April 2, 2020
How many of y’all hit snooze more than once this morning? I’m not usually one to do that. Once my alarm goes off I’m up! For some reason I decided to give myself a few more minutes this morning. The sense of urgency I usually have for getting to work seems to be wearing off. My commute is a lot shorter. The coffee is on auto drip. My gourmet breakfast of cold cereal will still be just as cold in 9 minutes.
I feel like we are living a very surreal existence these days. Someone tweeted they feel like they’re caught in a dichotomy of being in a state of emergency and a state of normalcy. I woke up, checked my email and social media, took the dogs out for their morning walk, showered and got dressed, made a cup of coffee, poured a bowl of cereal, sat down in front of my computer and synced my Roadnotes. It’s 8 a.m. on Thursday. I do this every day! Then I turned on the news. Maybe that was my first mistake today.
With all the normative things I do every day still in place it feels weird to see the local meteorologist telling me about today’s weather from her basement. It feels weird when Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts talks about a wine cooler siting in the background as she broadcasts from her home. It feels weird to hear that Central Park now has a make shift tent hospital. It feels weird to know that people all over the country are waking up to breakfast, opening computers and tablets and working through emails and settling into today’s work flow while all around us people are sick and dying. The world just does not make sense!!!!! It’s just too surreal.
T.S. Elliot wrote “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” Elliot reminds me of just how surreal spring time really is anyway. Death gives way to life. All those old memories deep in the still earth begin to stir again. While we work as if nothing has changed we know deep down within us that something is different. Something is stirring within us. Being asked to shelter in place when the rain and sunshine beckon us to emerge from our winter slumbers is just plain cruel.
So…It’s ok…It’s ok to hit snooze, to have a second cup of coffee, to eat a bowl of cold cereal; to do the things that make us feel as normal as we can in the most abnormal of times. It’s ok to feel like all these “normal” things are only masking the fact that we feel ineffective and small in the face of what appears to be an insurmountable obstacle. So take a look at your to-do list. Breathe! Breathe again. Ok, one more breath! Now find ONE ITEM that can be accomplished RIGHT NOW. Stop everything else. Do the one thing you can do RIGHT NOW. Respond to that email. Empty the dishwasher. Feed the cat. Good job! Now breathe again! Find another item, get a glass of water, and get to work. It is our new normal and it is surreal and weird and not at all pleasant.
Remember that a fish in a bowl still swims, not because it hopes to escape to freer waters. The fish swims because it trusts its own fins to keep it alive. So, just keep swimming!