Does this soap opera still exist…As the World Turns? I remember it being a thing when I was a kid. Could anything compare to life right now and the drama we’re all experiencing with a health crisis on our hands? As we navigate through the balance of living our lives with any sort of “normal” routines, I realize that it’s ok to not have a normal routine. Personally, I believe much of our infrastructure was slightly fucked up to begin with. But I don’t want to focus on the negative. There are silver linings we can derive from the tragedy that is COVID-19 and perhaps apply those lessons moving forward.
I write posts of daily gratitudes on my Facebook page. Ok, I write gratitudes. I’ve found that I’m not in a “ducky” mood every day. I hear this sentiment from many people who express similar feelings…they’ll be going along feeling everything from “ok to hopeful to even marginally happy” and then BAM– a day filled with anxiety, worry, sadness, feelings of being detached or alone. I’m including this pattern for myself here, because as humans I think that most of us are survivors. But this is some scary shit.
Talking with one friend in particular, we consistently ask ourselves “what is the right thing to do in this moment”… and bounce the decisions off each other. It feels like the answers aren’t black and white. Excluding those who are on the far side of “this is just bull shit and I’m going to do whatever suits me…not shelter in, ignore the mandates, etc” it seems a constant navigation of moral right and wrong. Or maybe the better descriptor is “safest, best choice” in the moment. For example, is okay to walk with a friend who has also been self-isolating for a month, wearing masks and remaining at least 6 feet apart? For me, the answer has become “yes”. Or, as I wrote last week, I’ve begun whitewater paddleboarding again. Not in a group but with one friend on a “frisky”, forgiving section of water with access from the road. All on the up and up. But is it? We aren’t parking on anything that is technically closed and that river is open. Am I “dialing it back” as best termed by Jaymo of Backyard Bend (and great friend that I respect). I’ve talked with other friends who engage in adventurous activities and it seems that most I’ve spoken with, seem to be still having their fun, but also purposely “taking it easy”.
In fact, I was interested to hear the perspective of a young man I’ve known since he was 15 (now I believe around 21-22 years old?). He’s a class five boater and has historically taken his share of risk. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him talk about his approach, dialing it way back to rapids he isn’t particularly challenged by, and running his own shuttle. This “kid” (I call him that with almost motherly-affection) represents the paddling community well, in my opinion. He’s also done his part to encourage other cohorts to do the same. Some aren’t taking it down a few notches and have actually had near-miss situations that could have resulted in ER visits (or worse) which instigated some pretty heated FB posts.
I think it’s all still a debate and what we individually choose in the moment is probably a judgement-call. I’ll leave you with this little anecdote… When I paddled the short section yesterday, I was on my new board which I’ve absolutely loved. Starting the run I felt a little…mmmm…for lack of a better description, “squirrely”. We all have days where we crush it and then others where it feels like we’re challenged simply walking. Maybe this was just one of those days where I wasn’t totally “on”. It wasn’t like I was paddling horribly. Just felt a little off and figured it’s from being largely out of practice. I mean hey, this time of year I’d typically be paddling a lot more. At one point, I was surprised to miss my line–not a hard move, which resulted in a quick swim. No biggee, but really? It was still an amazing paddle and there’s NOTHING more cathartic than getting on the water. However, when unloading the boards I realized I’d forgotten to put my fins on my board. Ha! Rookie move. A little redemption though, and great for a laugh. Because laughing is the absolute best, and maybe in short supply these days.
There’s still fun out there to have. We will get through this, hopefully as a (distanced for now) community, but stronger for it in the long run.
Thanks for listening, and see ya (eventually) on those frisky ripples.