If you asked me, right this minute, what day and month it is, I would seriously have to stop and think about. Perhaps even back away and grab my phone calendar.
Know what I mean?
This seems to have started in March of this year. You know, right about the time we were all placed in quarantine lock-down.
Being one of the fortunate "essential workers," we were actually asked to volunteer to work from home even before the lock-down came down.
So, for months, there has been the strangest, most bizarre battle several times a day to figure out what day it is and what month it is.
Along with that, there has been my normal anxiety about not being able to just get in the car and go when time out is needed. In the beginning, just a ride around town would suffice. That, however, got old quickly.
As a shy introvert, I typically avoid places with people anyway. Let me qualify that, I avoid what I consider crowds.
It took me quite some time after the beaches were "opened" to convince myself to go. What a wonderful few hours that was!
And yet, with so many new restrictions on us, such as which way to go on which aisle in the grocery, well, it's driving this one cra-cra! LOL!!
As a shy introvert with OCD, structure is very important to me. That went out the window with every thing else in March.
It is truly amazing that I haven't hurt anyone yet. LOL! Kidding. Mostly...
And then, there is the whole "I am compromised" thing because of COPD. I am not concerned about catching Covid. If I do, I do. If I die, I die.
What does bother me is the entire face mask thing. I learned long ago that, with a chronic respiratory disease, breathing is far more important than it is to most since most people don't give breathing a second thought.
When most days involve difficulty in breathing, putting an additional restriction on that breathing - such as an impediment to sucking in air - life ceases to be fun.
There are some that have tried to say that a mask has nothing to do with one's ability to breathe. Easy for them to say. And, it is SO very NOT true.
But, we'll save that discussion for another time.
I don't usually look forward to the fireworks on the Fourth of July. This year I did, because I just wanted some "normal." Bless the neighbors who did shoot some fireworks off. That was such a mental lift for me. Surely, to others, too.
As with most things in life, I also found myself feeling like I was the only one experiencing quarantine fog.
But, after spending all day on the phone with people, it was bizarrely comforting to find out that I am not, was not alone.
I think most have responded like I have: burrowing in at home and running for the door when that becomes intolerable for another minute.
Some have found cleaning house, making repairs, new hobbies, etc., have helped.
Since I see life through an introvert's eyes, and one who is definitely NOT a hugger, someone brought to my attention how those thriving on human contact must be dealing with all this.
I can't answer that, but look forward to any feedback on that subject.
I also look forward to any feedback on how YOU have survived, and are continuing to do so.
Maybe, during this time, you have discovered as have I, that we need to be even more observant and tuned in to those around us. We do NOT all deal with stress or isolation the same way. And, when the stress builds, tempers get short, anger builds, and many egg shells get broken from trying to tip toe around them.
Even after four plus months into this adventure, I am still learning how to listen to my own internal barometer, much less some one else's. Know what I mean?
At the very beginning of this experience, those who really know me stated that I should really enjoy this time since I love alone time anyway.
Now I can honestly say, there are limits of alone time, even for me!
I am becoming more adept at swallowing my quick, sarcastic responses while taking a deep breath and painting a smile on my face. I am learning to just walk away, or find something kinder and gentler to say than I usually would. I am looking for ways to say kind things, motivational things, and happy things to uplift those around me, especially customers.
Don't know if that has been a success, but it has changed me. It has changed my attitude.
That has been as much a therapy for me as just standing at the beach and breathing in fresh salt air. All while maintaining social distancing, of course.
Every customer I talk to who is having a difficult time, for whatever reason, I make a point of sharing that we are all stronger than we know, especially with the Power available through our Abba, and we will get through this.
We always do.
And, at that time, it will be up to us, individually and corporately, to design a new normal.
Without starting World War III, have you given some though to what YOUR new normal will look like?
Hopefully, we are all getting through this adventure with new life lessons and personal growth, and when needed, change.
Don't let anyone determine what is right for you. This is a great time to make changes, if you so desire. Perhaps you have never quite been the YOU that you would like to be. Never too late to change as long as we are on this side of the ground.
I know one thing for sure for me: my "new" normal will still include being near the ocean. It is essential to my well being, both physical and mental.
Hopefully, you are utilizing this time for some thought about your future and, at least in your mind, painting the picture as you want to see it. Then, the work begins on making that picture a reality.
I, for one, am looking forward to that adventure and would be grateful to share those experiences with YOU.
During this time, do NOT be afraid to reach out if you need someone to talk with, cry with, rant about the world with, or whatever.
Because, guess what?
You aren't in this alone. You aren't the only one experiencing what you are experiencing.
Hang in there. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep breathing, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep looking up!
We got this.