Meaningful MondayMarch 23, 2020
Living through the COVID-19 Crisis is challenging at best. As a country, indeed the whole world, we are all experiencing a certain amount of anxiety and trauma due to the unfolding health crisis. Recently, a friend told me that there wasn’t much more he could handle, that he is getting so angry at politicians acting like political party matters while people are dying. He is getting angry at leaders NOT LEADING, at the lack of preparedness, at so many people not taking it as a serious threat.
He, like me and so many others like us, is “at risk of serious illness” if we contract COVID-19. Before most people were even thinking it was a big deal, we were already practicing self-isolation and sanitizing the hell out of everything that enters our homes (people included!). Not because we were scared but because we have learned to be cautious. In the beginning, I got angry as well. I stressed out. I cried in frustration because no one was paying attention to a serious risk unfolding. I find it hard to comprehend the mindset of those who still don’t take it seriously, while we have entire countries in the midst of a complete collapse of their healthcare systems, and our own healthcare system teetering on the brink of collapse. But do I still get angry? Do I still get stressed out?
The reason is simple: my anger and stress don’t do anyone any good at all. It just makes me miserable, makes my family upset, and is harder on my health. I am tired of anger. I’m so very tired of stress. I am also very tired of seeing the numbers of the infected and dead climb by the hour, while there are still some out there who just don’t get it. But they don’t make me mad anymore. They stay on their special side of reality, I stay here in the real world.
You might be asking why I am using this discussion in relation to the Meaningful Monday quote, “Happiness can only exist in acceptance.” But if you think about it, the meaning is very clear. When I was busy being angry, stressed, anxious and generally pissed off about the whole situation, I had absolutely no hope of being HAPPY. None at all. There’s a seriously small amount that I can do about the crisis. I do what I can to help who I can. But there’s honestly not much that I can do.
I can bake bread for friends who can’t find a loaf at the store because panic shoppers bought it all. I can make homemade, washable and reusable face masks for friends who need something to cover their faces. I can make homemade alcohol for myself and my friends who can’t find antiseptic at the store to use as a sanitizer. But, I am the McGuyver of my group of friends… you know, the type who has all those skills useful in a zombie apocalypse? I can preserve fresh vegetables. I can make bread from scratch. I can sew (clothing and skin, too). I know crazy kinds of first aid. I can find medicinal herbs in the back yard. I can distill sugar, water, and yeast down to almost pure ethanol with a homemade Frankenstein distillery made of kitchen supplies. I can knit winter wears and socks and blankets. I can do a lot of things that you never have to leave the house to do because I can’t leave the house very often at all in the best of times, much less now. I haven’t been out in public (excluding doctor trips) since January. I order nearly everything I use in my household and have it delivered to my door.
Basically, I live the life that most people are having a lot of trouble acclimating to. It was hard to learn to accept living this type of lifestyle. I used to be vibrant and full of life! I was a dancer (Bellydancing and Scottish dancing). I was a very social person, always out and about enjoying life! I loved laying in the grass in the sun. I now have allergic reactions to UV light, so I have to avoid sunlight. I loved running and dancing, especially in the rain! Now I have such bad arthritis in my feet, ankles and knees, as well as weak ligaments, that I can barely walk much less run and dance. I can sit on the back steps when it rains and close my eyes, remembering the joy of feeling the wet grass beneath my bare feet and let the rain wash away any sadness that I feel. I have had to accept my life, to play the hand I have been dealt and attempt to do it with grace.
I have been living this way for a while now. If people like me can do it for years, you can handle it for a little while. It’s not permanent for you. It’s not even that much of a long-term thing. It’s temporary. It’s fleeting. It’s nothing. So, sit on the couch and binge-watch every TV show you have ever thought would be cool to see. Use the time to take up some more healthy habits, like daily workouts and meditations. It’s not forever and the sooner you accept that the sooner you can be happy. Life is different when you have to live like this, but different isn’t bad. You CAN be happy, but that happiness can only come with acceptance. Those of you with kids, your children are looking to you for guidance now. They look to you to see if they should be happy or not, so let’s be good examples and show them that we can enjoy life in a different way for a little while.