On March 15th, my husband and I were due to leave for a two-week trip to South Africa, a first for us, and something we had in the works for over a year. In the weeks approaching our departure, we watched as China then Italy and then parts of the U.S. began to restrict border activity.
What began as an adventure of a lifetime was becoming very disconcerting.
We made the decision to cancel the trip two hours before we were to leave for the airport. Thankfully we did cancel, as today South Africa is in lock-down. Once the decision was made, a weight of stress that I didn’t realize I was carrying lifted off my shoulders. It was as if we had just come to the bottom of a roller coaster hill. The excitement of the ride began again as we made a quick decision to fly to Florida for some beach time – we were packed and ready for a vacation, had our masks and wipes at the ready – why not? An inexpensive plane trip and a few hours later we were sitting on a warm sunny beach. Ahhh….finally…vacation.
And then a new hill to climb…
The next day, the state of Maryland, where we live, closed all non-essential businesses. Worry began to creep back in…this is frivolous…we should call the kids and tell them to go stock up on groceries….we should probably…go home.
Home felt right and within 48 hours we were back with our college-age kids hunkered down with house projects, puzzles and laptops.
A new normal fell into place with virtual learning and working happening in four rooms of the house. But what about my 83 year-old dad in quarantine, the kids’ lost college room and board dollars and the stuff left behind in their college rooms? Will anyone attend the virtual classes I plan to teach? Will my husband’s job which is tied to the universities be affected? And ohh, the stock market!
Each time I watch the news the roller coaster of emotions begins again.
I’m usually fairly even-keeled, but for some reason the unpredictability of this situation has taken me for a ride. And yet, here are the awesome parts….the parts I try to focus on:
- Our kids are home and I really like them – they’re fun to hang out with and I’m enjoying hearing their voices regularly.
- The “to-dos” are getting done: windows washed, replaced doors, painting done, curtains made.
- We’ve puzzled and puzzled — something that usually only happens on vacation.
- I’m catching up with family, friends and neighbors more regularly.
- I’m spending heaps of time in the yard gardening and taking long walks.
- I’m cooking real meals again – a task that fell away when the kids went to school.
- I’m exploring the virtual world of yoga – trying something new.
It feels a bit like the 70’s and 80’s are back – slower pace, more time at home with the family, no eating out, bike rides and walks.
While the challenges and worries of the Covid-19 pandemic are enormous and the financial impact huge, I’m trying to stay focused on the nice moments, the quiet moments, the reduction of our carbon footprint, learning to re-frame and rethink how we live and work.
I hope you too are finding some awesome on your roller coaster ride.