March 2020 will be the month that changed the world as we knew it. It could be compared to Pearl Harbor, Kennedy’s Assassination, or the 9/11 of previous generations. The difference though, is those were all ONE day. A tragedy happened, the world came to a stop, a period of grieving followed, and life continued.
However, while I’m writing this COVID19 is still in full swing. In fact, this is my eighth full week of quarantine. TWO MONTHS. My world, like yours, has become almost unrecognizable. For me, that means days spent in pajamas, waking up and having to take a second to remember what day it is, eating way too many quarantine snacks, and spending hours online refreshing my browser to see if I can nab a spot for my grocery delivery. (Which when I do, currently feels like hitting the lottery – only better.)
For others, their days feel like walking into a war zone. Those in the medical field are coming home with indents on their checks from their N95 mask (if they are lucky enough to have one), earlobes raw, emotionally spent and physically tired. Some have temporarily separated from their families for fear of infecting them. Missing their spouses and children as they battle on the front lines in a war they never enlisted for.
Everyone seems to have a different reality of stress to face.
- The “baby boomer” trying to figure out how to work remotely with technology they have never used before.
- The newly appointed “homeschooling” parent whose kid knows mom and dad have no idea what this new age math is and pushes every boundary possible.
- The teacher getting constant emails from the frustrated parent who’s left in tears.
- The person who is “non-essential” and now is worried how they will cover their bills.
- The worker who is “essential” and is worried about going to work every day
- The family with high risk members or worse …ones that are in the hospital already.
A whole country having to develop a muscle they may have never used before…the resiliency muscle. The muscle that helps us bounce back from adversity. The muscle we use to stay mentally stay tough when we want to throw up our hands and cry. The muscle that pushes us to hang in there when everything feels completely out of control.
If this is the first time you’ve had to exercise this muscle, I feel for you. I really do. See mine is strong. I’ve had to use it a lot over my life. (and I’m secretly jealous that maybe you haven’t). Maybe you’ve never had your life feel like it’s changed overnight or had the carpet ripped right out from under you. Maybe this is the first time your life feels like it changed overnight and you woke up in a new life – one in isolation. Maybe you are left wondering, “what they heck just happened?” and when will be things be “normal” again.
I’ve had to use this muscle twice in my life. Once going through a domestic violence divorce and once when my 3-year-old daughter was diagnosed with high risk stage 4 childhood cancer. Both of those events threw me into a world I didn’t want to be in, didn’t choose to be in, and had no control over.
So waking up in March and finding out my daughter (who is now 13 and a survivor/miracle kid/bravest/strongest person I’ve ever met) is now home indefinitely, my business needs to switch to 100% virtual, and every event (including a spring break trip to California) is canceled…well those feelings of helplessness, frustration, fear and a little bit of shock thrown in flooded right back.
Gratefully for me it was a bit different this time. When you’ve hit rock bottom before– and rebounded – you know you can do it again. I know, no matter what COVID19 throws at me, I’ll pull through.
I’ve realized though, not everyone knows this about themselves. It turns out, that resiliency muscle I developed years ago is serving me very well in quarantine. But those of you who haven’t had to exercise it yet…well this is your crash course. My hope is that over the next few days as I share what I learned then…that is serving me NOW… you will feel powerful, in control and equipped to not just survive quarantine but to thrive in it (I know total cliché but you get my point).
So hang on – because we are going into the cave…the quarantine cave. It will be up to us how we will emerge, even if we can’t choose when we will emerge. After all, as my mom always said to me growing up, “this too will pass.”
(Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next post!)