I’ve been thinking about what is making this social/physical distancing so hard…these stay-at-home orders and mandates. I hope I can put my thoughts into words…
At the beginning of this, we were given shutdowns, lock outs and closures in small chunks – two weeks at a time for the most part. I understand the psychology of this and it stems from the concept of hope. If from the beginning, for us that basically meant March 12th ish, our schools said, “no more school for the rest of the year”, we would have spiraled into chaos. If on March 12th, we were told we would be essentially relegated to our homes for an undetermined amount of time, we would have immediately rebelled. That shred of hope; the light at the end of the tunnel; the dangling carrot has continually been there but just out of reach.
Kelly and I have known since the beginning this wasn’t going to be a two week solution or even a 12 week solution and we have been preparing our kids with this, but that doesn’t make the reality of it easier. The hope in this is that we are doing our part to protect others; our grandparents, our neighbors, those at risk, our healthcare workers and those truly “essential” for maintaining our basic services, protection and safety.
As Americans, most of us have grown up with the concept of the American Dream and it is BUILT on the concept of hope. Study hard. Work hard. Play hard. Be an active and engaged citizen and help others. If you do this, you can accomplish anything. You can direct your future. You can alter your path. You can wake up one day and decide to CHANGE YOUR OWN LIFE’S OUTCOME! Yes! It will be hard – but being an American for me has always meant that I am in control of my choices and consequences, both good and bad. If you have never left this country (or visited parts of America where this concept is still emerging) you cannot possibly know how lucky you are to be an American. (Don’t argue with me. I won’t listen.)
But our hope has been challenged. Since many of our original stay at home orders have “expired” and are being reviewed, we are given potential timelines….and still nothing concrete. Hope is wavering because the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be getting farther away. Do you remember how much you hated it when your parents said, “maybe”? It put your hope on standby. Maybe restaurants will open for outside seating in May. Maybe hiking trails will open in June. Maybe beaches will open in July. Maybe camping will open this year. “Maybe” isn’t a viable timeline, and this is where we get stuck.
We know that most of the stressors in our lives have tangible timelines or at least we know we can control them to some extent. The stress of school. The stress of finding a job. The stress of paying bills, finding a mate, stages of raising children, abuse, addiction, our health. But right now, we have no tangible timeline and it is causing rebellion and mutiny! I cannot say where I fall on this fence – I see both sides – but I also know I cannot continue to tell my children “maybe” when they ask me if they will be able to see their friends in two weeks. My family will be making some serious decisions in the next couple of days and they will be the right ones for MY family. Hope is not something that can remain on standby.
Day 51 and counting….
PS – I have had two inquiries about staying over at the She Shed – yes, you can use the pool and I will even feed you. No, it doesn’t have a bathroom.