These are strange times. When my wife and I sat with (physically distanced) friends for a snack and a drink the other night, we all commented that the calendar has become meaningless. So many other things have lost their meaning or taken on new meaning. It would be easy to feel insane these days.
Because we want to limit the scope of COVID-19 and, frankly, avoid it ourselves, our practices have shifted. Most of us are limiting our exposure to large groups and people who are ill. Wearing masks, working from home, and trying to get to the grocery store before the crowds arrive has become typical.
Meanwhile, friends and family do occasionally get sick. Too many have experienced grief from the death of a loved one. In our own circles, someone just passed away who had been a huge inspiration in seeking social justice and better mental health for all. Though he was not sick with the virus, the impact is still huge and strange: we won't be able to attend a funeral or memorial in the ways we're used to doing.
It's even difficult to grieve and celebrate together during a pandemic. However much we may want to share in the sadnesses and joys of life, those must take a different shape for now.
Yet, we also long for connection and what we keep calling “normal”. I am certainly longing to keep connections strong. And the online connectivity (Zoom and such) are no longer cutting it.
However cautiously, I am going on hikes (physically distanced and masked) with a buddy; having a few friends over to our backyard for “happy hour” or a fire in our (very safe) outdoor fireplace; enjoying bicycle rides; and exploring options for other sanely pandemic-conscious meetups.
Sanitization and sanity are both crucial
Foremost in my mind is the health and safety of my wife, friends, and family. By keeping this first, I also watch out for my own well-being. But part of our staying healthy has to be watching out for our mental and emotional health. Those are fed by friendships and relationships. Keep those alive and our insides will be more alive, too.
Yes, we need to expand our possibilities under the umbrella of safety. Without this expansion, our hearts and lives will be too heavy with the grief of this, indeed, strange time. While grief itself is natural, it can contribute to a sense of insanity when things are already in upheaval.
Of course, your ways of exploring possibility while being safe and sane in the face of the pandemic will likely be very different from mine. How you enliven your life is up to you and I look forward to hearing/reading your stories. What are you doing to stay sane in these strange times?
Blessings and best wishes to everyone. May your loved ones and you be healthy, safe, and sane.