We’ve been in quarantine for over a month. My family has settled into something of a rhythm, but we take it day by day and sometimes moment by moment. I’ve been keeping a personal journal to commemorate the events of this strange time, but I have felt almost completely blocked when I think about writing for public consumption. This quarantine has brought up so much that I can’t sort through it to get to any coherent message. I’ve let over a month go by without publishing a blog post at a time when I should have more blog fodder than ever. I have no excuse, simply that I have started several posts, but failed to finish any. Until now...here’s my attempt to make sense of some of this.
Have you seen this meme or some version of it?----->
Like everything nowadays, it has been controversial. Even within myself, I have been warring with how I feel about it. If I had to guess, I would imagine the person who wrote this doesn’t have children and has a job that is either on hold or much decreased due to the quarantine. But even if this is written by a a mother of 5 with a full time job, it doesn’t matter. The message doesn’t change.
I have been struggling with this idea that I should capitalize on this time and create something important and meaningful. Write a book (or finish one of the many I’ve started), create an online course, start a coaching group or program. And it’s a nice idea. I admire the ambition. But on the other hand, I’m finding that it takes a lot of energy and effort to support my kids through remote learning, make healthy meals, get everyone active and outside, all while maintaining my own health and sanity. And I recognize that my kids are fairly independent and low-maintenance, my family is not facing financial ruin, and we have the resources we need to weather this turbulent time.
People are sick, with Covid and cancer and alcoholism and any number of other diseases. People are out of work or low on funds or uncertain about their future. Some children are stuck in unsafe homes. People aren’t sure how they will afford their next meal. And to make it all worse, we look at the people who are supposed to lead us and we don’t know who to trust and what information is true. We are living in an unprecedented, historic time and the collective anxiety and grief is tangible. So sometimes I look at this “motivational” message and the conceit of it blows me away. I think how UN-empathetic it is. How privileged it is. How presumptive it is. To start a side hustle through all this requires resources, mental health, ALONE time, and so much more. How many people are really experiencing those prime conditions during a pandemic? So when I saw this revision, I was like, hell yeah. It felt validating.
Yet the pull of my mind takes back over. I should be doing more, creating more, producing more. Most of us DO have more time on our hands. Few people are commuting or working at their normal capacity. We aren’t going skiing or eating out or having long happy hours with friends. So yeah. Maybe everyone should be reading up on something or learning a new language or picking up a new hobby.
And I have picked up a few skills. I’ve been baking all different kinds of bread. I’m learning a couple new and challenging songs on the piano. We’ve done some house projects and yard work. I’m volunteering twice a week with a program that feeds the residents of our town while helping keep restaurants afloat. I’m definitely doing things I wouldn’t have had time for if life was going on as it usually does.
But my efforts toward my coaching business have been sparse. I have a couple clients I’m working with virtually, and I’d love to have more. However, I struggle with sales at the best of times, and trying to sell my services now seems a bit insensitive, even when people could really use some coaching. This is the first blog post I’ve written in over a month and it has been like pulling teeth to complete it. I have ideas for online videos and coaching groups, but I haven’t been able to follow through and make the ideas come to life.
So where does that leave me? I’m going to use the words of my very wise and beloved aunt-in-law. In talking about the fluctuations in her energy, she wrote: “[It’s] sort of like swimming in the ocean - i am just trying to relax as I get tumbled about, and let myself enjoy it when a swell lifts me up.”
That’s where I am. Allowing for all of it. For the spurts of energy and productivity. For the confusion. For the occasional wallowing. For the time and energy it takes to support my family and make this a time of happy memories. For needing to take a long walk BY MYSELF to avoid feeling trapped. For feeling proud when I exercise and being gentle with myself when I need to just sit and read a good book. For the uncertainty and the moodiness and even the dread of life eventually going back to normal.
I’ll continue to use my aunt’s metaphor for the ups and downs, realizing that while life is uncertain, the swells will keep coming and the dips are temporary. It’s all part of life and it’s all okay.
Can you relate to this? Where are you? Are you feeling productive or just getting by? Are you feeling steady or experiencing rapid fluctuations? How can I support you?