Have a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.
This was my 10th of the 52 blog posts I wrote in 2020 to celebrate my turning 52–and the first post to mention COVID. The weekend of March 13-15, 2020 was such an intense weekend of unknowns! Little did I know that heading into the workweek that the world was turning topsy turvy or that I would be spending the next year teaching remotely. Still trying to find that evasive ‘perspective’.
I picked up a penny yesterday morning and thought of my Grandma Baldwin. She passed over 15 years ago at 91 and yesterday was actually her birthday. March 13, 1912. She was someone who believed in old wives’ tales and good luck charms. The ones where if you stepped on a crack, you would break your mother’s back; black cats running in front of you were very bad and so was walking under a ladder; tea leaves could tell the future; and breaking a mirror would bring 7 years of bad luck. Never thought of the correlation between Friday the 13th and Grandma B’s birthday before, but I’m sure she had an opinion on that one. The thing with good luck charms and old wives’ tales is that those beliefs depend on your perspective. I picked up the penny yesterday in memory of her and believe that the penny protected me from the super negative effects of the day being a Friday the 13th. After the negative craziness of the last few Fridays at work and the week I had, I figured it wouldn’t hurt. It didn’t and my Friday wasn’t a horrible one.
February was a challenging month on a few levels. My favorite Chicago morning DJ of nearly 25 years, Lin Brehmer, was switched to the lunchtime slot. I’ve had some work challenges that triggered some major PTSD. Lots of grey weather made things kinda gloomy. Our favorite restaurant in Chinatown has been closed since mid-January. T had some major work challenges that resulted in transition. And Devlin, one of my most favorite coaches and staff, ROWtired from Recovery on Water. I struggled to meet all of my personal and professional goals and life was starting to really get me down.
However, I muddled through. I embraced those days that were sunny and squeezed as much Vitamin Sun out of them that I could. There was a beautiful family wedding in Michigan, that we drove to Lansing for on a glorious, sunny, 2/22/20 (and the wedding itself was at 2:22PM). I baked 2 rounds of King Cakes that were super yummy and we found new restaurants that we like in Chinatown–including a Bubble Tea place where they recognize us when we go in after only a few visits. I reached out to colleagues about the work challenges to find that it wasn’t just me who was being targeted and with that knowledge and some other things going on, let us just say, I don’t feel as powerless as I did a month ago. I also decided that we were going to look at T’s situation as an opportunity–and a forward move that he has put a lot of preparation in to already–rather than the end of the world. So far, that decision is helping keep us centered and positively focused when we get off track. Even Devlin’s ROWtirement Party speech was incredibly inspirational!
I’ve pretty much always journaled or kept a diary. Holly Hobby, anyone? It was off limits to my parents and sister, although I’m sure at least my sister would sneak a look at it here and there. Over the years, I often have used a journal to vent out problems, try to unload drama, and problem solve. My audience is myself, however. Early on in T and my living together, I put the restriction down that I didn’t want him to read my journals. Instead of recognizing what an outlet my journals are to me, he was hurt and put off, assuming that I was filling the pages with rants about him. He ended up retaliating years later by never reading any of my blog posts. Yep, 221 posts so far on Searching for EMWA and another 38 on A Home for the Family Tree and he hasn’t read a single one of these posts. Granted that has given me some freedom, but it also has resulted in my feeling that he doesn’t support my writing.
So, a couple of weeks ago, we got in to a verbal argument where I ended up feeling that I wasn’t being heard and I was tired of it. For the first time that I could remember–if ever–instead of my journaling out my frustration, I wrote T a letter. Two pages of my handwritten thoughts, where I was able to express myself without interruption. It was immensely therapeutic to write and when he read it, it had a surprisingly cathartic effect for both of us. He got a view of my inner feelings and perspective, and rather than rejecting what I had written, he spoke to my concerns and feelings. In other words, I felt that he ‘heard’ me.
I’ve realized that somewhere along the line, I stopped writing anything where my husband was my target audience. There have been very few love letters and even my actual writing of notes has dropped off considerably. While this void isn’t totally on me–if I’m not feeling supported, I’m not going to put forth the effort–I did realize that he does actually care about my writing and what I have to say and that if I were to start writing to him again, he would be receptive. Not only has my perspective changed markedly, but I also find myself wondering what other tool, resource, or ability I’m not utilizing most effectively with my most important relationships. What super power is tucked away, waiting to be put in to action?
As the world is now officially in the midst of a pandemic thanks to COVID-19 and many of our individual worlds are being turned upside down, I wonder what each of us has as our super power that we should put in to action? How are you going to help? We are seeing plenty of examples of government and business leaders who are stepping up and taking positive action, but we are also seeing those who are dropping the ball or price gouging something as valuable as hand sanitizer. We have the opportunity to help one another here, y’all, and pull on our many strengths and talents.