Darlene Masters, Executive Director
Sitting at home. Looking at my computer. Listening for my work phone to chime or ring. Breathing in. Breathing out. Watching the time tick by. Thoughts racing through my head. TV is on in the background. I can’t do quiet. Spongebob’s laughter rings through my ears. My daughters are in their rooms. Homework. Snapchat. Fortnite (for one). School Zoom meetings. Naps. Two dogs are outside in the sunshine. Two dogs are sleeping on the couches. Husband is an essential worker – so, he’s at work. What day is it again? What time is my next “meeting”? When did I shower last? How much toilet paper do we have left? Do we need more milk?
Random thoughts are going through my head as I decide to sit down and write another blog post for the agency website. How many of you can relate to the thoughts, actions, questions above? I know that some days are certainly better than others. Today is a hard day. And, that is okay. Not every day is going to be a good day, especially during a “safer at home” order during a pandemic. Once again, I find myself looking for the “good”. And, believe me, there is plenty! Making the choice to find the good and be the good is a conscious choice we can all make. There is so much good in this world, but it gets overshadowed by the bad; the violence; the terror; the scare; the negativity. Yes, we can blame media for a lot of this and how it is portrayed, but we can also look at how we are dealing with it and what we are subjecting ourselves to. Sometimes it is necessary to shut off the news, close down social media for a few hours, and simply be.
This morning the news was on my TV. My youngest daughter was in the living room with me, and asked for the remote. She said “I don’t want the news right now.” She changed the channel to Nick despite her age of 15. The cartoons that were on that channel were much more entertaining and not pandemic ridden (obviously!). The cartoons played on my TV for several hours hence, Spongebob’s laugher now (full disclosure, I am a dedicated Spongebob fan myself). But, the point is that she was right. It was time to not be surrounded by the pandemic and to just be “normal” for a while. There are times that “normal” things are happening in my home, and I forget that we are in the midst of all of this. Then, something happens, and reality comes roaring back.
My thoughts and advice are simply this – stay up-to-date on the latest news and recommendations, but also let some normalcy take over. I realize that things are far from normal right now, but there are things that we can do to feel normal and to have some normal activity.
When things start to slow down and we are able to reopen businesses and the “safer at home” order is lifted, we will go back to somewhat normal. But, it is my belief that normal will look different. What do you want to be your new normal? Will you spend more time with those that you have been “too busy” to go see or hang out with? Will you frequent more small businesses than you had in the past? Will you spend more time on the things that you feel are important and listen less to what society says is important? What changes will you make? What will be your new “normal”?
**Remember to be patient with yourself and those around you. While we are “all in this together”, we are not all feeling the same way about the pandemic, the recommendations or the guidelines, and we are all finding our own ways of coping despite our thoughts and feelings. Be patient. Be kind.
** Remember to stay connected. Reach out to your peers, your families, your friends, your mentors, your teachers, your leaders. Don’t isolate. Connect.