Miscontent – adjective: annoying, obsolete, disgruntled, dissatisfied
How to describe the unexpected, slightly annoying, and hopefully soon-to-be obsolete summer of 2020? I don’t think any of us will forget it soon. No sir, summer 2020 is branded on each of us forever; a somewhat sad, somewhat frightening, but often annoying period in history.
I approached this time of my life as optimistically as I could muster, setting my sights on goals and activities to keep me from going crazy. I can’t remember another summer in my life with so few parties, not a single concert, and zero festivals. No family reunion, no weddings, no fair or rodeo. No summer blockbuster movies, organized runs or even Seafair hydroplanes. Ho hum.
But most of all it’s been years since I haven’t had a vacation or trip looming on the horizon. The world according to Covid. So sad….
I knew full well as we flew half way across the world back to the United States on April 30th (abruptly ending our world tour) that nothing was going to be the same this summer. Our two months locked down on the island of Cyprus had us fully prepared with a good understanding of the dangers and contagion of the virus. We weren’t however prepared for the way the USA handled the virus with lack of cohesion, lack of preparation, lack of equipment, lack of communication. That part blew my mind. And thanks to all of that, we as Americans can’t travel now…perhaps for a very long time. Annoying.
The term ‘growth mindset’ is a bit of mantra for me, and I, sometimes to my husband’s dismay, tackle each problem head on with belief I can make something good out of the situation. And do it today. Generally I am a positive person with a somewhat Pollyanna view and so I set out to make the most of the situation. I lead a quantified life, meaning quarantine and lockdown seemed like another opportunity to tackle and reach some goals. This isn’t for everyone, but it works for me and damn I get a lot done!
So after four months stuck back in the USA it’s time to review my summer of miscontent, and consider what lies ahead.
Learning New Garden Skills
I didn’t do much work on my garden last summer because we were up to our eyeballs in remodeling our new villa. This year I set out to learn all I could about deer resistant gardening as well as gardening with woodland plants. Read Deer Resistant Gardening post here.
I have learned so much this summer, mostly by trial and error and I can say a few things with confidence about deer resistant gardening. First, the deer will try anything at least once…even if it’s supposedly “deer resistant”. Second, the female deer eat like pigs in the spring when they are carrying their fawns. And finally, there really are some plants the deer don’t like…thankfully. My successes this summer include lavender and all herbs, canna, cone flowers, daises, peonies, most grasses, cotoneaster and most woody shrubs, day lilies, and mums. I won’t be planting much beyond this list in the years ahead.
BTW my Master Gardener friend Kim (who helped me a lot) reminded me that no matter if the tag on the plant says “deer resistant” the deer can’t read.
Getting My Glow Back
Something I wasn’t prepared for when we started our life of nearly full time travel more than four years ago is how hard travel is on your skin and hair. Yes, I said skin and hair. Sun and sand, chlorine and salt, dry airplanes, dehydration, humidity…you name it. I felt my skin looked ancient when I arrived back in the USA. So, since we were going to be staying close to home, it seemed like a good time to launch a much needed and long neglected anti-aging skin care routine. Within a week of arrival I was into it and here is the post I wrote about Skin Care at Sixty
It’s now been 18 weeks since I took control of the future of my skin and I can’t tell you how much better I look and I feel. It is worth the effort and the money and I will never go back to neglecting my own self-care again. Whether you use the products I used or another brand or approach, just taking the time to put yourself first and take care of you is an important goal in life.
While I’m At It – Let’s Get Skinny
The two months on lockdown in Cyprus was a time I taught myself all about Cypriot cuisine. It was fun to have the time to do that. We also had an amazing Airbnb host who brought us baked goods nearly everyday. Oh boy those were good.
But on touchdown in the USA I was at least fifteen pounds heavier than when I had left, and my weight then wasn’t ideal either. One of the best things about travel is the wonderful food around the world – and I want to try it all. But, back in the USA it was time to take some serious measures and drop some serious pounds. And so I joined Noom and got to work within a week of arriving back home. Here is the post I wrote about Noom Weightloss.
I also set out to make better choices of what I ate and Noom helped me with that. We joined a seafood club and began receiving delicious wild caught Alaska Seafood and I taught myself all kinds of delicious seafood recipes. Cooking fish has always been a bit daunting for me, but not anymore. See some of the recipes here for Alaska Wild Caught Fish.
It’s now been four and half months and I have lost 27 pounds and I am currently maintaining my new weight. My god I feel so great! Noom is a great program. It might not be for everyone but it was just right for me and my growth mindset life and I am going to do everything I can to keep the weight off.
Let’s Get Physical
Noom was my motivation, but running really helped me kickstart a quick weight loss from the beginning. I set out to train for a half marathon, knowing full well the virus was causing all organized runs to be canceled. But I decided I could do my own half marathons and gave myself twelve weeks to be ready using Hal Higdon’s training program. See the post I wrote about Half Marathon Training
The twelve weeks have come and gone and I have run my half marathon and plan to run my second one this coming weekend. And as long as this old sixty year old body will let me, I’ll just keep right on running. I love it and it helps me stay slim.
Learning Something New
We can’t travel but I live on a golf course…there it is right in my own front yard. So no time like the present to learn something new. I have golfed in the past but it had been at least 15 years since I picked up some clubs. So my summer of miscontent became my summer of learn to golf. I took 8 lessons and learned a great deal during that time. I got a new driver, new shoes and a whole new atititude and confidence to this game and I look forward to golfing through out the fall and even the winter as I work to feel natural with a club in my hand. Another great way to get my exercise in.
Staycations and Road Trips
Once I felt safe to be out and about on a limited basis, we planned some close-to-home two and three day getaways (see our Island Sanity Staycation #1 here and our Tree House #2 here). I also got outside to hike and cycle as often as possible, keeping social distancing top of mind. I was really grateful for those close to home activities with my husband, my grown sons and some of our close friends.
In August we decided to venture a little farther from home and did a 13 day road trip through Idaho to Colorado and back through Oregon. It was a lot of driving and in hind sight we should have added a few more days, but the weather was excellent, the scenery sublime and the ability to play my “get out of jail free card” really helped my sanity. I felt safe the entire time and we were careful and social distanced everywhere we went.
And Just Like That, Fall is Here
The virus is here for a long while, and learning to deal with it has been the unexpected outcome of my summer of miscontent. So now I look forward. I’ve done a little soul searching through all of this. Learning to accept the fact I can’t travel and I am not in control of when I might be able to again. Learning to find peace with that and find other things to occupy my over active brain. Learning to socialize primarily with my closest family and keep most everyone at arms length. No hugs. That sucks.
The weather will turn soon and I will turn to my arts and crafts and focus on healthy eating and working out. We might do another road trip…or even fly to the sunny parts of the USA if we decide it’s safe to do so. But learning to be kinder, quieter, more thoughtful has been good medicine for me. I’ve given up the news and refuse to engage in politics or hate. It’s not my way.
I know well there are so many people who have it so much worse than I do. I have a home, a family and I am safe and so far healthy. There is nothing more that I need.
I know a handful of people who have had the virus, all but one of them surviving. It’s real and it’s going to be around for a while…I am settling in for the long haul. Likely no travel for a while, but learning to live within the boundaries the virus has imposed. And do so with a positive attitude…as much as possible. Sometimes that means stepping away from the news, shutting down the social media, turning away from the screen.
My goal – a fall and winter of contentment. Putting away the miscontent and finding acceptance and satisfaction in the solitude this virus has thrust on us, and the major change in lifestyle that is now my routine. My autumn of contentment. My winter of gratitude. My Fab Fifties Life.
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