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Jayne! Yes, let’s hope that 2021 will be better. We still have almost 4 months to go in 2020, so I’m still hoping that we can (maybe) end this year on a better note…

  3. Krissie says:

    No one can say it like you Debbie, well articulated and expressed. I don’t know what to add to this discussion other than this rather strange year is going to take its toll on everyone in way or another. Over here in our state in AUS. we are almost living a normal life, only a lot of us carry that anxiety around with us all the time, the what ifs when we do go out. Where my DD lives they are experiencing a very serious case of covid second wave and they are in extreme lockdowns again with an added nightly curfew. I am worried about them health wise and off course their mental health too. I think a lot of us are going to come out of this thing changed in some way, hopefullyfor the good. I like your photos very much and those kitties look so cute and such good company. I have been writing, finishing a project that I’ve been doing for many years so this is the ideal time to sit and finish that, no need to go out much! Clothes wise, I have been thinking about all my fancy wear stuff, and am thinking of taking it out of the wardrobe and storing it in bins for now and see what or how life looks like post pandemic. If I never need them ever again I will donate the best stuff. I am really feeling the need to do this sooner rather than later. life wise, I dont watch too much news, just enough to know whats going on basically. Yes, I’ve noticed people have become more contentious, angry, and panicky and more negative, again I blame the virus and the way our leaders are really being non leaders in some cases. I’m finding it best to just mind my own business right now and get on with my own life and with things around me, that way I don’t have to come up against unpleasantries till maybe the world gets past this pandemic and things go back to normal once again. lots to think about in what you’ve written!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      So I guess you’re in the Melbourne area, Krissie… I’ve read that things are bad there again at the moment, but hopefully with the increased restrictions, you’ll be able to get a handle on it. I agree that this crisis will change us, and I believe that it will eventually be a change for the better, although that might take a while. Some are already seeing some positive shifts, like improved relationships, embracing simplicity, redefining priorities, and better self-care. Life is such a mixed bag, isn’t it? Good for you for finishing your writing project! As for your wardrobe, it’s a good idea to store the things you’re not wearing at the moment and see how you feel when things are more back to “normal.” You’re wise to basically mind your own business now, as so much of what’s going on is not in our power to change. But if we all focus on changing what we can in our own lives, I think the world at large will be the better for it. At my heart, I AM still an optimist, but it’s been challenging in recent times!

  4. Tara C says:

    Like most people, my life has become very small and boring. We buy groceries once every three weeks at Costco, supplementing with fresh stuff from the local farmer’s market occasionally. I refuse to go to a restaurant or non-necessity shopping and wear a mask, so the only things I’ve bought are online (some books and tea). My life is online yoga classes, walking the dog, bike rides, baking and reading. I haven’t watched tv in months, I am so sick of the covid propaganda beating everyone over the head and hyping the fear. Facebook is similarly unpalatable. Basically I’m just waiting for it to be over. We have gone on one camping trip and will be going on another in a week. Then we have a long road trip across Canada planned in October as we make our way back to San Diego for the winter.

    Living in a large urban center like Montréal (which is where I’ve been since lockdown started) has felt like living in a police state. I’ve decided to sell my condo and go live in a rural part of British Columbia where I will hopefully be able to live my life in peace. Judging how this pandemic has played out, I think it’s entirely possible to see this scenario repeating itself, so I want to be well away from crowded urban centers. I don’t discuss politics or current events with anyone as it is too contentious.

    At 54, I’m in the last quarter of my life (barring catastrophe). I want it to be a time of joy and mental stability, so that’s what I’ve been focusing on, through yoga and meditation, in order to arrive at my death with peace and equanimity.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m impressed that you can grocery shop just every three weeks, Tara, but maybe if we did our shopping at Costco we’d be able to do the same. I don’t get out a whole lot, either, and most of my purchases have been online. That’s great that you’ve done some camping. One thing that’s wonderful about doing that is that it still feels “normal” out in the wilderness and that can be very comforting. I can understand your desire to get out of the city amidst all that is going on. British Columbia is gorgeous and I hope you’ll be happy there. Yes, I could see this scenario repeating itself, too, sadly. Focusing on joy and mental stability is wise no matter what stage of life we’re in, but I think it becomes more important when we’re older. I find myself saying often that I just want peace. A simpler life calls to me, but I still want my life to be a bit bigger and more exciting than it is now. I keep saying this is all temporary, but I understand that life will likely never fully get back to the way it was before. I’m still hoping that we can find our way to a better place before too long.

  5. Jenn says:

    Congratulations, Debbie, on your progress with “enough” and your wedding anniversary. This week, we celebrated our 17th anniversary. I never thought it would be possible for me to experience the connection that my husband and I share. And like you, we enjoy our furry companions, Linus (also an orange tabby), his sister Cora, and our little rescue dog, Duke.

    Yet, it’s been a challenging year in terms of my birth family’s physical and mental health. My sister has completed chemo, is recovering from surgery, and has the mindset of an absolute warrior. I am so proud of her and feeling more hopeful about the future as far as she’s concerned. Meanwhile, interacting with my aging mother—which in the past has been very enjoyable—is now challenging. However, I try to remind myself that those challenges and my greater awareness of life’s fragility will lead to more growth for me.

    As for shopping, I’ve struggled in recent months, but less so these days. And I’ve found any shopping of late has been more… conscious. This may be due in part to the time I spend playing around with Pinterest. Not only does it help me further nail down my likes and dislikes in regards to my personal style, it often satisfies my urge to shop. Also, I’ve done a lot of self-help reading, including Susan’s David’s book, Emotional Agility.

    Something I took from her book is how we are more apt to change our habits when our goals align with our values AND are motivated by “what we want to do, as opposed to what we have to or should do.” (The stuff after the “AND” especially resonated with me.)

    As a result, not only am I taking a good look at my values (helped by her short list of questions), I’m also listing the reasons I WANT to change or improve certain habits or behaviors.

    In many ways, the past several weeks have been a period of contemplation and growth for me, but I haven’t written a word—creatively speaking. I will again, eventually, but I feel I have some things to work out first. Maybe that’s all part of my word for the year, which was balance.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Congrats on your wedding anniversary, Jenn! I feel the same way about my husband… I’m not the best at sticking with anything in life, so I’m proud that I’ve now been married for almost 20 years. I’m glad that your sister has finished chemo and is recovering from surgery. I’m sure it’s been very challenging for her to be battling cancer in the midst of everything that’s been going on… I wish her a complete recovery! I understand the difficulties of dealing with aging parents. My parents aren’t in too difficult of a state yet (but are definitely declining, sadly), but we had a really rough time with my mother-in-law before she passed away a year ago. I do think that we grow from hard times, but it’s not always easy to remember that in the midst of it all.

      That’s great that your shopping has been more conscious lately. I do think that any wardrobe and style exploration that we do (and Pinterest is a good avenue for that) is to our benefit. The book you mentioned sounds good, so I’m going to check it out. I could use some emotional agility for sure! What you wrote about it makes a lot of good sense. Defining – or redefining – our values can be extremely helpful and something that I should probably do soon as well. Nothing like a pandemic to get us in touch with what matters most! It sounds like you’re doing great with your “balance” theme thus far! I’m sure the creativity will bounce back soon. I’ve struggled in that realm, too, and I doubt that we’re alone in that.

  6. Gail says:

    Debbie–I will, as you say, judge: yo are doing great and you are helping your readers do same. So, thank you! I was so happy to see the new post this a.m.
    I window shop on line occasionally when bored, but I have not bought anything recently. We avoid stores and restaurants and have groceries delivered since we are in our 70’s. It is not as bad as it sounds, most days. I do miss the granddaughters’ hugs, though.
    It seems to me that to move out the out and about clothes would be very pessimistic. I am hoping for a fresh start in 2021 and a U.S. reconstruction and rejoining the world community. It just has to happen.
    A few of my clothes have bit the dust as they were used and partly worn whenI got them. I have not replaced them, and my total 4-season wardrobe, shoes and all, is now 27! I am still in good shape except maybe one hot-weather item that I hope I will need next year. I think if we all relax our wardrobes a bit, it is a positive thing. Fewer fancy clothes, fewer clothes, more of what feels good and serves us well.
    Your photo with your husband made me feel good. Mine of 50 years ( no golden anniversary party for us!) and I are the only people we see most of the time. I feel for those who don’t at least 99% adore their housemates, and esp. the abused. We eat good meals together. He does research and I read, clean, and do cryptograms.Only necessary repair people have been in our apt. since March, and even that scared me a bit. I sanitized!
    Some this may be irrelevant, but at least it helped me. Sorry if this is selfish.
    Please keep the posts coming. We need you, Debbie, more than ever.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Gail, and I’m also glad that you and your husband are staying safe (and congrats on your 50 year anniversary!). I know that you and I are among the lucky ones in that we’re happy to spend so much time alone with our spouses. I definitely feel for those who are either alone most of the time or in a difficult relationship. I agree that relaxing our wardrobes can be a good thing or at least getting more in touch with what we actually wear for our real lives. Of course, many of our “real lives” are looking a lot different these days, but I do believe that this isn’t so much of a “new normal” as it is a temporary situation. How long it will last is uncertain, so we have to make the most of it as best as we can, which it sounds like you’re doing. I wish you continued health and peace, and I hope you’re able to hug your granddaughters again soon. My mom (almost 76) misses the hugs the most, too.

  7. Murphy says:

    Great post, Debbie! I’m trying to let myself believe that I am enough, and I’m certainly grateful for my family and home right now. I have been working online since March, but will be back to my workplace 3 days a week very soon. I’m nervous about it but grateful too 🙂
    By the way – happy birthday!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Good to see you comment here, Murphy, and you are definitely enough! I can imagine that you have mixed feelings about getting back to work, but I hope things will go okay for you. It’s good that it won’t be every day, at least at first. Thank you for the birthday wishes! Sometimes it feels like just yesterday that I turned 40!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Always nice to see your beautiful face, Terra. Sending love and best wishes right back to you!

  8. Katrina B says:

    Happy Anniversary, it’s wonderful that you have such a great connection. The kitties are adorable andI love that they both have green eyes. Your thoughts and observations are a good reminder to everyone to take this time to really appreciate what they have.

    I have two main problems with our current difficulties. One is guilt. I feel guilty for feeling fine about the quarantines and other restrictions, while my friends and family are desperately missing their regular social activities. I can sympathize, but I can’t empathize. My other problem is lack of exercise. This is probably more of a seasonal problem than a pandemic-related one: it’s just too hot to go out for a walk (even after the sun goes down it’s still way over 100). However it is a bit worse this year because I’m working at home every day so that’s 9 – 10 hours in my desk chair, and then my main form of entertainment is movies and TV series on Amazon Prime (more hours in my desk chair). I do stretch and do mini-workouts a couple times a day but all this sitting is definitely hurting my back.

    It’s a good sign when you have your wardrobe whittled down to the point that you’re thinking in such specific terms, e.g. pattern or texture, when assessing a garment you have or want. I thought I was done creating the perfect wardrobe, but every so often I will pull something out and just stare at it, trying to figure out why, if it’s the perfect color and fits well, do I never wear it. Texture has become much more important, as in the linen pants which I used to love but now can’t stand. I have gone back and forth on the question of creating or converting a wardrobe for “the new normal”, whatever that may be, but for now I am sticking with my (currently unworn) work wardrobe and my at-home wardrobe. I don’t have any dressy clothes anymore so no big decisions to be made there.

    I hear you on your grocery shopping woes. I used to do weekly runs to two grocery stores and a big Costco stock-up every couple of months. Now I’m trying to limit it to one trip to one store every 2 – 3 weeks. The first time I wore a mask for any appreciable length of time was at a grocery store and I felt like I was suffocating the whole time. I tried one grocery delivery service and was happy that they brought precisely what I asked for, but not happy about the significant price difference between what I paid online and what the food actually cost at the store. I am going to try a few other delivery services, although as you mentioned, it is difficult to get exactly the things I need with my many food restrictions and requirements.

    It’s interesting that you mention losing your last bit of innocence. Over and over again I’ve said that people have disappointed me too much and I’m just going to be cynical and not expect humanity to be good anymore. And then I get horrifed and discouraged all over again when people do something idiotic, dangerous, or cruel. I think deep down we never really lose that hope for humanity even when we think it’s the last straw.

    Thank you for the lovely post. Wishing you peace and comfort,
    Katrina

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful comment, Katrina. I’m glad you liked the post. You know, I get it about your guilt because even though I do sometimes miss the things I used to do, I know that I still have it so much better than many other people in that my life isn’t THAT different. Regarding exercise, we don’t get all that many super hot days here when I can’t go for walks. This time of year, I always go in the evenings because I’m sensitive to heat and sun, but I’m still able to go. I think I would really struggle if I wasn’t able to go out at all. Having a Fitbit helps me to be more active and at least get up and walk around every hour, as it prompts me to get at least 250 steps per hour (and that’s why I often go for the short walks down to the end of our short block).

      I don’t think we’ll ever really be DONE with curating our wardrobes, by my hope is that it will soon become just minor changes that don’t require a lot of attention, shopping, or money. This current situation has really helped me with my wardrobe because I’m doing so much better at buying for my real life. I’m not even tempted to purchase nicer clothes at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which used to be a huge shopping occasion for me (also, so much of it was sold out by the time I was able to shop yesterday – I’m no longer a “big spender” there – which also helps). Like you, I don’t have any really dressy clothes anymore. I have been able to pull an outfit together for all of my life occasions in recent years, but I might struggle if something actually formal came up (I’ll deal with that if/when it comes).

      I feel the same as you about the masks. I completely feel for those who have to wear them all day long. I have gotten a bit more used to it, but I’m itching to pull it off as soon as I can and almost never wear one for more than 45 minutes or so. I haven’t tried grocery delivery yet. I think I still like to have a reason to go out, even if it’s not the pleasant – or even neutral – experience that it used to be.

      Regarding your last paragraph, I agree with you that we never really lose hope for humanity. I think I always want to believe that things can get better and that most people are good at their core, even though there is often a lot of evidence to the contrary. I’m not sure if it’s worse to be disappointed and discouraged time and time again or if it’s worse to have no innocence or hope left, but it’s clear that I continue to choose the former… Wishing you peace and comfort, too. I hope that one day we can perhaps meet and have deep discussions about these types of topics in person, as I find you to be such a kindred spirit (as so many other commenters here also are!).

  9. Sally says:

    Hi Debbie,

    It’s really good to see you acknowledging how many areas in your life you have worked on, so that they are now enough for you and to appreciate what you already have.

    I look forward to reading more about the changes and new purchases you have made to align all aspects of your wardrobe to fit your style recipe and how that makes you feel.

    You mentioned that in another post you are going to discuss whether you are enough from a self esteem and psychological perspective, so I though I would share these articles that I have just read, that really resonated with me and I think may help you too:

    Why We Feel Like a Fraud (and How to Stop):

    https://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-we-feel-like-a-fraud-and-how-to-stop/

    This blog is written by the person who wrote the article in Tiny Buddha:

    What to do when you are bullied by your own mind:

    https://increasingselfworth.com/bullied-by-your-own-mind/

    I hope these help you to see things from a different perspective and to realise that you are enough. From the day you were born, you could never be worthless because you have the right to exist, to claim your rightful place in life and your happiness right here and now. Simply because you are alive.

    Take care
    Sally

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You always find the best articles and resources, Sally! Thank you for linking these two wonderful articles – I really appreciate it. I could really identify with both of them. I’ve definitely struggled with “imposter syndrome” a lot in my life. The concept that we have worth simply because we’re alive is something I’ve heard before, but I never truly “got it” until I read the first article that you linked here. I was raised with such a huge focus on accomplishment and achievement (as many of us were) that I have long felt that I needed to DO something big or earn X number of dollars in order to be and feel worthy. This has caused me a tremendous amount of pain, especially in recent years when I haven’t been able to do or earn much. I don’t want to feel this type of pain anymore and I realize that I have a choice in terms of how I want to view my life circumstances. Yes, I also have the option to change my life circumstances, but if I do so, I want it to be more because that’s what I truly want rather than from an underlying feeling of worthlessness. Your second article is in line with a lot of what I’ve been learning on my personal growth path over the past almost two years, but I need a lot of reinforcement! Also, knowing something isn’t always enough and I like that the author gives some concrete tips for how to push back against our “bullying minds.” Thank you for sharing these valuable articles with me and the others here!

      1. Sally says:

        Hi Debbie,
        I thought you would find these useful, as I did.

        At the bottom of the page of the second link that I sent you, you can enter your email address to get your FREE “Healthy Self-Worth Starter Kit” which includes:
        – Instant access to an easy 4-step action plan to heal low self-worth in under 5 minutes a day
        – The 7-day “Self-Worth Booster” email course
        – The “Discover your true worth” guided meditation
        – Regular emails that are relevant to your healing journey.

        I have done this and find the emails really helpful to provide the reinforcement that you need and you may do too.

        Regards Sally

  10. Claire says:

    Hahaha, I love your “vampire tendencies” comment Debbie, that’s definitely me too! I had someone ask me recently if i slept in a coffin and thought that was so funny. On a more sober note, I’m glad the country is losing some of its obliviousness to the deep systemic injustices that people are finally waking up to. I know it can feel like a loss of innocence but it can also lead to evolution and wisdom (and change, hopefully). I am so incredibly jaded and bitter that i think nothing will get through, but then i see a mixed race woman on our election ticket and feel an unexpected spark. I think your optimism/innocence/faith will bounce back Debbie, because it is part of your core. The ebb and flow is natural; in getting to know you these past years, i believe it is part of who you are. Sending you love, serenity and clarity from the east coast xo

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      That’s funny about “sleeping in a coffin,” Claire. I often feel like my body clock isn’t in line with most of society, but I know there are many of us out there! You’re right that a “loss of innocence” can often lead to important changes that need to happen. There ARE some silver linings going on in the midst of so much chaos and sadness and I DO feel a spark when I see triumphs of the human spirit. Yes, there is a natural ebb and flow to things and we need to remember that. Being a highly sensitive person, I’ve struggled a lot over the past five months (and especially the past two), but I have to trust that things will somehow be okay again. They may be different, but hopefully some of those differences will be GOOD ones. Fingers crossed… Thanks for your kind words and for sending positive vibes from the other side of the country. Sending some right back your way!

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