The photo was taken out my home office window- today- April 9th. It was 70 degrees here three days ago. Although it is hard to see the snow in the photo- trust me, it is coming down at a good clip, even sideways at times.
The photo captures, at least in part, the similarities between the strangeness and uncertainty of the weather and the near-term and longer-term ramifications of the pandemic. Both were unexpected and are difficult to wrap our head around.
As I was thinking about what to write about for my blog this week, my thoughts seemed to drift to our current way of life in this time of shelter in place. My thoughts have been like that for a few days. But why?
I have heard the term “new normal” to describe the future. I have watched the ravages on TV from New York. As a sports fan, I follow the sports shows that discuss when teams will be able to play again. I coach a club softball team and wonder if we will be able to play this summer. Uncertainty.
At the same time, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, I feel like I just can’t quite rationalize what the future looks like. My thoughts are scattered and include many questions- questions I cannot answer. Confusion.
If you have ever driven in heavy fog or during a heavy snowstorm or blizzard, that is how I am feeling- like there are lots of things swirling about- and all I can do is grab tightly on the steering wheel, try to stay focused on the road ahead, and hope the storm let’s up. I can’t focus on the traffic coming at me or that I might end up in the ditch. Loss of control.
I am probably feeling some level of grief too, as this HBR article points out.
The current crisis has brought many changes to our daily lives- working at home, needing to do more at home in terms of cooking and laundry, making sure our kids are continuing to learn (or teaching them if they are younger and can’t do it on their own)- all while being together in our homes for entire days- day after day, week after week. And, most pressing, is the health of ourselves and our families. Couple this with the affect to our financial situation and there is a lot to deal with.
In some ways, all this while working from home has also made me less motivated. Not necessarily being or feeling less productive, but feeling a bit directionless about what I should focus on heading into an uncertain future.
Does anyone else feel this way?
Earlier in the morning my Twitter feed alerted me to a tweet “recommended for me”- not exactly sure why it recommended this particular tweet for me. It was a parent letting her followers know she had let her son’s teacher know that they would no longer be participating in her virtual classroom and that he was done with first grade. She liked the teacher, but thought the stress of the situation for their child was too much. He needed, and the family needed a break.
The tweet received a number of responses from people on both sides. But what I took from it was that this family was stressed with working from home and from the various other things that need to get done to run their home. They had decided that what works best for their family and their child was to take a break from the more formal distant learning- to reduce their stress level and try to get their life under control.
The point isn’t to debate whether this is the right approach, but to say that each of us needs to do what we need to get through this. To see the sunshine after the snowstorm.
There have been thousands of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, YouTube offered on these and other platforms to help you navigate your thoughts and feelings. I encourage you to use each of these resources to find what you need to help you get through this.
Do we view this time as a pivotal moment in history that has forever changed the way we live and do business? Or is it a seminal moment that will mark a significant positive change to ourselves and the world? Perhaps a little of both?
Presently, I can only describe my current feelings as being ambivalent. Perhaps I feel stuck in a fog because I see the possible outcomes of both of these scenarios- both the good and the bad. I am working through the myriad of thoughts and feelings like we all are.
Perhaps one of the ways we can change our view, or in my case my ambivalence, of our present and future situation, is by doing what we can to make our part of the world a better place for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our local restaurants, and others who need to see a clearer and brighter path ahead.
A member of a professional group I belong to emailed the following quote while writing this- I thought it was appropriate for the topic and the times.
“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” ― L.R. Knost
Shortly after finishing the article the sun came out. A sign, I think, that our future paths will become clearer and brighter. I know mine is.
In my next post, I will share 10 ways to practice and develop resilience- part of a book chapter I wrote. Hoping these pointers will also help you see your way to a brighter future.
Here’s to sunnier days ahead for all of us! Go be the light!