Simpler Things

Our past truly does define who we are in life. It gives us a roadmap of where we’ve been, where we are going and where we want to go. We make decisions both good and bad that define our paths in life. The irony is not lost on us when we find that our decisions affect not just us but others. When I was a very little girl, my grandmother was someone that I thought was old but I loved her without reservation. She treated me well. I was fiercely stubborn and independent and I was the typical tomboy. If there were trees to climb, I climbed them. If there was leaves to jump in, I couldn’t wait. After a day at her farm, I would be told to come inside for a hot home cook meal. Those meals would become the staple for my life. She made everything from scratch. I can still smell the buttermilk biscuits that never came out of a can. She kneaded the dough, cooking them on a wood stove that once they came out of the oven were so delicious that they would melt in your mouth. She cooked the green peas with some sugar and man, they were so sweet that I could have inhaled them just off the juice. She made being in the kitchen fun. Her cakes were legenday. She literally had the gift of love in what she cooked. You never left her house hungry. She made sure that you ate enough because once the meal was over, you were expected to work by cutting wood, or anything else that needed to be done. Being slack wasn’t an option. She taught me how to be independent. What she didn’t do was make me feel that just because I was a girl, that I should let my life be dictated by everyone else. I got that lesson from other people and it was the wrong one.

I’ve told all of you about the bullying that I’ve received in my life. I was a pastor’s daughter. I wanted to live on the edge but my parents kept a tight rein on me until I got to college. It was after my first round of college that I started to realize I had sold my opportunities for success down the river with bad decisions, partying, and listening to the wrong people. I don’t blame anyone but myself. When we’re young, we think we are invincible. We can be wild, free, reckless, and full of wonder and intensity. If life is like a race car, then I’ve wrecked as many cars as I’ve driven.

Over the last few years, I’ve calmed down. I’m not as reckless as I used to be and it’s made me a little melancholy for simpler times. I miss the days of not having to lock my door in the neighborhood I live. I miss not feeling like I had neighbor on top of neighbor and having enough land to roam without worrying about who was sticking their nose in my business. The fact of the matter is that this virus has made me crankier, more withdrawn, lonelier and a little more agitated than normal. It turns out that I’m not alone.

I’m watching a lot of posts on social media. People are ready to get out of the locked door lifestyle. Depression and anxiety are a real problem. Most of us are gaining more weight and fighting the lonliness that is surfacing. I for one am using this time to re-evaluate how I’m doing things in my life. This is also making me think a lot about what I’ve done in my life, what success and failures I’ve acquired and how to move forward. Time is something that we’ve all had to adapt to dealing with differently. I hate having to wear a mask. It’s difficult to breathe and uncomfortable. Yet, I don’t like the alternative.

One of my closest friends thinks that this virus is just manufactured. It might be. I don’t have the answers. What I do know is that this virus has changed every one of our lives. It’s forced us to rely on the internet more than ever. Forget the fact that

Most of us rely on technology for everything. When the power goes out, we tend to panic a little. We can’t charge our phones, online usage is run off battery power and we’re fine until the power is zapped from it. When I think back on our grandparents and the generation before them, they managed to survive on a lot less than what we all have been doing. Technology has become a necessity for our society. Just like with the pandemic, we’ve all been able to communicate with the internet, wireless communication and the ability to have dependable transportation. Yes, we are being very inconvenienced. But we’ve been very fortunate as well. We do have access to technology that makes our life easier. Many of us don’t know what it really means to work so hard that our hands are coarse from digging holes in the dirt. We don’t understand what it really means to get the fruits and vegetables off the land, the butter we use, the milk and other ingredients that farmers provide for us on a regular basis. Most of us are able to go to the store and get what we need to make a meal. There’s a lot of people in this world who don’t have that option. There may be various reasons. One of the biggest reasons is probably money. The longer people are out of work, the less income that they have for their bills.

If there’s one thing that this pandemic does do, I hope that it makes all of us appreciate each other more. I welcome the day where I can celebrate the simple things in life with my friends. Video conferencing is great but sometimes a hug is really needed and you can’t feel a hug virtually. It’s the human touch and human connection that reminds us of the simple things in life. When I’m having a really bad day, my cat will nuzzle my face and let me know that she loves me and cares, but she’s a cat. She’s fiercely independent, stubborn, reckless, and a reminder that she is an animal who tries to comfort but marches to her own beat. Hopefully we are on the verge of opening this country up without getting everyone sicker. If you are feeling overwhelmed and any of the emotions that I mentioned previously, please know you are not alone. Take a breath, think about the simple things in life and just breathe. You may find answers to questions you didn’t even know you were asking.

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