I Have to Laugh

We, like the vast majority of the world, will be socially isolated for at least the next three weeks.  All that I can do is laugh.

From January through most of February I said on more than one occasion, “I just need two weeks or so of nothing so I can rest and catch up on my life.”

Looks like I got what I wanted.  In my fantasy though, I was alone at the house or my office for those two weeks.  I wasn’t juggling parenting and educating four kids and moving my entire full-time job online, but daydreams and wishes rarely pan out exactly how we imagined.  

Here we are though.  In many ways I got my wish.  There will be no running around.  There will be no activities. I won’t have to physically be anywhere for the foreseeable future.  I will get to slow down and my body (and maybe a sliver of my mind) can rest.

Moving into these unexpected and sudden spaces of quiet and stillness can feel overwhelming and extremely uncomfortable.  In a world that worships busy, we are trained to go go go and not make space for time or energy to be reflective of our lives.  It might feel unbearable at first to scramble for ways to occupy our minds at home all day long (here’s a secret though: our minds don’t have to be distracted or occupied all the time).  It’s been two days, and I feel it already. I thought of some ways to embrace the season we’ve been given though:

  1. Limiting my media (social and news) intake.  I don’t want to look back on this time and realize I spent it on my phone or in front of the TV.  
  2. Keeping a routine.  While many things I used to do I cannot do right now, I’m still trying to maintain a schedule as much as possible, but I’m building in some things I wouldn’t normally be able to like taking a walk in the morning or midday.
  3. Take breaks.  Matt and I have already figured out how to regularly give each other a break from the house each day.  I won’t be using my break to do work. I will be using it to be alone. Maybe I will read or take a walk or hide in my car, but I will be alone.
  4. Laugh.  If there is one thing we will all need at this time, it is laughter.  Find something each day that I can get a big belly laugh about will be the best medicine and mood booster.
  5. Give myself grace.  Sudden changes like this have a rough entry for everyone.  I’m surely going to lose it on more than one occasion with my family.  I’m going to feel bored from time to time. I’m going to wish away this time and season at some points.  However, I wanted this. That doesn’t mean it will go perfectly, but it does mean I can certainly benefit and grow from it right now.

I’m trying to remember that I wanted this.  Just weeks ago, I was on the edge of exhaustion in desperate need of a slow down and break.  I have to laugh because I didn’t think it would actually happen or in this way. We are going to make it through this, and I think we will truly be better for it.

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