It has been more than a month since most of us were ordered to stay-in-place. Almost all states have this order in effect until the end of April, although a few states are beginning to reopen. Even in those states, things will not return to “normal” for who knows how long. Restaurants and bars are the businesses most in danger of staying shuttered-in-place for the foreseeable future. Some of those will not reopen, unable to withstand the loss of income. Our economy has been damaged beyond our imagination. In all of those businesses are people who are now trying to live on unemployment, or worse. We have become well aware of just how vulnerable we all are.
The unknown continues to be one of the most difficult aspects of this unbelievable experience. We wait for the gentle reopening of our economy which, will be done on a state by state basis. We are unable to plan for even our immediate future. Our long-planned family vacation to Hilton Head at the end of May is one example. Another example is our three granddaughters’ camp experience in the North Carolina mountains at the end of June that has been scheduled for almost a year. While neither of these is essential, we have been looking forward to both and will be disappointed if they have to be cancelled. But neither is essential. We know the difference. It is not knowing how to plan, and not just for these, that becomes increasingly more difficult.
So, where does this leave us? What are we to do? What should we do? At this time when we are unable to plan for even our immediate future, we are left with only one option. We have no choice but to accept that we cannot control what is happening outside of ourselves. That control is vested in our leaders, whether they act as leaders or not. Those who are in control, be it our president, the scientists, including Dr. Fauci, and the state governors, are making the recommendations that become decisions regarding when and how we reopen our economy.
Average Americans can bemoan the decisions of the “leaders” and the experts, but we have little to no ability to affect those decisions. All of the protesting and marching will probably not result in any different outcome than the ones already planned. But we do have some control, not control of what happens outside of us, but control of what happens within us. While that has really always been the case, that fact has never been any more important than it is now. We can and need to go within, for there are our answers to what should be our most important questions.
Going within can tell us what we can control, and what we need to change. We have had enough time to begin to learn the lessons this time may have been sent to teach us. We have had enough time to recognize what has not been working in our lives. We have even had enough time to begin to make some changes that are more in line with our lives as they can be, and as they probably should be. This knowledge cannot come forth when we are so busy running, for it cannot compete with the frenzy.
How do we begin? Where do we start? I think the first thing we have to do we have been doing, for we have had no other choice but to do so. We have to slow down. Most of us were going so fast just trying to keep up, getting further and further behind. Everything was a priority, so nothing was. The Coronavirus stopped us in our tracks.
Much of what we thought of as essential in our lives have turned out not to be. What we knew was essential, having loved ones physically present, has been taken from many of us. In its place, we were granted more time to nest, cook, and rejuvenate. Perhaps so that when we reconnect with our loved ones and the larger society, we are different and better. Time will tell.
Until then, I continue to cook, walk, and nest. I am making some progress with organizing and cleaning, although not as much as I should have. Perhaps there is a lesson in this, which if so, will be the hardest lesson for me to learn.