I’m not ok. And that’s ok…
I am sitting a local coffee shop, next to my daughter’s school. I just dropped her off and am grabbing a latte with skim milk and a freshly made blueberry & lemon scone. Being early in the morning, I am also grabbing a few minutes to write before heading into the office.
As normal as this is, this is anything but normal.
The last time I was here was around a year ago. Bernie Sanders was the front runner for the Democratic nomination and President Trump was in India to discuss trade and other issues. Coronavirus was primarily an issue in Asia, with a surge beginning to take hold in Italy. Few cases reported in the U.S., but primarily from international and cruise ship passengers. Congress was debating a $1.25B support bill, but the main concerns were the spread of the “hype”, not the virus, and ensuring that any medical products or drugs coming in from China were safe.
What a difference a year makes.
Yes, I am in my favorite coffee shop with my latte and scone and it seems familiar to be able to sit here and tap away on my computer. However, the once comfortable, intimate seating is now socially distanced with limited capacity and time limits placed on how long you can stay. Masks are a must unless you are eating, cashiers are behind plexiglass, and having a chronic cough, I am trying desperately to hold it in so as to not have everyone glaring at me like I have the plague. And with over 500,000 dead just in the U.S. alone, I cannot blame them.
At least our daughter is back in school.
For the first time in just about a year, she is finally back in school. Two days a week. One of her classes only has one student who has returned…her. She ate part of her lunch in the car because she is not comfortable eating lunch in the new surroundings with the new rules in place. After a year of working to get used to virtual learning, both her and her teachers, now they will struggle with the concept of “hybrid.”
We are all navigating through new waters.
During the ride to school, we spoke openly about our challenges. Our struggles. Our anxieties. For her, we planned out how she could take the opportunity of being in person with her teachers to catch up on missing or late assignments and come up with a plan to catch up. For me, she listened as I told her about my challenges with trying to connect with and assuage the concerns of a large organization, each with their own unique perspective and challenges of their own. She listened and offered me advice.
(cough)…yeup, they are staring at me now!
As she left the car, she lined up her “fluffies” that she brought along for the ride and told me I could hold onto them for the day. Perhaps they would bring me some comfort or at least a smile. I have them sitting next to me while I eat my scone, drinking my latte, typing away on my laptop. Perhaps it is them that the shop is staring at, not me. No, when I coughed it was definitely me.
We are not ok. And that is ok…
This pandemic is by no means over. While new strains emerge, old debates continue as to whether the vaccine should be taken in the first place. As the death toll hopefully slows and starts to decline, the economic impact will come into greater focus and the damage glaring. While in some ways we have come together, in other ways we are more divided. Each of us are struggling with our own issues and challenges that only we can understand. Probably the best thing that we can do is admit that we aren’t ok. And that this is OK given all that we have been through and continue to go through.
However, we can and we will get through this.
(You can follow me @rhoniball and connect with me at www.honiball.me. The opinions expressed are my own, and subject to change, but I will admit that they are highly influenced by my wife, daughter, and several others....)