I gotta say, this has been such an interesting experience, this pandemic. Something none of us have ever endured in–my lifetime, anyway. Let me first say that regardless of what I’m about to write, I am deeply saddened by the hardship that so many are going through–especially those hospitalized or losing loved ones to this disease (or circumstances complicated by over-stressed infrastructure, etc).
With that said, I want to share with you my personal experience. Mine. Not speaking for anyone but me, and without judgement to anyone else’s approach. Let me lay a little background for you. My boyfriend was gone on the east coast for many weeks prior to and after this all hit, caring for his dad who is unfortunately, in hospice care. My dad is in a care facility with Alzheimer’s. I have a great job which had recently restructured, bringing our small team together, stronger than ever, and was looking forward to the best, most exciting season yet (this will be my 10th year with Tumalo Creek). I’d just purchased a brand new paddleboard that I loved, having demoed it in Costa Rica and was SO excited for the paddling season. I could go on forever, but you get the gist.
When COVID-19 hit and things started getting “taken away” by our governor, I basically had a melt down. It was shocking and it was hard. I felt thoroughly alone and without trying to sound too dramatic I was “traumatized”. Our small management team and company owner met to discuss the crisis. Now what? Basically we have to shut down. How do we pay bills? How do we communicate with vendors, partners and existing customers. We decided that it was crucial for us to support the “shelter in”, and encourage our customers to do the same, so we came up with a plan to keep the shop closed except for “appointment only” customers and decrease our hours dramatically with just a skeleton crew…we’d try to get by.
Through this process I was able to find some structure. I began doing my workouts first thing in the morning as before. I slowed down. I did projects at home. And eventually I began to realize that in all this mess, there are actually some pretty profound blessings. How often do we force ourselves to have an abundance of time and MUST spend it alone? Then, what do we do with that time? Sometimes I think I avoid dealing with my own “stuff” (emotionally speaking) because I can distract myself with other people and activities. In this new dynamic, I’ve been able to remind myself that I like me. I mean I genuinely like me. And I also have some weaknesses. Some personality traits I’d really like to improve. I can be off-putting, especially when I get tired or feel attacked or unsure. I can be judgmental and opinionated. I can also be apologetic which is a good thing, because I f@$k up frequently.
These realizations make spending time “sheltered in” a hell of a lot more pleasurable. It’s ok. I can be curious and seek out things to learn, which I’ve been doing. I can also grant myself binge tv watching which I don’t typically do. I’ve gained an incredible gratitude for simple things I’d begun to take for granted…like the place I live!!! Holy cats. This morning, I decided to go for a mountain bike ride from my house since trailheads and developed rec sites are closed. I wore a face-covering that I could pull down when no one was around which was basically the whole time. I passed perhaps 20 people total, on the urban part of my ride (giving them over 6 feet space) but eventually I got up into forest and it was great. Actually every turn of the wheel was great. I DON’T live in an apartment in a big city. What we Bendites take for granted as un-inspirational (I don’t think that’s a real word) is honestly beautiful. For awhile I was on a paved bike/ped trail but there were huge Ponderosa pines and manzanita surrounding me. It was beautiful. For the record, I kept all my biking very sedate. I believe in the idea of dialing it back so we’re not potentially creating more demands on our medical system.
I live in abundance. I’m not a jillionaire, but I thankfully, have enough income to pay my monthly bills. I have food. I have a comfortable bed and technology to keep me connected to friends and family. This is not a “lock down” as much as an opportunity to transform and see what I can create and appreciate with new (temporary) rules. It’s a refocusing from the over-full schedule–professionally and personally.
I know everyone has their own dynamic and what I once deemed a misfortune of being “alone” while sheltered in, I’m counting as a blessing. This too will pass, and I hope to make each hour a learning moment in the meantime.
Thanks for listening. See you out there…eventually…on the frisky ripples.