Somewhere along the line I’ve started to realize that this isn’t going to be a temporary problem, and that we aren’t going to go “back to normal” any time soon. Again, here comes the rollercoaster! Obviously I think things will get better, this too shall pass (as they say.) What I mean by not going “back to normal” is that we will now all have had this shared experience, and experiences can change us. Some people are going to have some serious PTSD from this craziness! Some people will have had some serious loss. Some people will see lives lost at a rate they never imagined. Some will lose loved ones. Some people will have lost jobs, and have seen entire industries vanish. This is the “new normal” I’m referring to. Not that Covid is here to stay on the planet, but this Covid experience will be here to stay in each one of us.
This reminds me of Pre and Post 9/11. I was 20 yrs old at that time, knew nothing of politics or world affairs and happily living irresponsibly as a college junior where my only concern was figuring out how to function with a hangover. After 9/11, things were different. Suddenly, bad things could happen. Suddenly terrorist attacks were a real thing. We were vulnerable. Coronavirus is something different, but with the same feelings attached. We watched this happening in other countries, but didn’t really think it could happen here in the US. We all know people who will never fly again after 9/11, and we’ll all know people who will keep their distance from others after this. Events like this change people.
We also saw a tremendous amount of patriotism after 9/11 that we had never seen before. I heard people belting out “Proud to Be an American” in bars. People thanking soldiers. People praying together openly for others. American flags were flying everywhere. We had experienced something together and this is what provided us with so much comfort. The flags reminded us we weren’t alone, we were a nation of people who could fight terror with love. We were the good guys.
Guess what? We’re still the good guys. We’re seeing the brave healthcare soldiers fight this battle day in and day out. We’re seeing kindness, love, and helpers all over social media. We’re checking on neighbors and friends, just to let them know we’re there for them. We’re connecting over Zoom (honestly, should have bought stock!) with friends we haven’t seen in years. We’re actually taking the time to notice the budding trees and Spring flowers blooming outside, and waking up to birds chirping instead of alarm clocks. We’re feeling true gratitude for things we have taken for granted- like our health, the health of our loved ones, the love of friends and family, the extra time to cuddle with our kids, the crazy New England weather, the food on our tables, and our homes. There are many high points of this crazy roller coaster that we will always remember if we want to. These are the things that should create the change in us.
We’re through the initial weeks of shock and disbelief of this craziness and settling into the reality of it all. We drank allllll the liquor. We ate alllll the crap. We watched alllllll of Netflix (um hello nothing like a little Tiger King to make a person feel completely sane and grateful for their lives!) Not gonna lie, it was getting bad over here. My kids now know which White Claw flavors I like better than others, “Mom doesn’t like cranberry give that one to dad.” #OMG Now we’re graduating to the middle part, the part where FOR OUR OWN GOOD we need to get off the couch and put a plan together. The part where we start to choose to do some things that are good for ourselves, our brains, our relationships, and yes… even our futures. The little eyes watching us need us to thrive, grow, and contribute through this. This is how they’ll learn to do hard things.
When this whole thing started I was just starting to make a tiny bit of progress with my new goals. I was moving right along in my life coaching/strategic intervention course, I had a few small speaking gigs lined up, and I had my very first workshop on the calendar and ready to go. I was beyond excited, then suddenly I felt like I got punched in the gut and the rug pulled out from under me at the same time. I sat down on the couch, watched TV like a brain-dead fool, and binged on snacks and booze to numb feelings. Here’s the thing, I truly think that’s ok. I did what I needed to do, and I’m fine with it, but now I’m ready for more. No one will get through this time and be a better person with a better life on the other side by sitting on the couch, watching the news, and worrying all day. No one. The decision is ours. I choose better.
I’ve decided that I’m going to come out a better person on the other side of this. I’ve gotten off the couch, stopped drinking during the week, and I’ve set some serious food boundaries. There’s only so much elastic in my wardrobe! I’m going to practice what I preach again, and do the things that I know bring joy into my life. Care to join me? Let’s…
- stop complaining
2. get grateful
3. stop the negative self talk
4. laugh more, worry less
5. set goals for myself (mind, body, and soul).
(My five favorite steps to living a better and happier life that I’ve spoken about before. Some more important now than ever!)
If you decide to join me, and I hope you do, we will definitely need to keep in mind that this rollercoaster of emotions will continue to be here. We’ll have good days where we do a great job, and some days we’ll need to veg out and feel the feelings. Grant yourself the grace, now and always.
I’m going to start sharing more things about how to find some goals to set for yourself, and how to put a plan together to get there. I hope I’ve planted the seed, piqued your interest, and given you a little motivation to want to take advantage of the good parts of this situation we’re in. Grab my hand, let’s do this together!