Days are long right now. After three weeks, I have finally caved and decided I do in fact need a daily schedule. I simply cannot take anymore days of random documentaries and re-watching New Girl for the sixth time. Finding the motivation to sit down and finish writing this was an accomplishment, considering how long ago I started it. Writing about coronavirus is difficult. There are so many different perspectives and emotions that it’s become very hard to separate fact from feeling. I am certainly not an expert on the virus, so please hear me when I say everything I am expressing is my own personal belief and I don’t expect you to agree with me. But, if I’ve realized anything in the past few weeks, it’s that we need all the kindness and positivity we can get. Petty differences don’t seem to matter anymore.
Everything around us appears to have stopped. The consistent motion in our lives quickly changed, leaving so many of us desperate for the daily activities we once dreaded doing.
When I think about the coronavirus and these unprecedented times, I often have to simplify my thinking, rather than inducing more anxiety over explaining the unexplainable. Imagine a two-thousand piece puzzle. I myself am not a puzzle person, but in the past three weeks of isolation I’ve watched my mom and little brother complete more than I can count, so I’m hoping my outside observations are enough.
A few months ago our world was incredibly flawed, a smushed together two-thousand piece puzzle. Pieces were jammed in places they didn’t belong but seemed to fit, and no one had stopped to find their place. At quick glance, the puzzle was complete. Up close, the puzzle was messy and disjointed. Now, it’s as if someone knocked a good portion of the puzzle onto the floor, leaving a few fragments of connectedness behind. Our world is desperately trying to put the pieces back together, and each piece is scared, frustrated, and searching for answers we’re not likely to find.
The thing about puzzles is, you often have to take time away from them before you can put them together, come back to the puzzle with a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective. We’re being asked to take a step back, to stay home, to give people and communities the time they need to heal and stay safe. Nothing about this situation is easy. Everyone is experiencing loss, but I’ve found that maintaining a sense of perspective is so important as we all experience this together. We want to see our friends, we genuinely want to go to school or work, and we’re feeling very stuck. It’s certainly not what we want to do, but ignorance only contributes to the problem, and those of us staying home have the easiest job. Stay home and be grateful for all of the servicemen and women who cannot, for every doctor and nurse that is working double the hours they should be, and for all of the people who’ve lost their loved ones without saying goodbye.
I am desperate for answers. But for the first time in my life, my family genuinely doesn’t know how to respond. How do you give advice over something you can’t understand yourself? The answer is, you don’t. You don’t pretend to know, sugarcoat, or sensor anything. Everyone in my family is dealing with this differently. For my mom and little brother it’s puzzles, for my dad it’s making goofy lessons for his students just to make them smile, and for my older brother it’s spending quality time with my grandparents he never expected to have. I’d be curious to know what they think my “thing” is, I would guess something along the lines of sleeping till noon, only to be frustrated at 5pm when I’ve accomplished nothing for the fifth day in a row. But like I said, I’m trying to change that habit, and I think it’s going well so far. Mind you, it has only been a day, but I am confident Jimmy will drag me out of bed every morning to go running with him (which really translates into me running as hard as I can, while Jimmy jogs next to me barely breaking a sweat). Honestly, do what makes you feel good, do what makes you feel okay at the end of the day, and do what makes you feel the most you.
At some point we will be ready to put our puzzle back together, and when we do, we will all be a little bit better and a whole hell of a lot more grateful. So for now, we stay home, we love our friends and family hard, we thank everyone working to keep us safe, and we remind ourselves each day just how lucky we all are.