I'm at the end of the third week of my #DigitalDetox challenge adventure... and talk about adventures. Things got totally derailed in ways that were expected, just not this soon. And it made doing the little challenges within my little #DigitalDetox coloring book all the more important. Because it gave me time to breathe!
So... This week, not only was I attempting to finish last week's challenge of writing someone a letter, but I had this week's challenge of spend 30 minutes looking at the clouds. AND my home country of New Zealand decided to go into Level 4 Lockdown in the middle of all of this, thrusting two teenagers into home learning situations again.
Yeah... Life is always filled with unexpected turns.
So... Here's how the week went.
The start of the week was normal... until it wasn't.
On the first day of this new challenge, I was happy to spend the 30 minutes watching the clouds change color from a deep red through to candyfloss pink, and through to a dingy gray. I took a few sunrise photos and shared them through my Instagram. Tuesday morning also brought the same sunrise joy.
But I should have known that Tuesday was going to be the end of the good week when I got the phone call from my daughter saying that her bus card had just snapped in two and she would need me to rescue her and drive her all the way to school.
However, throughout the day, I kept looking at the pathetic supply of toilet paper that we had and the empty vegetable drawer, debating about whether I should or shouldn't go to the grocery store. Let's face it, the grocery store is a chore that I hate doing, but it's a necessary evil. I was holding off for as long as possible, so we could hopefully get closer to payday.
I picked up my 16-year-old daughter from school (remember the broken bus card) and drove straight into the central city to the bus depot to replace her bus card. (How was I to know that she wouldn't get a chance to use it?)
5 PM, and I get a phone call from the hubby, saying that he's going to be late home because he was briefing his team on Level 4 Lockdown procedures and setting everything up.
"What! When is that happening?"
"They haven't officially announced it yet, but it's coming. The press conference is at 6."
Well, the decision about when I was going to the grocery store for the toilet paper was decided in that instant.
I took my daughter to what would be her last dance classes for some time and I drove straight to the grocery store... Only to discover that the toilet paper was almost completely wiped out! All that was left on the shelf was the really cheap stuff that was so thin you'd poke your finger through it and the really expensive 3-ply stuff.
Just like during the lockdowns in 2020, my family is enjoying the luxurious 3-ply toilet paper. (And the hubby is biting his tongue about the budgets. LOL)
Level 4 Lockdown and the Madness
So... All of New Zealand is currently in Level 4 Lockdown, and we will remain so for a few days at least. (My guess is that we're looking at this for at least another week.) This means that I'm at home with two teenagers who are bored out of their brains.
The 16-year-old has a mountain of course material to revise for her classes at school, and she is quietly freaking out. This year is an important year within her academics, and it's already been derailed.
Earlier in the year, she managed to conk her head on a fire sprinkler. Yes, a fire sprinkler. I have no idea how she managed it, but she is still suffering from the concussion effects, and because of this lockdown, getting her seen by the specialists is becoming near impossible.
But these lockdowns also threw spanners in the works regarding her exams. I have no idea what is going to happen here. No one does. She's not the only one impacted by this. I keep trying to tell her to breathe and take it one day at a time—constantly reminding her how the school will be working with us to get her through this year and next—but that doesn't stop the 16-year-old from freaking out about her future.
The 19-year-old (who will be turning 20 in all of three weeks) is taking this lockdown with a grin. "No lectures for the week!" This particular lockdown happened so fast that the university wasn't prepared for it. It's going to take them time to figure out what to do regarding certain things. So, the 19-year-old has been playing computer games to fill in his time. (Shall we say that I'm far from impressed?)
If he thinks that he'll be able to spend the coming week doing nothing but playing computer games, I have news for him. The list of jobs in the garden and around the house is growing. My gutters needs to be cleaned out again and the driveway needs to be swept. And all those dead leaves that have turned into mush by the garage... Yeah, that list shall keep him quite busy. (Mwahahah!)
The hubby is still working, ensuring that our city still has drinking water, and hiding from the camera crew that decided to film the wastewater treatment plant yesterday. (Yeah, good choice, hubby. No one wants to see your ugly mug on the news... But I LOVE YOU!)
And my life is just carrying on like nothing has happened, except that I don't have Mom's Taxi. I still have to cook. I still have the cleaning. I have the writing and the editing. I have mentoring sessions with clients. I have zoom calls with writing buddies. And I'm able to go for my daily walks.
And that brings me to an odd observation.
The roads are still busy.
I go for my walks at 5 AM. (I know... I'm crazy. Deal with it.) At that time in the morning, all the trucks are on the road, transporting goods from Lyttleton Harbour and to other parts of the country. But under Level 4 Lockdown conditions, travel in personal vehicles is restricted to essential workers only. Yet, at 5 AM, the road was as busy as always.
At 7 PM, the road was just as busy, if not more so. My husband and I stood there, watching the traffic on the Northern Corridor, amazed by the constant stream of cars.
Saying that, people were giving 48 hours to travel around the country to their lockdown locations. That was probably the traffic I was seeing. Meaning that the traffic should die down over the next few days.
The #DigitalDetox challenges themselves?
As I mentioned last week, I had thought that writing someone a letter would be easy, but no matter what I did, I just couldn't do it. I guess with all the writing and editing that I do on a daily basis, writing a letter for the sake of writing a letter was just something that I didn't want to do. I wrote a diary entry to myself, and I'm writing this blog post, but that letter... So, I'm giving up on that one.
I did fill in the book about my thoughts on the challenge. This is what I wrote for those who can't read it.
Okay, I didn't really write a letter to anyone, but I wrote diary entries to myself. It's a letter to myself, right?
My discovery was that after a full day's work of writing and editing fiction, more writing was the last thing I wanted to do.
But I took to heart the additional things that I implemented last week. With no email before 9 AM, I actually got a lot of writing and editing done. The shiny new manuscript is beginning to take shape. And reading blog posts at a later time, transferring them to my Remarkable tablet really is working. I feel so free. And I am protecting my writing time a lot better!
Now week 3's challenge (spend 30 minutes looking at the clouds) was... well...
When there are no clouds in the sky or when it is nothing but gray, looking at the clouds is boring. I had more fun watching the hawks.
But I will always take the time to enjoy a cotton candy sky. Bring on the sunrise!!!
Yeah... It was more enjoyable to watch the sunrise than to stare at nothing but a solid color or blue or gray. And those hawks... One of these days, I'll need to take a video of them soaring overhead. It's so graceful. No flapping of wings. Just riding the currents.
I won't be incorporating the idea of watching the clouds into my daily routines, but sometimes, it will be fun to just enjoy the cup of tea and staring out the window—letting the imagination take flight.
Next week's challenge
Challenge #4 in the trusty #DigitalDetox book is meditate for 30 minutes. I used to do this all the time in my youth. I'm not sure why I stopped. So this coming week, I'll be exploring the different meditation practices that I used to do, reminding myself what ones actually worked for me and which ones didn't. I suspect that I'll be heading back into Taichi.
What are some of the meditation tricks that you think I should investigate? I'm still in lockdown for this coming week, so I'll have plenty of opportunities to explore the different ideas.