Abject Awareness

“A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two different things.” A quote by Benjamin Franklin

Oh how productivity and purpose have fallen by the wayside for me. As I stare out the window, looking at the yard, the same four walls, I seek a purpose. I have a purpose that I recognize; I just don’t feel like acknowledging it. For someone like me, who is a professed homebody, this is even getting to me. I cannot fathom what it is like for someone who is used to always being on the go, hanging out with groups, eating in restaurants, watching sports in bars and taverns, traveling. Well, traveling I get and miss. Also, there are those who don’t have a choice but to head out every day and face what the rest of us must avoid at all costs.

As we all do our best to stay at home, I watch as my husband and son leave each day for their essential jobs. They are not medical front line workers, but they are face to face with many hundreds of people a day. They are in their grocery and goods business and come in contact with the countless shoppers they deal with every day. The steps they are taking upon arriving home are numerous. Individual bags where all clothing is placed, immediate showers, sprays, wipes and constant disinfecting until they are clean and wearing all new clothes has become the daily norm. My son, as I mentioned his autism before many times, doesn’t drive, so that job is left to me. Normally, he would take the state cab service that he qualifies for, but by my taking him, we remove that additional level of contact. I think *most* people are doing their part by staying home and only going out for essentials. So, for me, I have a lot of time to contemplate things, worry and stress out about the news and otherwise try to find peace and routine in this new normal. So, I’m grateful for the continuity of income and for the care they are taking to keep us safe at home as well.

Be thankful for all the troubles that you don’t have.

While sitting inside, day after day, I think we all have a lot of time to come up with things like meal ideas, chores to complete, home improvement projects to tackle when possible and the filling of many hours a day we previously didn’t seem to have. It’s funny how you don’t seem to have time for certain things and well, all we seem TO have now is time. I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am to be in my parent’s home that I purchased after they passed on and how it is comfortable and spacious. It is not the same for many. For example, I saw an article about people living in what are referred to as “coffin homes” in Hong Kong. As someone who has spent their life seeking knowledge through reading, documentaries and only very recently doing a bit of traveling, seeing these pictures really makes me realize how truly grateful I need to be. While I recognize that I can’t spend my life feeling stressed and guilty about everything I have, it is difficult to see the way some people are forced to live. It is sad that there is a disparity of equality at this level. I have never understood why one human being can live in a 12,000 square ft home and another person lives in a small box. I am not naive concerning the reality of economics and the “way the world works”, but it does put things into perspective for me, while also creating much food for thought.

I have a home where every person has their own bedroom. I have more than one shower, a kitchen to prepare food, a deck to sit out on and a backyard. I have the luxury of two vehicles, one for my husband to get back and forth to work in and another for me to use whenever I need it. I have enough food, clean water and a washer and dryer to keep my clothes clean with very little effort. I can choose to play a game on my computer, go into my crafting room and escape with painting and other medium I use to create. I can recline on my couch and watch a show, walk outside (for now, we can still exercise outside; I know others cannot right now, so much gratitude for that) and on a treadmill if the weather is unfavorable. I cannot imagine being an essential worker, terrified to get sick, maybe not having health care, enough money for rent or food, children to care for and also to be living in severely inadequate housing that is not safe or sanitary. Not having the ability to be philanthropic, I do wonder what can be done to close the immeasurable gaps of disparity and make life livable for all people. I’m not delusional and recognize that things aren’t very likely to change, but compassionate enough to seek out ways to learn more and become aware of what is out there and be empathetic and helpful if at all possible.

A photograph of two societal norms next to each other. The left side shows a very crowded area of living spaces, with very little room. Divided by some sort of wall, on the right side shows luxury apartments, large tennis and swimming areas and much more green space.

When we all emerge from our forced sabbaticals, what kind of world will we return to? Will it be business as usual, with everyone rushing back to their own societal cocoons of survival and living? Perhaps we will be forever changed with a new level of compassion and empathy that all people deserve? Yeah, I know I’m dreamer, but as someone famous said, “but I’m not the only one”. Being optimistic yet realistic is a tough thing to be intrinsically, as it’s easy to become disillusioned when you see how other people in the world live and try to survive. In contrast, so many seem to have more than they need. In the past, when I’ve expressed these feelings and opinions, I have received many different kinds of responses. I’ve been told I’m a bleeding heart who should open up my house to strangers and feed, house and clothe them. Maybe if I was rich, I would find a way to help people have those things. I’ve also been told that I truly am a dreamer, with good intentions, but in a world that doesn’t acquiesce to such aspirations.

Then again, I might just be someone with too much time on my hands…Please be well, and safe.

2 thoughts on “Abject Awareness”

  1. I do what I can, when I can. I’m on SSDI, so my income is limited. My daughters that lives with me is a nurse, so she has a decent income. I push the donate button when I buy groceries, $5.00 isn’t ‘make or break’ for me anymore, although there was a time when it was.
    I am very aware of how fortunate I am. I also hope that we come out of this worldwide crisis with more compassion, tolerance and acceptance. You, me, the late great John Lennon and a bunch of others… we’ll keep dreaming.
    Sending virtual hugs🤗💌


    1. Glad you are doing OK. I think that’s the thought process I was working with. I want to do more, but it just seems like there is so much to do. I guess you’re right. If we come out of this as better people, that would be SO wonderful. Very happy to hear all is well in your part of the world. Take care! Sending those virtual hugs right back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

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