I’ve been having trouble sleeping this past week – a week that just happens to have coincided with my kids returning to in-person school after 18 months (I originally typed ‘
“years” instead of months and was like, “Yes, brain, I know.”). It also coincides with my period starting which, being 45 and perimenopausal, is now an Event with a capital E, that includes, in addition to insomnia, night sweats, daytime hot flashes, and the kind of crushing fatigue that is reminiscent of the first trimester of pregnancy. Fun!
Anyway, I’ve had trouble sleeping, but I did get a few hours last night, during which I had a dream that my family was on vacation, staying at an AirBnb on a beach, and my kids were playing in the surf when, all of a sudden, the sky got dark, the waves grew by about 10 times, and actual alarms went off signaling a storm’s imminent arrival and alerting everyone to get out of the water and seek shelter. So, I guess it’s safe to say that I am having some feelings about my unvaccinated kids being on packed subways and in crowded classrooms as we wait to see what kind of impact Delta will have in schools over the next few weeks. Fortunately, there’s a lot of positive stuff to help balance out and temper the anxiety, and during my waking hours I try to focus on those things. (The kids are happy! They’re making friends! I have peace and quiet again to think and do work and just be – it’s wonderful!).
I suspect many of you are feeling something similar, especially if you have young kids at home. Or maybe you don’t, but you’re experiencing whatever it’s called when you’ve had to make big adjustments to your life and it’s been 18 months and you’re wondering when when when things can be normal again. Or maybe you already feel normal again, and that’s cool, too. Wherever you are on on this spectrum of processing the collective trauma we’ve experienced, and adjusting to a path this fall that is probably different than we expected it would be, I hope you are finding moments of joy, too, and reasons to feel positive and optimistic.
Have a great weekend, and here are some links you might enjoy:
As a parent of two children not yet eligible for Covid vaccination, I found this pretty relatable: Why Covid Has Broken Parents’ Sense of Risk: Every decision for not-yet-vaccinated kids feels like an unsolvable equation.
Would you (or do you) schedule fights with your partner? Apparently, there’s some benefit to this strategy…
My friend, Sarah Brown, makes candle-reviewing a freaking art form (so funny and spot-on in her sensory descriptions). I’m totally ordering this Steakhouse candle from Tuesday of California based solely on her review – “I want to walk into a room that smells like this and nuzzle whoever is inside. I want to smell it, I want to eat, I want to hump it, I want to live inside it for a bit. I need to order another one of these already because I know it’ll be in heavy rotation this fall.” (Tuesday of California, send Sarah some complimentary candles if you haven’t yet!). Might have to also check out the candle called “Smoking Weed in Grandma’s Basement” for the hell of it, too, because come on with this product description: “Influenced by Tuesday’s midwestern roots, this summer aroma will bring you back to being a teenage delinquent, but ~*refined*~. Notes: Summer sweat, olive green shag carpet, lumpy tweed sofa, wood panelling, apple pipe, and ditch weed.”
This is kind of interesting: How finger counting gives away your nationality
Jazzmin Johnson was five years into her relationship when anxiety hit, and she sought out therapy — but when her therapist floated the idea that she might need to “find herself,” Johnson began to spiral. “A few hours later, I remember a thought popping into my head of ‘What if you do need to find yourself? What if you need to leave your boyfriend to find yourself?’” she says. Johnson didn’t want to leave her relationship, but she couldn’t shake the thought that she might have to. Doubt turned into obsession, which turned into a compulsive search for certainty, which in turn kept her stuck in the obsessive-compulsive cycle. Soon, Johnson’s therapist diagnosed her with OCD.
— How To Tell If Your Relationship Doubts Are Actually a Sign of OCD
Wow: 1 in 7 people ended friendships over COVID-19 vaccine stance, survey finds
These impressions of various celebrities meeting your dog on the street are so spot-on.
Kate September 18, 2021, 7:43 am
I’m a year older than you, and I would expect to be in perimenopause but I can’t tell. I went off the pill more than 6 months ago and I still get a period a little less than 28 days apart. It’s light-ish, and I don’t have bad cramps or moodiness anymore. I do get hot af and sweat easily, but not necessarily in flashes. Every night I take one Zzzquil and a tiny bit of something else to fall asleep, and I take another zzzquil when I wake up to pee. That way I get enough sleep, and Fitbit says it’s good quality. If I wake up stark freaking out about the world, I take another tiny bit of something. No fucking way am I going to just not sleep. Been there, done that, no thanks. Not an option.
Also no alcohol during the week, no phone right before bed, Sleepytime tea, only one cup of coffee in the morning blah blah blah earplugs eye mask fan. I’m sure you’ve tried all that, or some of its not possible with kids.
ktfran September 18, 2021, 9:51 am
My back went out again right before Lahor Day weekend. It had been about 10 months since the last episode. An older coworker who has body ailments recommended snoozzeberries. The husband picked some up. They worked wonders. I was able to get a full nights rest and sleep on my back instead of my usual side sleep. I healed a lot quicker this time. I think those helped with it.
I’m not going to take them every night. That shit’s expensive.
They did help though.
If I’m really stressed out or have a lot on my mind, I can typically have one small glass of wine with dinner. That usually helps me relax/get to sleep. Only one though. And not a big pour. Anything more and forget about it.
Dear Wendy September 18, 2021, 11:06 am
Perimenopause is like pms on steroids. Sounds like it probably hasn’t started for you yet. Something to look forward to! ?
Kate September 18, 2021, 11:26 am
CanNOT wait. Except for not having to buy tampons anymore, that’ll be cool.
Dear Wendy September 18, 2021, 1:36 pm
I’m excited for that part.
LisforLeslie September 20, 2021, 8:55 am
I’m in full peri-menopause. I dread hot flashes and wonder if I’ll be able to use the three pack of pads I bought on Amazon before I dry up for good.
Kate September 18, 2021, 3:10 pm
Ugh, so we just took the T, which we haven’t in quite a while, and changing to the green line my husband tried to grab the door right before the train left, but it closed so we couldn’t get on. But the reason it was sitting there, some old guy was getting off with 2 carts full of bullshit signs about masks and HIPPAA. And not wearing a mask. He’s like, “You slammed the door on me!” Which made no sense because he was off the train. My husband was like, put on a mask. So then the guy gets all agitated and starts coming at him yelling “hit me! Hit me! Angry young man!” And also coughing at us. We just stood there. So right there he’s breaking two laws: no mask, and assault, and then he starts yelling “Police! I want to have this angry young man arrested!” And then thankfully another train came. Fuck the T.
TheLadyE September 18, 2021, 3:22 pm
WTF. I can’t with people and their bullshit after the last year and a half.
Kate September 18, 2021, 3:31 pm
d2 September 19, 2021, 7:00 pm
The finger counting article was interesting. It didn’t confirm my nationality, but it did confirm my weirdness.
On my left hand, I start counting with my thumb. On my right hand, I start counting with my little finger. That way, the count always goes from left to right (from my perspective with palms up).
allathian September 20, 2021, 4:20 am
I realize that I’m very privileged in that nobody I know has been diagnosed with Covid during the whole pandemic so far, let alone been hospitalized, or worse. We’ve had good access to the vaccine, and everyone I know and care about has been on the same page with me about it and taken it as soon as they could. I’ve also been incredibly lucky in that I haven’t had to live with the fear of anyone I care about getting seriously sick, or the loss of a loved one dying.
That said, I’m an introvert, although I’m chatty enough that many people don’t believe me when I say that, and I’ve absolutely relished just being at home most of the time. For the last 18 months I’ve been to the stores a handful of times, most of the time we’ve either ordered online or my husband’s done the shopping, mostly the latter.
Every aspect of my job can be done from home, and I’ve been at least as, if not more, productive while WFH than I ever was at the office. I realize I’m privileged here, too, we’re a 3-person family and we have a 5-bedroom house, so there’s enough space for my husband and me to have our own offices and for my son to do remote school if necessary, which he did with reasonable success for the two months that elementary schools were closed in my area in 2020. To be fair, most of our assets are tied up in the house, our cars are at least 10 years old, and we don’t take expensive foreign vacations every year even when there’s no pandemic. I enjoy talking to my coworkers around the water cooler, but my work involves almost no synchronous collaboration, so I really don’t need to be in the same space as my coworkers to work effectively. I miss my coworkers occasionally, but not enough to want to go back to the office except for occasional development days.
I feel that our marriage is stronger than ever, even though we’ve been spending almost 24/7 with each other.
When our son’s fully vaccinated, I’m looking forward to spending time indoors again with friends and family who are also vaccinated. We get snow every year, and I’m not a very outdoorsy person in general, so the prospect of being only able to see people I care about only outdoors in fall and winter isn’t at all attractive. That said, I’m happy that the summer was a hot one, and provided plenty of opportunities to meet friends and family safely outdoors. Fingers crossed that we’ll be able to spend the holidays with our extended family once again.
So why do I feel so conflicted about the world opening up again, and maybe having to return to the office in some sort of hybrid arrangement, and horror of horrors, maybe needing to travel for work again? That’s what I keep asking myself, and others in my circle who are in a similar position. It’s definitely not something I’d say to a neighbor who lost her husband to Covid, to my husband’s friend whose marriage finally broke down during lockdown after years of limping along, or to anyone else whose life has been irrevocably changed by Covid.
allathian September 20, 2021, 4:29 am
And another thing, I’ve been a very restless sleeper ever since I can remember, and I lived alone for the first 10 years of my adult life. Separate bedrooms probably saved our marriage, if nothing else because for me one of the first symptoms of an extended lack of sleep is that I totally lose interest in sex. Don’t sacrifice a decent night’s sleep to some stupid idea about committed spouses needing to sleep in the same bed.
LisforLeslie September 20, 2021, 8:53 am
I’m in a similar-ish position workwise. I had to travel extensively for years and I know some in my company have already started to travel to clients again and others are itching to. The thought of getting on a plane weekly makes me want to hide in my closet. I’ve been able to do so much more from home because I don’t have to add hours of travel to my week. At this point my clients are not expecting travel – and I’m hoping that they see the cost savings of not paying for my flights, hotels and cars and think about work differently for the next few years.