Captains log. Day 35 in Quarantine. Things are fine.
This week was Spring Beak for the kids. It was supposed to be spring break for me, too, and we were going to do lots of fun things… but my end of year calendar got “recalibrated.” It’s fine.
We have figured out how to split the day so that it’s irritating for all of us, but doesn’t impede anyone’s ability to not get fired. So that’s fine, too.
We’ve taken to eating the same six “kid approved” things every day. Somehow I’ve still said “Eat your breakfast/lunch/dinner” at least 100 times yesterday… and for the past 34 days… which means I’ve said it 3500 times since we came inside. But we aren’t hungry and the supply chain is strong so we aren’t likely to be… so that’s fine.
It’s all fine.
No, really, it’s truly fine. Fine, fine, fine.
Two things to watch out for as we enter “The Grind”
For many of us (though, by no means for all of us) new normal has settled in and after that first sigh of relief (“At least things aren’t changing every 2 minutes!”), it’s begun to chafe. Slowly, and collectively, we are coming to terms with the idea that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Though we are not sure whether this is a half a marathon or a full marathon or an ultramarathon, it just seems clear that this is no longer the 400 meter sprint.
So we slow down, settle in, and manage the fatigue.
As we do that, we begin to whitewash all the feelings away. I’m not disappointed, I’m fine. I’m not tired, I’m fine. I’m not frustrated, I’m fine. Do you feel how reading that squeezes the vitality out of this email? It does the same thing with your life.
Do you feel how that loosens things up? The color come back in. We connect with each other’s experiences again. Jokes are funnier and there’s something to talk about.
Watch out for the whitewashing of feelings, it is not a good strategy. Instead, see if you can manage the fatigue by allowing the feelings to “flow and go.”
Life needs contours
The second thing to watch out for is when life loses its contours. The ups and downs, the beginnings and ends, the thises and the thats.
We’ve shrunk our lives considerably. We are doing fewer things with fewer people and it’s easy to feel like we’ve begun to live in the 2020, internet-fueled equivalent of the movie Groundhog Day. When this feeling emerges, it’s time for a delightful project.*
A delightful project is one that, all by itself, creates a contour in your life. We are looking for something that:
Great examples include:
The world isn’t going to provide you with much contour right now, but it’s less complicated than you think to create it for yourself. Especially during Spring. Especially with Amazon. Especially when you choose it.
Let me know what you come up with! I’ll be here ready to hear all about it.
*PS- A delightful project is a project that delights YOU. Not someone else. If YOU want your basement to be clean, and it will delight you to see it, then by all means clean it. But if you would prefer to plant a flower or learn all the lyrics to a song from Shrek the Musical, do THAT instead.
Amanda Crowell, PhD is a cognitive psychologist obsessed with how people make change. She is best known for translating cutting edge research into practical strategies that can be used right away.