Here's hoping your loved ones and you are safe and well at home.
Will shelter-in-place never end? you ask.
Of course it will! As crazy as life is at the moment, this, too, shall pass.
Before you throw shade, might I remind you that lives are being saved as we speak / blog / write/ video. Trust me, Dear Hearts; although I have developed a routine of sorts (such as it is -- I do shower, dress, plank, make my bed, and go for walks every day . . .even if it's not until noon), there are moments when I'm on the edge. Just yesterday, I spent the entire day watching YouTube videos of British baking shows and Chola makeover tutorials -- neither of which I will, most likely, ever utilize in my lifetime.
What I have been pondering, though, as we look toward slowly -- little by little -- lifting shelter-in-place (SIP), is what each of us will choose to take away from this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime experience.
First, let's look at the important issues with which we will continue to deal: Number one on my list are families, first responders, and health care workers who are heavily grieving. There are folks out there who have lost loved ones and patients to this virus (and other ills) without the opportunity to see, hold hands, comfort, and care for them as they took their last breaths. Unresolved issues are the most difficult situations in which to grieve. As a society, we must be patient with, comfort, and tenderly care for the mourners -- for as long as it takes.
Right behind the mourners is my wish that the appreciation, kindness, thoughtfulness, and caring for one another continues -- that it grows even stronger. My community practices all of it most of the time, anyway. It is one of the many reasons I choose to live where I do. However, all of these characteristics rise in the face of strife. It is a global response within the human condition. May it continue to increase. In California, a website has been erected for this very purpose, giving every able-bodied person in the state an opportunity to step up, volunteer, and help out. Californians can sign up at https://californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/covid-19/ . Hopefully, other states follow this incredible model.
For those concerned about the economy, don't be.
Easy for you to say, you declare.
It is not.
Dear Hearts, all of us have lost income, work time, benefits, savings, jobs, and even our very businesses. On one level or another, this pandemic is no respecter of persons. Collateral damage was upon us at the onset of SIP. And although many Americans question the fact that the solution of temporarily sheltering in place in order to slow down the spread of the virus only created more problems, we have to consider the fact that our hospitals did not have the infrastructure to handle this unprecedented situation. However, as the curve flattens and our healthcare systems are satisfied they can handle the next wave of this pandemic, we all will eventually go back to work. The economy has tanked before and recovered. More than once. I predict it will make short work of a comeback, and become stronger than ever in a relatively brief period of time.
The third takeaway with which this Happy Heart Writer hopes our society goes forward is -- in a word --Balance. With all the down time forced upon us, we have had more hours, days, weeks of opportunity for reflection than any other period in this century. Before sheltering in place, many of us had overloaded social calendars, work schedules, meetings, sporting events -- wearing our busyness like a badge of honor -- to the point of exhaustion and very little time for head space, much less, meditation. However, the other end of the spectrum -- entirely too much idle time, isolation, or even juggling work from home plus homeschooling with little or no relief -- has proven to be equally stressful. When we do eventually go back to work, school, and other activities, it is my hope that we are more mindful about how busy we become -- that as a society, we create a healthy margin for ourselves. I don't know about all of you, Dear Hearts, but I am enjoying less traffic, clean air, more wildlife scamper about, and a healing planet.
And finally, one of the fun things I have enjoyed during sheltering-in-place is the new-to-me custom of drive-by celebrations and porch drop offs. Like most of you, I have had the distinct pleasure of participating in drive-by parades in my car to celebrate birthdays, baby showers, and even a couple of anniversaries. How creatively fun! Hopefully, this is a custom that continues long past the completely flattened curve! (I realize I'm contradicting myself as I just lamented our busyness and enjoy the effect SIP has had on the environment. Don't judge me. I'm still working on this list).
However, the activities I miss most are in-person gatherings of family and friends. Of all my work / career experiences -- including being on stage -- my favorite thing to do in life has always been, and will continue to always be, getting together with people. As much as I appreciate ZOOM and Google Hangouts, I will be most thrilled to see my family and friends in person again - and squish them with a huge hug! I'm certain you feel the same. We just have to hang on for a little while longer. OY!
So, there you have it, Dear Hearts! That is my COVID-19 takeaway list in a nutshell -- so far, anyway.
Perhaps in the remaining weeks of SIP, you will take a moment to create your own list of what you have learned, decided, or experienced during the past month or two. Maybe you're inspired to volunteer in your community on the regular (I certainly hope so!) or take better care of your mind, body, and spirit. Perhaps you have made the decision to make a few lifestyle changes. Possibly, you are one of those in mourning and simply need to practice self care.
Whatever comprises your list, none of us are coming out of this the same as we were going in.
So, do this . . .
Take out a sheet of paper or open up a Google Doc and begin. At the very top, write the following words: COVID-19 SIP: Takeaway Be well and stay safe, Dear Hearts.