I heard today, from a very reliable source, that Covid-19 is here to stay. They’re never going to get rid of it. As long as 20% of our population refuses to get vaccinated, there will always be some form of strain of it. We’ll always need to be vigilant. We’ll always be aware of it. Covid-19 will never be ‘just another virus’. It will still be deadly, variants and all but we have to face the facts: they’re never going to get rid of it. It’s always going to be here. We have to learn to balance out our risks and just live with it.

I’m not fully certain what all of this means. But I do know one sure thing: I have to change and I need to change if I want to stay alive and not die of covid-19. Looking forward there will be a lot of things that I will have to give up. But looking backward there will be a lot of things that I can still keep. One of the first things that I needed to change was my travel arrangements. I don’t think I’ll be jetting off to any four corners of the world. I had to face the fact that I need to enjoy the four corners of my own little world. I’m safe where I am now and will continue to be. So why would I want anything else?

I may not be able to RV travel down south anymore (with covid and gas prices being the obstacles for now) There are tons of things to do and interest me right here in the north country. Upstate New York borders on Canada and up in the Thousand Island location it’s still lovely country with big wide open spaces and plenty of state parks, newly re-vamped and edging to go. They’re affordable, respectable and some of them offer perfect spots with lake views that would give any ocean view a run for its money. There’ s no need for me to sit inside a house and stare at the ceiling. In other words, they’re still plenty of country out there to see and do. I just need to pick and choose a bit more wisely.

My whole way of life is going to change. The way I live. The way I eat. The way I travel. The way I shop. The way I have fun. The way I entertain. All of the above and more is going to be different. My life is never going to go back to the way it was and it’s high time I realized this fact. I need to stop waiting for my life to resume. I need to resume my life. Yes, I’m disappointed. Yes, I’m depressed. But I am not going to waste any more time on this. I am just going to make the best of it. Be smart. Be careful. And just move forward.

I’m going to have to get used to paying higher prices for almost everything. Bargains are limited. Paying more means that some part of my financial equation has to do with less. That means cutting. That means sacrifices. And that means anger. Making downward adjustments has never been easy. There will be those who have no need to do without anything. They’ll just pay. And then there are those who are more like me. We need to be vigilant. We need to be careful and prudent. We need to stick together and learn from each other. This isn’t my first rodeo but it will be virgin time for a new generation. I just need to be patient and wait for them to catch up to me. Apparently unless they feel the actual pain, they don’t know what I am talking about. I’ll wait.

I find it burdensome at times to remember to turn off the lights, check for dripping and water leaks, keep the thermostat low, shorten the timespan of the room electric heater, drive slower, drive safer, drive less, check the food inventory, check the financial balances, ask whether its a need or a want, eat less, portion control, cook less but save more for later, make instant repairs, do more things myself………….I’m tired and I’m exhausted.

My priorities are different this year than from what they were 18 months ago. What I thought was important then no longer rings true today. What bothered me then no longer even interests me. I’ve forgotten most of it anyway. This is our new normal and we’re going to have to deal with it as best as we can.

I just turned 71 this past week and I learned something new. I learned that I want to enjoy my old age. I want to enjoy every second of it. And I don’t want any naysayers taking it away from me. I understand the new challenges that need to be met this time around. I understand them but I am not going to have them take away my joy. No one said this life was going to be easy. And no one guaranteed my retirement would be a walk in a park or a day at a beach. Granted I can still have those things but it’s going to be different from what I experienced before. There are many ways to skin a cat, so the saying goes. I need to learn new skinning methods. And I will. Whatever it takes. No one is going to take away my enjoyment of life in my old age.

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The more I watch this series, Yellowstone, the more I understand why it has become a national obsession. In the end, all that will matter is your home, your family and your land should you be fortunate enough to own any. When you realize the theme of the plot is to raise up the property taxes surrounding John Dutton’s (Kevin Costner’s) Montana ranch, so that he won’t be able to afford to pay his own property taxes anymore, thus he has to sell or be foreclosed upon, you’ll understand the same narrative that is going on in our own , very day lives. Yellowstone is all about fighting for your own homestead, living free and unencumbered. Sort of like Covid-19.