Everything, obviously, feels so different now.
Does anybody else find themselves thinking back about life before Covid-19? About the “last” things you did before you started staying at home? Maybe the last movie you saw in the theater, the last dinner you ate out, the last party you hosted or attended, the last playdate or adventure you took your kids on over the weekend?
I know I have. And I’ve had friends who’ve reached out to me with similar lines of thought.
“Remember when?” and then trailing off into one of our many happy memories from life before covid-19.
Even my husband, who continually reminds me, “I can’t believe the last movie we saw in the theater was Little Women.”
Not to say that we aren’t happy, healthy and safe right now. We are. And for that, I am grateful. I know we are lucky that we can stay home and work from home. I know we are lucky that we will be ok.
It’s this strange sort of “now” we are living in. This present time in which the future is completely unpredictable. This present time in which we are all coping and surviving the best we can, many of us dealing with full-time jobs and kids at home who are going back to school this week after a 2 week hiatus in Mexico for “Spring Break”.
For some of us, we cope by doing things: By creating a list, a schedule or having a project. I tend to fall in that camp from time to time. At times it is being busy to avoid feeling and truly recognizing the situation.
Some of us run or workout to get rid of stress and anxiety, that’s always been my go-to. For the first 38 days of quarantine, I ran, biked or walked outside every single morning. It was my time to “get out of the house and get some fresh air”.
Unfortunately, as of yesterday we are no longer to exercise outside so I’ll have to start getting creative inside with exercise routines. And for this aspect too, I know we are lucky that we have some outdoor space at our home with an open air garage and patio. I truly empathize with my many friends living in apartments right now, that is way more difficult to swallow given our new restrictions.
And I think, through it all, the hardest part for me and many is the unknown and uncertainty. I recognize that so often in the past, I leaned hard on the “predictability of the future” and the ability to make plans to visit family, to get together with friends, to throw Max’s 5th birthday party.....so often in the past I relied on making future plans to enjoy my present.
I’ve written and talked about this before, but I’m a planner and my husband is not. Even during this strange time of quarantine with him being home 24/7 for the initial 35 days, our planning tendencies or lack of were illuminated as we tried to coordinate our virtual schedules.
He and his brother are now overly saturated with work sewing face masks and other necessary items for Covid-19, which makes life a bit more challenging at home for me trying to balance all the things with work and kids, but it’s a blessing as this work for him is providing income for the rest of his family during this global pandemic.
It’s interesting looking at past posts and podcast episodes over the last 6 weeks as I feel they are a sort of journal of this pandemic for me. When we were only 16 days in, it seemed like forever at that time, but now that we are 40 days in that seemed so naive. I don’t know if anyone else has been writing out their thoughts over these weeks, but I find it helpful for me to process and I hope that someday in the future I will look back on this time and remember.
Remember how “hard” it seems to be restricted to our homes, how “hard” it seems to not have a trip home to see family planned on our calendar. I was just thinking this is the first time in a long time that I haven’t had to spend time looking for flights home or any upcoming work trips in the next 6 months. It’s a very bizarre realization.
I’m recognizing how often I based my sense of “feeling ok in the present” on how I was planning my future. I don’t know if that makes sense to others or not, but being a planner, I always had something to look forward to. Now I just pray each night that we stay healthy and that my kids sleep in for once in their life. (not currently happening).
And even though I can no longer base my faith in my previously predictable future (or so I ironically thought), I’m realizing that it’s ok to “feel” right now.
It’s ok to have breakdowns and cry. It’s ok to feel stress. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed trying to do all the things right now and not doing anything 100%.
Ironically, back in January of 2020, I wrote a blog post called “Trust your Limits”. In it, I talked about saying no and that less is more. That 2020 was going to be my year of doing less. It’s almost laughable now, right?
Maybe what’s so hard about this is that we who love to run our own lives, fill our day planners and calendars with social events, trips and activities are now the ones being told we cannot do such things.
I keep repeating to myself the mantra that “this is a season”, just like I talked about in episode 5 of the podcast, the year we almost gave up.
And this being a season, I hope that once we come out of this, however and whenever that happens, we will never again take for granted what we long for today.
May we always look people in the eyes, enjoy a good conversation over a cup of coffee and not feel like we’re too busy to invest in people and relationships.
May we cherish that hug that we cannot give today.
May we enjoy the play dates that will one day grace our lives again.
May we never take for granted a date night at a restaurant again.
May we be patient with our children who are also living through this strange time, remembering they too have “given up things” throughout the last 40 days.
May we be grateful for teachers and all the effort they put into our children, because I know I’m not teaching letter sounds, numbers or how to plant seeds the way they’d learn in school.
May we never forget all that we are missing today, all that we took for granted in the past.
One day we'll look back on this and it won’t feel as long as it may right now. But I hope that these posts and podcast episodes throughout the pandemic will always serve as a reminder to appreciate and enjoy the simple things that I am missing today whenever they cross my path again in the future.
And may I embrace the present.
Give thanks for today, not wish it away and enjoy the time between here and there.
Trusting we will get there some day.