I read an article today by Julio Vincent Gambuto "Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting" In it, he talks about our craving for normalcy, how that will be exploited at the far side of COVID-19 and describes our current situation as the Great Pause. I love this! This is the term that should be in the history books and I hope that what follows is the Great Awakening. He taps into my love for the earth and the incredible changes that are happening due to a lack of pollution in places around the globe.
Odds are we are going to be in isolation for much longer than any of us would have imagined just a month or two ago. I, for one, did not know how fast COVID-19 would spread and how drastically it would impact our lives. I thought it was another SARS scare and things would settle down quickly and the world would go back to normal.
I learned in a hurry that I was very wrong. Less than 8 hours after saying something stupid like "it's just a flu..." in conversation with my son-in-law I was shocked to land in Edmonton to TV screens announcing that a world pandemic was declared.
Fast forward a month today and how much has changed - quickly. I am so thankful that my partner was able to say good-bye to his mom, hold her hand and comfort her in her last hours and that I was able to be there to support him and our family. I am so thankful that I was able to spend time with my family - parents, children, extended family-friends and be there for my daughter's pregnancy as well as Riley's 2nd birthday. This trip was planned and booked a year in advance - it was just the grace of timing that we were able to be there with our families.
Who knows how long it will be until we are able to and feel safe enough to see each other again? I think it's a given at this point that I will not be there for the birth of my second grandchild, nor do I know when I will be able to meet him in person. I would never do anything that could remotely put my family at risk. It hurts me to not know when I can hug my family again. It kills me to know I can't be there if they need me - even more so than living across the country! It sucks that my planned one month visit this summer is now a dream in the wind.
I am not whining about that. I would rather know that they are safe than lament physical distancing. This too shall pass, though it may be like a kidney stone at times.
My partner and I were having a bit of a debate about how much we need to be watching news and discussing the virus. I know it's kind of hard to ignore when we are limited to being at our homes, working virtually and gearing up with masks to get groceries. I like to limit my exposure to a specific window of time to seek out the most current information once a day. For the remainder of my day, I actively try to pursue some sort of creative or productive project, get outside or do something for myself. Some days I do nothing, but I also am not bombarding my senses with the news.
My partner has a different way of coping with the situation and he is much more in tune with the news throughout the day and wants to discuss all of the changes that he is seeing and speculate about what is going to happen. It has a definite impact on his stress levels.
So what I said to him was this. Let's take a look at best and worst case scenarios. Best case - we have a vaccine and infections stop spreading and we start getting back to normal as summer begins. Worst case - we get the virus and die. What is within our control?
Well, we can take precautions - we are. We can isolate and social distance - we are. We have ample supplies, financial support, stable, affordable housing, an incredibly supportive employer, and we live in a National Park with an exceptionally supportive community.
We can choose to be fearful, worried, stressed, self-destruct, eat too much, drink too much, sleep the day away, feel like shit, and float through the days feeling worse and worse.
Or we can choose to appreciate and use the time to be ready when the world starts to wake up and get out again. We can enjoy the highest valued currency that has and will ever exist. Time. Without time, you have nothing.
Do those projects that you've said "one day" or "I would love to". Learn to play the guitar, cook that recipe you saved on pinterest, write in your journal, organize that closet, break out that sketchbook or adult colouring book, do that puzzle, play that video game, write that blog or book, research that topic you were curious about. Anything that you previously didn't have the time to do, you now have the time. You are rich beyond measure!
In either scenario you can't change the outcome, so what do you want that time between now and any possible outcome to look like? Are you stressed, upset, worried...or are you doing the things that spark joy?
I choose to spark joy.
What sparks your joy?