Somewhere around the third week of the social distancing in our home, I temporarily lost it. I was stressed, I felt guilty about being stressed, and I was ungrateful. All these things I know in my mind are toxic and counterproductive. I felt them anyway. Normally, if I’m feeling any particular mindset that I want to defeat, I have a system that seems to work for me. I give myself time to “lean in” to my feelings and, more or less, wallow in them. The amount of time I allow depends on the severity of the situation. Then, I find some habit – usually some cleaning habit such as laundry or dishes – and use that as my switch to mentally and physically get up, brush it off, and move forward with telling myself what’s logical and real versus the emotional and imagined. On that third week, however, it just wasn’t working. I’d fix it and have to start over with the whole routine the next morning. All the while, I felt obnoxious about struggling through the intense level of home time. After all, we still have our jobs. I already worked part-time from home, and Bret’s job, though considered essential, is in a reasonably controlled environment. A two-fold blessing since he can both work and still feel reasonably safe from exposure. Perhaps that’s what made me take so long to snap out of it. I really was mentally giving myself quite the mean talk for my lack of gratitude when we are all safe, warm, & happy. To top it all off, my birthday happened at the end of that week. Ever since 30, that pretty much is bittersweet any more anyway.
I’m sharing all this with such transparency on purpose. It’s a little uncomfortable for me to be this open with how I feel, but I believe that our society – at least in the deep South where I live – many times masks the uncomfortable to a fault. Phrases such as:
Everything’s Fine, Roll Tide, God Bless, Y’all Doing Fine, and Bless Your Heart
rule the day, all while meaning essentially nothing because of their overuse. Don’t get me wrong, we seek out the positive people because their energy is contagious. Sometimes we need to just get deep into the truth and talk about it though. Sometimes we are not okay. And THAT’S OKAY. My favorite people are the authentic ones. Every time.
Since that week, I’ve given myself and the kids extra grace about days off from school, days off from work, and extra chill time. We aren’t moving forward like I would prefer, sure, but if we produce to the point of not enjoying our journey, why even bother? God gave us the gift of life for it to be savored, nurtured, shared, and enjoyed. So, if that means 3 cups of coffee instead one, so be it! If that means up, dressed, and walking the neighborhood, even better. And, if it means driving aimlessly for hours just to have a change of scenery, we can go for that too. Whatever brings peace and purpose to that specific day, we are embracing.