(putting “pen to paper” so I can remember these weird feelings later.)
I miss giving my people hugs. I miss throwing my arm around someone’s shoulder or giving them a high five.
I miss looking my people in the eyes (in real life), and asking them how they are doing. I miss the forced small talk while getting my lunch out of the fridge at work, or making awkward eye contact with someone who I think is coming to say hi to me in my little cube, but is actually just going to use the printer which is next to my desk.
I miss my kids seeing their grandparents and their cousins and all their little friends. I miss seeing all of my family and my friends and the rand-o’s I encounter every day as I go about my business.
I miss Target runs (although Jon is probably just fine with this) and donut runs and not freaking out when I touch a grocery cart.
This all sounds so severely dramatic. It is, it is, I know. And it’s been basically two weeks. TWO WEEKS of this, you guys. It’s nothing. And absolutely I know it’s important and for the greater good and I am fully on board.
But it’s already felt like an eternity.
I’m an extrovert most of the time. I love people. Seeing them and hugging them and working alongside them and having happy hour with them. I like my alone time too though, because sometimes this extrovert just needs a break. But I’m ready for this break to be done.
I am usually not a fearful person or anxious person. I am an optimist, a glass-half-full kind of gal. I am a person that wants to know what needs to be done to fix a situation, to move forward…and then I want to put that plan into place to get through whatever situation I am in, or to fix the thing that is broken.
Obviously there are some flaws in that way of thinking and doing…namely: the importance and need of just sitting with things for a bit, of not trying to plow my way through difficult situations that need thought and time. I understand life is a process and a journey, etc, etc, blah, blah, but I’m hard wired to just do the thing, make sure everyone feels ok, and get out on the other side stronger/better/ok/victorious.
This whole COVID-19 pandemic feels different though. Besides the obvious “stay home, and socially distance” plan, it doesn’t feel like I/we will be able to put a sensible plan in place to plow through this and come out better and stronger than we were before. I know that sounds ridiculous. Because God is in control and we will be ok. And because we have some incredibly smart and insanely doctors working to combat this. But what does “ok” look like?! God is in control and I have faith and all that other stuff, but I also have big feelings and fears right now that I want to talk about because “the plan” at this moment feels weird and scary.
We’re in the depths of it right now…and this isn’t something we’ve encountered before – this situation, this magnitude. I keep trying to justify to myself… “Amber we’re going to be fine. JUST FINE. Stop being dramatic. We (humans/Americans) made it through WWII, the Great Depression, the economic downturn of 2008.” We did. People did. But hear me out: I was either (A) not alive during that time or (B) not a responsible adult yet at that time. I can’t fully understand it because I didn’t entirely live through it. My brain did not register what all of that meant. I felt like I was still under the wing of my parents’ protection. I didn’t know or understand the weight of having an adult job, children, a mortgage, bills to pay, people to care for and try and lead well… I was blissfully ignorant. Of course I was concerned for my parents/family and the “economy” in 2008 (whatever I thought that meant at 20-21 years of age) and for other folks wellbeing, but I didn’t really understand. I was in college, living my life and doing ok with the help of my parents and scholarship money.
Also, COVID-19 is a threat to our economy, our way of life, and our health and wellbeing. It’s a double whammy. I don’t know if there’s been a time like that before. People are losing their jobs and their health and their livelihood AND they can’t lean on their people, hug their people, or physically be with their people???
Kids are missing their soccer games, their sleepovers, their high school graduations. Families are missing important therapy sessions, funerals and weddings and birthdays and other milestone celebrations. Small businesses are unwillingly being dug into a debt hole that could kill their operations. My heart is breaking for these things. As one friend said, jokingly, but also kind of for real…this feels like a weird beginning to an apocalyptic movie.
As I said, I am a planner…but also a worrier because I love my people. Waking up worried about people’s jobs and small businesses and the physical and mental health of my friends and family just feels a little crushing honestly.
What’s going to happen? Where do we go from here? Will everyone just stay the heck home for three months and we’ll all come out alive and well? Sounds ridiculous (and parents who have kids that love Frozen will totally dig me here), but I just keep replaying the Olaf song from Frozen 2 in my head – “This Will All Make Sense When I am Older.” Except… I am already older!! I am an almost mid-thirties grown woman and this still doesn’t make sense. Why does Disney always get me?
There isn’t a magical resolution or epiphany to this post. This is just me trying to navigate my feelings and what the next best thing to do is. I have loved all the banding together or friends and family to virtually “hang out,” to bring meals to people, to drop off groceries. I love the outpouring of support to small business owners. I love all of the ways businesses are accommodating their communities by going virtual. We’ve adjusted, and fast. It’s pretty incredible, actually. Turns out, we humans are pretty vigilant.
I’ve been trying to do home workouts…even though I really, really, really hate home workouts (I love going to a place to do the thing and see the people), but this has forced me to do otherwise. Yesterday, as I was working out in the basement, my two-year-old son, Dempsey, came down the stairs to see what I was doing. I was working with a dumbbell and I looked down at him and he looked back at me like I was the most badass of badasses in the whole world. He was in awe. His eyes sparkled. His face said, “MOM. I do not know what it is you are doing….but YOU ARE AMAZING. You are doing heavy things it looks like!!” I was sweaty and smelly and had stopped for a minute (or four) because I was tired and panting. I’ve never had anyone look at me that way (or maybe I haven’t been present enough to really notice it), and I want to remember that moment forever. Forever. Whether or not that is true about myself… it’s true for Dempsey. He believes it. And that’s enough to keep me charging forward even when I feel like I’m not sure what’s next.
Keep loving your people, checking in on them, putting one foot in front of the other and just doing the next best thing. Sending virtual high fives.