In Uncertain Times

Hemingway didn’t say this exactly, but whatevs.

I normally roll my eyes at inspirational quotes, but there are times when they are just necessary, am I right?

Friends. I know.

I know that we’re all reeling from the turn things have taken, world-wide, over the last few weeks. And if you are fortunate enough to be in a place that COVID-19 has yet to invade, take a deep breath, and know that things may soon change very quickly for you too.

Or they may not.

That is the one given in life, its extreme unpredictability. In Toronto, two weeks ago, we were all humming along, going to work, school and play and touching every single thing in the world without wondering how long coronavirus can survive on a given surface. Now we are all figuring out how social distancing works. We’re isolated in our houses with the kids, squirting our home-made hand sanitizer over every available surface. And wondering how long the toilet paper will last.

We can only guess what the future holds. Right now, the media isn’t helping us. Yes, access to quality information is important, but each day that we spend glued to our newsfeeds, watching the case numbers tick ever higher, is a day that we’ve lost to fear.

I know how you’re feeling. I’ve read all the articles and I’ve had all the anxiety. I’ve woken in the night wondering if I do, in fact, already have the virus.

So, my family, like everyone else, are trying to figure out a new routine. A new way to be when our options are limited. This is hard for the Gen Xers and the Millennials. We’ve spent our lives with nothing BUT choice, opportunity, and freedom and now, as the economy tanks, we’re left wondering what the hell is going to happen next.

There are a lot of people in a lot of need right now. Many who don’t know where their next paycheque is coming from or how they’re going to feed the kids.

Despite my own anxieties, I know that, for now, I’m in a safe place. We’re not on total lockdown. We have enough to eat. We’ve got 20 rolls of TP stocked in the cupboard.

So I’m thinking about the things I can do to help. How can I help my own family? How can I help to keep small businesses afloat? How can I help to feed people in my community? (Please let me know in comments what your thoughts are!)

There was a time when we were the ones who needed help. Almost 10 years ago, my oldest, my son Bean, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. He went through an incredibly difficult chemo regime, which ended with three rounds of bone marrow transplant. From September through to January of the year 2010 – 2011, he barely went outside, in fact was confined to an isolation room at Sick Kids for months on end.

I was free to come and go, somewhat, but he had to stay, and we had to keep him safe. Safe meant no germs, no interactions with people. It meant sanitizing every single object that went into his room. Washing Duplo in boiling hot water and soap and wiping every piece of a jigsaw puzzle with anti-bac wipes.

Those days were very long. And very hard. Many people told me to take it “one day at a a time.” Which felt like such useless, bullshit advice. There is no other way to live your days. But the meaning is this: Just get through today. Just focus on the positives. Try not to dwell too much on what may come, but accept the gift of the now.

And we were given so much help. People were generous and true.

So those are the lessons that I’m remembering in this time of terrible uncertainty. Each day:

  • Health: Do something that is good for you, and for the health of your family.
  • Beauty: Find it anywhere you can. Create art.
  • Connect: Keep connecting with your friends. If you can go out, do a wave-by of someone’s house. Set up video chat for your kids and their buddies. Do an old-school phone chat.
  • Routine: Set up a daily schedule and stick to it.
  • Help: Figure out how to support those in need.

We humans are terribly resilient. We’ve survived famines and wars and disease. We’ve adapted and changed and grown. We will get through this too, though we don’t know what the world will look like on the other side of it.

Be well, my friends. Courage, my loves! ❤️❤️❤️

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