THE YEAR IN REVIEW

The year 2021 is coming to an end and some people are very vocal about this year being another wasted year due to this on going pandemic. I agree that this continuous mutating virus is ignoring. No matter, I am thankful for all that I have been blessed with throughout this year. I am in good health, emotionally, mentally and physically. Most thankfull for employment, and that none of my family or friends have died from this virus. Our family was blessed to welcome a new addition to the family, my great niece MeMe. I accomplished a long time dream to drove cross country, and published another book. My apartment was flooded by hurricane Ida, I am blessed to have an amazing landlord and my apartment has been restored better than new. I was able to visit my mother in South Carolina for Thanksgiving we had an amazing time just the two of us. I can go on and on, but I won’t. I choose to see the good that happened this year. We have had enough of the bad. I hope when you taking a look back you will count your blessings.. Merry Christmas and hope your looking forward to another wonderful New Year.

Thank you for supporting dragthepen ❤

J R Floyd

What Just Happened?

Dear Readers, 

Have you ever been engaged in a conversation with another person about problems that you’re experiencing, but the other person completely disregards your concerns and makes the conversation about them? I was talking to a sister friend about my decision to join a gym to  focus on my mental and emotional health and at the same time addressing my physical health. I made this choice after several sessions with my therapist who helped me to understand that I have been suffering from pandemic fatigue, a term unknown to me. I thought I was experiencing simple depression, and with the threat of another virus I’ve become  increasingly concerned about the quality of my life. My therapist helped me to understand that this was brought on by the pandemic. I missed working out and homeworks is not helping as much. So, I put my fear aside and joined a gym.

Anyway, out of my excitement I called a close friend of mine to meet me at my favorite coffee lounge to share my good news. However, during our conversation she completely caught me off guard by her lack of compassion and listening skills. It seemed to me that she was condemning me for the choices that I made to regain some balance in my life, and she dumped all of her issues on me. The Conversation went something like this. . 

Me: Thanks for meeting me for coffee. I needed to get out of the house and just breathe.

Sister friend: I felt the same way glad you called.

Me: Since the cold weather is setting in there aren’t many places I am willing to go in doors.

Sister friend: Indoors or outdoors no place is safe. 

Me: Well, that’s true, but at least here they are checking for vaccine cards and the staff wears masks. I did feel better during the summer when people could spread out. I enjoyed the outside dining. 

Sister friend: Inside or outside, if the virus is going to get you it won’t matter where you were.

Me: Sipping my coffee in silence.

Sister friend: What have you been up to?

Me: Doing my best to be productive, positive and stay safe.

Sister friend: Stay safe, stay safe I am so tired of hearing people say that.

Me: What else do you expect people to say, and with the news of yet another variant of this virus people don’t even know if what they are already doing is keeping them safe.

Silence..

Sister friend: Anyway, is anything new happening? 

Me: Yes, I am so excited! I stopped procrastinating and joined the gym. I am done with the pandemic weight. I needed another place to connect to people. So, ready to get my workout on.

Sister friend: Girl are you crazy? You talking about staying safe and you’re going to a gym? 

Me: Yes. I thought about it. I need to start rebuilding my health. I’ve been feeling off balance. I did my research, the gym is near my house, they only allow 25 percent capacity, fully vaccinated people only, they take your temp, there is a mask mandate, and it is clean.

Sister Friend: Girl, I wouldn’t dare go in a place where there is so much sweat and germs, people breathing out God knows what. And what do you mean your off balance? 

Me: Before I could answer-

Sister friend: From where I sit you’re doing great. I’ve been dealing with creditors calling me, still behind on my rent, squeezing pennies to buy food, and I might not have cable next month. To make matters worse, Christmas will be here soon and I don’t have money to buy gifts, so this means I won’t be getting anything. You know how some people are if you don’t give, you don’t get. And it’s been a long time since I had a professional mani-pedi. And the only thing you’re worried about is a few extra pounds? Here is a suggestion that will save you the gym membership, stop eating. ( laughing ). Girl you know I am only kidding.

Me: Smiling.  

After that rant I didnt go into details about my conversation with my therapist, and how I’ve been feeling depressed more than usual, and my fears about going through the winter shut indoors alone. I wanted to ask her about all the unemployment money she received on top of the stimulus checks. I dare not go there. I left the coffee lounge feeling like the bad girl who’d  been chastised for getting caught with my hands in the cookie jar.

Thank you for stopping by dragthepen

The End is NEAR

Dear Readers, 

Lately I’ve been feeling off balance fighting through a period of feeling emotionally and physically drained and disappointed. At this point in my life I feel I need to give deep thought into what I am doing, and is it truly meaningful, or is all of the book writing, blogging, vlogging, just another way of me staying busy, which in turn appears like I am productive and successful. 

Since the start of the pandemic I’ve taken several free courses and just recently completed a 40 hour training to become a Victim Advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. I feel that it would be a great experience to add to my resume. But, the more that I think I am accomplishing, the bigger the question of what am I doing for my future? Creating a brand, publishing books, joining the International Lions Club, will any of these activities help me in the future. 

I have a timeline. I want to semi-retire in three years at ( 60) and fully retire at 62, and relocate from New York. Can I do this in three to five years on my own? How? To accomplish my retirement vision means less time For my brandConversations with J. R. Floyd. I have two manuscripts I wanted to publish this year, and dealing with the disappointment of being 7 months into this year, and some of the projects I planned had to be rescheduled, and I may not be able to complete them. 

It’s time for me to put the same focus and energy into planning for my future. The last five years I’ve been balancing my time between two jobs that I no desire to continue to do. I am hoping that my upcoming cross country drive from New York to California will help me to refocus my energy and start to design a new vision for my future.  I am not looking for a fresh start or to start over just to work from the foundation that I currently have. 

If anyone has retirement advice or suggestions I would like to hear from you.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One Year Later

Dear Readers, 

Wow. what a difference a year makes. Last year this time the education system was struggling to educate our children remotely, proms, graduations, weddings, baby showers, religious and anniversary celebrations were cancelled. It took some for us to understand and come to terms with life as we once knew it was over and we were left with uncertainty. We fought through the fear of death, a second wave, political confusion, financial devastation, homelessness, depression and emotional Instability 

The Vaccine arrived and more uncertainty, yet, we yearned for relief from the limitations brought on by this pandemic, so we soldiered on. Today, I see smiling faces of families at graduations and proms. I see people despite all the controversy getting vaccinated, wearing masks and practicing social distancing, planning weddings and taking much needed vacations. Slowly, we will learn how to accept and adjust to this new “ Normal.”  I am no expert, but you and I know that we are  not out of the woods and no one knows when we will be free from the threat of this virus or the continued effects this virus will have on people’s health, business, and with the return of workers returning to the workplace. 

I know that we cannot continue to hide behind closed doors, but we must carry on with safe practices, while we begin to enjoy some of the pleasures that we had to leave behind last year.

Some members of my large family.

Thank you for stopping by Dragthepen.

Confessions of the Virus

One of the most difficult aspects of this pandemic is not the temporary loneliness, or the occasional overeating, the periodic boredom, or the wondering when will this be over, for me it is the absence of closeness. We live in a society that thrives on having personal space, in our homes we desire to have our own room, so we can close the door and keep others out. Some people often find themselves hiding in basements, closets or even the bathroom to escape people. 

We are told to seek quiet time to slow down and learn to enjoy our own company. Some parents often teach their children how to play alone. In the process these children invent imaginary friends or they cling to their favorite doll or stuffed animal for comfort. 

I am a proud Introvert and over the course of my life I have learned how to live with others who understand my need for quiet time and to dwell in a clean organized environment. We all have some area of life that is deeply impacted by this period of social distance. I miss the closeness of  being near people without fear. 

I miss sitting in the kitchen with my mom sipping coffee and catching up on life. I miss the hugs from family members, yes we are hugers. I teach college students and often they would initiate the invitation for a hug. I miss the intimacy of holding hands with a friend. I miss sneaking a gentle pinch from the cheek of a sweet plump baby. I especially miss the voices and camaraderie of my weekly chorus. 

Although some restrictions have been lifted and people are going out to enjoy meeting up, however, there is still that sense of being careful to connect but not fully. I spent this entire pandemic living alone; very few people stop by to do a wellness check. I am grateful for the few times I have ventured out to meet friends for dinner, coffee, or to attend a church service. I haven’t been to a mall, department store or to the movies; or any other place that I fear maybe a crowd of people.

I am thankful for spring and I’ ve made a trip to the mountains and it felt amazing to connect with nature, but I was alone. In July I am planning a cross country drive from New York to California. I am so excited because this is something I have dreamed of doing. While compiling my packing list I  remembered to add some extra items like, Lysol spray and wipes, extra masks,  rubber gloves, and hand sanitizer. I am excited, but how well I know that voice of caution will be with me whispering, have fun, but be safe.

We are beyond Cabin fever

Dear Readers,

Millions of people are voicing the same sentiment about their frustrations of the prolonged effects of this pandemic. The distress of limitations are very real for the people who fear this virus, so they don’t take chances to visit friends, relatives or gather in crowded places. They are not lured to travel to exotics places due to the cheap price of an airline ticket. These are the people who wear their mask at all times and are cautious about allowing people into their homes. The bottom line is that we have gone beyond the point of cabin fever. The mental, emotional, and physical toll caused by this pandemic is becoming frightening.

So maybe our old normal wasn’t so bad after all. An increasing number of people have declared that over time they have made certain adjustments under the assumption that this pandemic wouldn’t last. So, here we are January 4, 2021, almost one year since the day that the world shut down, then resumed some normal activities, and the numbers of hospital cases decreased, weather became warm and people felt a sense of relief and triumph. 

The reality is that we were never out of danger because the threat of the spread of the coronavirus looms at every corner. The individuals who broke social distancing rules, not because they have no respect for the law, instead, due to feeling the strain of being disconnected, and having limitations put on them. Look around and you will see the weariness in the eyes of the drained and confused. People are no longer making fat jokes about the coronavirus weight gain, and building home gyms, zoom happy hour, Friday zoom date night, drive by birthdays, and anniversaries celebrations have lost their thrill. 

How much more can marriages, relationships, friendships, and partnerships endure due to living in close quarters, and not being able to travel to see distant relatives?  Yes, the doctors and science professionals claim that we must remain socially distant, wear masks even in doors, wash our hands, get tested regularly, and stay away from sick people. However, what about the problem of the homeless population slowly returning to the streets and subways in New York City, and millions of people are threatened with eviction and the government’s second stimulus package is too late help. 

The day to day uncertainty is what’s causing so much emotional stress and hopelessness. So, with the dawn of a New Year, the vaccine, more social disconnection, restaurants shutting down, heavy travel restriction, majority of church doors closed, libraries remain shut, play houses still dark, and Winter, we are no better off than we were way back on March 10, 2019, when the world stopped. I hear many people admitting that they miss going into the office, teachers missing their students,  and people wishing they could turn back time and relive all the things they took for granted. I don’t know if people are losing faith in religion, politicians, or humanity, but we are at our breaking point, we are in need of emotional healing and a long, long vacation.

Thank you for stopping by Dragthepen

14,682 Quill Pen Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Let Love & Unity flow Forever

 

 

 

Dear Readers, 

 

Please forgive me. I do not  mean to rain on an already soggy parade, but I’ve been thinking about the last 20 or so days that we have been quarantined. I’ve been keeping track of all the acts of kindness that people are performing. I am not questioning the motive behind the good deeds, but why it takes a tragedy or a pandemic to bring people and resources together. Another pattern that I noticed overtime is after the tragedy fades and this pandemic will come to an end no matter how long it takes, people tend to fall back into living life as they had previously. I contemplate writing about this horrible virus that’s sweeping across this world faster than the speed of light. The Coronavirus has put the world at a stand still and has caused us to live  day to day in uncertainty. People are still trying to shake the disbelief that this is happening and fear that the world may never return to what we once knew or will it? Our “ Normal” has been changed and now we get to see what we are really made of and reflect on what’s important now. 

 

I see people crossing the race line and the consensus is that this virus doesn’t fight fair so we are all in danger of being exposed regardless of color, economic status, or address.  We are all trying to stay one step ahead of this time bomb. I see states and cities pulling together to feed the hungry, and even though we can’t give hugs people are finding ways to extend a helping hand to ease the fear that is evident in the eyes of people who are wondering what’s next? I have a friend who started a Go Fund Me page to raise many for an immigrant neighborhood. Andre Lloyd Weber is making available two of his Broadway shows online for free. Actors are reading bedtime stories to children, dancers and singers are posting performances on Social media. I saw a three man band in the middle of the street in Idaho performing. The residence came out and danced on their porches and front lawns and for a moment there was pure joy during a time of death, devastation and uncertainty. In Spain a trainer takes to the rooftop to encourage people to exercise and, in Italy people took to singing to show solidarity. A few days ago in New York City some of the fire houses took to the streets and lined up in front of hospitals to sound their horns in thanks and celebration for the healthcare who are at the front line of this battle to beat this demon that is threatening to claim more lives.

 

This crisis has caused people to do what they have been wanting to do, spend time at home with family, and slow down. But when I see the negative comments on social media about being home with family, I wonder if people really mean what they are saying? Families are now forced to talk, create, recreate, learn how to make peace, make time to teach children new values, to bond, share, and maybe for some couples time to rediscover intimacy. We are living without the mega malls, sitting in traffic, date night, and neglecting family to work extra hours. People are not grinding, rushing and stuffing themselves with fast food due to overbooked schedules. This is the first time since 911, that the entire world has felt collectively the same fear, panic, confusion, anger, outrage, shock, and disbelief. We live in the same world striving for the same goals “ the pursuit of happiness”. This crisis has shown us that all life matters and by pulling together we are capable of conquering the meanest beast. My hope is that after the period of mourning is over because the loss of lives is great, and people will have a long journey to overcome the emotional, mental and financial challenges. Let’s  not go back to normal. My desire is that we keep the LOVE and UNITY flowing forever.