Stuck in a State of Pause

Remember the shutdown of 2020 due to COVID-19? That’s a rhetorical question. I don’t think anyone will forget the shutdown. Admittedly, my husband and two kids didn’t mind the shutdown. The kids were fine playing on their computer, my husband was fine tinkering in the basement, and I was fine getting out and walking every day. It worked for us for the first several months. Gradually though, like most everyone else, we found ourselves in rut. The kids grew tired of playing on the computer, and I grew tired of walking every single day. (Notice I left my husband out, he will never grow tired of tinkering.)

In early 2020, before the true shutdown began, I was actively working full-time as an in-home pet sitter. I was very busy the first several months of the year, and when all travel stopped, I was grateful to be home with my family and sleep in my own bed. It was nice having free time again. It was nice seeing my family – all day every day. And, it was nice getting a chance to take myself for a walk vs. taking my clients’ pups for a walk. (I don’t poop on my walks, and I enjoyed not having to pick up any poop.)

As the year dragged on with the pandemic raging and people dying, I struggled to stay positive and motivated. I decided to create monthly challenges via Facebook, and I organized virtual happy hours and book clubs. I was motivated, and connections were made and friendships grew. And through it all, I gained a stronger awareness of social injustice and racism. I learned a great deal in 2020, and I grew a great deal in 2020. But, I left 2020 tired.

The monthly challenges I created to connect and motivate became tiring for me, as did the virtual book clubs and happy hours. I felt I was carrying these connections by myself. People were asking me to create new challenges to motivate themselves, but I didn’t see anyone stepping up to motivate me. I slowly slipped into a pity party for myself. It seemed to me that if I wasn’t doing the leading, it wasn’t going to get done; but, I was looking for new leaders. I was tired of leading. I wanted to be led. I wanted to be motivated by others, as I had motivated them. As I slipped further into my pity party, I walked away from creating challenges, organizing virtual book clubs and happy hours. I slipped into something similar to a deep depression.

It’s nearly the end of 2021, and I find myself still in the the hole I was in when I left 2020. It’s not depression; it’s a true lack of motivation. That’s not to say I don’t have any motivation. I still get out of bed. I still want to work. I still want to be with my family, make the bed, take the boys to school, etc. I still want to live. But, I’m not motivated to better myself. I’m not motivated to better others. That sounds horrible. It’s awful.

Looking back, 2020 seems like a year of nothing, because we were stuck at home for most of it. It’s not true though – so much happened. Still, the pause button was in place for so very long, and I am finding it very hard to get it unstuck. I’m trying to create challenges, again; I’m trying to connect with friends, again – in real life; but, it’s not working very well. I’m not walking consistently, and I’m not meeting my own challenges. I’m trying to find the motivation, but the motivation hasn’t returned in full.

Apparently my attempt to connect and stay motivated in 2020 depleted my fuel tank. It’s October 2021, and my fuel tank still seems depleted. It’s taking a very long time for me to get back into life. It’s taking me a very long time to want to care for myself and others. I still care, but the drive – the desire – the motivation . . . it’s not strong and it doesn’t last long. (It lasts about as long as my morning and afternoon caffeine fixes.) Am I the only one?

People are continuing to die from complications to COVID-19, as well as other diseases. How many of us made it through the pandemic but are still struggling to live again? Dying due to complications from any illness sucks, and there is literally no coming back from it. Being alive but not living due to complications from a tragedy or trauma is – well, it’s stupid. But, it’s where I am right now; and, I am trying hard to get unstuck in all aspects of the life I still have. Are you still stuck? Are you still trying to get unstuck? If so, I get it. And, I wish us luck in getting unstuck in this state of pause.

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4 thoughts on “Stuck in a State of Pause

  1. I was wondering what my problem was because I, too, lack motivation and drive and initiative these days. Well, these months. Well, this year! I think it is much like PTSD; we carried through 2020 as best we could and used up a lot of our inner strength to cope. Many of us are depleted. Then January of 2021 happened and we hoped for a new start with the new year. Personally, our family suffered even more those early months of 2021 and we’re still dealing with emotionally draining change. I think I should be doing better, feeling better and doing more, but most days the best I can do is get through the day meeting its minimal challenges and finding escape in books. I’ve never read so many books as I have these past 20 months!
    Great blog, Lenore. Thank you for all the activities you carried in 2020. While this doesn’t help you, I am grateful for your candor and the fact someone else is feeling the same frustrating stall due to the COVID fallout.

  2. Hi Lenore Diane. I’ve been away from WordPress for so long but keep telling myself that I should start again and today I was delighted to read this from you. We have been lucky here in New Zealand and haven’t had the long unbroken lockdowns you have suffered. However during lockdown I found it difficult to stay motivated even if the lockdown was only for a short time. We are still in a level two lockdown and that has been since August, while part of the country is still in level three which is very restrictive. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and this has motivated me to think about WordPress again. I have missed my friends in the blogosphere over the months.

  3. Oh Lenore, I’m so sorry you are feeling so badly. As I read your post, I thought, “she’s just being way too hard on herself!” But who am I to judge another human being’s goals, expectations, and self-assessment? You are obviously a very giving and sensitive person and I think it is harming you to not be able to give and recieve as you are used to doing.

    The pandemic has not been at all difficult for me, but that may be related to my age and to my very introverted personality. Many opportunities have landed right here on my laptop. I’ve taken advantage of many online classes, seminars, and concerts that have been offered free of charge. I find that I can enjoy a classical music concert almost more at home than I do in the the concert hall. The photography and camera angles provide such a rich opportunity to focus on individual players.

    And I’m an absurdly NOT goal-oriented person. I’m uniquely happy to be where I am and enjoy the things that bring me pleasure. I don’t have to being doing or making or creating or producing. I believe our frenetic society emphasises productivity over contentment and personal acceptance. I’m not at all concerned about my purpose in life. I’m here to live and enjoy for as long as I am here, period.

    I will confess to having to be vigilant about not overdoing social media. I’ve had to learn to scroll past a lot of vitriol. If I get caught up in some of the horrible meme’s and nasty bickering, my soul begins to die. I try to engage with the positive people in my feed.

    I was delighted to see you show up in my reader, because I’ve actually thought of you often, lately. But I’m really sorry you’re feeling so at odds with yourself. I hope something good happens soon to lift you out of the dolldrums.

That was my thought on the matter. Your comment?

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