Forced slow downs are hard to navigate. Life is busy and there are always distractions and we get used to the constant on the go. Yet here we are, in the middle of a pandemic and it’s as if the Universe decided we need to stop the madness and learn to be still. As a doer, this is very hard for me. I miss my work, I miss my gym, I miss my students, I miss random Target trips, I miss meeting friends for drinks, I miss normal.
The first couple of days I felt truly despondent. I cried. I sat on my couch in a surreal headspace watching stupid TV to numb my anxiety brain. Going to the gym to deal with my anxiety was no longer an option. I have never wanted to go to work so badly in my life. However, not being able to go to work made me realize how much I love what I do and how much my students mean to me. I appreciate my work so much more now than I ever have before.
It’s the end of the first week and I still don’t know what life is going to look like from day to day but I have decided to focus on the things I can do now instead of the things I can’t do. I can lay on the couch and watch stupid TV if I want to. I can spend unscheduled time with my daughter for the first time since I went back to work almost seven years ago. I can read to her and she can stay up a little late and it doesn’t really matter. I can spend hours in the woods, even if it’s raining, just walking and breathing in the fresh air with no time restrictions of any kind. I can finish all the little odds and ends projects that I’ve needed to do for months but have been too busy or exhausted from the busy to do. I can read books and articles that I’ve been meaning to for ages. I can FaceTime my sister in Oregon because, despite the time difference, we’re finally home and unbusy at the same time for the first time since she moved there a year ago. I can lay in bed and listen to music for as long as I want. I can sit on my back deck and enjoy the beautiful view. I can enjoy relaxed, quality time with the people in my very tiny quarantine circle. I can sit quietly by myself and just be.
At work, at the end of learning units, we have days that we refer to as pausing points. It’s a day where there’s not as much pressure to teach a specific concept. Rather, everyone relaxes a bit and reviews what they have been learning together as a class. In a way, it feels as though life has given us a giant pausing point. Time to think, time to breath, time to reconnect, time to be present without so many distractions. It’s not something any of us were expecting or something we ever wanted in quite this way but we can do our best to navigate these moments with grace, kindness, compassion, gratitude and courage.
“Take some time to laugh … play … stumble … and fall. When you can harness the opportunity within the challenge and the perfection within the mistake, you have tapped into a creative flow that brings about inspiration, humor, and grace.”
– A. Kubitsky