Saturday, April 18, 2020

Better than some, worse than others

Social distancing.

If I never have to speak or hear those words again, I will be happy.

Sadly, here we are. Social distancing. We are avoiding family, friends, coworkers, strangers, grocery store clerks, dog walkers, delivery drivers, and anyone else who might be harboring a potentially deadly strain of Coronavirus. 

This is 2020. The year of the mask.

I am on the fence when it comes to fearing for my health. Maybe that is cavalier of me, as I have one of the underlying conditions that apparently makes Covid-19 one nasty bug. My diabetes is controlled so I a wander around with a (false?) sense of security.

Wandering is no understatement. I think I have walked nearly every side street within two miles of my back door in the past month. I miss my gym. And if I don't get out of the house for something other than work, I might climb the walls. Thank goodness Memphis is actually experiencing a mild Spring season this year, making local parks (the ones that are still open) ideal for anxiety relief.

It is all very overwhelming. A rampant illness. Orders to stay at home. Friends and loved ones flung into a seemingly endless state of unemployment, faultless and unprepared.

I am blessed, of this I have no doubt. I go to work five days a week. I am being paid. I have been deemed "essential."

And in true "hashtag" fashion, I am doing what I can to support local businesses. I order, they deliver, I post on social media. My biggest problem right now is so many restaurants, so little time.

I am lucky.

I know outstanding people who are not as fortunate and my heart breaks. I am eager to do something meaningful for the beloved people in my life. So many struggling, so little time. 

I cry in private.

I am also fortunate that my anxiety is not paralyzing. Healthy doses of effective advertising keep the tears flowing and it cleanses the soul a bit. But the relief does not last long. In the beginning I was swamped by the deluge of information or lack thereof. Now it takes seconds to sift through what is important and what is garbage.

I miss my life.

I worry about my family. I am isolated at work (a situation which I regularly break). Upcoming vacations are in question (first world problem). I have not seen my friends (my rocks) in weeks. My routines are shattered. I worry some businesses will not survive. A trip to the grocery store used to annoy me. Now it is dreadful. I am acutely aware of how much toilet paper I have.

I am not spiraling and I refuse to be derailed entirely. The daily walks are keeping me sane amid so much uncertainty. I am learning a new rhythm of my community and my city. I think people are generally givers in this situation. No one wants to see anyone fail. The unfairness touches us all.

Moving forward.

I keep typing those two words not far behind "social distancing" to inspire hope in those who hear my work. How will we move forward? How will we recover? There are plans in the works from Washington, D.C. all the way to Memphis, but we're not there yet. Four more words I keep typing.

Until we "get there", I'm just here. Doing better than some, worse than others.
And above all, I am grateful. Grateful for all the ways people are coming together while social distancing. Giving money, food, time, energy, services, and little pieces of soul to something we can't nail down. That thing that's actually good when we say, "that's so Memphis."

The promise of better days ahead is encouraging.