choice, coping, covid19, divorce, Quarantine, Uncategorized

Fear, Choice and Death

Ever have somebody want to kill you? I mean actually plan and plot and tell your daughter how they were going to do it?  Someone who made it their mission to destroy you. Now imagine walking around every day knowing that there was someone out there who’s sole desire was to kill you.  

I remember they day I made the choice.  I had spent months walking around in fear of my soon-to-be-ex husband. Constantly looking over my shoulder. Unable to sleep because of every creak and squeak in the dark.  And one day I decided to stop.  I decided I had already given eight years of my life to someone who didn’t deserve them.  I wasn’t going to give one more day.  I understood the reality. “Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the two weeks after leaving than at any other time during the relationship,” the Domestic Violence Intervention Program reports. I was taking a risk by leaving. I was taking a bigger risk by staying.  I was tired of being afraid. Tired of giving control to someone who had been controlling me for 8 years. I wanted my control back. And that day I took it.  If I was going to die, I was going to die without giving  him one more day, one more minute, or one more second of my life. I choose to let go of fear and trust my fate.

I never looked back.

Twelve years later I realize what a defining moment that was for me and how it would affect my life and my choices forever.

This morning I woke up to a headline that read, “US Reported More than 10,000 Covid-19 Deaths in Four Days.”  Crap, that’s a lot of people.  That sounds scary. So, I ran the numbers.

  • 14,400,000 have had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis
  • 279,000 have died
  • .019 % of people diagnosed have died
  • We have 331,000,000 million people in America
  • Only .043 % of the population has had COVID-19

Ok Tara, back into your rational brain.  Take a deep breath and repeat, “I will not be afraid.”

I know that’s easy to say when I’m not a nurse or doctor overworked, exhausted and surrounded by death. I know that’s easy to say when I’m not one of the 279,000 families that are celebrating Christmas this year without someone they love. I know that’s easy to say when I’m not over 65 and that stat doesn’t apply to me.

My mom and I argue on this. She’s afraid to leave the house. I get it, she’s 74.   So far she’s missed all 3 grandkids birthdays, Mother’s day, her birthday, my birthday, my brother’s birthday, our Annual 4th of July BBQ, a trip to Cali to see my brother, Halloween with her grandkids, her annual Vermont trip, and Thanksgiving. Well not completely missed, if you count the occasional outdoor social distancing visit where we have sat 20 feet part and passed cake through an elaborate system of who touched it last.

I’m hearing about nursing homes that are in full shut down mode. We have a close family friend in one. I asked my mom if I could send her an Advent gift. Her year has been even harder than my mom’s because she doesn’t get to do backyard 20 feet apart distancing dates.  I figured an Advent calendar that gave her a fun gift to open might give her something to look forward to each day. My mom said no packages are allowed in. Apparently, I have more access to a local inmate than my grandma-by-choice.

I try to think how I would feel if situations were reversed. If that was me. I wonder if I was at an age where I might already be celebrating my last holidays, what would I want to do?  It leads to me to the ultimate question: is life about living or about being alive?  I mean, what’s the point of being alive if I’m living in a paid Medicare version of jail?

I’m reminded that fear is unbiblical. (Isaiah  41:10, Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9, Philippians 4:6-7, just for starters)

Common sense is biblical.  God says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV 2 Timothy 1:7) and a personal favorite when I feel my thoughts running wild.

So where is the line?  I mean, even after I decided I wouldn’t let fear of my ex rule my life, I was still cautious. I kept my alarm system on.  Parked in my garage so no one knew I was home. Stayed off posting where I was on social media (something to this day I am still aware of, and will often post only after I leave a location) and that’s just for starters. I didn’t just say, “Well I’m not afraid and so I’ll walk down the train tracks with the train coming!” (Back to that whole “sound mind” thing.)

I still don’t want to eat inside a restaurant and my daughter thinks it’s crazy.

I admit, I still wash all my groceries which I also know the “experts” are saying we really don’t have to do anymore, but for some reason it makes me feel better thinking of all those people who touch my  food.

Neckgators make me nervous because they are COVID sieves and might be the equivalent of wearing nothing.  Like everything concerning COVID-19, the data on this changes weekly.

And I may or may not be the person who complained at Physical Therapy because no one was properly wearing a mask, including the receptionist who took her’s off completely to walk around prompting everyone else to think it was fine to do the same. And I may or may not now book my appointments at the end of the day so I am usually the only one there and the receptionist who was reprimanded after my complaining is gone for the day. (I have been warned by caring friends…if she ever offers me a coffee I should politely decline.)

With all of this though, I know that I won’t see my mom.  God forbid I am the one who unknowingly gives her COVID and she dies. My sister would never, and I mean never, forgive me.  Openly, I think my mom has a high likelihood of dying from COIVD. Not because of her age or because she has zero underlying health conditions and is probably healthier than I am, but simply because she believes it will kill her.  What we believe is powerful.  What we fear is more powerful. ( Job 3:25) And science proves to us fear destroys the immune system. So yeah, I’m not gonna be the one who kills off mom.

But it still hurts my heart.  Not just for my mom but for our country.

I think of the long-term financial devastation for small business owners. Restaurants that are closing, families that are behind on their mortgage, rent payments and utility payments.

I think of the child who just shot himself on a live zoom class during virtual school.  I guess school shootings still happen even if you’re remote.

I think of the vendors who rely on the holiday selling season for their craft shows which have been canceled. Those people who lost their income to Amazon and Cyber Monday.

I think of all the nonprofits who rely on 5K’s and in person Gala’s to raise money for very important causes in our country, ones that affect more than .019%.

I think it’ll be a few years before we see the mass financial devastation our choices have caused.

And I wonder if it’s worth it for .019%?

I know it’s worth it to the almost 300,000 families who lost family members. It matters to them.

But it also matters to the families of the 10,000 children that die every day from starvation. (Everyday. That’s 40,000 in four days.) Nobody has invested $9 billion dollars in the last eight months to change that. But, I guess that’s because the majority of those children we don’t know and they’re a different color.

I guess it matters of the families of the of the 261 alcoholics that die every day.  But on election night, “Where is the nearest liquor store” was the number one searched  Google term.

I bet it matters to the 97,966 business owners and all their employees who (as of Sept 2020) have permanently closed their businesses. An according to Kevin Kuhlman, VP of the National Federation of Independent Business,  “If economic trends continue at this rate, one in five business owner anticipates they won’t be able to make it until the end of the year.”  That’s a lot of employees out of work and a lot of money relocated to a handful of large corporations as consumers take their shopping elsewhere.

I think the biggest thing this virus should cause us to do is stop and think. Think about our choices, the way we go through life, the way we treat other people and just what we prioritize.

Just like my ex-husband, I don’t know if COVID will take my life, but I do know that it won’t take my peace. I do know I won’t let it control me with fear. Regardless if I live or die, I will not be afraid.

The choice is ours.  

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Children, Uncategorized

Safety First. The Quiet Death of a Generation.

I just watched a news segment on back to school in New York. A reporter asked a young child who was headed back on his first day, “What’s the most important thing you were told about going back to school?”

His answer?

“Be safe.”

My heart hurts. I expected, “Have fun!” or a least, “Make new friends!” I’d have even been happy with, “Learn a lot!”

But, “Be safe” ?!??

I want to cry. What are we doing?!??! What are we teaching our children? How will life be different for a child who grows up with safety as their first concern? Will a child who is always afraid ever be brave enough to take a risk? Step out of their comfort zone? Think outside the box? (Where, oh no! It might not be “safe.”)

We know that in order to be innovative, to step up as a leader, or even to just truly excel in life, we need to be willing to take risks.  We need to be willing to step out of our comfort zone and be uncomfortable.  To weigh safety against achievement. Are we unknowingly raising a generation of  people who will seek comfort and safety before success? Can we ever really go through life and thrive if we are constantly consumed with our physical safety?

What if those who ventured onto the Mayflower first stopped to ask, “Is this safe?”  Or what if the pioneers who migrated out west in search of gold first stopped to think, “Is this a safe choice?”  Did Neil Armstrong hesitate and say, “Wait guys…I’m not sure the moon looks all that safe.” I can’t imagine very many people would ever achieve or even do much, if safety was always the constant concern.  (I mean, most of us would never get into a car or step on a plane and certainly never dare enough to climb up Mount Everest.)  

Do you know what I’m scared of? An entire generation of people who will never experience the thrill of victory, who will never realize what they could accomplish or achieve if they would just be willing to take a risk. Because we conditioned them from childhood to …  be safe.

Now, I’m not minimizing the reality of COIVD19. I talk with my daughter about wearing her mask, washing her hands, and bringing sanitizer with her to the point she’s rolling her eyes at me on a regular basis. One of my best friends, who has probably been the most proactive throughout this whole Covid experience quarantining herself for over 21 weeks, was recently was diagnosed. (Which only affirmed to Emily that no matter what you do, you might still get Covid so you might just as well go live life with abandonment, which openly really wasn’t the message I was hoping she’d get).  So yes, with school starting, I’m definitely concerned for her safety. Our current argument is what will be an “acceptable mask” to wear to school. One that is socially acceptable (think Gap or Target) or one that mom deems medically acceptable. (Think N95, Cambridge or Vlog)

But, here’s the stark cold reality.  I’ve always been concerned for her safety.  From drop offs with her violent and abusive dad, which were ordered by the court against my frantic pleas, and continued until she was finally hurt and then given a life time restraining order, to nights sleeping next to her in her hospital bed listening to the beep beep of her vitals while cancer was trying it’s best to kill her (it lost and she won). I think about her going to college and college parties and my stomach does these funny flip flops. I think about her driving a car and drunk driver’s and then I’m the one ready to puke.  I mean the first time she went to sleep away camp I thought I was going to have a full blown nervous breakdown after the second night.  (Was she OK? Was she crying herself to sleep? Did she have sunburn? Did she tell them she wanted to go home and they just weren’t telling me? My baby needs me and someone help me break into camp and rescue her!!!!”)

Yet, I have to acknowledge that those are my fears and my job as her mom is to prepare her for life.  To encourage her to be responsible, make wise choices, and pursue life with a courageous heart in order to go boldly after her dreams. I hope that I will have given her a secure foundation of belief, confidence, and courage to live life in a way that when she’s old and gray herself, she will not be filled with regrets simply because she played it safe.

Yes, she will get hurt along the way. As much as I want to protect her from every pain, tear and heartache I can’t. I can only be there to hold her hand and remind her I’m always on “Team Emily,” God loves her even more than I do, and she is stronger than she thinks.

So, I will sanitize her up, put a mask on her face, and send her to school…and my message will be this …”Em just remember….have fun!


Freedom, Power, and 4th of July Wearing a Mask

face mask

I believe people are more alike than different. In the end we all desire the same things. Safety, opportunity, freedom and respect to name a few. I think it’s written down somewhere actually. Something like, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Words we celebrate this 4th of July weekend.

Words from our sacred Declaration of Independence. A sacredness that goes beyond hot dogs, hamburgers, fireworks and two hours of beach traffic. Words that are interesting and intriguing document to me. Not just because it founded the country I have been born and raised in and took my 8th grade trip to Washington, DC to learn about. But words that remind me we are more similar than different.  That these are “unalienable rights.” Rights that are given to us by our creator and which governments are created in order to protect.

How exactly to preserve these “unalienable rights” seems to be where the division lies.  See Jefferson’s first draft didn’t say, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” He actually wrote, “the preservation of life.” Later, after multiple edits, it was shorted to just say “life.” So, does it mean that our government can then force us to wear a mask to “preserve our life” or does that interference then step on the second enable right of “liberty”? Or, maybe it steps on the third one because wearing a mask sure doesn’t make me happy. (And openly makes me wonder how Muslim women wear burkas when taking off my mask offers more sweet relief then taking off my bra.)

Now more interestingly it was Richard Cumberland (a 17th philosopher) who said that in order for us to be able to enjoy our third “unalienable right” (pursing happiness), it was essential to “promote the well- being of our fellow humans” (Wikipedia quote not his).  This idea actually permeates most cultures and goes by a phrase I was taught as a young child: The Golden Rule. We say it so often we forget the deep intention and power behind it.  First, it’s the Golden one. Like the Golden Child, or the Golden Calf, it is special, unique and the one that stands above all others.  It’s not just on a list of rules. It’s the rule. The rule that stands above all others.  Like gold itself, it is precious, valuable, and worth more than the silver or bronze rules. If you only follow one rule, you follow The Golden One.

It makes me stop and think, “treat others the way I would want to be treated.” Do I always follow that rule? Just yesterday morning I can think of almost five people I drove pass waiting to cross the busy one road that  spans the beach by me. One way in and one way out. With everyone currently home, nothing opened, and nothing else to do, it was crammed so tightly with people that my 18 minute drive to and from yoga took almost an hour. I admit that even though I’ve mellowed out as I’ve gotten older, I was quick to drive right by those patiently waiting to cross the street because I was agitated, feeling claustrophobic and just wanted to get out of there. Not very golden rule like.

I also have a message sitting in my phone from yesterday. It’s a person who is attempting to do a “follow up call” with me. (I’m sure to sell me something.)  I haven’t returned the call. I hate high pressure sales or people who are trained to just ask leading questions to get a yes. (I say this as someone who has taught sales for 20 years).   Being in sales myself, I should be even more quick to return this call and yet the golden rule is no where to be found as that message still sits there. (If this was 1995 there would be a sad red light flashing on my answering machine.)

So, as I get ready to celebrate my freedom this weekend I have to stop and recognize that the golden rule means more here in the USA than probably any place else in the world.  Because here in America I am given my unalienable rights. And with those rights comes great responsibility. Responsibility to follow the golden rule in order to continue to enjoy those rights.

In 1817 William Lamb (a member of the British parliament) was recorded saying, “The possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility.” (If you don’t know who William Lamb was then you might recognize the abbreviated version from the Spider Man comic book series.)  Freedom is great power.  It’s power over ourselves. Power over our lives. Power over our choices. In a land where freedom is woven into our DNA I don’t think of freedom as power. It’s only when I stop, slow down and think about it that #1 I hear Mel Gibson screaming, “Freedom!” and #2 I understand the connection between my freedom and my power. 

Simply by acknowledging the power (freedom) I have because I was born in the USA, I begin to acknowledge that with that birthright came great responsibility.  More responsibility then those born in totalitarian or communist countries. More responsibility then maybe I deserve.  It’s my choice how I choose to use my power.  Do I use it to metaphorically give my finger to my neighbor? (“Hey look at me exercising my freedom and not wearing a mask because I am FREE! Free I tell you!”) Or do I use to say “Hey I’m not 100% sold that this whole mask wearing thing is actually effective and might be total propaganda but in the slim chance it will make a difference I’m willing to put it on because I might not be high risk but you might be and I’m following that whole Golden rule thing.”  (*Now if someone believes they are physically endangering their own health by wearing a mask, I would encourage you to have a heart to heart conversation with a mom who’s kid went through a bone marrow transplant and had to wear a rock hard mask for 100 straight like Em did at four years old, and then we can revisit that conversation).

It hurts my heart that a mask in our country has replaced the Elephant and the Donkey as our political emblem.  I tend to run conservative. (Unless it’s about victims’ rights or universal health care but that’s a whole other blog).  So I don’t wear a mask because it makes me a snowflake or a sheep. I wear a mask because I understand I was born into a country with great freedom. I understand that freedom came with great responsibility, great power, and my power gives me choices. I choose to follow the Golden Rule. Until N95’s are easily and readily accessible for everyone who wants to exercise their freedom and protect themselves then my choice is to do what I can to help those who can’t protect themselves.

As I am about to celebrate this day of declaring independence, I am deeply pondering my freedom, my power and my choices.  In the end, It’s my conscious I am responsible too. Not my government, not my neighbor, not even my flag.  And for me, because I so value my freedom, I will choose to be responsible with my power, lest one day my freedom is no more.

Happy 4th of July!

*If you like the mask in the photo you can get it on Etsy by LilieMayCo for 14.99

Quarantine, Uncategorized



A simple conversation on financial stress during COVID19 turned into a feature on CNBC!  How cool is that?  It just goes to show you never know where one conversation will lead!

I’ve been sharing with you my current mantra (one of the ways I am coping through quarantine). I wake up and say, “Only good things happen to me. I basically say this all day long anytime I start to feel anxious or stressed. I started back in March when COIVD was causing shutdowns and I wasn’t sure how my business would be affected and if I was going to end up a single mom, unemployed, moving back into my mother’s house because my company was closed and I had no way to work. (Yup that’s the rabbit worry hole my brain went down).  It’s actually one of the coping tools I’ve developed over the years. Go to the worst place…for a minute.

What I’ve discovered, is usually our worst case scenario really isn’t as bad as we imagine it will be.  My worst case is: I lose everything, move in with my mom, and have to rebuild my life post COVID.  Well, I’ve done that before so I know I can do it again. As long as my daughter and I are alive and healthy worst case isn’t really all that bad. Then I can breath again. *Note none of this has happened and my company never shut down so my imaginary rabbit hole never happened.

So after my worst case scenario minute I decided I needed a new mantra. See my grandfather was one of the few people who made money during the Great Depression. In fact, he started investing in the stock market while everyone else was scrambling to get out.  Much of their wealth came from that season.  My family story reminded me during this season the same thing will happen. New businesses and industries will boom (think of Zoom, Instacart, and the toilet paper companies!)  others will struggle and maybe even close.   What I choose to focus on will grow (another lesson from childhood cancer). So I am choosing to focus on only good things happening to me.  And guess what? The crazy thing is….that’s what’s happening!

Someone is going to be the success story that emerges from this season so why not me? (Same mantra I used during childhood cancer…someone’s child is going to live so why not mine?)

I’ve decided in my world (or at least the one in my head) that only good things happen to me. I wake up each day in anticipation of what those good things are. It’s a pretty fun way to start my day.

So yesterday’s “good thing” was waking up to this beautiful video and article by Michelle Fox on CNBC.  I’d say that’s a pretty good thing!

You can catch the full article HERE

I wonder what other “good things” will happen today? I wonder what “good things” can happen for you?  I’d love to hear your quarantine cave mantra and the good things that are still happening in the middle of a global pandemic! So please leave a comment…let’s spread a little (or a lot!) of “good things”….


The Physical Cave

physical cave


Today’s topic is one of the harder ones for me to tackle. Today we’re diving into how we want to emerge from our quarantine cave when it comes to our physical body and health. Straight up I know what to do, that doesn’t mean I actually do it!  We each have strengths, and we each have weaknesses. For me, when I get stressed or I’m at home a lot…I start craving chocolate and I want brownies…this is my weakness.

Recently, my friends from high school and I were doing a “Zoom Happy Hour” (I know many of us are doing this now to feel connected) and I said to them, “Now that we started this, I expect this on a regular basis!” because it was so fun. But I also ate a box of donuts for dinner with a glass of wine.  I thought, “Ok Tara, this cannot continue.”

I keep thinking, as I emerge from this cave what will I look like? Remember, I live at the Jersey Shore.  I picture all of us at home binging on quarantine snacks while the gyms are closed and think….it’s going to be an interesting sight at the beach this summer. Not good.

So, in the midst of taking yet another donut bite, I had an interesting thought. I can use this time to become physically stronger and healthier…. or not. This is my choice and let me tell you, I’m battling with this choice.

It is a choice. I choose what I eat. I choose what I add to my online shopping cart. I can stock up on comfort foods (brownies, cookies, donuts) or I can choose to say,  “You know, this is the season since I’m stuck at home anyway I’m finally going to start cooking.

In my non-quarantined life I would always say, “I don’t have time to cook.” Now that excuse is gone. I have to come face to face with the fact that I can choose to pull out some of those cookbooks I’ve never used and cook healthy food or choose to continue on my sugar binge. Even I can’t fool myself to believe it’s because I don’t have time.

It gets worse.

As I was complaining about my expanding waistline, my blunt-will-tell-it-like-it-is precious daughter said to me, “You know, Mom, you have that treadmill you never use. This would be a good time to use it.”

In full disclosure about a year ago, I had purchased a treadmill in a fantasy moment of “I’ll start walking at home!”  Oh I used it…for maybe….a week? (I’m thinking I’m like most people, right?) It’s still sitting there. So maybe there’s some old exercise equipment that needs some dusting off during this quarantine time.

Always wanted to do yoga but could never afford it?  I’ve seen a lot of our local yoga studios start pay-what-you-can virtual yoga classes. (Damn another excuse gone.)  Maybe you’ve always been intimidated to go to a yoga class in person, and this gives you an opportunity to join in virtually from your home. You don’t even need to have a fancy yoga mat.  Just a carpet or towel and you’re ready to go.

I have a friend who’s offering virtual Zumba classes and I thought, “Oh, how cool is that!” Plus there’s a gazillion YouTube or on demand videos available to take a virtual exercise classes.

Then there’s meditation.  I mean, I know our physical health is interconnected with our mental health. And I  know I always feel 100x better after I mediate, but do I do it as much as I want to? Nope. Why? Because I don’t have time of course! (Isn’t that our go-to excuse for almost everything?) Well now we do. It’s the perfect season to create a mediation habit. To take time every day to meditate, pray, get centered, and to become really aware of our energy and our anxiety. There’s a lot of really great meditation apps out there and some are even free!  Maybe now’s the season, in the cave, we really commit to a mediation practice. (Here’s a a few of my favorite apps: Headspace, Insight Timer, Relax, Oprah & Deepak)

Another way we can invest in our physical bodies is learning about nutrition. For me, I grew up with a mom who I jokingly call a “recovering hippie.” From the time I was little, I knew words like “BHT” and “nitrates.” I wasn’t allowed to eat white bread or drink soda. Ironically, since I had all that information, I was on the mom who literally pureed all of my daughter’s baby food…organic…every week….by hand. Imagine my surprise when she was diagnosed with cancer. I was left thinking, “Are you kidding me? This kid’s never had a piece of sugar in her life!

When it comes to nutrition I might have a lot of education, (Thanks Mom!) but I am shocked how many people simply don’t.  They don’t know about processed meats and the direct correlation between nitrates and cancer. They don’t know about the dangers of diet soda or what sugar does to the body. (However, sometimes ignorance truly is bliss. I mean I know what it does and yet I eat it anyway in a very, “Do what I say, not what I do” sort of way.)

So maybe, in the cave, you choose to become educated. There’s so many amazing documentaries out there to watch, books to read, and courses to take. You can even rent free books online from your local library without ever needing to leave your home! During this season many places are offering free books, free courses, free learning. Maybe you take a nutrition course or try Whole 30. Maybe you choose to say, “Hey, this is the season. I’m here. This is the time. Let me do this!”  Just imagine all those new healthy habits we can develop now that will last even after we emerge from our quarantine cave.

With technology at our fingertips there a lot of great apps that we can use to support developing new healthier habits. (Personal disclaimer, I’m not affiliated with these apps I’m just sharing ones I know or have used).

One of my besties started using an app called Noom and has had really great results.

I have used the Fitness Pal app to track my food and macros so I can really see what I am eating every day.

I’ve also heard that if you want to change your eating habits, one of the easiest ways to do it, is to literally take a picture of everything you eat throughout the day and look through them each night. The idea being, that when we are hit with a BAM -in-your-face visual of what we are really eating it’s a wakeup call moment. I’ve heard its’s super effective but openly I have never tried it because I think it would horrify me!

Even little healthy habits like drinking enough water is one we can choose to develop in the cave. Just the other day I was snuggling with my dog and I looked down at my arm and it was all dry and flaky! I though, “Oh my gosh, I must be really dehydrated. I’m drinking a lot of coffee and I’m not drinking enough water!Since we’re home and close to the bathroom maybe now is the time to up our water intake (because when water goes in it has to come out!) Maybe now is as good a time as ever to our bodies adjusted.

It’s our choice how we will look when we step out of the quarantine cave. Remember, hibernation is the active passing. It’s not just sitting there and letting this season pass, but it’s who we choose to become during this time, and what are we actively doing during this season. The best part? I believe any healthy habits we choose to create now will last long after this season is over! Won’t that be great?

Some questions to ask ourselves:

  • On a scale of 1-10 how satisfied am I with my current health & fitness?
  • What would make the biggest difference in this number? Changing my eating habits? Exercising more? Learning about nutrition?
  • What’s one thing I can do this week to increase my health & fitness level?
  • How do I want my body to look and feel when I leave the Quarantine Cave? Why is this important to me?
  • Is this a wish or will I make this happen?


I always love your feedback so please leave a comment and make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next post…#3 the Spiritual Cave…

As always thanks for being part of my community 🙂


The Quarantine Cave


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 themselvesIt 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.”



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