I am not a medical expert, but I am a medical mom. As a medical mom, I learned one thing again and again –
Whether I stayed bedside with my son for a weekend or a month, I took the same size suitcase and the same toiletry bags. There is the mode in which you operate like things are temporary. You put up with some discomfort because we can get through anything if it is only one night.
The time comes though, at times, when it is clear that this is not going to be one night, one month or one season, that we are in this for the long haul.
I think that is where we are with this now not-so-novel coronavirus.
I venture to guess by now we can look back and see a series of stages in how we approached the shutdown as it began, as we sank into some rhythm, as some of us thought we had better make some use of the time, as some began to push against the restrictions. I remember the anxiety with which I followed the headlines in those early days, as the cases ballooned beyond the borders of China. I remember the relief of having additional help at home during meals when my husband worked on his computer. I remember the aggravating conversations as we considered income fluctuations and concern for fellow business owners.
I thought the new normal was going to be life after COVID-19, that that was the horizon we were looking for, but now it seems more like our society will live in a state of chronic illness, opening and shutting its doors according to state and county guidelines, finding new ways to live, move and find meaning in our day-to-day lives.
Now with a number of months under our belt, our employers are seeing where things stand. A new wave of skilled workers might just hit the proverbial bread lines. It might be time to find some new revenue streams.
This is where we are.
This means it is time to adapt.
The more flexible we can be, the better we will weather in the long haul. Are you a caregiver under lockdown with your patient? Are you a parent stuck at home pushed into a homeschooling life you never planned to choose? Are you finding routine difficult with so many personalities at home? Are you now unemployed after months of hoping your job would hang on? Are you leading an organization that faces dramatic losses if a new approach is not made soon?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. None of us are alone. We are all in this boat of trying to figure out a world that feels so markedly different from 2019.
We have to get used to uncertainty, to the realization of our mortality and know that this is an invitation to live to the very fullest, the best life we can, the best relationships we can, seizing the moments as the opportunities they are to love, to delight, to celebrate. I may have taken things for granted in the past. Now is the time to savor the moment.
It is also a time to reflect on how we have done and what we want life to look like moving forward. If we rail against the situation in frustration, we get nowhere. If we can find a way to take it as it comes, roll with the punches, as they say, then all the emotional energy we spent aggravated or anxious becomes fuel for finding a way forward.
It might be time to get creative. There’s a path out there waiting for you and me.