8.9 Editor's Pick
April 19, 2020

I Stopped Playing Small when I Started Wearing a Mask to Work.

Relephant read: Elephant’s Continually updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon


I am so in love.

To be honest, it is the most complicated situation I think I have ever been a part of.

When we first expressed our feelings for one another, the entire thing seemed doomed. Dead on the vine, you might say. We live thousands of miles away from each other and she is married. The fact that the marriage lacked intimacy for years was not really the point. Having been raised devoutly Christian, she firmly believed in the sacred contract: you don’t leave, you work it out. If you can’t work it out, you suck it up. You made your decision. The end.

It was vexing to say the least. I left a similar marriage three years ago and my dating life only really made for an endless string of entertaining and informative Elephant Journal articles. I never lost hope that love like I just found would come into my life—I just had to tell myself that it could be years from now. It almost seemed like a cruel joke that it finally came wrapped in a cloak of impossibility.

All of this, of course, is happening with the backdrop of a deadly and highly contagious pandemic ripping across the entire planet. Everywhere I looked was another story that struck fear into my heart: 41-year-old Broadway star Nick Cordero just had his leg amputated after a COVID-19 complication. Adam Schlesinger from the band “Fountains of Wayne,” died from COVID-19 at 52 years old.

I don’t need to expound further. We all see these things every single day.

What it is doing to the human race, on a psychic level, will only be determined long after the fact. It is all too much and too unprecedented right now to give any accurate account. There is one thing, though, that I feel comfortable enough to say regarding its effect: the idea of the future has become a lot more obscure and nebulous.

Carpe diem, where it was once a cute and abstract Latin phrase we tossed around to induce motivation, is presently a somber reminder that “now” is really all that any of us can be sure of.

For those of us in the so-called “essential jobs,” it is even scarier.

Many people can spend the entire week gearing up for their weekly trip to the grocery store, but for myself and the people I work with—truck drivers—we are out there 12 hours a day. Our risk of exposure is increased exponentially.

Driving a truck was exactly what I was doing when a Facebook message came across my phone. It was from the woman I could not stop thinking about—the woman I was head over heels for. I pulled into the medical supply warehouse and looked at the message: “I told him I am leaving.”

A wild rush of wind surrounded me as I stared at those words and had, what could probably only be described, as an out of body experience. It was huge. Life was about to change for me—and in fact—for many people at that moment. The rippling effects were going to spread across the entire country and touch the people on my side and the people on hers. These types of decisions generally do.

My ex, with whom I have two children, gave me a motherly warning. “Please be careful,” she said. “This sounds like a rebound and I would hate if you got your heart broken.” I understood the sentiment, but it felt oddly out of place. Rebound, as far as I have always understood, indicated a poorly thought out union to balm the pain of a recent break-up.

This was so not that. This was an awakening. This was a whole lot of “Carpe Diem.”

The precious and fragile quality of human life has been thrust into our collective faces every minute of every day for the last month. There has never been a more inappropriate time to play small and never a better time to say the words that are bursting from your heart, make the travel arrangements, write that poem, and confess your love!

Or, stop trying to remain in any situation that bears only the shriveled fruit of regret. There is no sustenance in that. And right now, we need all the sustenance we can get.


More Relephant Reads: 

How to Enjoy Life Amidst the Coronavirus Fear: Your Go-To Guide from Books to Podcasts & Wellness Practices.
What the Coronavirus is Teaching Me: 5 Lessons from Uncertain Times.
The Artist’s Stay-at-Home & Stay Sane Guide.
10 Simple Ways to Boost your Immunity without Leaving the House.


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