Up until a few weeks ago, my calendar was full of beautiful places I had plans to visit over the next few months. That was when living life as I always had felt normal. So much has changed.
I’m not in a warm-weather destination, but I still consider myself very lucky. I’m safe, secure and hopeful here at home and I know so many who aren’t.
I have friends who live alone, friends who are fearful for their futures and friends worried about their lives and their livelihoods. And it’s only been a week.
I understand those emotions. I’m not one for pessimism but the present feels bleak. It can all feel very much out of our control, and most of it really is.
But there is another way to look at his thing that we cannot change. We can try to embrace it.
It’s a gift of time: Time for introspection. Time for reassessment. Time for reinvention. Time to make things right. Every day there is an opportunity to choose how you will move forward. And you have the luxury of being able to decide a day, an hour or a minute at a time.
At my house I usually have at least three working calendars going at once. On each, bright colours dictate the things we all need to do – appointments and deadlines and dinners. Throughout last week I began erasing those.
Instead, the boys and I are slowly working on developing daily plans. What do you want to do tomorrow, I’ll ask? And sometimes we’ll plan a movie afternoon, a workout at home, a walk outside, a new recipe to try or a corner of the house to clean … the last one is usually my idea.
And you know what? It’s working.
Each night we’re surprised at how quickly the day went. Surprised that without obligations and outsiders, we still had a “good day.”
We check in over a nightly scrabble game. We ask how everybody’s day went – yes even though ¾ of us spent most of it together – and there’s at least one shared laugh before we call it a night.
Ish, who is still working outside the home, has become our voice from the outside world. Most nights he brings home stories of frenetic days alongside – but not too close to – people who have also left their families at home to try to chase down the virus and wipe it out. We love and appreciate all who are doing that work and in a show of respect, we let him vent before taunting him about losing (again) at the board game.
Some would say that taunting him is mean. I feel it’s our way of toughening him up for another day on the job. ;)
We’re also making the most of our internet plan, using technology to check in on family and friends close by and around the world.
Every connection is a reminder of what’s at stake and why we need to persevere.
Friends, I know this new normal is anything but perfect. It can never replace the freedoms we had only a few short weeks ago. But for now, it’s what stands between us and the chance to get back to some semblance of what we all took for granted before.
I can’t live in your shoes for this one. We each have our own ways of coping, but if you’re wondering, we’ll be over here trying to live as best we can through where we are. I wish you and yours the same.