I often like to tell you what’s going on with me or when I’m writing this, so you can understand better “where my head is at”, as the saying goes. In terms of the calendar, it’s just about New Year’s Eve. There‘s a lot on my mind, as I’m sure there is on your own. But first, I thought this was funny –
Instead of delving into any one topic in a deeper way, I’m just going to share some bullet points and quick thoughts about some of the most important items buzzing around in my mind. They are in no particular order:
- This may make some people mad but I always try to communicate honestly
Positive COVID Numberless are massively on the rise in my area, as they are across the country. Here is a headline from today: NY’s COVID hospitalization count climbs 63% in week, daily cases spike above 74K.
(New York Daily News, December 30th, 2021. Retrieved at https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-state-covid-positivity-spikes-to-22-percent-20211230-7jn3pjnypbbudcu3oheheu5ury-story.html).
Some people still want to fight about vaccines, masks, and other measures. Yes, none of those things mean you’ll never get COVID. But it reduces your chances of getting it and increases the likelihood that if you do get it, you won’t end up in ICU or dead, like approximately 10% of new cases still are.
Are our collective attention spans really so short that people have just decided, “This is annoying, the heck with it!” and decided it’s OK to risk not only their health and that of their families, but that of people with whom they come in contact? A highly communicable illness doesn’t stop spreading just because we’ve had enough of dealing with it. The latest variant seems to have more minor symptoms for most people, but it’s infecting more kids. It’s still a major problem and a significant danger.
- Is anyone else concerned about their child going back to school right after the holiday break?
I keep hoping I’m going to get an email from my son’s high school that the first couple of weeks back will be handled virtually. Distance learning is something they eliminated this year, but … hello? A lot more people traveled over this break than have done so since the start of the pandemic.
Things are likely to keep escalating for a while before they get better. Why are we 100% reactive now instead of being proactive, when there’s clearly still a huge problem currently being exacerbated by the holidays?
- If you’re anti-mask, or anti-vaccine, stop being vicious to service workers required to inform you of the requirements in certain places. If you’re pro-mask or pro-vaccine, please also stop being vicious to service workers!
My daughters work in a service industry. The nastiness they sometimes encounter is almost unbelievable. The people working in restaurants and stores aren’t making the rules. Screaming at them, threatening them, and verbally abusing them isn’t going to change anything. You’re just embarrassing yourself with your behavior and teaching the younger workers in particular that some people are immature bullies no matter their age.
By the way, this is not just a COVID-related issue. If you don’t like your table in a restaurant, or that you have to wait to be seated, or that an item is out of stock, or your flight has been delayed or canceled, or almost anything else that has you twisted up … don’t unload on the frontline workers who have to deal with you. If you really feel that you have to get nasty, at least ask to speak to a manager or owner. Even then you should try to be civilized, of course, but at least those people are more likely to have the training and experience to be able to cope with you and your issues or problems without taking your personal attack to heart or having it negatively affect their opinion about humankind.
An adult acting like a toddler is never a good thing.
- Cyber Bullying is a real and ugly problem
Since time began, I suspect, there’s always been ‘mean kids’. They frequently grow up to be mean adults. I freely admit that I didn’t take the time to research this topic before I write this, but there’s no way I believe that the parents of bullies don’t have any clue that their children are bullies. They may not want to see it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t see it. Please understand that when I say parents, I mean anyone in charge of these young people.
I remember when kids of mine were in elementary or middle school and some parents tried to differently label their children’s bullying behaviors as ‘assertive’ or ‘strong-minded’. Nope.
Pushing someone down the stairs or dumping ketchup in their lunchbox is neither of those things. Neither is posting false things about someone on the Internet, stealing their belongings, or breaking their belongings.
If you know your child or suspect your child could bully others, then you really need to be checking out their social media activity much more closely. The damage that can be inflicted upon other people by those means is significant.
- Parenting never gets easier, does it?
When your children are babies, you think that when they get bigger, it’ll be easier. The toddler years come, and you think the same thing. It continues on that way. You keep thinking it’s going to get easier, but it really doesn’t. My own grandmother who raised seven kids told me: “The kids get bigger, and the problems get bigger.”
In reality, when raising children, there are wonderful things about every age and difficult things about every age, too. The toughest thing can be to remember the wonderful moments during the bad ones. At those times that we all have, sometimes I need to take a moment and remind myself that having children at all is a blessing.
- Grief is unpredictable
Don’t ever expect to feel the same grief over different losses. Some grief is a gentle sadness, whereas other grief feels like somebody is physically ripping out your heart and soul. That second type of grief will gradually ease up on you because nobody could survive living with it every day for a very long time. Even so, it will rise up in swells that can knock you flat. You can kind of brace yourself for the predictable ones such as holidays and birthdays and anniversaries. You can’t brace yourself for the unpredictable waves of powerful sadness. These are the type brought on by a sudden scent or sound, or a moment that unexpectedly triggers a surge of grief that feels brand new.
A huge number of factors contribute to the way we experience grief. Don’t judge others for theirs, and don’t judge yourself for what you experience or don’t.
I was going to share with you today my promises to myself as the new year begins, but for some reason, it felt more urgent to instead share with you the worries instead. I think many of them are universal in one way or another.
What’s on your mind as the year ends and the new one begins? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share.