I remember back in February…or was it March? Time means nothing anymore, Jeremy Bearimy, am I right? Anyhow, back in the beginning of this mess we are calling a pandemic, it was a total emotional roller coaster. Fear, panic, anxiety, gratitude, relief, worry. My feelings ran the gamut.
When daycares shut down, I was unbelievably grateful for our in-home caregiver so my child could have her normal routine and I could still have a break.
When my husband’s schedule changed to lessen the number of people present at work, I found myself annoyed about our schedule being upended, but happy that he was safe and home more often.
Hearing updates on my brother in law’s destination wedding and deciding if we would still go, and then wondering when that would ever happen when it was eventually canceled due to the pandemic.
When my entire office shifted to working from home, like I had already been doing for a couple of years, I felt confident and seen in my fellow coworkers struggles and strengths.
The Anxiety of Facing Constant Change
Every single time I heard an update about school, I felt grateful for not having a school aged child, and guilty that we had it easier than other families . It felt like every new day brought something else. Oh and on top of it all, I am pregnant during this pandemic so that’s another thing to contend with and factor in when it comes to safety and exposure and prioritizing our family.
It felt extreme, the highs and lows. I know no one really claims to deal well with change, but I especially feel like I don’t. Plans are comforting to me, the predictability of knowing what comes next makes me feel safe and gives me a semblance of control. I love calendars and color coding and looking ahead to see what is coming up and being prepared for it. At first, this situation of constant change sent me into a spiral of anxiety every time something happened. What did we need to adjust now? How could I have planned for this? What will happen next? My former strategies of analyzing the data and then making an informed decision were dashed by the unknowns, the misinformation, and the continuous curve balls that have characterized this time.
A Time for Growth
And yet, I’ve discovered through the months of this pandemic that this might actually be a time for growth for me. Not long ago a family member brought up the conversation of holiday plans, and I found myself saying, “We can’t make any decisions about that until we get there.” This is SO out of character for me. But I truly felt that way. This experience of trying to use my old strategies of analyzation and planning to feel prepared for the future just haven’t been working during this time. Sure, we can make a plan, but it might have to change the next day, week, or month. Nothing seems solid anymore; it is ever-shifting. It’s made me shift too. I no longer have the energy to try to predict what will happen next week, month, or year. I have started to take life as it comes, and focus on dealing with what is right in front of me, rather than what might happen tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Because the reality is, I don’t know what that will look like until we get there.
Now, I haven’t stopped planning completely. I plan my days, I keep track of the birthdays and holidays and potential events we have coming up. I am doing most of the regular things to plan for our baby to arrive. But even in the planning, I am holding it all a little more loosely. I know it can change on a dime. So I try to stay in the now, instead of the what if of the future. And maybe that’s a lesson I needed to be forced into all along.