Life In The Slow Lane

I dunno. Consider me paranoid. Caution me that I shouldn’t allow fear to dictate my life. Share with me that scholarly op-ed penned by a highly educated person who isn’t a virologist or immunologist. Remind me, again, how it’s “no worse than the flu.” Explain to me how the economy matters more than human lives. Pile on the pressure by expressing to me your frustration toward not being able to socialize with your friends or go to happy hour or whatever activity it is you’re sorely missing. It’s okay. I hear you. I see you. I empathize. I get it. You gotta do you and, by all means, do you, but please, understand if I opt out of the camaraderie as I seem to lack the wherewithal to engage.

It’s not you. It’s me.

I’ve been toggling back and forth emotionally. I couldn’t quite identify some of the feelings I was having and then it occurred to me. What I’ve been experiencing is grief– all seven stages of it. Shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance; yeah, I feel them alright, not necessarily in that order, and rarely simultaneously, but occasionally, I might experience all of them, randomly, throughout the course of any given day. I’m not wallowing in this grief, mind you, but rather, I’m acknowledging it, allowing myself to feel the feels, and then letting them go.

There is no one “right” way or “wrong” way to feel at this time. We’re all experiencing this unprecedented moment collectively, yet differently; depending on our individual circumstances.

. . .

Some time ago, I learned that with gratitude comes healing.

Gratitude contains a heightened and amazed realization of how much goodness is marbled into our strange and sometimes hard, annoying lives.” -Anne Lamott

Here’s something for which I’m utterly grateful: I’m not quarantining in isolation, as many of my friends and loved ones are. Not only do I peacefully co-exist with my kid, I have the added benefit of communing with my neighbors on an almost daily basis. We barter. We borrow. We connect. We love on each others pets. We wave at each other through open windows and doors. We partake in spontaneous front lawn social distancing happy hours and mid-afternoon repartee. How I love our little community. Still, there are occasions when even this low key, no pressure socializing feels daunting and overwhelming.

There are definitely days when I don’t open my door.

I tend to live in my head, so it’s no surprise to me that I eventually began wondering what it was I was doing before this virus upended everybody’s life. I mean, sure, I was having fun. Totally. Life was good, absolutely; however it’s apparent to me now that just because I was doing and going didn’t mean I was living– you know,in that Henry David Thoreau sucking- the-marrow-out-of-life kinda living. What I was doing was spending time and, honestly, it wasn’t always quality. I often felt depleted rather than energized. And I procrastinated. A lot. I squandered much of my time doing things my heart wasn’t really invested in.

Alas. It’s time I’ll never get back.

It’s understandable that after infinite weeks of having to stay home, lots of people are chomping at the bit to get back to business as usual and return to life as we knew it before; and I sincerely hope everyone will soon be able to go back to doing whatever brought them happiness and joy. I gotta admit, though, I’m in no rush to get back at it. What I see, so clearly, is an opportunity to reboot, realign, and re-imagine my life.

I’ve got time now and I’d like to take advantage of it for as long as I can.


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