I think most people would agree that these are strange times. Many of us feel like we’re living in a sci-fi movie. We’re not sure where the plot is headed or how it will end. The only way to find out is to keep going. The uncertainty keeps us on the edge of our seats. What’s going to happen next?
In real life, feeling constantly on the edge of our seats without knowing what’s going to happen next causes a lot of stress and anxiety. It’s not “fun” like it is when you’re just watching a movie. Uncertainty leads to panic and panic buying, as we’ve seen lately. A lack of clear leadership leads to bewilderment, frustration, anxiety, and again, panic.
The world feels out of control. We want things to be predictable, routine, “normal.” We want to be able to see the patterns we’re used to seeing. To get on with our lives. Instead, life as we’ve known it has suddenly ground to a halt in a very short period of time.
While there’s been talk of financial reset, this is a reset on a far larger scale. This is a reset of daily life, routines, goals, values. It may be hard to think this way, but consider, “Where is the opportunity in the crisis?” In the midst of disruption to how we’ve always lived our lives, can we use this time to stop and consider how we’ve been living? Is it what we wanted? Maybe it was or maybe it wasn’t. If it was, how can you begin to let go and envision a different way of being? And if it wasn’t, the same question still applies. How do you really want to live? What other possibilities might there be that you haven’t considered? What’s really important to you?
If you’re a parent suddenly trying to work from home plus home-school your kids, you may be tearing your hair out. Can you surrender to the situation? What really needs to be prioritized right now? This is real life. We tend to separate our work selves and our private, “at-home” selves. This time period is all about removing the illusions. This is who we are. And we are all in this together. This is it, folks. Let’s pull back the curtain. Let’s step up and help one another. Let’s embrace ourselves and each other. As Byron Katie says, “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100 percent of the time.” So instead of arguing with our current reality, let’s face it and work with it.
What do you enjoy? What brings you joy? How can you share that right now? How can you share it with your family and friends? The internet can be an incredible tool to connect with one another and allow all of us to communicate in ways that were beyond imagination not that long ago. This time of seclusion and disruption provides an opportunity for innovation. Get creative. Learn new things. Then share it with others.
I already work from home so in many ways, self-isolating is not that much of a stretch for me. But I still have anxieties about what’s happening. I am focusing on using this time to slow down. For example, yesterday I did a little balcony gardening. It was a great way to spend the first day of Spring and it took my mind off of all the chaos for a while. I cranked up some music and played in the dirt. And I felt a lot better.
I also want to spend some time catching up on my reading. I’ve lost count of how many books I have in my “to-read” queue! I want to learn more about herbalism. I want to do some organizing and hang some pictures. I’m looking forward to working on all of these projects and seeing where they take me—besides helping me manage my anxiety!
Life as we know it will never be the same again and I don’t know what that will look like. I’m choosing to focus on a brighter future. My hope is that’s where we’re headed. This will be a process. It will be a bumpy ride and it will take time. How long? Who knows? But we just keep going. We work together. We build the future. I read a quote by Alan Kay recently that sums this up and I think it’s important to consider right now while everything feels so uncertain, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”