The Next Stretch

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 at 7:06 am

I think this next stretch will be harder. Novelty is wearing out. Resolutions may not be kept. Isolation may take a toll on the many ways others contribute to our well being. Things like going grocery shopping may turn into ordeals. We may hear more about loved ones and friends caught up in this. We may treat minor vagaries in our bodies as signs of impending Armageddon. We may get bored out of our skulls. We may be stuck inside with people who are driving us crazy. We may be frazzled from trying to be everything to everybody. Everyone has their own response to all this, and it may be fraying at the edges. And we have no idea about when this will end. We don’t know how to plan, how to pace our lives and how to interpret where we are and what’s going on,

Few born in this country have lived through anything like this.  Remembering the privations of World War II is rare, and the Great Depression even rarer. The  pundits are right that this feels like war, although except for hospital workers there are no front lines, and for most of us, this war  is still a privileged first-world sort.  Our reality at the moment is still something people in much of the world would see as luxury. Bombs aren’t falling, there’s no wreckage to sift through. We aren’t being terrorized by civil war.  Our grocery shelves are empty right now but they will fill. Our roads are still passable.  The trucks will get through from warehouses that still teem, and fields and farms that are happier than ever with less of our pollution to contend with.  We are hunkered down with a fair degree of security. We simply are going to need to adjust our sense of entitlement.

For most of us, our worst fears will not be realized.  We may remember most strongly the anxiety of the open-endedness of this time.  We may not like the comeuppance we get in our views of ourselves  that were shattered by behavior we’re not proud of.  Yes, everyone is in this together, and yet I suspect many of us feel more alone than before.

This next stretch will be harder because we are still adjusting.  We are more aware we are just settling in rather than soon to be liberated. We are learning to live with more questions than answers  But we can adjust, we can make the most of it, we can choose to see the opportunities in having less to distract us.  Today I am ordering some flowering bulbs that can grow in water in a window of my condo.  I may get a bird feeder for my balcony.  Neither of these would have occurred to me a week ago.  Life will go on in abundance, and it’s up to me to go with it.

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