I had a different kind of Covid-blues the other day as I raced to drop one kid off, pick the other up, and call the dentist over bluetooth from the car to let her know we were going to be late.
At the dentist, I hovered by reception for the wifi password and fiendishly tapped on the tiny keyboard of my phone's screen to send a time sensitive email while my youngest reclined in a seat down the hall getting a cavity filled. The hypnotic whirring sound of the drill poured from his room and wafted down the corridor, triggering my dread.
We were only half way through an overbooked day and I just couldn’t locate the metaphorical jumper cables to kickstart me back through the rest of it. I wanted to curl up in the waiting room and take a 4 hour nap instead.
I used to know this kind of exhaustion very well. I used to be able to bully it into fake willingness or submission. I used to be able to dose it with caffeine and negotiate with it. I used to have a high threshold for it. I divorced it. I left it in the rearview but it had been creeping back in. Slowly. More and more.
Then Covid changed all of that.
I dropped out of the race because the race got cancelled. The very ground we were all pounding and sprinting down seemed to disappear into thin air like a special effect in a movie.
Where did the finish line go?
March 2020 felt like that moment when you pause in the middle of a story, forget the punchline and just drop it altogether. What was the point? What was so important? What were we rushing toward?
I felt nostalgic for that feeling of ducking out of the race as I sat in the dentist’s waiting room. My Ego grabbed the mic quickly and started yelling between my ears: “Oh how perfectly bougie of you! To look back longingly on a fucking pandemic! Give me a break!!!”
But I stopped it cold. This is the advantage to doing the work. You can recognize your own insanity before it avalanches or takes root and starts to feel true.
“Quiet,” I whispered. “I need to honor something here.”
There’s a difference between romanticizing a tragedy and recognizing that “normal” life is too much. The pace I used to perform the day at was too much. I normalized it within myself but it was never normal. It was never healthy for me and my Soul is bracing, begging not to return to it now.
Is there a way to be productive without the masochism and self denial that have historically accompanied my version of “productive”? Is it possible to go slow and still keep up? Is it ok to let certain things slide? Even if it means sparking - AND ENDURING - the other person’s disappointment?
Is it ok to change?
I think this is at the heart of what we’re asking, anytime we’re talking about improving our life experience. Even the changes which are positive are still changes - and changes are hard for us humans.
What I’ve been realizing lately is that even more than permission, I need reassurance. I need to consciously, intentionally remind myself that it’s safe to change and I'm worthy of the effort required to change.
So often we ask the wrong questions in the face of our reckonings and transformations. We ask: Are you ready? We ask: Are you strong enough?
The real questions are: Do you feel safe? Do you feel worthy?
And, to take it a step even further, the real questions aren’t questions at all, actually. They’re statements. Declarations. Reminders.
You are safe enough because I love you.
You are worthy because you are a miracle and a life of joy and success is your birthright.
Until next time friends :)