I’ve now come to expect it. The fog, and with it a lack of motivation not familiar to me. Call it a year and a half of the pandemic. Call it doldrums. Call it what you will, but it didn’t exist before lock-down. Not for me at least. Not since college, maybe, when we all dreaded Mondays with the re-start of responsibility after two maybe three days of pure coming of age bliss. Sure, since then Monday could be slow, but not like this. Maybe having people interacting again will be the difference. Co-workers. Strangers. Day-to-day randomness that doesn’t currently exist. Mary says, ‘welcome to my world.’ The world of not feeling up to the day. ‘Can’t put on my face,’ she says of the feeling. A whole world learning about mental health in ways we too often ignore. ‘Not me,’ we might think. Now, you can’t pick-up the paper, magazine, phone without finding a piece or podcast on the subject. Stories about problems at all levels, all ages. The lost year. How to re-enter. Ways to keep the fog at bay. Ways like a seven-minute standing workout. Music. Yoga. Cooking. Walking. Cycling. Swimming. An entire arsenal of strategies to combat unfamiliar territory. And now stories about how to come back, but not too fast. ‘Toe in the water’, they say. And don’t worry if you feel anxious. To be expected. Keep going. You’ll acclimate, like to the cold water Mary and I swim in. Blood rushing in to protect the core, extremities left numb. “Hang in there,’ I imagine Vim Hoff saying, his breath and advice seen dissipating into the cold. Mary’s a convert, and this year me too. Swimming at least once a month through a COVID winter, for a year now, all the way through and here we are again wading into May. Swimming and writing my way through and out of the haze, hoping to find land before some convoluted hypothermia of this whole ordeal sets in and pulls me under. Or is it just Monday, and tomorrow Tuesday will be better. Usually is. By Thursday I’m back at full strength, Date Night, Mary and I smooth sailing into the weekend. This gloom, though new and unfamiliar, doesn’t worry me. I feel blessed to have the experience, to contemplate glass half empty. To understand that for some, half empty is the norm. That being an optimist is a random blessing, not due to any effort or earned skill, but rather by stroke of chance and privilege. Born into my circumstance. So much of what I have, unearned. Given. At birth, and along the way. These Mondays a reminder of this simple fact, coming at a time when so many people live unfair realities. Day after day, week after week. Others likely not putting pen to paper to express these feelings, but rather taking the pain and the punches. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it is. I’m not going to belabor the point. Just sit and write about the feeling, that I’m not familiar with. Maybe it will help others. Monday’s do not bring me joy. There. It’s done. I said it. Not a complaint. Just is. Life.