Hello my friends! Wow are we challenged or what? This sequestering is more grueling than the calamities in a bad Hollywood Sci-Fi film. So we are mostly all sheltered in place, unable to go about much semblance of our normal lives. We are only in the middle of Week One, and some of us are already chafing at it, while others ignore the threat completely. ABC News this morning showed thousands of partying youth crowding the warm sands of South Beach, Florida. The on-camera quote by a grinning young man, "If I get Corona, I get Corona. We planned for this vacation for months."
As the world shuts down in an unprecedented way, something unseen in our lifetimes, we cope with not just the threat of this deadly and invisible virus, but a very real and serious economic reality as well. In addition, we face the risk presented by those who are cavalier about the seriousness of it.
I am certain that the attitude we choose to take toward this crisis, toward our freedom being curtailed, will determine how well we get through it. My hero, Austrian psychologist Dr. Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, was locked up in a Nazi concentration camp. He was horrified to see men literally fighting over a scrap of grizzle lying on the prison floor. After his release, he wrote that in that moment, he decided to turn his incarceration into a sort of real-time laboratory study, to determine what it was within the psychology of the prisoners which determined who survived and who died. What he learned was that those who survived had a larger goal than survival. They focused on something to accomplish or do once they were free. He saw that they had a purpose that kept them going against the worst odds. The survivors had a WHY to live. For Victor, he wanted to find his family. During his long life he wrote many books about what he learned regarding finding one's purpose and about pursuing happiness. His thinking has been a cornerstone to my own philosophy of life.
Somehow I managed to survive the worst abuse a young girl can suffer at the hands of her father. My incarceration sentence was my entire childhood. The secret to my survival with my sanity intact was to have a get-away plan. My purpose was to create a life where I was "normal," once I was free. I knew that adulthood would bring freedom. It was an overriding vision which somehow guided me through the horror. You know me well enough to know that I have succeeded, against heavy odds. This explains why I live in gratitude. I am so grateful to be free.
Our challenge is to accept our current reality and do as we are instructed by the authorities. The societal goal is to get the virus infection curve to flatten so that the lowest numbers of us become ill and our medical facilities will be able to cope. I am fascinated to begin to study the reactions from those around me to this mandate. Hundreds of missives are coming my way each day via the news, posts on social media, telephone calls and emails.
Certainly for many Americans, our sense of humor is firmly in
Toilet Paper Sand Castle
tact. My friends are sending and posting truly hilarious bits. The toilet paper hoarding has struck a funny bone for many. I cracked up at the photo of a huge sandcastle created on Balboa Island made of toilet paper rolls crafted of sand. I saw a poker game pic where they were betting toilet paper rolls, and innumerable messages about the crazy role reversal where 50-somethings are forced to admonish their Baby Boomer parents Not to Go Out!
On Monday, the first day of our California "quarantine", my ten year old granddaughter, Caroline, sent me a long video called Rainbow Land. Caroline had already created a miniature theme park down the hall in her home and into the living room. Many rainbows were in evidence. There was an "art museum" taped to one wall, a fun zone with a ball pit, then a "pin the gold on the rainbow" attraction, water rides and so much more!! Seriously, how clever to invent a Pin the Gold on the Rainbow game!!!
So this is our challenge. We can bitterly bemoan the state of affairs, huff and puff about the governmental "overreaction," or figure out a game plan for the foreseeable weeks, perhaps months, to keep ourselves on an even keel. Maybe we figure out how to pin the gold on the rainbow?
Moms Create Challenges
The moms around me are creating plans to help their shut-in children to cope. My daughter is sending challenges to the other young people in the family. The other night the challenge was to hold a plastic cup of water on your forehead as you contort into a sitting position, and ultimately to a position where you can set the cup of water on the floor without spilling it. The videos of my daughter and her daughter accomplishing this feat created the challenge for the cousins. Other moms have a schedule of family game time, family walking time, free time, chores time and so on. The moms are gearing up! It is still okay to go outside in the fresh air. We just need to keep our distance from those not in our family.
Clearly our attitude is up to each of us. I am journaling each day, because when we come out the other side, it will be hard to remember exactly what it felt like to have our freedom of movement taken away from us, our jobs, good hugs, and our human face-to-face interactions. I think we will forget, like we might the pain of childbirth. Anyway, I'm writing it down.
Toilet Paper Poker
I loved this post. "When this is over: may we never again take for granted a handshake, full shelves at the store, conversations with neighbors, a crowded theater, Friday night out, the taste of communication, coffee with a friend, a boring Tuesday, or life itself! " Or toilet paper! That's my addition. So for now. Our challenge is to take the best care we can of ourselves. To adjust our attitude and soldier on.