Happy Saturday y’all! How is this current crazy thing we call life treating you? I hope each of you are holding up as well as can be. It’s certainly taken me a minute to log onto this little corner of the interwebs and I do apologize. Like most of you I have been trying to figure out my new “normal.” Ever since schools shut, my other jobs closed down and Michigan’s shelter in place was initiated days have, well, they’ve been. Plain and simple, life is weird right now. Agreed? No matter where you are reading this post, things are not as they used to be.

Routines have been broken. Families and friends have been split apart. Worlds have been turned upside down. Humanity has been challenged.

Ok. Before I really dive in I want to start with this; in my personal opinion (and I want to emphasis the personal here…) I believe we all are equally struggling right now. I believe that no persons’ battle is worse than another because we are all uniquely different, especially in how things impact us. We all have varying pasts which play a part in determining our present. I share this because while I’m about to share some struggles and some triumphs of my own, I know all of you out there are having many of your own.

Anyone else feel like they are on a rollercoaster where the brake is broken and you can’t get off? That is pretty much how I would describe life since March 12th. Ups and downs followed by twists and turns and not to forget that gut-wrenching surprise drop. Where’s the trash can? I feel sick.

I used to describe that it felt like a movie, but way too quickly what felt like a dream had to be accepted as reality. This hit home the day my school closed. Well, not closed, we’re still teaching, but I have not been in my classroom or physically seen my students in 4 weeks. If you’re an educator reading this you already know how deeply this hurts. My students are the reason I do what I do. I care for and about them like they are my own. While I am very thankful for Google Voice & Google Hangouts, I’ve lost track of sleepless nights. But theres been many, much like last night when it was 1:48 in the morning and I was starting the draft of this post, tossing around thoughts on the keyboard.

If you are already a follower of this blog you know that teaching is not my only job. Well, the others shut down too. In less than 3 days I went from having almost every move of my day scheduled out in a calendar to not even writing in one. I mean I don’t think I need to map out my trips from the office, to the living room to the kitchen and repeat. My days are seemingly filled, especially as I figure out this whole distance learning thing, but the scenery is the same. Fun fact, I bought my house this past August and during this quarantine is the most amount of time I’ve spent in it over the last 7 months. In other words, I’m rarely home but to sleep.

Then there’s my family.

Let’s start with the parents. Dad; he’s in pretty good health, but he does have lung and heart issues in his past. Mom; easiest way to put it, she is very immune compromised. Dad has been the one running their essential errands which he is happy to do, but on the contrary has been difficult on mom because much like me she is a go go go personality. However as a daughter I’d prefer they both were put into a bubbles and not allowed anywhere.

Next we have the newly engaged couple; my brother and his fiancé. My brother Nic is an emergency room physician. Alex, his fiancé, is an emergency room nurse. With both of them on the front lines my body is constantly in a conundrum of worry, even the days they are not on shift. My brain can’t stop thinking through the situations they are walking into every day/night. My heart wishes I could take their stress, exhaustion and fear away.

Then there’s everyone else.

By everyone else I mean, everyone else. My friends. My coworkers. My students. My acquaintances. Any person that has been apart of my life in some way, shape or form whether for years or even just a blink of an eye. I worry and pray daily for their health, safety and sanity. For each person who I know is struggling, I also know there are many more who I haven’t talked to that also are. I am a person who struggles with not being able to fix things and so currently I feel insanely helpless. There are many who have COVID-19 affecting their families/friends. There are many who are also working on the front lines. There are many who cannot see their loved ones due to visitor limitations. There are even some who have lost a loved one without being able to be there to say goodbye. All of this breaks my heart more than these words can even begin to express and it hurts more knowing the way I can help be there for them is restricted. Although I have always been a faith filled person, right now, more than ever I am leaning on prayer.

In conjunction with prayer I am also leaning on mindset. When your world comes to a halt, we’re going to say halt not stop because life will return to normal, and everything feels as if it is out of your control the one thing no one can take from us is our own mindset. People can try to break it down, and boy do they, but when push comes to shove we are the ultimate controller. If I’m being completely honest here, which hey we’re all non-judgmental here {right?}, I have been struggling these last few weeks with mindset. And it comes in waves. One minute I will be okay and the next minute I will feel as if my stomach is in my throat and I can’t breathe. The unknown creates an anxiety in me that is indescribable. I’m usually okay with some ambiguity, however when it has to do with the lives of those I care about, ya no, that’s a completely different story.

I’m not going to lie though, this situation hasn’t been all bad. So let’s turn this post (frown) upside down and focus in on some positives (smiles) over the last few weeks. Even though my mindset feels like it waivers I can honestly say that when my mindset is right, I feel stronger than ever. This quarantine has helped me become more inventive/creative, slow down, and refocus. It has brought passions which I had lost time for back into my life. It has forced me to accept some “realities” that I did not want to accept that my busy lifestyle allowed me to just brush under the rug. It has assisted me to truly become comfortable in my own skin, not just come across as comfortable in my own skin.

At first I was nervous about all of this time “alone.” I am a very independent person, it is one of the things I say about myself with ultimate confidence, but that independence is a choice so I was unsure as to how it would feel when it was “forced.” I was then nervous about all this “free” time. I’m a person where if I’m not constantly doing something I feel as if I am letting myself or someone else down. However, both of these things have proved themselves worthy to me.

Although many of us have no where to go one of the main things I have learned during this time is how important it is to still get up and show up, even if that showing up is for yourself in your own living room. It can become so easy to let your mind run you, especially right now with ample time for it to wander, so it is important to remember to check that auto-pilot is turned off and take control. Listen to your mind, body and soul. If you need to get up and run, get up and run. If you need to stay in bed and sleep, stay in bed in sleep. If you need to reorganize every cupboard in the kitchen, reorganize every cupboard. If you need to bake, bake. If you need to call a friend to check in, call that friend. If you need to pour a glass of wine {even if it might be 12:00 pm}, pour that glass of wine. No one knows you better than yourself, but life allows us to run from that. Take this time to recenter with who you are, what matters to you, what makes you tick, what you need.

While I am still quaran-puzzled, I can say with pride that I have also had quaran-growth.

Stay positive. Be safe. Spread love.

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