(Only literary people will get my play on the title. Tell me if you get it!) The past few weeks have been… weird and full of changes. Some gradual, some happening all together and all at once. In a matter of just a couple of weeks we went from "the virus isn't going to be a big deal" to "the entire world is shut down because of it." Schools are out. Some have already decided not to go back this year at all. Those Seniors won't get their graduation, which breaks my heart for them. Right now our school is still planning to do graduation even if they have to do it late this summer, and I'm grateful for that. Entire countries are on stay at home orders to help keep the virus from spreading so rapidly. We've gone from rush rush rush, busy busy busy to stay home and be still.
I haven’t been working as much since January, what with Medicare changes, so working less isn’t a huge adjustment to me. As a healthcare worker, I am thankful that I do still have work, even though it is less. Not having work means not paying the bills or buying food, which are no good. On the other hand, not working so much means I have a lot more time with the kids (and Drew when he’s home). And that is something I do love. I feel like I missed a lot of their growing up years what with going back to grad school when they were 3 and 1, which was very long days - sometimes so long I’d drop them off in the morning and not see them again until the next morning. Those were hard years, but worth it. Then when I worked in the clinic I only saw them a little before school and a little before bedtime. My latest job had gotten to that point, too, it felt like. Working all the time. I didn’t like it and neither did they. So… we’re enjoying all this additional time together.
Bree and I had to run to the post office last Saturday to pick up a package. It’s strange to drive through town on a Saturday morning and see only a few cars here and there. A little later we went to Clarksville for weekly grocery shopping, which added to the weirdness. There were cars at stores, but not as many. Sam’s was a bust for most of the things we were looking for there. It’s bizarre to walk through a place like Sam’s and see no toilet paper, paper towels, only a few boxes of Kleenex, no flour, frozen food coolers wiped out… Kroger wasn’t a lot better. They didn’t have most of the non-dariy things we needed for Conner so we also went to Walmart and had better luck there (still no flour, though! Or toilet paper!) As we were walking along seeing all the empty shelves, Bree said, “I don’t like this. It makes me anxious.” I did my best to reassure her that we’re going to be fine. We’re lucky in that we have plenty of food in the freezer and pantry. We have chickens so we’ll always have eggs at the very least! We did find almost everything we needed this week. This will eventually blow over. The food and toilet paper situation would blow over a lot faster if people would stop panic buying and hoarding, but that’s also another story.
It was strangely quiet in the stores the last two times I’ve been. There were the usual noises of cash registers beeping, sure, but the people shopping were subdued and quiet. The atmosphere felt heavy, for lack of a better word. It was draining to my empath self to be out in that cloud of fear and anxiety. I feel mentally exhausted by the time I get home and am not good for much till the next day usually. I bought The Empath’s Survival Guide upon the recommendation of my Naturopath. I should actually read it. I’m sure there are hints in there that would help at times like these.
Not that any of us have ever really experienced times like these. 9/11 maybe comes closest, but it’s still different. That was a huge, massive, swift and unbelievable tragedy - not this slow creeping dread and oppression that Covid-19 is bringing us. It really does feel like we’re living in the prequel to some dystopian novel. This is the part of the story that you don’t get to see before it picks up with the amazing, defiant teenagers who save the world. Or something.
I have been using this time for good things, though. I finally finished the course I bought two years ago on Audibook reading and producing. I got my recording setup put together and have some samples uploaded to ACX and have started auditioning for books. I’m spending lots of time outside - Bree and I both are - gardening and messing with the chickens. We’re working on getting Conner out of the house and away from the X-Box more, too. They are still doing school work. Their school went straight to an online learning system without missing a beat, so they won’t miss any work and should be able to finish school on time. The dogs and cats are THRILLED that we’re home all the time. And I’m glad I had already set myself on a path to being home more, because this is what I love. I do not love leaving the house every morning and being gone all day and only having a little time in the evenings and on weekends that invariably end up being rushed. I love working from home - with Lilla Rose and now audiobooks. I can do Teletherapy so I can still also do SLP work at home. I have something else in the works, but it’s not ready to be talked about yet. Come back in a couple of months for more news there.
So here we are in the midst of this global pandemic/crisis/thing that is, I think, worse than any of us really thought it would be. But… we’re so used to things being hyped way up beyond what they need to be that we never know what to believe now. We will muddle through and we’ll make it to the other side one way or another. Things are uncertain and it’s scary, but all we can do is make the best of things. I do love seeing how some people are taking this time to reconnect with their families, to learn, to grow.
If you’ve ever read the book Pollyanna or watched the movie, you know she had a little thing her father taught her called “The Glad Game” in which one was to try to find something to be glad about in every situation. When she’s explaining the game to others she says, "“And most generally there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.” And “You see, when you’re hunting for the glad things, you sort of forget the other kind—like.” In this type of situation we find ourselves in right now, it’d be so easy to be like Mrs. Snow and Aunt Polly and be grumpy and miserable all the time because… as Pollyanna also says, "“When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good—you will get that….” - so let’s look for the good. It’s spring. The sun is shining more than it’s raining for the first time this year. Flowers are blooming. And we have been given the gift of time. Find the good. Be GLAD. Do more than just exist and breathe… LIVE. If you need help finding your inner Pollyanna, come on over and see us in The OpalTurtle. We'll help you out!