The 2020 COVID-19 Outbreak: Keeping It In Perspective

I have a LOT of feelings about the COVID-19 outbreak and the paranoia and media coverage surrounding it. It’s dredged up a lot of memories of my dad, and of his fight in ICU in December 2013-January 2014.

COVID-19 Coronavirus / CDC

A month after he was admitted, we were suddenly without my dad. He was 62. His cause of death was sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome as brought on by double pneumonia (in both lungs). The pneumonia in turn, we believe, was brought on by an unknown virus, most likely the H1N1 influenza that was going around in the 2013-14 season. He also had an existing cellulitis infection that had worn down his immunity.

The 2013-14 H1N1 was a BAD year for flu. The CDC reports that in that season, there were the highest rates of hospitalizations for those age 50-64 than in 2009 when H1N1 first came to exist. All that to say: If my dad had his flu shot that year, it had a 62 percent effectiveness rate, and maybe he would still be with us today.

My message to those who are reacting to media coverage of COVID-19: Viral infections like these can happen ANYTIME. Getting your flu shot, and pneumonia shot for those over 65, is important EVERY year. Going to your doctor when you are sick is what everyone should do — though sadly, many cannot afford to. But if you can, GO.

And as for this year’s COVID-19 outbreak: Keep it in perspective. Odds are low that a healthy adult without preexisting immune-suppressing conditions will get a serious case of COVID-19.

But washing your hands with soap while singing “Happy Birthday” is always a good idea.

Enjoying the Journey

 “The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.” -Marjorie Pay Hinckley

It’s hard to put into words what a journey these past few months have been.

I continue to see little things that remind me of Dad everywhere I go. I feel him when I eat his favorite foods, experience a weather event, hear his favorite songs, or pass along a joke or piece of advice he imparted to me. I like to talk about him, because I want to remember and pass along everything that was so inherently good about my Dad.

My dad was not only an excellent dad, but a wonderful husband, grandad, friend and just a great person. He was our rock, and I believe strongly that he is watching over our family and conspiring with God to make life as great as it can be for us without him here.

Case in point #1: My weight loss journey with Weight Watchers. I don’t believe I would have had the courage to begin and the faith to continue on in my goal of reaching a healthy weight. I’m down 26 pounds in 5 months, with 30 pounds more to go to reach my healthy weight range. 

Case in point #2: My recent career wins. A couple months ago, weary of my 48-mile commute to my former job, I reignited my career search. A few interviews later, I was offered a contract position with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Online. It’s no secret to those who know me that working for Disney has been on my bucket list for years. I feel infinitely blessed, and can’t wait to see where this takes me.

Despite all these positive moves in my life, I am hurting. I am grieving. There are times when it hits me like a truck how much I miss my dad and just wish I could speak to him one last time. He was taken from us too soon, and all I can think of is that God needed Dad. God needed him for a higher purpose that I just can’t understand. But I am going to do my best at working through the grieving process in a positive way, so that I can learn and grow from it while staying connected to Dad.

Going forward, I am going to do my best to see my progress as Glass Half Full. If I had known a year ago that today I would be 26 pounds lighter with a position at Disney, I would have been over the moon excited. So I’m just going to let myself be over the moon excited… while keeping my eyes on the ball. 

Putting it all in Perspective

breast-cancer-ribbonI recently wrote about the great outcome of my husband’s employment journey, but I neglected to mention that I’m currently undergoing one of my own.

Laid off from work. Yep, that’s me. A few weeks of severance, then I’ll begin navigating the world of unemployment. It happened just last week. I was going about my day, then — BAM. It was all over, as the brands I worked with were absorbed into other groups. Such is the plight of the publishing industry.

Feelings of anxiety, sadness, anger. Then — freedom, hope and confidence. Even a tad bit of exhilaration. I think I’ll be coming out the other end of the tunnel soon, and making the transition I’ve craved — from online media to digital marketing and social media.

Still grappling with these feelings, I woke up last night, and during this little bout of insomnia — being the social media addict that I am — I began scrolling though my Instagram feed.

And then I gasped.

A blogger friend, and sorority sister from another college, had been diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, at age 29. I reeled, and suddenly my problems seemed so, so small.

Kirsten is chronicling her journey at her blog, A Bump and a Lump. I urge you to check it out and leave encouraging messages and prayers for her and her family.  Because at the end of the day, despite whatever problems our careers are throwing at us, what’s most important is faith, health and family.

30 Before 30: Fail. But Ongoing.

In 2011, I came up with a list of 30 things I wanted to do by the time I turned 30. It was a lofty list, for me, at least. But at the time, I thought I had more than 2 years to complete it, and back then, I didn’t think I would be moving out of state to Florida, either.

Well, I turned 30 last month, my friends, and here’s what’s been completed and what remains. I made a few edits in 2012 to add a few Florida-centric things I wanted to do….

My 30 before 30 list

1. Learn how to dive into a pool.

2. Learn how to turn a cartwheel.

3. Learn the basics of sewing.

4. Learn how to scuba dive. [almost done!]

5. Learn how to drive stick.

6. Learn how to bake my mom’s cheesecake recipe from scratch.

7. Learn how to keep a houseplant alive, and keep one alive, the way my mom can!  

8. Find THE purse. [Completed 10/10. Found it and bought it! The J.Crew Brompton hobo in espresso.]

9. Then, sell or donate a bunch of other purses.

10. Lose 55 lbs., or fit into a size 8, whichever comes first.

11. Run a Disney 5K.

12. Donate all my old “fat girl” clothes.

13. Get debt/finances under control.

14. Visit the NASA VAB at Kennedy Space Center.

15. Drive with my husband in his Jeep on Daytona Beach.

16. Stay overnight at a Disney deluxe resort for first time since honeymoon.

17. Find a signature wine. [Goats do Roam red and white varieties. Thanks Epcot Food & Wine 2010!]

18. Figure out my signature cocktail, and how to make it. [My go-to: a vodka tonic or gin & tonic. Simple. easy.]

19. Network with 30 people in Orlando.

20. Visit Disney World again in 2011 …[Moved to Orlando Aug. 2011]

21. …and in 2012/13, after the Fantasyland expansion is complete or at least partially opened.

22. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.[Visited Sept. 2011]

23. Volunteer for an organization. [Alabama Social Media Association executive director, 2011; Gamma Phi Beta regional coordinator, 2013]

24. Go on an overnight camping/kayak trip.

25. Tour a winery.

26. Get a stamp on my unused passport.

27. Go horseback riding.

28. Go deep sea fishing.

29. Unpack every box after Aug. 2012 move, and get rid of/donate everything not being used.

30. Embrace turning 30!

So, I’m 18 items away from being done. But these are all still things I want to do or learn to do. We’ll see how long it really takes for me to complete! Bets, anyone?

>Losing the newlywed happy weight

>So since the wedding last April, I have gained 15 lbs. This comes as no surprise, really, since we slacked off on exercising over the summer and fall, and starting with the Disney honeymoon full of fabulous food, we stopped watching calories as closely as we were before the wedding.

My goal is to lose those 15 lbs., plus another 25 lbs., to get to my goal weight by December. That should also put me down from a size 12-14 to an 8 or so. It kills me that I’m basically starting over from scratch, per se. Brian and I are both using the ‘Lose It’ app in our iPhones to calculate our daily calories. I’m allotted about 1,700-ish calories per day to lose 1 lb. per week.

I don’t want to set all these crazy fitness goals and not be able to achieve them, so my goal is work out 2-3x/week for 45 minutes, which is realistic for me. I want to start doing some upper body strength training again too, as I’ve noticed my arms getting flabbier since the wedding as well. And I want to start exercising with Mango more. It’s been a really cold winter here in the South, so she hasn’t been getting the exercise she needs because I’m too freakin’ cold to run around the block. Also, I’m lazy.

Anyone else experience the winter fitness doldrums or the newlywed happy weight gain? It was definitely a perfect confluence of both for me.

In other news, we bought a new sectional sofa and a new IKEA bedroom suite. I’ll work on taking some photos and sharing with y’all. We’ve managed to sell some of the furniture we had for sale, but we still have one queen bedroom set that no one seems to want, even though it’s nice-quality furniture. Although lots of Nigerian scammers have been interested in buying.