Because Words Matter to Me

I have struggled at times with how to refer to my status during these COVID days.

Working from home? That’s true, but it doesn’t even remotely carry the weight of all the social distancing protocols we’re trying to adhere to for safety. Homebound? That has a bit more of the “stay in the fucking house” energy that we’re living with. But it’s not a true name, since I am heading out of the house every 7-8 days or so on some quick essential errand.* Sheltering-in-place? That’s close to accurate, since Gov. Baker is certainly encouraging folks to stay home, and since my “work-at-home” status is indeed driven by the fact that our offices are closed. But there’s isn’t an actual honest-to-Gaia shelter in place order for MA, so that phrasing still isn’t entirely true.

woman isolation

For the most part, I keep coming back to the term “lockdown” as the closest useful analogue I can find to describe my and my family’s status during this particular wave of the pandemic.**

But the one thing I won’t be calling it? Quarantine.

Continue reading “Because Words Matter to Me”

Fall Down Seven

fall down calvinMy 5×5 ritual fell a bit by the wayside last week. Knowing that choir rehearsal would pull focus on Wednesday, I “doubled down” on my goals last Tuesday as preliminary compensation — but somehow, that day’s interruption in routine caused a general halt in momentum. Said halt was, of course, further perpetuated by the number of hours this weekend that were devoted to matters choral.

But, as the old saying goes,

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

[Word-nerd digression.]

There’s part of me that’s always wondered about this saying. To my sometimes overly-literal way of filtering words, the scenario’s math just didn’t work out. If you’re choosing to demonstrate perseverance in a circumstance where you fall seven times, then you need to stand up only and exactly seven times: one for each time you fall.

I’d even wondered is maybe the saying got mistranslated along the way, but today’s office hours with Professor Google suggests that the common translation of the phrase is pretty accurate:

this Japanese proverb reflects an important and shared ideal: “Nana korobi ya oki” (literally: seven falls, eight getting up)

So now I’m simply telling myself that the first time one stands in this proverb  is when getting out of the bed in the morning and prior to the first of fate’s knock-downs. I find linguistic comfort in that notion.*

[End digression.]

So, in yet another round of the “practice, not perfection” movement in my life, I’m re-engaging in the nightly rituals of house care.

Even though I had yet another choir rehearsal tonight, I have already met my daily quotas for folding laundry and addressing the clutter. Now it’s time for some unpacking and putting away of things.


* I know: none of this demands the level of thought and attention I have lavished upon it, but this is how my inner nerd operates.


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