I am adding a preface to this post. I wrote this blog post last week and did not have time to upload it. In the ensuing time, our county has begun to open. Yesterday when we drove out of the canyon, the hiking trails around the river had reopened. There were people everywhere. And for the first time, I began to trust that we would soon be on the other end of this virus. We might take a few steps backward in our attempt to move forward, but in the end, we will prevail. And that knowledge has lifted my spirits. I still wanted to share my post though for all those who are still waiting for changes.
This may not read like most of my posts. It’s a bit dark, but it’s an honest account of how I’m feeling. And it’s my way of making my way back. I am sharing it for anyone who might see themselves in my words.
When COVID-19 first began, while I was afraid and upset, at the same time, I welcomed the unexpected downtime. I would actually have time for all those to-dos on my list. After years of running at maximum speed, my list was long. I would be able to select a project and choose any day of the week to get it done. And as soon as that task was completed, I would start another one. I saw no end in sight. I would work in the yard. I would write my blog and work on the book. I would clean out closets. I would hike and do yoga. I would catch up with old friends. As a friend suggested, I could make a list of all my accomplishments during this time so that I would remember all the positive that had occurred.
At first, I felt such relief for the gift of time. And I started out very productive. But as the days became weeks and the weeks became months, the less I got done. My world reduced in size by the day, and so did my ambition. At this point, it can take me three days to text a friend. And I have nothing to do. I have no reason whatsoever that I can’t take a moment to send a text.
Or do I? Could it be that sorrow and fear have taken the place of my happiness, which fuels my energy? I miss my loved ones. The constant stats and death tolls, sad stories from friends, worries at work, the masks at every turn, the empty shelves, the loss of jobs, the what ifs that there are no answers for, have taken their toll on my spirit. Every day I think of yet another person that I wonder about… how are they doing? (Do I send a text? Not lately. I did in the beginning.)
It seems there’s no limit to the number of people one can worry about. Kind of like there’s no limit to the love in our hearts. We always have an endless supply of love.
But my worrying bucket is full. And when I hear yet another sad story, I physically feel as though I can’t fit one more tragic story into my heart. Then I take a deep breath and realize there is still room for more. Yoga has taught me that the breath is magical in terms of moving into a new position or pose that you doubt you can do.
It’s time to practice nothing more than my breathing going forward. I will work backward, and instead of thinking about tackling massive projects with my free time, I will dust my desk. I’ll get that text sent, reminding others that I am still here and love them. I will allow myself to cry each day if I need to. I have much to be sad about. I’m pretty sure once I allow my tears, I will be reminded of all the things I have to be grateful for. Right now, they are blurred with far too much on my plate.
I will count on Rick to throw me down a line so that I can climb out of this hole I have created. At the beginning of COVID, it felt sort of protective and safe. But at this point, it’s lonely and dark down there.
It’s time to embrace life again, COVID or no COVID, cure, or no cure. I can still be careful, but a life lived in fear is not living.
If someone told me today that I had one week left on earth, how different I would feel! I’d embrace every single thing I loved with a fire in my heart. COVID has robbed me of that passion. It’s time to reclaim my joy.