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When there isn’t a pandemic, I am an overly busy lone parent working two jobs that I’m passionate about, juggling my day-to-day, and doing my best to keep my spirit strong.
I keep a color-coded planner that I use to schedule and reflect. I enjoy looking ahead, and thrive on giving myself things to look forward to.
When my seven-year-old son and I were suddenly thrown into the quarantine situation—along with the majority of others in the United States and around the world—all of my plans went moot. And not just by the sheer physical act of staying inside, but also by the existential experience of this unprecedented moment in our lifetime.
Everything paused—planned trips, spring break plans, relationships, work schedules, childcare—anything I had taken for granted just halted. Priorities changed.
At first it felt like a rerouting, but as the days passed and my brain tirelessly tried to figure out where to go next, I realized there’s nowhere to reroute to. I am just at the mercy of the present moment.
I am on day 14 and have left the house only a few times for groceries. I have days when I feel really great, inspired, and energetic. I have others when I feel depressed, tired, unmotivated—and yet anxious and restless.
I also have days when I feel the sickness and weight of the world. There are some days when I fluctuate between all of these feelings.
And while I have never been a “one day at a time” person, boy are those words keeping me sane these days.
Every night I fall asleep, I wonder what the next day will be like and feel soothed by the fact it will undoubtedly be different than the one before it—which is weird considering that from a bird’s-eye view my days probably look like I’m living the same day over and over and over again, like “50 First Dates” or “Groundhog Day.”
But it doesn’t feel like that at all.
Each morning I wake up with a sense of curiosity—how will I choose to spend my time today? Who will reach out to me? Who will I reach out to? What will my energy be like? What songs do I want to hear? What songs do I want to sing? What are the ways I will choose to inform myself? What will my son do today?
There is no promise that “everything will be okay,” and while we can intellectualize this situation until our brains burn out and attempt to hypothesize “why” this is happening, we simply do not get to know what will happen next or the overarching message from the universe.
There is only what is here, in all its messiness, but here. An invitation: To see. To feel. To experience this moment exactly as it is without wishing it away or trying to make it different.
In these moments, I’m invited to explore anxiety in the cavern of my heart. It all lives there—my grief (some so ancient), my disappointment, my yearning, my deepest desires and what I believe I need to attain them, my fears and the way I cut myself off from others.
There is also the state of the world, how uncertain it feels. There are pangs of grief over climate change and the world my young son will inherit one day. There are feelings of helplessness and unpreparedness and guilt.
In these moments of presence, when I bravely allow them, my heart reminds me she is a direct access point to the overall collective feeling—that our hearts are individual and collective spaces, that we are connected in this space available to all of us.
The whole thing is existentially wild. Not one single person on this planet is exempt from this situation. We are all impacted in some way, and that is pretty special.
I leave you with a song that’s been medicine for me this morning. I believe it is a love song that comes straight from our own hearts. From you to you. And from me too.