My Post-Quarantine Stumbler’s Run

Momentum is generally viewed as a positive thing. It’s used in comments such as, “The basketball team has won several games and now has some great momentum going.” 

I looked up momentum. 

p = mv

Where is momentum, momentum is equal to (m)mass multiplied by (v) velocity. Or, in English, momentum is “the impetus gained by a moving object.”

But what if the object is you? 

And what if the direction you’re going is bad?

But you can’t seem to stop. 

What if the momentum was created by a stumble? 

What if you’ve begun a Stumbler’s Run? 

We’ve all seen it – a toe snagged on a carpet, a misjudged bottom step. To recover the victim goes into a little run. It’s accidental momentum, unexpected, unwanted, dangerous momentum. 

Momentum isn’t always a good thing. 

The Covid-19 pandemic and corresponding political chaos of 2020 may be to blame for my Stumbler’s Run this spring. 

Like everyone else, I survived much of 2020 daydreaming of happier, simpler times. And 2020 was a long, long year. By the time our freedoms started to return, my imaginings had become overgrown, enhanced. Perhaps unrealistic? 

I was 12 years old in 1975 and I suppose I’ve always remembered an idealized version of the 1970s. Imagined or not, they are idyllic in my mind: peace signs, flower power, bell bottom jeans. Expressions like, “Make love, not war,” and “Peace, man.” 

2020 was so hard.

At some point I formulated the idea that when it was all over, it would be a return to the 1970s, a return to 1967’s Summer of Love. Peace, man. It would be as described in the San Francisco Oracle at the time, “…a renaissance of compassion, awareness, and love, and the revelation of unity for all mankind.” I needed to see everybody. I needed to get busy living. I needed to get busy and Go. Just GO.  I had a bad case of FOMO: 2020’s Fear of Missing Out. 

When we began to get the news of a return to normal, I took out my “After the Pandemic Fun To Do List” and got busy. 

First things first- we can travel! So, “Go to Beach.” OK, done. I booked us a room at one of our favorite spots. I informed Jim and penciled it in. I put exclamation points in my At-A-Glance Monthly Planner. “Beach!!!” 

Next, I noted a planned day trip to Appalachian to see my niece for college graduation. What a great way to tick off “summer mountain trip,” from my list. I booked it – didn’t put much thought into it, just booked, grabbed the At-A-Glance and got that done; marked it off in red on the list. Boy, I was really getting the Covid behind me and back in the groove. Peace, Man. 

I bought some new clothes to go with my newfound freedom. Wardrobe – check.

I accepted several invitations to events and gatherings that I knew little to nothing about. In-person gatherings – CHECK.

I decided that a new “up do” for my wardrobe should be matched by a “quick up do” for the house. I hired a handyman – grabbed a number from a guy who knew a guy and just went with it – why get three estimates? Why interview people? How bad could it be, right? 

On April 15 we left for the beach. 

That’s the day the Stumble started. 

We arrived at our hotel and headed straight for the water. 

So, the thing is, it can be super cold in April. And it was. With the wind…Holy Mackerel. “Who cares,” I said. We’re traveling. We’re back out there. 

The view from our balcony was gorgeous. With the building blocking the breeze and a light sweater we could still enjoy the beach from our lovely 5th floor balcony. 

Would you believe there are still some people who will ignore a “No Smoking” sign? I know that there’s at least one person who will – she booked the room just beneath us on the 4th floor. 

We went back in. 

That night we had a nice dinner and really felt glad to be out of town. It was Thursday. 

Spring breakers arrived on Friday. Fireworks – on adjacent balconies. Music, screaming. 

Could I really want to go home? 

The next weekend we headed out of town to see family in a group for the first time. That was good, but I really hadn’t caught up from being out of town the week before. No matter. We’re back out there, living. “We’re back out there,” I thought. Isn’t that what matters? We’re living again. 

And I was smart – I left a whole weekend in between our next trip. Wink. Smart me. 

I had a busy week and some trouble catching up, but I figured I could “burn the midnight oil,” since I had stopped really sleeping through the night after we got back from the beach. 

Hmm? Oh well.


Soon enough my niece’s graduation weekend in the mountains rolled around and it was time to go have fun again. 

Mountain roads can be very windy with blind curves and steep drops down sheer cliffs. Maybe I should’ve put more thought into where I booked our room since it gets so dark up there at night. 

Not to worry. 

I originally booked an Air BnB for Jim and me, but by the time the weekend rolled around I was going on my own and was able to just bunk in with my sister and niece – Jim, as it turned out, wasn’t really speaking to me – Something about me being snippy, short-tempered, irritable. 


Time for family fun time — Again!

I was Living again!

I really do have to get quiet before bedtime and I’m so glad my niece, sister and mother enjoy each other, but they do get me wound up. 

I got the opportunity to test my navigation skills on those dark, windy roads. I left Appalachian about 4 a.m. It was just beginning to get light when I got back to Charlotte. I got myself in the house and shot off an email to my family to let them know I wouldn’t be coming down for breakfast. 

A week later my “handyman” started. 

I tend to be what is called “an open book.” One of my goals on this blog is to be as open and transparent as I can tolerate. I think openness helps other people. When we share, we find our commonalities. 

My “handyman” experience? I don’t want to talk about it. 

Somewhere in all of this we had dinners and luncheons. We babysat. We had houseguests. We had days and nights and weekends. Some of it I enjoyed, even though I’d stopped sleeping. I spent more and more of my time worrying about what I should be doing with my regained freedoms.

I was in a post-pandemic Stumbler’s Run. 

I ran and ran and ran. 

I ran through beach trips, graduations, mountain getaways, family gatherings and bad renovations. 

I didn’t regain my footing for two months. 

I daydreamed of a return to the Summer of Love, but I forgot that the Summer of Love was also the Long, Hot Summer. And while hippies converged on San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and experimented with LSD and marijuana, race riots raged across the country. 

Quarantine made me dream of an ideal world that never existed. 

Maybe all I’d been doing was chasing. Running. Go. Go. Go.

Quarantine made me step back. Slow down.  

As it turns out, busyness is a trap. Hippies used drugs to escape their perceived reality. Is our frenetic pace today’s drug? 

As I write this the year is almost exactly half over. And these days I’ve entered new, uncharted territory. We’re a long way from quarantining, but I’ll never go back to my pre-Covid life. 

I don’t want to stumble through life. I’ve stopped running. 

We might make it to the beach again this year. I don’t know. We’ll know if the mood strikes. 

And to my niece: I do apologize for my midnight run back to Charlotte. We’re so proud of you. 

I may stumble again. 

But stumble or not, I’ve stopped running. 

Peace, man.

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