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Views from My Kitchen Sink: No, you’re not doing #StayHome (or cancer) wrong

The above photo is the view from my kitchen sink, a view I’ve become even more familiar with these days. The same can probably be said about the views from the other windows in my house. Lots of staying home, staying in, looking out. Sound familiar?

I kinda feel like I could start a series or pitch a column (to whom I do not know) that I’d call “Views (opinions) from My Kitchen Sink During a Pandemic”.

What do ya think?

(I’m kidding. Sort of. Am I starting to lose it?)

Thankfully, the weather is finally warming, so I will be able to spend more time on the other side of said windows. The outdoors is always a wonderful respite, even more so these days.

How are YOU doing?

Are you still hunkered down at home?

For the most part, I am.

My state is still under stay-at-home orders through Memorial Day. After that, who knows?

Maybe you live in one of the states (or countries) that has loosened restrictions, and you are venturing out (while social distancing and wearing a mask, of course).

If you reside in a “loosening-up” location, I bet you’re feeling more than a wee bit apprehensive and not venturing out much anyway, am I right?

Regardless, I’d love to know how things are going, so be sure to let me know with a comment below.

I haven’t been out much during the past couple months except to make a few trips to the grocery store. Gotta say, grocery shopping is sorta weird these days.

Dear Hubby and I have made one trip to visit Best Mother-in-Law Ever. Oops, I guess we haven’t stayed home entirely, but we had to see her even if it was only through the window of her care facility. Just hoping we get to see her in person at some point. She’s nearly 93, so that is not a given. Not by a long shot.

View from my #kitchen sink:  No, you're not doing #stayhome (or #cancer) wrong #breastcancer #covid19 #pandemic #family #mothersinlaw #thissucks

The above photo of a mom and her son both warms and breaks my heart.

Btw, Dear Hubby works in the food industry, so he’s considered essential. Therefore, he is NOT working from home, which is something I sorta gave up on nagging him about.

Back to the topic of this post…

If, like me, you have been hunkered down in your house the last couple months, have you ever felt like you were/are doing this stay-at-home thing wrong? Or maybe not wrong, just not that well?

I don’t know about you, but I have felt that way now and then. Granted, when I do start feeling that way, I bounce out of that line of thinking fairly fast.

But still, why do I fall into that trap at all?

Admittedly, I spend a chunk of time every day (probably too big a chunk) on social media because when you’re a blogger/advocate, you sorta have to. Plus, I’ve made some wonderful friends there. It’s fun to connect and commiserate.

When I’m scrolling through my feeds though, undoubtedly, I see posts floating by about how I might be making better use of my time. Have you noticed this too?

Yep. The internet is overflowing with tips on how you and I could be doing this staying-at-home thing better.

For example, just today someone bragged mentioned she had made key lime pie from scratch. Yep. From scratch no less. Another pointed out how much yoga she’d been doing lately. Then there are those who’ve tackled reorganizing their homes, started making their own bread or sewed a gazillion face masks for charities.

(To be clear, those are fine things to be doing. They’re just not for me. Weren’t before. Aren’t now either.)

The thing is, whenever I read that sort of stuff, like you perhaps, I ask myself, why haven’t I been accomplishing more?

Not that other stuff, but MY stuff.

Why am I not churning out a blog post a day? Why have I yet to make further progress on my new book? Heck, why haven’t I made any? Why have I only read one book from cover to cover? (I’ve started several though.) Why is my house still in need of spring cleaning? Why is my garden still pretty much untouched. (Granted, it has been unseasonably cold.) Why have I baked nothing in the last two months, and why have I tried zero new dinner recipes? Yep. Zero. (I have pinned a ton of recipes to my Pinterest boards though, maybe that counts for something.)

Yikes. When I ask myself such questions, I realize I’ve gotten even less done than I thought!

Granted, for the most part, my life hasn’t changed all that much during this #StayHome time. I fully realize I am fortunate, privileged even. My routines are pretty much the same. Worked at home before. Work at home now. Didn’t go out much before. Definitely don’t go out much now.

But yet everything feels different when I’m told to stay home.

These days, it can be hard to focus on non-virus stuff. Writing is my job. Writing takes focus. Words don’t just flow out of my keyboard. I am having trouble focusing. I am. I feel like I should be writing words that are uplifting, helpful or at least more interesting. I feel like I should be contributing to the greater good in a more meaningful way.

I feel like I should be doing BETTER.

But how do I do that?

How does anyone?

Even though we all realize we need to cut ourselves a lot slack these days, it’s easy to fall into that “should be doing a better job” trap.

Just like with cancer.

A cancer diagnosis is work. It’s like a full-time job. It can be hard to focus on other things. It’s hard to feel like you’re accomplishing much some days even though just making it through the day is, in fact, accomplishing A LOT.

And yet, Cancer Havers sometimes are made to feel they should be handling it all while keeping a smile on their faces too.

One parallel (of many) I wrote about earlier between the cancer and the pandemic experiences is the one where in both instances, it can sometimes feel like you should be doing both a certain way.

You might want to read The Striking Parallels Between the Cancer & Covid-19 Experiences & Why Thinking About Them Matters.

There’s some unwritten, unachievable gold standard for how “to do” both.

There is a right way to do cancer. (Stay strong. Be brave. Fight. Above all else, stay positive. Blah, blah, blah.)

Nope. There is not a right way.

There is a right way to do #StayHome. (Do stuff. Do stuff. Do more stuff. And of course, stay positive while doing all that stuff.)

Again, no. There is not.

It’s ridiculous really, the pressure we can put on ourselves. Try not to do that.

So no, you’re not doing #StayHome (or cancer) wrong.

(Unless you’re not following physical distancing, mask wearing guidelines and staying home when you can, of course.)

Don’t beat yourself up for not doing grandiose things. Or even small things.

Your job during cancer treatment (and beyond) is to do your best one day at a time.

Your job during this #StayHome time is pretty much the same. Do your best one day at a time.

It’s enough. In fact, it’s more than enough.

Have you ever felt like you’re doing #StayHome (or cancer) wrong or just not that well?

How are things going for YOU, and what is one of your challenges these days?

If applicable, where have you ventured out to of late and what was that like?

If you like this post, please share it. Thank you!

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Views from My #Kitchen Sink During a #Pandemic #blogging #kitchenwindow #writiing #covid19 #coping #cancer #mentalhealth #stayhome #stayathome
View from my #kitchen sink:  No, you're not doing #stayhome (or #cancer) wrong #breastcancer #covid19 #pandemic #family #mothersinlaw #thissucks

I walk by the above #StayHome sign in my neighborhood nearly every day. It seems fitting for this post. And of course, staying home if you are able to is NOT doing nothing. It’s doing a lot.

I understand (A note to my #mother for #MothersDay #family #daughters #mothers #holidays #family #grief #love #loss #relationships
I understand now: A note to my mother for Mother's Day
COVID-19 (& MBC): Are We Becoming Numb? #pandemic #breastcancer #cancer #womenshealth #grief #loss #death
COVID-19 (& MBC): Are we becoming numb to the deaths, the numbers & the grief?

Ilene Kaminsky

Tuesday 14th of July 2020

Nancy you said everything that’s been nagging at me so eloquently. I’ll put a pic of my kitchen window view on Cancer bus. Remarkably similar except for the recent addition of another turkey mama and nine more babies. Total baby turkey count 15 in the yard and three mamas and two toms. A lot of bird watching. A lot of procrastination. A lot of looking at the little Cancer overachievers club (stolen from The Big Lebowski) and wondering why I feel so behind my own arbitrary deadlines and annoyances. I simply changed my perspective and I can’t yet publish the piece for Julia’s Ebook but the words are there for now. I look forward to adding to this conversation once she’s put it up.

Marie Ennis-O'Connor

Sunday 17th of May 2020

Yes, yes and yes! I feel I am doing it all wrong - missing the golden opportunity, etc, etc.. just like I felt going through cancer treatment. As if just surviving it isn't enough ...


Sunday 17th of May 2020

Marie, There are lots of striking parallels with cancer. Of course, there is no one way or right way to do either. We know that and yet... And yeah, like surviving isn't enough. I hear you. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment too.

Julia Barnickle

Saturday 16th of May 2020

Like you, Nancy, I wasn’t going out much before COVID-19 - but I didn’t like being told I *had to* stay at home either [teenage tantrum]. For weeks I felt as though the weight of the world was on my shoulders - but during the past couple of weeks, that feeling has gone, and I have more energy at the moment than I’ve had the past two years! Previously I wasn’t doing much, other than knitting simple scarves while watching TV - now I’ve started being more active on social media, filming videos, doing bits of housework, and I’ve even started decluttering my office / studio space. I don’t know what’s come over me! And it’s not that I think I “should” be doing these things - I feel like doing them, and I’m enjoying having the energy to do them! I’m just going with the flow. We’re all going through a kind of grief process - and it takes longer for some people than others. I was surprised that I felt the way I did, because (as you know) I’m pretty upbeat about most things. So, as you say, there is no right or wrong way to do this - or anything, come to that. We all need to simply do or not do what we feel like doing - and ditch the guilt about not feeling up to doing something massive, that the world will remember for generations to come! Just go with the flow.


Sunday 17th of May 2020

Julia, Thank you for sharing your insights. Maybe like you, I'll start feeling like doing more in the days and weeks ahead. Actually, I did get out in my yard yesterday and got a lot of work done. Felt good and I am loving the results, though I'm feeling it today too. As we all realize, we need to do our best and go with the flow. Some days will be more productive than others, but guess that's always been the case. Good luck with that decluttering, filming and other stuff too! Stay safe. x


Thursday 14th of May 2020

I was commiserating with my father when he complained about not having any interest in watching shows or movies or even reading books right now. The disconnect between the world of the story and our present reality is so severe and reminds me forcefully of how disconnected I felt after my diagnosis. Seemed like nothing in the "real world" was relevant to me anymore!

This feeling also carries over into daily activities...the meta structure is gone or radically changed so it takes a lot of effort to establish a new personal structure in relation. And to some extent, we're all shell-shocked. Some folks deal with it by hyper-focusing and some by feeling the enormity of it so much that we're mentally zombies.

I've been doing a bit of both...hyper focusing on sewing masks (since I had a sewing room well stocked with fabric and elastic when this all hit) and staring at nothing for hours when my wrist hurt too much to continue sewing. But today is a good day because I just had my first after-active-treatment follow-up and I get to say that I'm NED! The weird clicking that I felt was also felt by my oncologist and I got reassurance that it was scar tissue and not a "lump or bump" of concern. I know I've got many more of these appointments to get through but this is a good start and a wonderful relief!

Hope the weather warms up enough soon for everyone to get outside!


Friday 15th of May 2020

mamamorgaine, It's understandable your father is feeling that disconnect and has lost interest in those things. Pretty sure he's not alone in that. Every time I watch TV, I can't help but notice all the group activities, hand shaking, restaurant dining and such that goes on in them. Certainly reminds me of that old saying about not missing something til it's gone. I like how you put it, shell-shocked. Pretty good description. I'm glad you've been sewing and finding things to focus on. I'm so happy to hear you are NED! That is wonderful. Good news, good day indeed. Thank you for sharing.


Wednesday 13th of May 2020

I love your kitchen window view! Life is kinda the same for us, as we have worked from home for years. But, we also love to go out & about on a nice & pretty day & wander around, in & out of shops, pop in a favorite restaurant.... And now, nope. Cooking most all of our meals at home, using online grocery ordering, and sitting on our screened in porch cooking on the grill is happening quite a bit more, so there's that.


Friday 15th of May 2020

Kimberly, Yes, life is pretty much the same for us too. The Husband still goes to his office daily - thankfully, a very small group in a large space, so there is that worry. Though I always work from home, things feel so different when it's not my choice to stay home. Sounds like you are being very careful, and that's as it should be. A screened porch sounds perfect. Thank you for sharing how things are going for you guys. x

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