As I sit in a lovely condo in Blowing Rock, NC on a three day get-a-away with my husband, the rain from the remnants of Hurricane Zeta is pounding all around. It is predicted to rain most of the time we are here. As a friend of mine has always said, “We can’t control the weather!” While I know that, I am still disappointed. The rain will keep me from doing some things that I enjoy while in the mountains, such as taking long walks. But not completely. I did walk for almost an hour yesterday soon after we arrived, in spite of the rain. I channeled my friend’s words, the same friend who said, “We can’t control the weather!” When I have complained about rain affecting my walking routine, she has said many times, “You are not made of sugar, and you will not melt!” MoMo’s wise words rang in my ears as I experienced a walk in the rain. Thinking about not being able to control the weather, other things came to mind that we can’t control, and some that we can.
The news on TV is full of two things, the election and the increase in coronavirus and concomitant shutdowns around the world. Yes, the election will soon be over, and some will lose, and some will win, and we will have four more years of something. Some will be happy with the outcome of the election and some not, but our lives will go on, regardless. All of the promises by the candidates will soon be honored, or not. While we can influence the outcome of the election by voting, we cannot individually control who wins. That is in the hands of the collective electorate. Hopefully the election will not be in the hands of outside forces or systems problems.
Regarding the increase in the coronavirus and the shutdowns, this news is unwelcome, but it is what it is. We have no choice but to continue to mask up and social distance. Well, that isn’t completely true. We do have the choice to comply with these two recommendations, or to refuse to, putting others and ourselves at increased risk. While we can control what we do about these things, we cannot control what others do or don’t do. Nor can we control how long this disruption into our daily lives lasts. But we can control what we do with this time.
We are soon to celebrate two of our biggest holidays of the year, and I am not referring to Halloween. Although Halloween is the second most popular holiday, it is not one that I enjoy. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my two favorite holidays, in that order, and they will by necessity be celebrated differently this year, especially Thanksgiving, due to COVID-19. Our family’s Thanksgiving celebration will be very different this year. Most of our family who for thirty-five years have come together in Raleigh, 65 family members, will celebrate more locally with their nuclear families this year. We decided to put safety first and not celebrate together this year. Our Christmas celebration is on a smaller scale and will not be that different this year.
In a couple of days, Daylight Savings Time will end for a few months, and we will have less daylight and more darkness. I do not enjoy less daylight hours, but I have absolutely no control over this. What I can control is what I do with this time. I can hunker down and find enjoyment in this time of hibernation or resist its benefits. In fact, I can find enjoyment in all of the changes I have mentioned. While I cannot control the changes, I can control my response to them by my actions. I can find the benefits in these disruptions. There clearly are some benefits, and the disruptions and their benefits will likely not come around again.
I can learn more. While there is little need to spend time in a car traveling to client meetings, I can spend that time getting more proficient with technology, including Zoom and Teams. I am making progress with these. I can even learn how to transition from expensive cable to less costly Roku, although this is not happening quickly. But I know I can learn this, and I have enough time to slow down and do so. But I would be less than honest if I failed to admit that I am in the serious frustration phase of this!
I can read more. I can go through my massive book collection and find those books that I have not read and still want to read. I can also cull those books I will never read again or haven’t read. I can also make some order in my other collections. I have so many things that are housed in cabinets that I do not even remember that I have, and certainly do not need. Then there are the two attics, where things have been for the thirty-two years we have lived in our home. If we haven’t needed those items in thirty-two years, how likely is it that we ever will need them?
I can write more. There is another book that I need to write, and this is a great time to do so. I can start this weekend in Blowing Rock while the rain pounds all around. My husband, Mike, completed the writing of his PhD dissertation in this same condo in 2000. It is hard to believe that it was twenty years ago. Where did those twenty years go?
Enough about me. What about you? What will you do with this time, much of which you can’t control? What will you do with what you can control?