My clock reads 12:58 AM. I’m not asleep. I’ve tried. Believe me. I’ve tried. My bedroom is a cool 67 degrees. It’s dark. It’s quiet minus the rythmic breathing of my dog and the whir of the fan app on my iPhone. I powered down my devices at 10 pm. I read a chapter of my book. My first and last cup of coffee was at 9:35 AM. Yet, I lay there awake, not sleeping. First, I lie on my right side and my arm goes to sleep, but not my body. I flip to my left side and now my hip hurts. I try lying on my back instead. I concentrate on my breathing. In, out, in, out. Come on eyelids, please get heavy. Just…drift off into that peaceful slumber. Count backwards from 100…99…98…97…. My mind wanders through a check list of to do’s for tomorrow. Wait…I’m supposed to be counting backwards from 100. Damn it! I’m still awake.

So….I gave up for now. My clock reads 1:07 AM and now I’m sitting in my living room. The glow of my laptop screen the only light in the room. My fingers tap across the keyboard. A blanket around my shoulders, I decided to write and empty my thoughts and frustrations on to the page. I’ve struggled with insominia off and on througout my life, but these past fews weeks it’s been an unwelcome guest that won’t go home. My sleeping powers have left me. It has been four weeks of quarantine. Four weeks of not going in to the office, not dining in restaraunts, not going to events, not seeing friends and family.

I’m an introvert, but this “alone” time is a bit much even for me – a homebody at heart. As I adjust to this new normal, my mood swings from being anxious to depressed to optimistic and back again. It is scary thinking about this invisible, opportunistic virus that is floating around out there waiting for me to make a mistake (Did I wipe down that door knob? Did I just touch my face? Was I 6ft away from that person in the grocery store?) and infect me. Maybe I have the virus now? When will the symptoms appear? What if someone I love gets the virus? What if they die? What if I die? These are indeed unpresedented times. Are the experts and the media over-blowing this pandemic? Is COVID-19 just another flavor of the seasonal flu? I don’t know 100%, but I trust that our govenor is doing the right thing with the “stay at home” orders and Ohio’s curve is flattening. Would it have flattened without these drastic measures? Some would say there was never a threat to begin with. I am grateful our government has erred on the side of caution.

When the sun is shining through my window in the still of morning, I take comfort in the little things that make me smile. In the dark as I try to fall asleep though, my mind takes a turn toward the unknowns lurking out there. I know this too will pass and this won’t be my life forever. In the meantime, I’m enjoying watching movies in the evenings with my daughters, listening to them laugh as they FaceTime their friends, watching them play basketball with each other in the driveway and taking the dog for a walk. It won’t be long before my oldest (a senior) and my youngest (a seventh grader) will be off to college and then living their lives and having families of their own. It seems only moments ago I was holding them in my arms for the first time. I know it won’t be that long when I look back on the pandemic of 2020 and we’ll remember and tell stories about our “stay at home” time. We’ll remember the courage and empathy of the frontline workers and the way our communities pulled together.

I’m glad that it’s spring here. I can’t imagine how much harder this would be in the middle of winter. I love to wander around my back yard and enjoy the flowers that one of the previous homeowners planted long ago. This is my favorite time of year. First the crocus bloomed, now the daffodils are blossoming and next the tulips will come and the peonies and day lillies. They bring me hope after a long winter that summer and warm weather is on it’s way. They remind me that long after I am gone, the cycle will continue.

And now, my clock reads 1:50 AM. My eyes are a little heavy. Well, not really, but I am going to go back to bed and try once more to sleep. At least it’s Saturday and I can take a nap later! Goodnight all.

Confessions of a FB Quiz Addict

20171003_222155000_iosYes, it’s true. I find it hard to scroll past one of those dumb quizzes that inevitable appear in my FaceBook feed without clicking on them. Because really, who wouldn’t want to know what the most popular words they use in their posts are or who has a secret crush on them?

I for one want to know what the color test tells me about my most dominant character trait is (kindness in case you are wondering) and I found out I’m an introvert by ordering a pizza (not that I didn’t know that already!)  Probably most compelling though are those quizzes that deem me a genius – you know the ones that proport to say that 90% of people don’t know the meaning of these 22 words or the like.  A smile of satisfaction crosses my lips when I find myself in the 10% that know them all. My fingers itch to press “Share” so my FB friends know how smart I really am (or not if you factor in the amount of time I waste taking these quizzes instead of sleeping) and they too can partake in the fun of quiz-taking. 90% of the time, my friends are also in that illustrious 10% of smarties. So, either I am surrounded by extra-intelligent friends or someother nefarious forces are in play. I tend to side with all my friends being on the genius level.

I am so lucky to live in such modern times that I get instant results for these pop-culture quizzes.  Back in the dark ages of my teenage years, I actually had to wait for my monthly issue of Seventeen to appear in my mailbox before I could indulge in such fun. I had to flip through those glossy pages to find the quiz that told me if that special guy was into me or not.  I had to carefully write down my answers on paper none-the-less and then assign a 1, 2, 3 or 4 to my corresponding A,  B, C or D answers. Finally, I had to exercise those math skills to get my total and find the answer to my burning questions.  Am I an optimist? a realist? a pessimist? Oh those insights gave me even more fodder to overthink the little things.

After completing the quiz of the month, I inevitably flipped to the last page to check out my horoscope for the month.  What did the stars have to say about my future?  Is an Aquarius woman compatiable with a Scorpio man? LOL. I confess though, I still click on those articles that appear in my feed. What do the psychics say about my career today? When will I meet my soul-mate? I admit I sometimes wish I had a crystal ball and could see which path I should take or avoid. I’ve even had a personal psychic reading just for the fun of it. Alas, even though she seemed to know things about my that I don’t know how she could her predictions have not come to fruition.

Last but not least, I had to skim over the “Top Ten” lists. Those are the best. You know the top 10 things a man is looking for in a woman or the top 10 things you should stop doing on a date or the top 10 things an older woman should never wear. I love how advice can be summed up in ten easy points.  Its no surprise that I also find myself clicking on these gems when insomnia grips me and I click on my Huffington Post app. You would not believe how many self-improvements can be made in 5 to 10 steps!

I’d like to say I’ll never waste my time again taking a quiz, reading my horoscope or checking out the latest top-10 advice column, but I know I will. I mean what else have a got to do at 2:00 AM when the dog is running around the yard and won’t come back in and I’m engulfed with a hot flash. I’m certainly not going to be able to fall back asleep. I apologize in advance if my sharing these distractions suck you in as well.

Anyone else give into the guilty pleasures of these time-wasters?