FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) vs. FORO (Fear of Running Out)

I know I’m not the only one who is finding that the days are all kind of blending together, causing me to lose track a bit. I just figured out that somehow I have overestimated how many days we have been in Extreme Social Distancing. Yeah, Thursday is “only” day 27 (and now 28), not day 31 as my previous post postulated. Heh heh, sorry about that.

Anyhow, years ago, Pastor Bob had a great sermon of the Fear Of Missing Out, which you can watch here, it’s great! No one wants to miss out on the cool stuff! Right now, we are missing out – we were supposed to go to a Lauren Daigle concert in Portland on the 27th. Postponed until August … on the same day we have tickets for a Leadership Conference. Yeah, no refunds on Brandi, so we will definitely miss out on one of those. We were supposed to go on a three week road trip to four National Parks on May 1, cancelled. Then all the small trips and adventures we always manage to find, gone, as we are sequestered in our home. Missing being able to go to church on Easter Sunday to worship; missing out on Easter dinner with Eric and Julie and family. Missing out. 

Then there is the Fear Of Running Out … of toilet paper (TPA = toilet paper anxiety). Fear of running out of salmon, chicken, rice, vegetables, and other staples. When the online order at the grocery store comes back with 30% of the order not in stock, we feel FORO. We  have taken easy and nearly instantaneous availability of anything our heart desires for granted, and it is a shock to the system when suddenly basics aren’t there for us. Then maybe we find an alternate source, or it comes back into stock. Better buy more, never know what happens next, better be prepared.

 I like to say that I am not a fearful person. I get concerned about this and that, but fear has never been a significant player in my life. I will say that my levels of concern have grown to where I have taken out of character steps to ensure I will continue to not be a fearful person. I dislike having FOMO and FORO battling for a portion of my consciousness, so we intentionally try to start every day now with gratitude and thankfulness.

Picnic packed, ready to go!

Anyhow, we decided to take Thursday off, once I finished my workout and we whipped the kitchen back into shape. It was forecast to be a beautiful day, and the warmest day of the year so far, maybe in the mid 60’s! We decided to pack a small picnic, and head up to another one of our favorite spots, Birch Bay State Park. Yeah, we know the state parks are closed, but a main road runs right through it, and along the beach, complete with picnic tables, so we packed up and headed out into the glorious sunshiny day.

Set up under blue skies

We WERE a bit surprised to see the road that cuts through the park and ends up at the beach was gated off; no worries, we turned around, and drove to the community of Birch Bay, and from there to the beach front road. No surprise, many others had the same idea, and most of them appeared to be very social distance conscious. We drove all the way to the end of the park, found a vacant table that was reasonably isolated, and set ourselves up. Turned out to be quite a bit cooler than we anticipated, but we had a wide selection of outerwear in the car, so we dressed appropriately, and set ourselves down.

Beautiful and calming views abound

The view from here is fabulous; Birch Bay (Captain Vancouver had spent some time here on his exploration; his crew came ashore and gathered supplies so they could make birch beer!), the point of Semiahmoo to the north of us; beyond that we can see the Sentinels and Sleeping Lady behind Vancouver; to the west the beautiful peaks of Golden Ears and Mt. Robson (I think). Across from us is the Olympic Peninsula, a couple of the Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island behind them. All in all, a spectacular setting. Even better, the breeze flowed onshore, guaranteeing that the exhalations of passing walkers was blown away from us, not towards us!

All good things must come to an end sometime, so we packed up and returned home. Terri’s turn to exercise; I got to connect with Gary and Linda, old friends from way back. He has a fun little story he’s going to share with me so I can share it with you! Always great to connect with others. Best of all, John and Lauren got us set up with a multiplayer version of Hearts online, and then we connected on Zoom so we could have a running commentary on the game as we played it. It didn’t go without a hitch – step away from the game for two minutes, and it kicks you out. But it was SO much fun! Want to play? Get a comment, message, text or call to me, and I will share the info on how to hook up with online Hearts.

Guess what we will be doing Saturday

Friday – or as Al Roker puts it FRIDAY!!! We have a vague idea of what transpired in the morning, but we were both stunned when we noticed that it was 12:00 already. We took a quick tour of the yard, making a list of flowers we’d like to see in our flower beds, then I phoned them into Andrea, a lovely lady at Skagit Valley Gardens. Explaining our situation, she wrote down our order, got all the plants we wanted that were in stock, and took our payment. Meantime, I actually accomplished something – I washed my car, wiped down the dashboard, washed the mats, and vacuumed the front seat area. Andrea called, letting us know our order was ready, so we headed out. When we arrived, she brought out the card, left it a comfortable distance away, I loaded it up, and we drove off. We can’t wait to get some plants in the ground to cheer us up even more as spring gets its mojo going.

Well, guess I’ve gotten a little “long winded” with this post. Congrats if you made it this far! I’m curious about YOUR story – what are you wrestling with in these uncommon times? Until next time, stay well.

P.S. Happy Easter! We’d love to have you join us as we celebrate this special day by livestreaming Cornwall Church at 7:00, 9:00 and 11:00 this Sunday!

Day 9 & 10 of ESD – picnic and more!

Years ago, Terri on iconic fallen tree at Washington Park
Picnic all set up at our favorite spot

Today again dawned bring and clear,pretty amazing for the PNW in the spring, so we HAD to get out. We initially thought about going to  Deception Pass, but I dillydallied about with another project for a bit, so Terri suggested going to Washington Park. Located on an incredibly scenic peninsula in Anacortes, WA, it has 200 acres of mixed forest lands, and tons of shoreline with the  Salish Sea. We have been going there to picnic and enjoy for years; one of our favorite spots in this land of beautiful places. 

Over the years, I guess we have made a bit of an art form of picnicking. We bring our own chairs and table. We have either a picnic basket, or a picnic backpack we bring, depending on how far we anticipate walking to the perfect spot. We bring a tablecloth, cloth napkins, dinnerware, a small cutting board on occasion, and often a chilled bottle of Rose’ with unbreakable wine glasses.

Okay, it was only 52 degrees today, but we dress for the weather, and also have a small blanket when needed for extra warmth. Our favorite place to picnic is on the north side, where we get to watch lots of marine traffic pass us by, including our iconic Washington State Ferries on their trips to and from the incomparable emerald jewels, the San Juan Islands. We often see seals, eagles, diving birds, and today, two Navy birds flew in formation over us. And (generally) everyone kept their distance.

Weathered madrona

Not content with the couple of hours we spent soaking up the views there, we headed around the tip of the peninsula to where it faces south. There are multiple trails on the headlands here – just pick one, and start walking! We took one we knew offered spectacular views of the sea, and southern islands, and headed out. The rocky headland has many areas of exposed bedrock, showing the many and deep scars of glacial carving as they slid down from their mountain heights to finally melt in the rising sea. This is hardscrabble land, with stunted, twisted, wind-blown trees and purple and yellow flowers no more than 5mm across or less. 

Tiny flower

We walked the trail until it petered off at a cliff still maybe 100’ above the churning passage below us, where we deemed it wise to stop. We backtracked, then found other trails wending through the woods, finally ending up at the Havecost Monument, a nice granite tribute to the pioneer couple who homesteaded here, then donated all the land to the city. Talk about an enduring legacy! We headed home, satiated with the wonder and beauty of Creation.

Day 10 started off with me getting up early for my exercise routine, and then a perfect lack of communication from me, which I’m blaming on the unique stresses of this moment. We decided to head out on some hitherto unexplored back roads, in hopes of finding homesteads being reclaimed by nature and/or ancient equipment being left to rust in peace. Instead, we found another hidden gem of a valley, filled with beautiful showcase homes on 5 – 50 acres. And so far from anything! While we were driving, we got a great call from John and Jeannie, who had travelled to Arizona for spring training, but who fled home as the realities of possible closed state borders became a bit too real. So great to hear from friends!!

Odd yard art

Not finding a suitable place to eat our lunch, we knew we were close to Arlington, so we headed there. The first park was great, but all the restrooms locked up tight, and well, you know. So we headed downtown, found a great pocket park in the city center, with picnic tables and open restrooms!  We enjoyed our minor repast, then headed back home, hoping to walk a local trail for a bit. Once there, though, we found we were both exhausted. I’m pretty sure it’s taking a lot of our energy to fight the daily stress and challenges we see, and guess that it may be affecting you, too. Practicing self-care, we took the time to rest our eyes for a bit.

So, on to the next project – seeing if I can place an online order with Costco! Then on to crafting another great dinner, watching Chopped or Beat Bobby Flay while we eat instead of a steady diet of non-nourishing news. Stay healthy, friends!

The Long and Winding Road to Terri’s Retirement

August 30, 2019 was Terri’s last day at work. I have to admit, I almost didn’t believe it until nearly right up to the end. Oh sure, many were the days when I’d be heading off to a hike or such, and she would say “I wish I was going with you!” But then she’d talk about how she had the perfect job – she could show up when she wanted, leave when she wanted, and generally work as much or as little as she wanted during the week. And then there was the financial aspect, since her wages were completely at her disposal. Hairdresser, clothing, shopping for grandkids, dining out, something special for the house – how would that work once she retired? Plus she was really good at her job, and got a lot of satisfaction from doing it well. And she enjoyed the social interactions with her co-workers.

So we would discuss all the pros and cons with me on a regular basis. One week she’d be ready to turn in her notice, and the next week say that she didn’t know when she’d retire. Was I sure we’d have enough resources to retire? What would she do all day? How would it change our relationship? Where would her funds come from for her discretionary spending? So we talked, discussed, and explored thoughts and feelings. I tried to listen twice as much as I talked. We went back to our financial planner with questions and concerns, and were reassured that if we continued to have a prudent and restrained budget we’d be OK. And we have both developed a couple of side gigs that will get us out of the house, and bring in a few non-budgeted dollars of play money.

A few ideas to start our retired life

But – “Bill, you have your whole retirement planned out! Hiking, photography, your blog, volunteering, 1001 projects – what am I going to do?” So we talked about that. A few times. Or more. The last time, we were in the car, headed out … somewhere. So I suggested we brainstorm a bit, and we did. Fortunately, I always carry a pen and pad of paper in the car, so I had her write the ideas down, and we now have a starting list of 32 things to do! Some of them are one-off projects, and others we can do over and over again. She started to see the possibilities of living a retired life. 

Still, she had said she was going to retire and had changed her mind a few times, so when she said she’d retire at the end of August, I said “Good!”  A couple moments of silence, and she said “I thought you’d be more excited than that…” I affirmed that I would be delighted if she actually retired, but I’d believe it when I saw it. Sure enough, I saw some vacillation in determination, but as the days wore on, I heard an increasing acceptance of the idea of finally being done with work. 

So, on Friday, August 30th, she came home from work for the last time – and even came home an hour and a half earlier than normal. “Let’s go out to Chuckanut Manor and celebrate with a glass of wine,” she suggested, and course I said yes. As we drove, she shared some unexpected moments of sadness and loss as the finality of the situation sank in. She wondered why I hadn’t felt the same way when I left, and I reminded her that I had cut back from five days a week to four, and then to three, and then to two days a week starting this last January. I was able to slowly let go, and absorb my new reality, and immerse myself into this new life, while she worked more days and longer hours up towards the end to fulfill all of her commitments. So we pulled up to the restaurant, with its sweeping views of Samish Bay and the bucolic scene around it, and savored the moment. It was a perfect moment, and I didn’t want it to end, so I told her I’d treat her to dinner to keep the celebration going. You can read about it here if you’d like.

Rose Hips with Bellingham Bay in background

Saturday we went for one of our favorite walks in the historic residential area of Fairhaven, ending up on the waterfront walk from Boulevard park to the business district, then went grocery shopping. Sunday we went to church, then did a reprise of our previous days walk, coming home to sit in our gazebo with a glass of wine, gazing out at our beautiful little backyard garden before coming in to cook dinner together. Today we are headed out on a picnic to Washington park, overlooking the Salish Sea, and Wednesday we leave for a few days at Lake Chelan. Nothing huge or amazing here, but it feels like the perfect start to our new life together. We are both aware that there will be hiccups and challenges along the way, and are already planning strategies on dealing with them. We are also hyper-aware of time slipping by so very quickly, and so we are trying to live wide-awake to every moment that we get to share during this amazing season of our lives. Thanks for sharing some of those moments with us, whether in person, or through this blog!