Where the hell have you been?
That’s a question I often ask myself, now that the calendar has changed over from a virtual hell to one of promise and hope. I was going to originally add peace but we all know how the previous week has played out.
My last RobZerrvation was just shy of one year ago, when I was covering our visit to Latitudes in Daytona, where we were considering retiring.
When the pandemic struck last March, I thought, along with probably most of America, that we would hunker down for a few weeks or even months, and then it would all go away magically, as we were promised, when summer hit.
It didn’t, of course. People are still dying as I write this and I slowly got caught up in the grief of life lost for much of the past nine months. Not only for the lives needlessly lost to COVID, but my family’s own lives as everything we looked forward to was canceled one by one.
No festivals to perform at, no bars to roam as mirthful, mischievous pirates, no trips to anywhere and basically no fun whatsoever. Add to that, some tumultuous calamities in our housebound world – including emergency surgeries and scary fires – and an increasing belief by some that our democracy no longer works and that it’s time to start over. No one seems to know what that actually entails, except to destroy and desecrate our cherished symbols of democracy and rant and rave that they didn’t get their way.
My own job has shifted dramatically from helping small businesses grow and attracting new business to Washington to helping businesses survive and now, restart and regrow. The work has been heartwrenching at times. The sad stories I have heard would fill an encyclopedia from A-Z that no one should have to read.
And yet, I am still here. I’m relatively intact, even though I have only been off my property perhaps a dozen times since last March. In an effort to protect my household and my own health, I have become a shut-in of sorts. I certainly don’t want to arrive at the Pearly Gates or Depths of Hell and have the gatekeeper announce to the band of angels or gathered throngs of demons, “Hey everyone, here’s that dumbshit that just had to go out for a drink in a bar when he had a fully stocked bar at home. And to think he was going to live another 30 years if he just stayed home.”
In the process of being on my own Gilligan’s Island for what will soon be a year, I’ve learned a lot about myself. First and foremost, I am far stronger than I thought. I can handle just about everything that can come my way, from summoning emergency responders to our house (I swear they drive by regularly now to see if we might just have a crisis) to ensuring that our supplies are always topped off without becoming a senseless, fearful hoarder of toilet paper.
I have also discovered that I am very resilient. My core is still here, my sense of humor still chugging along, even in the worst of times. Yes, I went through a long grieving period which took away my joy temporarily, but with the new year I have regained my sense of hope and certainly my joy by making a firm choice to do so.
This was not without the miracle of modern science, I admit. Being home and having what I call the “worry gene” can really play games with your mind. I have always had the tendency to loop about things that aren’t probably going to happen. The problem is part chemical and part creative. The chemical part is in my brain. The creative side, well that’s there too, I suppose. As a writer, my mind continues to create endless plot lines and if they aren’t about the outside world, they will inevitably turn to the inside world. So I will loop and loop, much to the consternation of my dear wife.
Modern science at 10 milligrams a day keeps that creative side intact, removes the worry gene and restores joy. Good stuff! The only regret is that I should have admitted to the struggle earlier and sought help. But at least I finally did and mental health has been restored to the point where I could go another year with this, if I had to.
That’s not likely, however. More modern science is bringing us a solution. My wonderful wife has received her first vaccination and my own healthcare provider has been actively keeping in touch with me on when I’m up. Eventually, our external routine will be restored and we will once again go to festivals, sing, laugh and entertain. I look so forward to returning to my favorite places sans mask, enjoying my waning years, knowing that all of this was really, as Kat loves to say, just a season.
In short, RobZerrvations are back. I have perhaps 30 waiting to write, from exploring the miracle of quantum physics that helps dictate what our reality is to how we love to be a Rubik’s Cube in our relationships, even though we don’t really have to be. Plus some other nutty musings that have come to my mind over the past year that have been bottled up, waiting for better times.
Those times are here, my friends. Try to look forward and not back. We can’t do a thing about yesterday. We only have right now, and with a little luck, we’ll get a tomorrow.
In the Emerald City, soaking in a sunny morn, looking forward to a bright day,