COVID-19 has churned and burned schedules, forcing us to come up with new routines and rituals. Some are small or a slight inconvenience, like no morning stop at Starbucks for your first cup of Joe, and some are more significant, like pausing to give thanks and appreciation for healthcare workers, first responders and anyone on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19 and for what they do on a daily basis under "normal" circumstances.
As I think about the pandemic-driven changes in my life and the lives of those around me, I can't help but wonder which of my new routines and rituals will continue once we get to the other side-- whatever that may look like. Here are some that collectively begin to weave one story of COVID-19's silver lining.
[But first, sit back, relax, and listen to this soulful, timely performance of Lay Down Your Burden, by Red Molly. If there ever were a time to lay your burden down-- not to carry it on your own, the time is now. Keep an eye out for dad.]
If you liked that, I'll leave you another at the end of this post.
Description: Give and express thanks for those on the front lines who serve and care for those in need, such as my niece, Mary-Margaret Quinn.
How: Any way you want; anytime you want. I chose to modify Kemba Walker's jersey with my niece's initials, as I heard some pro athletes were doing.
The Back Story: On May 6, 2020, 'Nurses Day,' a voice on the radio mentioned that pro athletes were replacing their name on their jerseys with the name of a front-line worker. I went to work...
Name: THE SHEPHERD
Description: Wander and roam with the goats and sheep at a nearby farm, called CheHi (pronounced "'chay - hee").
Why: Food for the spirit and soul.
The Back Story: I heard about this 'Trustees of Reservations' property from friends, and it has since become my sanctuary to wander and reflect. When I am there alone, I have community amongst nature's gifts and the goats and the sheep. For a moment, I am high in the Swiss Alps tending to my flock...
Name: DAD'S ZOOM
Description: Daily ZOOM with Kara, Alexa and Luke. Great idea; I've been looking for something like this!
Why: I'm always searching for ways to deepen my connection with my kids, and it's especially critical to fight off the COVID-19 isolation I feel.
How: Pick a time convenient for all, and voila! How easy!
Future: Aaaahhh...let's just say I'm hopeful!
Name: FAMILY ZOOM
Description: ZOOM with my sisters and our families every 2 weeks.
Why: It's all about connections, as I' sure we all know at this point. And I love it when we do family trivia on these calls; who knew there are 8 knitters in the family!?
How: Sunday night, every 2 weeks.
Future: I hope this is one that sticks well beyond the COVID era.
The Back Story: My sister proposed it; she had a critical mass of enthusiastic responders, and it's now a highlight of my life every 2 weeks.
Name: WEST LAWN
Description: Periodic solo visits, picnics and walks at West Lawn cemetery, where my parents and brothers, Dickie and Dave, are memorialized.
Why: Uplifting-- yes! And safe roads to walk (for me), while enveloped in nature's beauty. Introspective, thought-provoking and expansive. Melodies of the birds, the brush of the soft breeze; the messages, names and "pictures" on the headstones.
Future: I'll continue to visit more frequently, hoping to draw more energy and inspiration.
The Back Story: From time-to-time I need to get out, and I need variety, so I'm always looking to add to my repertoire of sanctuaries that meet my criteria; quiet enough to avoid a stumble from sensory overload, and a smooth trail or pavement so I don't trip.
Description: Scribe an old-fashioned letter to an old or new or hope-to-be friend, family member, acquaintance, relative, or anyone else to whom you are inspired to scrawl a kind word.
Why: The joy of receiving a letter in the mail!
How: Does Gen Z even know how to do this???
Future: Definitely; in fact, lmk if you'd like to receive an "old-fashioned" letter from me-- seriously, and I promise I will!
The Back Story: Over the past few years-- in fact, I think it's had something to do with my PLS and my associated effort to connect-- I have taken to writing letters. I sink into the renaissance-like feel of the art. I create my own cards, and choose stamps to supplement my message, often adorning them with stickers that I pick up in my travels.
Description: Give myself physical challenges, such as the #250Challenge. Goal: Swing my (small) kettlebell 250 times per day, every day of April.
Why: I wanted a goal to motivate me, and when my sister, Din, and my son, Luke, joined in, the communal, team-motivation kicked in and there was no turning back. I loved it.
Future: We're looking for the next challenge, yes!
The Back Story: The kettlebell is close to my heart.
Description: Hyperfocus on the size of my "bubble" as it pertains to COVID-19, and my bubble's associated degree of risk and exposure to the Coronavirus. Vigilance and commitment to its containment.
Why: Stay alive.
How: Just say "no."
Future: Good to stay aware, I think.
The Back Story: We all know this one...starts with "C" and ends with "19."
Description: Drive to HoStaPa (pronounced "hoh 'stuh pah"), pull up lakeside, set up my red, white polka dot chair, and ponder, wonder and reflect amidst nature's surroundings. Go for a walk if little to no wind.
Why: To get out! And...food for the soul.
You know the Quarantine is getting to you when...
...the highlight of your week is submitting a pre-order for the new "Enjoy the Great Outdoors" USPS stamp collection. Yes, I did today and can't wait until they arrive in June!
Movies & Documentaries: Recent Viewings
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Sense & Sensibility
The World According to Lance
Destination 3 (Degrees)
(People) of Water
Red Molly: "Sing to Me"