Greetings and Salutations, Blog Readers!
Today I am doing a personal life update, and also discussing something most of us are likely dealing with.
Uncertainty in the times of Covid-19, Coronavirus.
For many of us, this virus leads to very uncertain and unsteady times.
For me, it has left me broke, with the lay offs at work, and at times, very unsure of what I can do next, or how I will eat, let alone feed my pets.
It has left me wondering if anyone I care about or know will die (yes). It has left me wondering if I will have money for bills (no). It has left me very unsure, to say the least.
Yesterday, I found out that we would be having a company wide Zoom meeting to discuss our strategy moving forward and I can’t help but be annoyed that once I again I will get trapped in a meeting that could have been an email, and this time, I won’t be fucking paid for it.
When I need the money most.
Not only am I unsure about everything, but this meeting won’t be till Friday so any semblance of “knowing” what is going to happen, assuming this meeting isn’t just our boss telling us he has no idea what we will do, is going to have to wait.
I don’t know if he even has answers for us, but I do know that even if he does they won’t come till Friday.
We are all living in it, even those of us who are able to go to work, or are able to work from home, are unsure how long their jobs will be on restrictive duty, how long we will social distance, how long the grocery store will be an extreme sport, how long until you can see your friends again or go out to eat.
We are all in uncertainty.
But, through it all, I think we are all learning a valuable lesson in how to survive this uncertainty. Even my friends who live more spontaneous lifestyles have noted how much harder life is when you can’t plan for much.
I mean how do you make any sort of plan, like what to do Friday night, if you don’t know if you will even be allowed outside of your home?
How can you know if you will be having a birthday party next month, if you don’t know if you will be able to gather in groups?
How can you plan for upcoming holidays? Fourth of July seems impossible, but will we be able to gather for Thanksgiving?
We can’t plan for shit.
Even if we don’t want to plan, we can’t even plan for much other than the next day.
Maybe the end of the week.
So what can we do?
Uncertainty makes us all unsure, uneasy, anxious…so what can we do to regain our normal days? Our normal lives?
Well, first, we accept our current realities are NOT normal.
And they may not be for quite a while, if ever.
And that’s okay.
I am the first one to be bothered by routine being thrown off, and I hate change…but I also know I could stand to be better at living in the moment, and not worrying about the future.
The first of these is something most of us could be better at, living in the moment. It has hard to not focus on the past, good or bad, or the future, unknown or seemingly sure.
Even most innocently, looking at the past for lessons, and the future with preparation, you can’t spend too much time searching the past, nor can you worry about the future so much, that you miss the present.
This is why we have so many cheesy sayings about the present being a present, and all that crap.
More practically, however, we need to live in the present to better understand the moments we are living in. I can say this: Looking back on my life so much, scouring my memories for insight and lessons…I have found that in
my past I tended to spend so much time worrying about the future I rarely enjoyed, and even worse, I hardly ever truly engaged with my surroundings.
I struggled with this for years, constantly worrying about the future, while beating myself up for the past, and never engaging in the present I was living in…and I lost so much of my time. Now I look back on those years, looking for lessons, and the biggest lesson I can find is – holy fucking crap, stop worrying so much, you are missing everything around you.
I missed things that led to me having more problems. Not just memories I missed out on, or fun times that formed lasting memories that I lost… no, sometimes this lack of engagement led to me missing things right in front of me. Missing signs of betrayal, signs of things to come. I missed all sorts of moments that had I been engaged, could have prevented entire years of my life being destroyed with mistakes.
So much of life I could have been better prepared for, better suited for, better able to handle, had I been actively engaged in what was happening around me.
On top of that, I could have enjoyed myself a fuck of a lot more, too. I could have formed better memories, maybe even forged better friendships. Instead of being around toxic people and losing the better people around me, I could have seen what was going on, by engaging with it.
I could have had a better time, and who knows how much better it could have been. I won’t spend time lamenting that now, however, because I am trying to be better.
But I will expose myself like this, in a way I don’t often do, and urge you all to learn this lesson, if you never learn another one from me. Please engage in the present. (Also, work on whatever your art is. Stop putting that shit off till the future. I did that for too long and that was part of the problem I am talking about.)
The second half of things I, and probably you, could be better at, and are able to get better at in these times of uncertainty is: not worrying about the future.
This one I still struggle with, and it does make engaging with the present, as I just mentioned, very difficult. That is how I know it is important to do and also very hard.
I mean how can you not worry if you don’t know if your next trip to the store could be the one that gets you sick, or spreads the virus unwittingly to someone else? How can you not worry about how to feed yourself? How to py your bills? How to keep your internet on?
How can you not worry about if your job will reopen, or how long this crisis will last?
No, really, I am asking.
Because it is something I am still working on.
But, like I said…this time is really great because while we live in uncertainty, we are able to work on fixing this issues.
I mean, every single day is more worrisome and stress inducing then the times before this Covid-19 situation, and any uncertain time can make those days more stressful than usual. These days are hard to handle, but when they are one after the other, one day after the other of worrying about the future, you are finally confronted with the fact that you must deal with not only your ability to handle the uncertainty, but the side affects of it.
If all you can do is worry about the what if’s of the future, how can you not worry about the future? If everyday life is different from usual, how can you not worry about the future?
It is tricky, but I will say this. It takes 30 days to build any habit. Once you spend thirty days inside of this situation, it starts to normalize a bit. You start to move around in the situation and understand the problem. You build the habit and understand how the habit affects you.
If you work out every single day, you know after thirty days, much more about your body when it is active and at rest. When you spend thirty days on social distancing, quarantine, shelter in place, just plain old middle-of-a-pandemic-this-shit-is-crazy-situation- you learn how you operate in it, you understand how schedules play into your day, you may even learn what sleep patterns you prefer, what times you like to eat, what you truly would do with your time if given tons of it…
And you can learn a lot from that.
I personally now know that if given tons of time, I will in fact spend it working on content and writing.
I also know many of my friends who swore they only needed down time to get stuff done, are now spending 16 hours on various social media apps, mindlessly liking and sharing posts, and scrolling through TikToks, playing all sorts of random video games, from App games to Console….Not working on the projects they swore they “just needed time” for.
Sure, stress affects us all, but even if you are guilty of this, you can look at it as a lesson. You know that you need to put parameters on yourself, you know you need to work on being actively engaged with your present to really maximize what you are doing, and how you are dealing with this period of uncertainty.
You DON’T need to be productive, and knock out a million projects, that is NOT what I am saying. I AM saying you should be aware of your present situation, and not worry about the future. Actively engage in what is happening.
Journal. Write down your emotions, thoughts, and reactions to this crazy time. You may surprise yourself with what you learn.
Engage in the present. Do anything you can to engage in the present and make the best of your newfound time in uncertainty, if nothing else, to avoid worrying about the future. No one ever stopped worrying from someone saying “Stop worrying” and I know I won’t fully stop worrying either…but if we can all get in the practice of engaging with our present, we can maybe get to healthy places and deal with this uncertainty, and any uncertainty, much better than we currently do.
Journal your thoughts when you worry so you get them out. You feel your hand hurt from writing for so long, all to get the thoughts on paper…and you will be surprised how much it puts the worry in perspective and allows you to think about other stuff.
Nothing like having yourself tell you for page after page that you are stressed out, and what has you worried. After you write it over and over again you will realize the problems can or can not change, and will either change them, or not. You will also write out the frustration, get the problems out, and actually feel better for having gotten them out.
The same way talking to a good friend makes you feel better, or even a therapist…only you are your own friend, and no one is going to judge you, or hold your emotions against you. No one is going to dismiss you, invalidate you, or even just make you feel weird for having confided…and you don’t get any one’s bias in the response, either. You only have your own words, your own emotions, your own genuine response to the situation. OH! And, this is much cheaper than a therapist and doesn’t require ANY insurance!
From there, you can truly engage in your present, and better wade these waters of uncertainty.
It sucks. And none of us know when it will ever get better, nor do we know the quality of anything when we do finally see it “get better.”
But we can get through it, and deal with this uncertainty. Together. In the present, engaging with the present, so we actually do have a better future, instead of one we just worry about, ruining our “past” for our future selves.
Thank for Engaging! And of course-
Thanks for reading.