We are five days into spring 2020. Day 14 of social isolation for my family and me. As I write this, I am sitting in our dining room with my children. We are two weeks into homeschooling, and I don't hate it. I like this time together. My thirteen-year-old is sitting across from me, this period will be a marker in his childhood. He will tell stories about that time he was home with us during the global pandemic known as Coronavirus. He will have his own perspective -it will become the crisis that ruined his 13th birthday party, and the experience that made him grow up a little. He hears his dad, and I discuss the economy, the president, and our own anxiety around preparing for life after COVID-19. These are conversations he is finally able to hear with contexts. He occasionally will ask for us to explain something he is overhearing, and will then offer his thoughts. I want to meet him in the space of uncertainly with respect. This experience is propelling him into young adulthood right before my eyes - and I am here for it.
As for me, I feel like I've been preparing for this my whole life. I lived most of my life with chronic anxiety. In the last 6 years, I have taught myself how to live/manage without the persistence of fear. Instead, I live aware of my feelings and how to process them. Currently, I am sad for those affected by the virus. I have an appreciation for nurses and doctors responding to the health disaster. I am concerned for the supermarket clerks and all essential workers that are showing up to work every day, making sure we all have what we need. My heart goes out to the millions of Americans that are filing for unemployment.
I am mindful to keep my attention on the collective. Honoring everyone in and outside my circle during this experience. Finding it refreshing not to be consumed by my own discomfort. After all, I am home and safe. It is strange to admit this because it is outside the norm, but I am not upset or fearful at all. I think it's odd because the anxious me would have been a mess. I would have allowed my worst fears about my family, work, money, and the news occupied my thoughts - making it all about me. It is even harder to admit that I am enjoying the pause. I love being at home with my family. I love not having to participate in the race that is suburban middle-class life. I have wondered for some time now that I could do without the constant comings and goings. The rush of the routine to fit it all in a 24 hour day. I am happy we are home together - and the absence of the obligation to socially interact. If it sounds like I am introvert, it is because I am - and this is the dream. However, I would bet that it is not just the introverts of the world that are happy to not have to show up. I believe most people, especially parents, were tired and desperately wanting a break. I wonder why I didn't say anything sooner. I wonder why I didn't express my indifference to school volunteering and PTA participation. I don't want to brunch, lunch, or set-up playdates, I want my kids to be self-contained. I would prefer my children to know they can create a life that makes sense to them and not set an example for the "race." So, I'm calling it - after this crisis is over, I am no longer doing things I don't like. I am no longer forcing myself to follow a path someone else came up with. I am not breaking any ground here - there are many moms that homeschool and are raising their family on their term. I wish I had given myself permission to do this sooner. This pause has taught me that life is to be lived now - not someday. As watch thousands of families dealing with Coronavirus unable in most cases to be with their loved ones as they lose the fight, for those families, their someday are gone. Life is short and without direction - it is up to us to embrace it fully without fear or concern for correctness. This worldwide experience has opened my eyes to the realization that it is not enough to know what matters - we now have to live like every moment matters because it does.