Grace and Courage

I’ve noted in other blog posts that some competencies I had prior to the pandemic have deserted me–interstate driving, indoor socializing, even a protracted in-person conversation takes more effort and focus than it used to.

I’m also not riding my horse with the same energy I did prior to  the pandemic. Like a lot of people with underlying auto-immune conditions (altogether now: Hashimoto’s stinks!), I am taking a long, long time to get over a mild brush with COVID. Ten months on, and I still have heave-y days when the pollen is thick or the temperatures spike. While I was never a particularly athletic rider, I did have a reasonable amount of strength and stamina.

That’s two boxes no longer checked, and yet, I’m still enjoying my time in the saddle. As I was coming in from a little trail ride this week, and Santa was giving the bull next door a serious looking over, it occurred to me that a year ago, I’d stopped trail riding. I schooled in the arena, period. Then I put myself on doxycycline for months to try to kick out Lyme Disease (seems to have worked, at least for now), with the resulting side effect that I became very sensitive to sunshine. Five minutes in the May sun and I’d burn.

My schooling sessions became limited to the indoor arena, which I can tell you, thrilled our buddy Santa not one bit. I’d slid, slipped and slithered into a very circumscribed version of riding, each step back for understandable reasons, and each one yet smacking of defeat. In the middle of summer’s heat, I wasn’t going to make much progress on the strength or stamina challenges, but as the temperatures have finally dropped, Santa and I have done a fair amount of toddling over hill and dale.

We do this mostly on our own (cell phone at the ready, and having informed somebody of our itinerary), and the first time I aimed Santa down the driveway, it was mostly because I just did not have the energy to school movements. I wanted to be outside on my pony, and that was a wish I could grant myself. Instead of turning around at the foot of the driveway, we headed off around the paddocks.

Last week, we joined a barn buddy on a lengthier excursion farther from home, spooked at the tractor in the next field, and saw two monarch butterflies. As I was coming in from that ride, I realized that I had called upon my courage, even if my physical strength and stamina weren’t much in evidence. To ride out, to go down a new trail, to brave the scary tractor moment, took some resolve on my part.

Over the summer, I’ve changed where I shop for food, (Wegman’s–family owned, treat their people well, environmentally aware; and the Co-op–expensive, but as green as we get around here). I’m hiring a landscaper to get after the shaggier parts of my yard, and I’m planning on hosting my sister over the holidays. (Big long list of chores between now and Christmas, but it is well past time, Simba.)

Instead of looking at all the boxes that got unchecked in recent years, I instead took a look at the places where I am showing renewed initiative and heart, and lo and behold, there are a few.

Where are you investing your courage these days? Three commenters go on the Miss Dauntless ARC list!


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21 comments on “Grace and Courage

  1. Good for you, Grace! We have to take our victories where we find them! Sometimes I also struggle to find something to be proud of myself for. At the same time, I’m trying to pare my expectations for what I accomplish. So being proud of the little things becomes a key point! Sometimes, getting through the day without losing my temper is what I’m happiest for.

  2. I honestly don’t feel I should call it courage but I am going to my niece’s wedding at the end of October. I really wanted to but I live in Florida and not enough people take COVID seriously around here. But the couple made it an adults only event and asked that everybody be vaccinated and agreed that I can wear a mask if I wish. I’m still pretty trepidatious (I thought I made that word up but it’s real and I just love it) because I’m well over 60 and therefore at increased risk, but it’s probably my last big family event (not to mention the first in a few years) here in Florida as I hope to move away sooner rather than later. I’ll be getting my Omicron vaccination in early October so that also gives me a bit more courage to go. Not as big as some people have to do but as much as I can handle right now.

  3. I just started taking an improv class as a way of meeting new people and getting out of the circumscribed routine I developed due to the pandemic. I’ve never really done improv before but I’m having fun so far!

  4. For me this year has been a constant battle with myself.I make plans for the coming week and months and proceed to enjoy them.BUT!!!!! I find myself backing out or making excuses not to follow through.My family,friends have found me frustrating stubborn and negative.I’ve lost my spark they say and I have.My walks have reduced but not stopped,my bus trips to further afield don’t happen and I am not so creative in the kitchen so my food enjoyment has suffered.So I’m in the process of talking to myself,getting my mojo back and forcing my ageing body to do something.I’ve realised why I’m like this,,,,,,I’m angry !!!!!I don’t want to be old!!!!!.I don’t want to slow up,I don’t want to say good bye to older friends,family.Anger is not what I need it’s a good kick up the rear and refusal to throw the towel in.So I know what I need to do and try harder to seize the day and make it count.It’s a shame that Winter will be here soon I don’t thrive in the months ahead but it will be a challenge.I’m looking for a rescue dog over the next few weeks or a cat or both.Having pets around have always been in my life so I look forward to being mum again.Take care one and all.

  5. I am consolidating three desks into two. After years having a big-mess-of-a-desk in the family room, Son #3 bought a practice organ which displaced it. That desk goes into our bedroom and the bedroom desk (which was another mess) goes out. The desk I have halfheartedly used in the study is being refurbished too. Desk in the bedroom will be family related and my mending equipment and study desk will be for my chamber choir business.

    It’s taken (yes it has) COURAGE to make this happen because there are years and years and YEARS of stuff to go through. I must decide to keep or not and there’s the problem–I want it all but I know I don’t need it all. What to get rid of?

    But this has been good, very good, to make me focus on what is important. Sometimes, we need a kick in the pants to see what everyone else sees clearly.

    The Pandemic has been good for making us sort through the crap of our lives to see what is important.

    Have a lovely, new trail ride filled week, Grace!

  6. I loved hearing about your trail rides.

    My courage is focused on scraping up payments for medical bills incurred over the last two years of testing every glaucoma medication in the current pharmacopoeia & confirming that they simply don’t work thanks to my rarer than rare genetics & allergies to almost everything refined, processed, & concentrated. Sigh… Fingers crossed, the newly released last remaining seems to be reducing pressure, though only time will tell if I build up a tolerance as I have so many times before.

    So I’m engaged in the financial gymnastics of stretching a fixed income in the worst economy in 40 years to gnaw away the copays that will take me years to pay off. Thank God for 0% offers & a carefully maintained credit rating.

    Too bad medical debts for things beyond our control don’t qualify for the same forgiveness as voluntarily incurred student debt. I’m still steaming that my generation had to join the military &/or work a lifetime to clear our debts, but now we get to pay for other people’s choices, too. Stop taxing my pension that I already paid taxes on & I’ll stimulate the economy with far more creativity than the incumbent idiots. Grrrrr

    • Yes, taxing is interesting once you look at it. When you earn the money, you have taxes withheld. Then everything single thing you buy is also taxed – sales tax – that goes to give the feds, state and local another cut.

      • Isn’t it infuriating?! If I can live on a tight budget, so should the government. We can’t be all things to everyone. Cover the essentials, then leave people enough they can handle the rest themselves.

  7. I realized that I haven’t driven in traffic or at night in over 2 1/2 years. Am making an effort to do both now.
    I have a new car & with it comes lots of new technology. It’s overwhelming at times. I decided to learn 2-3 new features a week. I feel confident driving the car and love the navigation system.
    I am working on work- home balance. Working at home has lots of benefits- I doing my best to log out and not stay late- it’s a work in progress.

  8. Bravo, and congratulations to you!

    I took Monday and Tuesday off, and am hoping to do some catch up on the things I have put off the longest. Including repairing the pipe leak on that very green, slimy pool that I have been putting off. (In my defense, we have had a lot of rain.) First we replaced the pump and the timer, then discovered the leak. We had to cut the new pump off because of the leak. Pools are so much fun.

    I will be retiring next year, sometime between May and November. I’ve worked for over 42 years – not sure I will know what to do with myself! I suppose it will be an adventure to find out once I get off the workday treadmill. I would like to lose some weight – my knees will thank me. Then I might be able to be more active.

  9. Brava, Grace, well done. Baby steps – one (or two) at a time.

    I’m taking baby steps myself to get back to exercising and walking. I’ve been content to hibernate indoors with reading and a bit of quilting. Time to get moving.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  10. It’s something that ought not take any courage at all, and yet, I had to draw on my minimal supply of fortitude to say “yes” when I was asked recently to take on a design job for something I’ve never done before. I was recommended for the job by someone for whom I’d done lots of work. Apparently they felt I was up for the task, but my initial instinct was to refuse. I don’t have a lot of self esteem (courtesy of overbearing, overly critical parents; thanks Mom & Dad), and I was afraid of failing miserably, disappointing not only this potential new client, but the existing client who had suggested me for the task. When the new client offered that he wouldn’t be upset if I tried and then decided it wasn’t for me, I gave in. Sending a proof of the job left me with butterflies aplenty. Well, a day later and the new client phoned to say he is absolutely delighted with what I produced! Exactly what he was looking for! Whew! Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  11. My husband & I are starting training to become respite/temporary foster parents. It’s way outside both our comfort zones. We live “in town” and there is a need for minors picked up drunk and disorderly, when law enforcement can’t track parents. Wish us strength and wisdom.

  12. As Covid restrictions lessened, I took off like a racehorse out of a chute, trying to recapture all the connections and activities I lost during the down time. I quickly realized that led to quantity, not quality. I am now allowing myself to say “No” when asked to take on a task that, although important, would not give me joy. With this new mindset, I have more energy to do the things that really matter.

  13. I’m turning 75 in October and after surviving Covid in isolation in New Hampshire, my heart is acting up. I seem to have sorted out the immediate issues, but I still feel tired and weak. With the cooler fall weather, I’m back to working in the garden a few hours a day. I’m digging a drainage ditch across the back yard inspired by faux streams in Japanese gardens. The stream will be filled with the 1200 large and medium sized granite boulders I dug out of the vegetable garden last year. Yes, that is why they call it the Granite State! I’m hoping with exercise to regain my previous strength. This new garden area I will see out the kitchen and keeping room windows; so it should be a year round pleasure. I love the cool crisp days of Fall in New England. The leaves are changing and my family is coming to visit for my birthday in a few weeks. Happy Fall, love, Margaret

  14. I have started a new yoga routine. It is helping my chronic pain like you wouldn’t believe, building up the core and improving my balance (picture the most gentle yoga you can imagine, then slow it down, it is so relaxing while being so effective). I’m a hermit at the best of times, and coming out of quarantine social interactions are even more challenging, but I am going in person to get the health benefits of socializing. Courage has been called upon more than once to get me through the door.

  15. Taking a new look at what I once did easily and now, not so much, and learning to ask for help ,at least some of the time, is a new path for me. it is painful to let go of previous competencies, knowing they are firmly in the past. But somehow, I must believe there will be good days ahead and new achievements.

  16. I’m investing in managing my next phase in life and letting go of the past. It’s going to be a long and steady march instead of a race