I want to unhook myself from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all other social media sites. Every single day there are more and more posts about the worldwide crisis. I’m not talking about valid informational sites with solid research behind them. I’m not even talking about the funny memes and the pictures that make me smile. I need to smile. And not the ones where someone shows you how to make a home-made mask out of a paper plate and a safety pin (Okay, not a real thing).
No, I’m talking about the people who are apparently intoxicated by the sounds of their own voices and their own special relationship with someone who knows someone who knows somethng “really true” about the virus. You know the ones of whom I speak. The ones who have decided that they, alone, have figured out the meaning behind the Covid 19 outbreak.
Their fervent assertions run the gamut.:
This is all a hoax perpetuated by one political side or the other to derail the 2020 Presidential election.
God is punishing the entire world for its sins much like in the days of Noah.
The United States was creating a super bug as a weapon and tested it on China. (if that one is true, then it backfired big time!)
I, for one, am quite sure that I do not know why or how the COVID 19 virus came to be such a worldwide pandemic. I don’t think ( no matter how hard our brains want to make sense of the things we cannot explain) that anyone really does.
BUT I DO KNOW WHAT IT ALL MEANS
It means that if we love ourselves, our families and other human beings, we need to follow the advice of those who have the knowledge to slow the spread. That means social distancing, frequent hand washing, sanitizing things and yes, even going outside with a mask if you must.
OK, I ADMIT IT…THAT WAS NOTHING NEW! EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.
But not everyone is doing that…I ‘m just saying.
No. Actually, I really do not know what all this means for the world, for the economy or for the way of life that we have previously enjoyed. So, because, I ,too, have to find some sort of meaning in the chaos; I have decided to focus on what COVID 19 means to me. What have I learned about myself while spending so much time alone?
So often our lives move at such incredible speeds that we don’t even make the time to think. I mean really think…about our lives, our purpose…our meaning.
These first few weeks I had to re-learn how to slow down. Well, basically I was forced to slow down. The convenient life that I had taken for granted suddenly disappeared. No more traveling the other offices where I had dear co-workers and friends. No gym before work; No hair dresser, nail appointments or shopping malls on Saturday. Not even church on Sunday. Picture me: an extravert, with no one to talk to face to face. In the beginning, it was pretty miserable I gotta tell you.
I noticed a couple of things:
I was cooking more and eating out less=I was losing weight
I found myself talking to family more on the phone, when before I had little time=more connections
I used the weekends that would normally be spent runnng errands and eating out with friends to return to refinishing furniture and working on my novel= rediscovering things I loved.
Also because of above= I was saving money!
So, I learned to make the best of a bad situation.
But It took me another week to find the most important aspect of all: The one I had been avoiding. I realized that when there is no one with whom to talk, you learn to listen…to yourself.
I really started examining the things that made me happy and realized that by moving so quickly, I had missed several interesting turns in the road. Some choices I made everyday in my rush of life, were diverting me from the path I knew I belonged on. Taking stock is a difficult thing, and can be scary. But it can also be freeing. I am still working on this, and journaling the things I am finding when I listen to myself.
So the challenge today is for us to please follow the guidelines set up to keep us safe. And while we are distancing ourselves socially, it is time to get closer to ourselves internally.
Next week I will go into the discoveries we can make when we give ourselves a TIME OUT.