I can still remember my first day of college and the preparation leading up to the big day, back in 2001.
The excitement was palpable
I bought all the books, printed my schedule months in advance, gathered intelligence regarding the layout of the college, wore my nicest shirt, dressed to impressed and was ready to go.
Prepared, engaged, focused and motivated for the upcoming new world I was entering into. Adrenaline and caffeine coursing through my veins on day one, was increasing the rate at which my already pulsating heart was fluctuating at sonic speeds!
A little scared at the unknown, nervous for the beginning of the next phase of life and fully prepared for the challenges ahead.
Enter 2020 and the Coronavirus/COVID-19…
I am completely depleted. I am exhausted, frustrated, stressed, depressed, anxious and disappointed. I know I am certainly not alone in my mental and emotional state. Many have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost finances etc. I am by no means down-playing the severity of this season, nor am I attempting to compare or place a hierarchical measure to the vastness of situations.
I need to put words to my feelings, after all, I am a writer
But this has taken me longer than I wanted it to. Putting words to this unconventional, unchartered territory has been difficult; way more than I expected.
In the beginning of this pandemic, I was briefly upset at the inevitable social and economic shut down. Unable to work due to the nature of my job as a Massage Therapist and the subsequent loss of income that provides for my family was the stuff of nightmares. However, I soon chose to view this new found season as the opportunity that it was; a chance to spend more time with my kids, a chance to reconnect with my wife, and a chance to rest my weary hands and the chance to write! There was a different kind of excitment I was looking forward to discovering!!
The adrenaline from the newness that fueled the first few weeks of quarantine has worn off. Exhaustion has set in and an incredibly heavy reliance on caffeine has taken over as energy to keep my eyelids from crashing together in an epic battle between sleep and responsibility. Days are filled with homeschooling five kids, making meals for seven, maintaining some form of questionable sanitation and cleanliness of our living quarters, trying desperately to keep said five children from creating their own primitive, Lord of the Flies-esq, archaic society adopting a ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality as means of social continuity.
I long for bed-time, when we finally emerge victorious from the war of the worlds, the battle that is sleep, the chaos against one of life’s necessities that parents desire so intensely. The sound of silence from my offspring’s chambers is secretly one of the most glorious sounds at the end of a day of enjoying our time creating, exploring, laughing, yelling, crying, learning, gaming, baking, and making memories for years to come. And that is, in itself, a reason to be present in this season and to accept as its own accomplishment, but I anticipated more.
When disappointment and regret collide because what was anticipated becomes mere imagination, anxiety and depression are quick to expose a vulnerable mind.Tweet
At the end of the day, the realization that I have failed all the anticipated goals I was going to accomplish because I thought I would have the time and energy to crush them all during this season, is now causing an increased feeling of failure and unproductivness that I despise. There is a heavy weight that I feel and a deep ache in my soul that I can’t seem to shake.
I had so many thoughts and plans….and yet, this is my first post, and we are now in quarantine day 45037, or so it feels that way
My expectations were just that, MINE. I placed too much pressure on myself to accomplish goals that may have been a little unrealistic given my situation. I began to compare my lack of productivity to those on Instagram who live vastly different lives independent of a pandemic. When a scheduled routine is turned on its head, demands from another facet of life increases dramatically, the ability to produce and maintain at a consistent gear is near impossible. I believe each day will see it’s emotional and mental struggle as I deal with the lack of productivity from the goals I set out for myself and the comparison game I play, however, the dialogue that is resonating in my mind needs to change from “useless, unproductive, failure” to “survived, smiled, laughed, loved with my kids”, and that is OK. It is not what I anticipated, but it is what is.
I may not get my next book written during this time, I might gain a little bit of weight, I never baked a loaf of bread, probably drank too much coffee and I might still be incredibly tired, but as long as my family is happy and healthy, then I am doing what is necessary. I am still looking toward “What is Next” and preparing my mind for the future, trying to take the small steps toward the next goal, toward the next season and preparing for what that might look like. After all, I wrote a book about this very attitude. So I’ll start here, blogging a little more, getting some words to the feelings and season as we continue to progress through this journey on the quarantine highway of 2020.
I wish you all the best, please stay safe, stay healthy and stay focused on what is important during this time. I hope I can encourage you to see what you have near and take the opportunities given to make every moment count. It might not be what you anticipated, but it is enough and it is OK.
To those on the front-lines of this pandemic, Thank You for your sacrifices, generosity and efforts. We are all indebted to you.