Where do I even begin? When does this end? I haven’t fully processed what has happened so suddenly in the last few weeks when the world got turned upside down.
I admit that when this all started to snowball, I was rolling my eyes a lot. I thought, “It’s not that serious. People are just freaking out.” I wanted to be an ostrich with its head in the sand — in denial or delusional. But eventually I realized that what I thought about how it was happening was irrelevant. It was happening. Period.
In a few short weeks, I went from having total freedom to being locked down. From health certainty to worrying that someone I know will get sick. From job security to contingency planning if I lose my job. From birthday and summer trips to no trips in the near future. It’s hard to comprehend how we got here.
But here we are. All I want is for things to go back to normal. How do I cope with the uncertainty? How do I acknowledge my anxiety but not dwell in it? I can’t let it get the better of me now. Even in these uncharted circumstances, I can find the silver linings and lessons that bring me comfort:
- I am grateful. First and foremost, I am blessed that I am healthy and that none of my family or friends have gotten sick. I am grateful that so far I still have my job and that I get a full paycheck this week. I am thankful that I have a roof to shelter me and a stocked kitchen. Not everyone can say this. The things we take for granted are often the things we should be the most thankful for. We must focus on the good things and ask ourselves every day – what am I grateful for today?
- My goal has been to work from home. When I returned from my travels, my new dream job scenario became working from home. Because then, I figured, I could continue traveling and spending time with friends and family while still earning an income. Well guess what? I’m doing it! Not exactly how I thought it would be, but nothing ever is, right?
- I got to spend quality time with my nephew! I came to Atlanta to shelter in place with my sister and her family for two weeks. I’ve gotten to take care of him, play with him, read to him, go out on walks with him, and spend time that I never would’ve had under normal circumstances. When I make him laugh I feel like the funniest person alive. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything!
- Control is an illusion. Nothing in this situation or in this life is under our control. Nothing. The sooner we learn this, the sooner we can accept what life throws at us. Coronavirus shattered the illusion our carefully curated, planned, “normal” lives. We are collectively freaking out, but it’s an important realization. Hopefully when we come out of this we will have learned to let go of things more easily.
- This too shall pass. We don’t know when. We don’t know how. But it will. Hope is having faith that things will get better, good things will come; that there is light at the end of the tunnel; that although we suffer now, we will rise one day. I have to keep reminding myself of this.
“All things are passing. God never changes.” -Prayer of St. Teresa
Despair – hopelessness – makes you drown. Hope keeps you afloat. I don’t say that to be cheesy or a Polyanna, but would you rather get dragged down by all of this or cling to whatever keeps your head above water?
Because it turns out there is one thing you can control: your choices. No matter what storm is raging around me, I can choose to be grateful every day. I can choose to let go of the things that I can’t control, that in the end don’t really matter. I can choose to see the silver linings all around.
I choose to have hope.